Roadside Live: 2021 AADOM Conference Preview
The AADOM Conference is a highlight of our year! We ❤️ having the opportunity to connect with the AADOM tribe in person.
In this Roadside Live video, Kim McQueen, … This text opens a new tab …AADOM‘s Executive Director, gives an in-depth sneak peek of what to expect at this year’s conference. Watch the video above or check out the transcript below!
This year’s conference will be held in Orlando, Florida, September 9-11, 2021. As of the date of the publishing of this blog, there are less than 50 registration spots left, so definitely hurry to register at … This text opens a new tab …aadomconference.com.
Whitney: Hey, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us today for Roadside Live. I am so excited to be joined today by Kim McQueen, AADOM’s Executive Director. Welcome, Kim!
Kim: Hey, Whitney, how are you?
Whitney: Good! So glad you’re here today because the topic that we’re going to be discussing is a very exciting one.
Now, most of you know Kim already, but for anyone who hasn’t gotten to meet Kim, she is AADOM’s Executive Director and basically Superwoman in coordinating everything for the AADOM conference.
Today, we’re going to be talking about the 2021 AADOM Conference and it’s a highlight of our year. It’s something that the Roadside team always looks forward to; we love seeing the AADOM tribe in person.
So today we’re really excited to give you all a little bit of a sneak preview of what to expect. And I want to say too, for anyone watching live, if you have any questions for Kim about the conference, throw them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them at the end.
So let’s jump right in. Can you tell me, are you seeing excitement around AADOM21?
Kim: Oh my gosh, the answer would be yes. Absolutely yes!
It has been crazy. You know, it started a little slow with people not knowing what was going to be happening with restrictions based on the states and where you are. Things started a little slow, but my gosh, over the last four months, everything has picked up exponentially. It’s gone absolutely crazy.
So I can tell you that we’re going to be in Orlando. We’re going to be at Universal Studios, Orlando. That’s a new property for us. We’ve never been there. What I like about it is, it’s really family friendly too so many of our attendees will bring their families, and they go off and play while the attendees are in session. So it’s a really family-friendly property, too.
So that’s got people excited, just being able to get together and gather has got everyone so excited. It’s a buzz! Facebook’s gone crazy. Instagram’s gone crazy. Our members-only forum — people are chatting about it. And it’s great to see how excited people are to get back together. You know, I think we’re going to be one of the first big events. I know that there’s a couple of industry events that are happening this week. So things are getting back to things are getting back to normal and I think everybody’s ready for that. I certainly know our members and attendees are.
Whitney: So how many attendees are you expecting in Orlando this year?
Well, the excitement has brought, believe it or not, we are already at a record number of attendees. We’ve got more people registered now than we have ever had at an AADOM conference.
Right now I’m guessing we will see a thousand attendees this year and we actually are going to cap it at a thousand. We’re not going to allow it to go any higher than that. That’s because that’s kind of our sweet spot. Our conference is very special. It’s more boutique-y — Whitney, you and your team know that. It’s the way that we like to do things because people learn best that way and they make connections that way.
They come together and it’s very comfortable. Our exhibitors and our sponsors are right there in the ballroom and with us and we don’t want to change that to be a big ‘trade show type feel’. So a thousand is our sweet spot and I am very confident we’re going to hit that.
And what’s come along with that too is an increased number of attendees, but we have a record number of first-timers. So, you know, people who, this is their first time coming to AADOM. Some of them are not even members and they’re coming to check it out, which is great.
We have a lot of dentists that are coming this year as well. They’re coming with their teams because they want to see what’s happening and what this is all about. But more importantly, they want to support them. I’m hearing that a lot from dentists: “I want to support my team and I want to be able to implement what they learn.” So that’s been great, but it’s a record number of first-time attendees, which I know is an important number for you guys. You may want to talk a little bit about that.
Our conference is very special. It’s more boutique-y. It’s the way that we like to do things because people learn best that way and they make connections that way.
Whitney: Well, yeah, we’re really excited. Roadside will be the First-Time Attendee Hospitality Sponsor. And that is a very fancy way of saying that, for all of you first-timers who will be attending, come by Roadside’s booth and our team will have a special gift just for you.
Our team is really excited to see all those first-time attendees, but I’m guessing that some of the first-timers might be a little nervous. So, Kim, do you have any advice for those who might be coming for the very first time?
Kim: I do! I’ve seen that a little bit in some of our private Facebook groups and our members forum. People have actually already started asking, “Oh my gosh, this is my first time coming. And I’m nervous. I don’t know if I’m going to meet people,” and it’s been really great to watch our veteran members actually just already take them under their wing to say, “Don’t worry about it. Here’s my name, let’s meet up when you get there!”
So they’ve been very welcoming in that regard, but my first piece of advice for the first-time attendees, there’s a first-time attendee meeting at 7:00 AM on Thursday morning. That’s the first day of the conference. So my recommendation is: Go to that meeting. If there’s ever a day to drag yourself out of bed early, that would be the day.
