Seeing leadership through two female leaders’ lenses in honor of Women’s History Month (Part 1) – New Dentist Blog

This January I had the honor to contribute to the ADA’s Accelerator SeriesLearn how to coach and mentor others to improve your leadership skills.  As more female dental applicants apply, it is still not enough for women to be leaders.

Dr. Hung

In Linda Whelan’s book “Women Lead the Way,” she talked about the “30% solution” where 30% seems to be the magic number when a group of minority by number starts to make a difference. If we were to take a look at the ADA’s 2021 infographic “Increase Leadership Diversity, the ADA’s member diversity now has 33%, at the brink of the tipping point of making a difference. If we look at the diversity of leadership, 16% of the ADA Board of Trustees is occupied by women, 47% of its councils and commissions, 23% of the House of Delegates, 23% of the House of Delegates and 24% of the New Dentist Committee. While it is great that women dentists are taking on leadership roles at close to half the level of male new dentists, there is still much to be done. Women need to hold more leadership positions and increase their representation in the general membership.

Social psychology, sociology and medicine have done extensive research on the effects of socialization on our perceptions of male and female leaders. Women often find the traditional, top-down, authoritative approach to leadership not working well. Women who try to be like men command often face social consequences: Being rejected, isolated, or even despised. What is considered “assertive” in men can be considered “aggressive” in women. There are many leadership styles currently.  Positive organizational psychology, which adopts positive leadership styles, has been shown to increase productivity in companies. The benefits of both authentic and transformational leadership styles have been demonstrated to be mutually beneficial for female leaders.

Dr. Feinberg

Authentic leadership stresses on “being true to yourself” when situationally appropriate. In other words, transparency is important but not to the point of making every emotion clear.  The authentic leaders are truthful to themselves and encourage others to do the same. Transformational leaders inspire and motivate others to follow them by stimulating the followers’ intellectual capacity. These leadership styles and others have become more popular than the traditional, authoritative, or transactional leadership style. leadership styles.

In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month this March, I would like to share excerpts of interviews from two outstanding female leaders in dentistry who exhibit both authentic and transformational leadership qualities. First, this week, here’s my interview with Dr. Maxine Feinberg, the third woman to hold office of ADA president in 2014-15, and, next week, I’ll share my discussion with Dr. Robin Gallerdi, the president of the south suburban branch of Chicago Dental Society, to share their views on leadership.

Dr. Maxine Fenberg is a New Jersey periodontist. She graduated from New York University College of Dentistry. She is a fellow of the American College of Dentists as well as the International College of Dentists. In its 150-year history, she was the first woman president of the New Jersey Dental Association. She is still active in her component dental society as well as the NJDA. During my time serving the NJDA Social Media Task Force last year, I conducted this interview with Dr. Feinberg in celebration of International Women’s Day. Here is Dr. Feinberg’s pearls of wisdom:

Q: What can dentistry do to support female dentists?

Dr. Feinberg:Women dentists are earning less than their male counterparts by only 60 cents per dollar. I think it’s incumbent upon us to educate the young women who are graduating from dental school to value their worth, to value their talent and not to tolerate this. It is our responsibility to educate women about their self-worth.  Encourage them to take leadership training and ask for similar pay and benefits as their male counterparts.

Q: What is your opinion on diversity leadership?

Dr. Feinberg:Many people believe that diversity will soon be fixed by itself. You need to reach out to future leaders, mentor them, and tell them that the profession is suffering because of the lack of participation. It is a good time to start recruiting women, and people from underserved backgrounds, because we need them.  We need their voices at the table, we need to hear their concerns, but more importantly, we need them to take leadership roles because the profession is going to have a terrible time in 20 years if we don’t get more women and people from underrepresented minorities involved in leadership positions. This is why leadership training is so crucial to me. The ADA did a wonderful job in fostering diversity in the Institute for Diversity in Leadership. It doesn’t take that much in terms of resources. It just takes the will to do something, because the volunteers are there and they’re willing to help. I don’t think that it requires enormous amounts of money. You can invent in ways that bring people in who are willing to speak for the group.

It took me 30+ years to get there. Millennials don’t want to waste their time, taking 30 years to go up to chair that component dental society. They want to do things that are meaningful and have meaning for them right now. There are many short term and long-term projects. Zoom opened up new possibilities for availability. I believe it will make things easier for us to go forward if you educate people about the technology and make it easy for them.

Q: What will be one message that you have for female dentists in celebration of International Women’s Day?

Dr. Feinberg:We should all be proud of the contribution we make to our patients’ health and well-being, as well as the success of dentistry. Because we make a significant contribution to dentistry, it is worth singing praises. Because we have done so much to improve the overall health and well-being of our patients, I believe it is time to celebrate.

Dr. Cathy Hung has a solo practice and is an AAOMS Fellow.  She is an alumna from the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership program, an author, speaker, and coach on cultural competence and women leadership. Her first book “Pulling Wisdom: filling the gaps in cross-cultural communication” is currently available in the ADA bookstore as a practice management tool. She recently published her second book, “Behind Her Scalpel: a practical guide in oral and maxillofacial surgery and stories by female surgeons”, an IDL project in hope to close the gender gap. She is a certified professional life coach of Pulling Wisdom Coaching and Workshops, LLC to help women and/or minorities professionals with struggles to gain confidence and excel in the professional world. She was recognized by Benco Dental as one of the Lucy Hobb’s Project’s “Women who inspire” in 2020.


Seeing leadership through two female leaders’ lenses in honor of Women’s History Month (Part 1) – New Dentist Blog

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