Each year, several hundred AAO members take on leadership and other volunteer responsibilities within constituent and component organizations; on AAO councils, committees and task forces; and in the House of Delegates. A new online resource, the Leadership Network, provides volunteers at all levels with information and tools designed to help them understand the workings of our complex organization and perform their duties more easily, efficiently and effectively.

“In 2016, the House of Delegates called for a task force to explore how the AAO could support constituent and component leaders,” said Dr. Ken Dillehay, AAO trustee and chair of the Component Support and Leadership Development Committee. “Our committee was formed to address this directive. We were also asked to re-develop the former President-Elects Conference (now the Leadership Development Conference.)”

“We knew that we had many resources that would be helpful to constituent and component leaders, but there was no centralized repository that leaders could simply visit when they were unsure what to do,” said Dr. Gary Inman, AAO trustee from the Southern Association of Orthodontists and a member of the Component Support and Leadership Development Committee. “The committee worked tirelessly for two years to develop our resource repository, the online Leadership Network,”

“In addition to functional leadership questions, when leaders are newly elected, it is also important that they begin quickly to learn about the overall structure of the AAO,” said Dr. Dillehay. “Being knowledgeable of the overall organization enables a new leader to identify resources easily and work more productively and effectively. The Leadership Network is a user-friendly resource for members to use in this way.”

Leadership Network is Available to all AAO Members

“We believe the network provides a valuable service to our leaders, but also may be helpful to many who are not in AAO-related leadership roles,” said Dr. Inman. “Any AAO member may be interested in learning about leadership opportunities and how their talents and expertise may be of use. Or, they have questions about an issue of concern and need to know which group within the organization handles that issue. In addition, the network may also be helpful to AAO members who are engaged in other types of organizational leadership roles, whether a dental organization, a local civic, school or church group, or a charity.”

Visit the Leadership Network at aaoinfo.org/members to access the resources outlined below.

Orientation for New Leaders

The Leadership Network home page provides access to the concise guide, Orientation Part 1: An Overview, which covers:

AAO Leadership (decision-making and who does what). A concise but thorough overview of how decisions are made within the AAO, and how recommendations are considered by the Board of Trustees and/or House of Delegates, and then acted upon. Includes quick reference information regarding the roles and functions of AAO leadership entities, the work of councils and committees, and the advisory and implementation roles of AAO staff;

  • Governance (incorporation of member perspectives). An explanation of the governance function, including how member feedback is gathered and incorporated into decision-making by the Board of Trustees and the House of Delegates;
  • Structure (operations and financial status). An overview of how and why the AAO operates as it does due to its not-for-profit status, and the operations of constituents, components, councils and committees;
  • Constituents and Components. A guide to the constituent regional breakdown and governance overview of these organizations.
  • Councils and Committees. A summary of the functions of councils and committees, with a link to a PowerPoint presentation that provides in-depth information about their work.
  • Strategic Planning. A guide to how the AAO Strategic Plan is updated and presented for consideration by the House of Delegates.

In addition to the Councils and Committees PowerPoint, multi-media features of the orientation include:

  • A video featuring Dr. Gary Baughman, past speaker of the House of Delegates, and James Lochrie, former parliamentarian (in the Governance section). They provide a simple overview of how the House of Delegates works;
  • Organizational and decision-making charts in the AAO Leadership and Structure sections that provide visual support to clarify the organization-wide input and decision-making processes.

After review of Orientation Part 1: An Overview, leaders are encouraged to take the virtual course, Orientation Part 2:  A Deeper Dive. This program more closely examines the AAO’s governance structure and how each entity plays a role in guiding the direction of the association. Viewers also learn how leaders establish the direction of the AAO and the legal obligations of leaders. The program includes PowerPoint presentations and videos.

Services, Tools and Contacts for Leaders

The following sections of the Leadership Network are also helpful with many questions and dilemmas faced by leaders:

  • AAO Services to Constituents and Components. The Leadership Network also provides a guide and contact information for all AAO personnel who routinely provide guidance and consultation to constituent and component leaders. Contacts come from the areas of accounting and finance, administrative and member support, legal and advocacy, marketing and communications, meeting and event planning, and volunteer management.
  • Officer List and Information. This section offers each organization access to leadership contacts from other constituents and components, as well as a form for uploading contact information for newly elected leaders.

“We wanted to develop an easy way for leaders to identify contacts from other groups with whom they could network, exchange ideas, get recommendations for conference speakers, or whatever they might need,” said Dr. Dillehay.

  • Meetings and Events. This page offers each group the opportunity to list its upcoming meetings, see when neighboring components’ meetings are scheduled, etc.
  • Tools and Resources. This section offers many types of information designed to meet the needs of leaders as they carry out their functional roles. Whether you need an event planning checklist, the application for AAO Component Legal Support funding, suggested volunteer interview questions, or a guide to running an RFP process, the Tools and Resources section will help address many questions.

Leadership Development Conference Training Augments the Online Network

The 2018 Leadership Development Conference will offer constituent and component presidents-elect or their designates the opportunity to receive high-level leadership training from experienced AAO leaders and other experts on leadership. The conference will be February 8, 2018.
Learn More about the Leadership Development Conference