So get to that first-time attendee meeting, because you’re going to be there with hundreds of other first timers, and when you leave that meeting, within an hour, you’re already going to have a community of people that, number one, are in the same boat as you. They’re there the first time as you, and number two, you’re going to be able to make a connection, to talk to people, leave that room, and have somebody or somebodies that you can actually spend the rest of the conference with.
And we’ve got some veteran members who are going to be there at that meeting and are going to be able to provide some guidance and also be a kind of an ambassador, you could say, to help you throughout the conference. So make sure to come to that.
Second thing is, don’t be a wallflower. You’ve gotta be involved. So for instance, Thursday evening, we have our happy hour, make sure that you’re there and you’re talking to people and you talk to the exhibitors. So don’t bolt out of there right after sessions because you’re nervous. Kinda step outside your comfort zone. Trust me. You’re going to make friends and connections at this event that are going to last you a lifetime. And that’s really not an exaggeration; it’s really the truth. So, you know, step out of your comfort zone.
And then the other thing I would say is, make sure when you make those contacts and you make those friends, exchange that information so that you can stay in touch. That’s usually not a problem with us. That’s usually not a problem at all. So I would definitely, you know, in regards to meeting people and being nervous, those are some things.
But also for first-time attendees, what I will tell you to do before you come — I suggest to attendees, to first-timers — make a list. And this actually goes for everybody. Make a list of three challenges that you’re facing in your practice right now. What are your three biggest challenges? Write them down and then choose your courses to help you potentially solve those challenges. So choose courses that can help you with those.
But then also during the lunch and breakfast times, when you’re able to network with other attendees, pick their brains. Those are the most critical times of the whole conference, when people can actually sit down and talk, share their issues. And then when you’re heading home, when you’re on the plane home, jot down notes about what you learned that can address those challenges. So you can actually go back and report to your team and your dentist: “Here’s what I learned while I was there. And here’s ways that I think we can implement strategies that are going to help improve our practice.”
So, you know, that was kind of a big dump there, but I guess if you take one thing away from that, come to the first-time attendee meeting on Thursday, that’s that’s the big one. That’s the thing.
You’re going to make friends and connections at this event that are going to last you a lifetime. And that’s really not an exaggeration; it’s really the truth.
Whitney: Yeah, that’s a great tip. And Kim, I think it’s such a good tip to write down those challenges at the start and then to be able to really clearly have those takeaways at the end. I think that’s awesome advice.
I love what you mentioned earlier, too about the fact that a lot of dentists are coming this year or that they might even be bringing their entire team. That is very exciting to hear. And I think that AADOM is one of those conferences that really does benefit a lot of different members of the team. So that’s really cool too.
Kim: Yeah, we just had a registration come in the other day — there was like 12 people on that registration, 12 team members on that registration. So yeah, there’s quite a few people bringing their teams this year, which is great to see because then everybody’s on the same page when they go back.
Whitney: That’s so valuable. So for anyone who hasn’t registered yet, do they still have time to register and how do they do that?
Kim: They do, they actually have time to register. So, again, we’re going to cap it at a thousand and I would say we’re going to hit that within the next couple of weeks if things keep going the way they’re going.
So you can go to … This text opens a new tab …aadomconference.com and again, that’s aadomconference.com — there’s all of the information that you need there. All of the courses are listed, the speakers and their biographies, all of the special events, different things that are going to be happening, that’s all there, so you can choose your courses. You can actually register there. There’s a ‘Register Now’ button there.
One quick note: There’s a promotion that’s going on right now that if you register before the 30th of June, your name can go into a hat for a VIP package. And that VIP package includes a chauffeur to and from the airport, an AADOM bling bag, and then a hundred dollar gift card toward meals and such. Again, if you register before the 30th, you have a chance to win that.
Just go to aadomconference.com to register, and we will start a countdown. So, when we get to the point where there’s a hundred spots left, which is going to be very soon, we will actually post that on our social media page and then we’ll do 50 and then we’ll do 25, so we’ll actually do kind of a countdown when we start getting close. And I anticipate that starting within the next, probably two weeks. Don’t wait!
And in addition to that, our hotel room block is filling up like crazy. So, those of you who are registered and are watching this, if you haven’t made your hotel reservations, I’d go do that too, ‘cause that’s filling up quick.
Whitney: Great advice. And so again, for anyone who wants to take advantage of that opportunity to win the VIP package, when do they have to register by?
Kim: They have to register by the 30th of June. So the promotion is running from June 23rd to June 30th. So anybody who registers in that window. So again, if you’re watching this and you haven’t registered yet, as long as you do it before the 30th, you’re going to be in there.
