Seeing Leadership Through the Glasses of Two Women Leaders in Honor of Women’s History Month (Part 1) – usdentistsdirectory

In January I had the honor of contributing to the ADAs Accelerator Series on how to develop leadership skills through mentoring and coaching. As the number of female candidates in dentistry continues to increase, the representation of women’s leaders still lags behind.

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dr. hung

In Linda Whelan’s book ‘Women Lead the Way’ she spoke of the ‘30% solution’ where 30% seems to be the magic number when a minority number one group starts to make a difference. If we looked at the infographic of the ADA 2021 “Increase leadership diversity, the ADA’s membership diversity is now at 33%, on the brink of tipping the mark to make a difference. When examining leadership diversity, women occupy 16% of the seats on the ADA Board of Trustees, 47% on its boards and committees, 23% in the House of Representatives, and 24% on the New Dentist Committee. Well done to female new dentists by taking on leadership roles close to 50%, but women still need to occupy more places at different leadership levels and continue to increase the percentage of women in general membership to amplify our voices.

Extensive research has been done in social psychology, sociology, organizational psychology, and medicine on how socialization causes biases in how we perceive male and female leaders based on gender stereotypes. The traditional top-down, authoritative approach often doesn’t work well for women. When women try to command like men, women often face social punishment: isolated, disliked, or even despised by others. What is considered “assertive” in men may be considered “aggressive” in women. Currently, there are many leadership styles. Positive organizational psychology that applies various positive leadership styles has been proven to improve productivity in companies. Authentic leadership style and transformational leadership style, in particular, have many similarities, and both have been shown to be beneficial for female leaders.

dr. Feinberg

Authentic leadership emphasizes “being true to yourself” when appropriate. In other words, be transparent, but not in such a way as to bring out every emotion. Authentic leaders are true to themselves and also encourage followers to develop their true sense of self, using strong personal values ​​to lead. Transformational leaders inspire and motivate others to follow them by boosting the intellectual capacity of the followers. These two leadership styles, along with other positive leadership styles, are more popular than the traditional authoritative and transactional leadership styles

In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month in March, I’d like to share excerpts of interviews from two outstanding female leaders in dentistry who demonstrate both authentic and transformational leadership skills. First off, this week here’s my interview with Dr. Maxine Feinberg, the third woman to hold the position of ADA president in 2014-15, and next week I will be sharing my discussion with Dr. Robin Gallerdi, the president of the Chicago Dental Society’s South Suburban Branch, to share their thoughts on leadership.

dr. Maxine Feinberg is a New Jersey-based periodontist who is a graduate of the New York University College of Dentistry. She is a fellow of the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists and the Pierre Fauchard Academy. She was the first woman to serve as president of the New Jersey Dental Association in its 150-year history and remains active in both its dental association and the NJDA. While serving with the NJDA Social Media Task Force last year, I did this interview with Dr. Feinberg held in honor of International Women’s Day. Here are the pearls of wisdom from Dr. Feinberg:

Q: What profession can dentistry use to support female dentists?

dr. Feinberg: One of the problems female dentists face is that they earn only 60 cents per dollar compared to their male colleagues. I think it is our duty to educate the young women who graduate from dentistry to appreciate their worth, appreciate their talent and not tolerate this. We need to help educate women in terms of their self-esteem. Give them leadership training and really encourage them to demand comparable pay and benefits as their male colleagues.

Q: What is your take on diversity leadership?

dr. Feinberg: People believe that the lack of diversity only resolves itself. I believe that you should go out and look for future leaders and guide them and tell them that you need them to get on the board and participate because the profession as a whole suffers from the lack of participation. So I actually think now is the time to recruit women, people from disadvantaged minorities, 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 on leadership roles because the profession is going to have a terrible time in 20 years if we don’t have more women and people of underrepresented minorities in leadership positions. That is why I think leadership training is so important. I definitely feel that the ADA has done a great job with diversity in the Institute for Diversity in Leadership. Not much is needed in terms of resources. It just takes the will to do something because the volunteers are there and they are willing to help. I don’t think it takes huge amounts of money. I think you can be innovative by bringing in people who are eager to talk to the leadership group.

It took me 30 years to get here. Millennials don’t want to waste their time, it takes them 30 years to become president of that component dental society. They want to do things that have value and meaning to them now. There are many projects and short term commitments. Now with Zoom, it has opened up a whole new layer of availability. If you help people get to know the technology and make it easy for them, we’ll be able to move forward more easily, and I’m definitely in favor of that.

Q: What is a message you have for female dentists on International Women’s Day?

dr. Feinberg: Take pride in the contributions we make to the health and well-being of our patients and the success of our profession. We should sing a song of praise for making a great contribution to the whole profession of dentistry. We’ve done so much to help improve the overall health of our patients, so I think we should celebrate.

dr. Cathy Hung is an AAOMS Fellow with a solo practice in New Jersey. She is an alumna of the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership program and author, speaker, and coach on cultural competence and female leadership. Her first book “Pulling Wisdom: fill 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 to Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Stories from Female Surgeons,” an IDL project hoping to close the gender gap. She is a certified professional life coach from Pulling Wisdom Coaching and Workshops, LLC to help struggling female and/or minority professionals gain confidence and excel in the professional world. She was recognized by Benco Dental in 2020 as one of the “Women who inspire” of the Lucy Hobb’s Project.


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