Chicago Midwinter Meeting: Business-Minded Dentists Focus On Leadership


As dentists and dental professionals from across the country converged in Chicago for the annual Midwinter Meeting, leadership factored prominently in their thoughts on Thursday, Feb. 23. The theme for this year's Midwinter Meeting is Leadership: Cornerstone for Success. Continuing education lecturers provided Meeting-goers with the leadership skills they need for business success.

Chicago Midwinter Meeting attendees begin to arrive on Thursday, Feb. 23. Image source: Joe Hannan

Dentists from across the country converged in Chicago on Thursday, Feb. 23 for the Chicago Dental Society’s annual Midwinter Meeting, where they will look to improve their skills as dentists and practice leaders through Saturday, Feb. 25.

Leadership was a major focus of this year’s conference, which is expected to draw about 30,000 dentists and dental professionals. This conference theme is, “Leadership: Cornerstone for Success,” a particularly useful one for the business-minded dentist.

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Practice leadership comes with its own set of challenges. You can’t just be a clinician. You have to also be a shrewd business person. Those challenges were on the minds of many of the speakers and in the continuing education topics that they covered.

“Leadership being an ability that either a dentist or anybody else is born with is a bit of a misnomer,” said Amy Morgan, CEO and owner of the Pride Institute. Morgan sat down for a separate interview on her continuing education courses with Dentist’s Money Digest.

“Certainly, there are personality characteristics that lend themselves to charismatic communication or better influencing,” she said. “The fact of the matter is, no matter what your personality style is, one can and should aspire to higher-level leadership, because all leadership means is getting in front of somebody. Being willing and courageous enough to get in front of a business, a team, an issue, and with authenticity and genuine and understanding.”

Leadership was on the mind of Larry Emmott, D.D.S., as well.

“For years, the biggest challenges facing dentists are not, I believe, clinical challenges,” Emmott said in an interview with Dentist’s Money Digest. Emmott is the president of Emmott on Technology, a company that helps dentists put tech to work for them in their practices.

“It’s not being a good dentist,” Emmot said. “It’s running your business. And that’s something we always find difficult or challenging. What’s made it even more significant in the last couple of years is technology. We’re bombarded by new technology in every way that tells us how to run our businesses in a more affective way, that helps us treat our patients in a more effective way. It’s understanding and using those technologies effectively, spending your money wisely and getting a good return on investment on that high tech. I think that’s a challenge for many dentists.”

The keynote speaker on Thursday, lecturing on the subject of leadership, was John McDonough, president and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks. The team has won three Stanley Cups during McDonough’s tenure.

“The intent of this year’s meeting is to enhance everyone’s leadership skills through a variety of classes that are offered fore each member of the dental team,” said CDS president Phillip Fijal, D.D.S. in a news release. “Our courses will focus on the team approach to the dental delivery system, allowing each member to improve both their clinical and interpersonal skills.”

This year’s Midwinter Meeting includes more than 220 continuing education courses presented by 140 experts across a variety of fields, according to the CDS. The exhibit hall is hosting more than 700 exhibitors.

Joe Hannan, Dentist’s Money Digest managing editor:

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