Whitney: Okay, good incentive to get that registration done. So, Kim, I know we have a lot of, not only first-timers watching, but also veteran AADOM conference attendees, and everyone is probably really excited to hear: What are some highlights of this year’s event?
Kim: Oh boy, there are a lot of them, actually. There are a lot of them. I probably am not going to hit them all, so I apologize for that. Probably the first one I would say is our … This text opens a new tab …Wednesday pre-conference sessions. We started this full-day sessions last, not last year, year before last, 2019, they went over so well that we we’ve brought them back.
So it’s our AADOM Live sessions that we did throughout 2019. And, many of them are AADOM-Recognized Insurance Coordinator, Treatment Coordinator, Hygiene Coordinator. There’s those sessions. We’ve got our Office Manager 101 session that’s happening. We also have our Dental Spouse Business Network. That’s a full day retreat as well. So Wednesday has full day sessions that you can attend. And those sessions, you’re gonna be in one classroom on one specific topic for the full day.
Then Thursday, when the conference kicks off, of course, we’ve got our opening, which is always wonderful with our vice president, Lorie Streeter and Gary Zelesky, who is our keynote this year. He is awesome. He’s just so full of energy. So he’ll be kicking us off on Thursday. I’m really looking forward to that.
As always, we’re going to crown our … This text opens a new tab …Practice Administrator of the Year. Last year was very special for a lot of reasons, but we actually had two winners last year. So Debbie Evans and Jennifer Steadman will help us crown that winner.
Probably one of the biggest highlights for me personally is seeing our designation classes… This text opens a new tab … graduate. So our … This text opens a new tab …Fellowship class, our … This text opens a new tab …Mastership class, and this year we’ll have our first ever … This text opens a new tab …Diplomate class, which is the highest level of induction you can get at AADOM.
You know, it’s kind of emotional, but we have a lot of people already who’ve passed, so I look forward to seeing all the different gown colors this year and just watching people that I knew from 10 years ago, who started as a first-timer and they’re actually going to be inducted as an AADOM Diplomate, this year. So that’ll happen on Friday. That’s a really special event that I’m looking forward to.
So, one other note: On Wednesday evening, we do our charity event. In 2019, we did this where we packed meals for the local community. We’re going to do that again this year with, it’s called … This text opens a new tab …U.S. Hunger now, but it used to be Feeding Children Everywhere, same organization. We’re going to do that again this year, and we’re going to pack meals for the Orlando food bank.
Attendees that are going to be coming in on Wednesday, I hope that you’ll sign up to do that with us. We’re looking to pack 30,000 meals this year, so we’re pretty confident that we’re going to do that. I don’t think that’ll be a problem.
And then probably one of the biggest highlights we have Friday night is our AADOM 80’s party. We are taking it back to the eighties. I realize that there were probably some attendees that maybe were just born in the 80’s, I get it, it’s all good. Come on along anyway. We’ll show you some fun stuff. We’ve got a DJ who’s going to be spinning the 80’s tunes. We’ve got a lot of fun 80’s bling to hand out, and there are prizes for the best dressed 80’s attire. So I haven’t decided if I’m going to be doing that yet, but I’ll get there. I’ll get there.
So yeah, there’s going to be, so it’d be a lot of fun there. Saturday we’ll wrap up with our great … This text opens a new tab …educational sessions and of course, crowning of the Chapter of the Year at the Saturday event, and of course, those fun raffle prize giveaways. So lots of great stuff there.
One thing I will note too: July 9th is award nomination deadline. So if you want to nominate somebody for Practice Administrator of the Year, if you want to nominate somebody for Green Leader, if you want to nominate somebody for Dentrix Dental Practice of the Year, you need to do that by the 9th of July. Friday, the 9th of July — that’s the deadline.
And also, applications, completed applications for any of the designations that you want to be inducted to. Those are also due on July 9th. So that’s a really important date. So July 9th, July 9th, July 9th. It’s coming really fast.
Whitney: Well, thank you for those reminders. I’m sure everybody appreciates that.
So, it sounds like you have a lot of really exciting things planned. I’m sure everyone is very excited and September is going to be here before we know it. I feel like summer’s flying by.
Kim: I know, I know. So it’s good, but you know, when you go a year without planning a conference, you kind of jump back in and go, “What am I doing again?” So it’s all good. It’s like riding a bike. It’s coming back to me. It’s all great. It’s going to be a wonderful time and I can’t wait to see everybody here in Orlando.
Whitney: Well, thank you, Kim, so much for joining us today and talking about the upcoming conference and all of the exciting things that the AADOM team has planned.
Again, for anyone who hasn’t registered yet, hurry up because those registrations will fill up fast. You can go to … This text opens a new tab …aadomconference.com to get registered. And Kim, just want to say thank you once again for joining us. This was a real treat.
Kim: Oh, you’re very welcome. Thank you. And I look forward to seeing you in a couple months.
Whitney: All right. Thanks everybody, have a great weekend!