ASDA alumni on the benefits of attending NLC

Every year, ASDA’s National Leadership Conference brings together students who are eager to set their foundation as successful dental practitioners, health care leaders and future business owners. With educational programming on career planning, leadership fundamentals, personal development and wellness, chapter management and advocacy, students at every level of their dental school career are sure to leave the event with action items as well as long-term goals for success.

ASDA alumni help plan the event through participation on the NLC Planning Committee. Here’s what 2018 alumni committee members are looking forward to most this year.

“This year’s NLC will be my first ASDA event since my tenure as District 6 trustee concluded at 2016’s Annual Session, and I could not be more excited. It honestly feels like an ASDA ‘homecoming’ for me! In addition to seeing old friends and meeting new ones, I am ready to absorb the electric energy that ASDA has at its national meetings.

“NLC isn’t only about leadership development and networking, but it’s also about surrounding yourself with people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself. It’s always so inspiring. This is also my first time giving a breakout session at NLC, so I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned about the political world we live in as well. In short, I am ready for a weekend of ASDA fever!”

—Lydia Lancaster, DDS, Orthodontics Resident at The Ohio State University

“I’m the most excited about the breakout sessions. Just by sitting in those rooms, I feel like I leave NLC every year a better person, leader and colleague — simply through osmosis. I’ve been to every NLC since it started in 2012, and I still sit in on as many of these sessions as I can. It’s beyond a great recalibration. I’m still actively bringing takeaways into my studies and clinical practice.

“I also can’t wait to reconnect with my old ASDA friends, who have become mentors, heroes, confidantes and some of my favorite people through the years. While some of these friendships span seven years and most of the United States, it still feels like we’re picking up where we left off whenever we sit down together at national meetings. ASDA has given all of us so much, so NLC is an especially meaningful place to reconnect.

“Finally, as someone who’s getting ready to finish my residency and enter practice in the next six months, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to lead my future team, and Matt Tenney’s closing session is going to be an incredible resource on how to use mindfulness to be a great leader while making your team feel appreciated.”

—Christian Piers, DDS, MFA, Orthodontics Resident at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“I am so excited to hear our keynote speakers: Valorie Burton, Ivan Joseph and Matt Tenney. I’m also looking forward to connecting with and making some new friends at the conference, as well as learning and improving my leadership skills.”

—Richard Carlile, DDS, Eleven Eleven Dental, Port Angeles, Washington

“I am stoked about the ‘Ignite Talks’ sessions, where presenters dive into deep and meaningful topics in only five minutes. While the presentations are short, their impact is huge, distilling important lessons down to the essentials.

“I think with every ASDA conference, meeting dental students from around the country is another amazing benefit of these conferences. It’s a great way to make lasting friendships and help improve the dental community through collaboration.”

—Kristopher Mendoza, DDS, CarePoint Anesthesia Group, Greenwood Village, Colorado

NLC will be held Nov. 16-18 in Chicago at the McCormick Place Convention Center. Visit the ASDA website to learn more about this year’s event and to register.


The American Student Dental Association is a national student-run organization that protects and advances the rights, interests and welfare of dental students.

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