President's Message: Moving Forward Together

President's Message: Moving Forward Together

Timothy J. Flor, D.D.S.*:

Edmund Burke, the famous Irish political philosopher once said, “No men can act with effect who do not act in concert; no men can act in concert who do not act with confidence; no men can act with confidence who are not bound together with common opinions, common affections, and common interests.”

My journey within the Minnesota Dental Association began in the fall of 2007, and I have been an active participant on committees and in District leadership positions ever since. While attending a Leadership Conference in the spring of 2007, MDA President Jamie Sledd approached me and asked if I would be interested in being a candidate for the MDA Chairs as the Second Vice-President. She was quick to add, “We on the Board of Trustees are really looking for someone who is a good communicator and bilingual,” and went on to ask if I had the ability to speak two languages. I eagerly responded, “Yes, I am fluent in both English and Minnesotan.” Jamie appeared a bit conflicted, but regained her composure and said, “You’ll do just fine. Please make a presentation to the Board of Trustees at an upcoming meeting - in English.” And here I am!

For this, my first President’s Message, I would like to share the Minnesota Dental Association’s common guiding principles as revealed through valuable input by our membership over the past several years.

First of all, the Minnesota Dental Association is an organization of and for its members. This is a mutual relationship in which the Association has a role and responsibility to its members just as its members have a role in and a reciprocal responsibility for the success of the Association.

Secondly, the MDA is member-driven, which means that its members must provide input to shape the direction of the Association. The MDA depends upon its members to serve on committees, volunteer for leadership positions, attend district meetings, and stay actively involved to help it achieve measurable success. Members have both the opportunity and the responsibility to help the organization achieve its organizational goals. Active, engaged members will ensure that we move forward together effectively.

Finally, the primary responsibility of the Association is to its members, and by serving its members we serve the Minnesota public. There are times when the needs of the members and the public align, and times when they appear to disagree. It is the responsibility of the Association to locate where the needs of these two groups align, and maximize that commonality.

These principles also reflect the very basis of the Minnesota Dental Association Strategic Plan. Through its Strategic Plan, the Association communicates its purpose as expressed in its Vision and Mission Statements. As part of the strategic planning process, strategic goals are established to direct the MDA’s future, and specific strategies to achieve these goals are set annually by the Board of Trustees through the guidance of the House of Delegates and general membership. The Minnesota Dental Association initially developed five Strategic Goals, with each goal falling under a distinct focus within our organization, and which is supported by objectives designed to realize that goal.

These goals include:
1. Advocacy. To be a convener, collaborator, and leader for both the profession and the public’s oral health.
2. Communication. To be effective communicators in a factual and timely manner and responsive listeners to the needs of our members.
3. Member Services. To provide a broad range of quality services that are valued by and beneficial to members and which are also effectively communicated to members.
4. Public Health. To be a trusted and credible resource of oral health information and to facilitate solutions and strategies that improve the public’s oral health.
5. Organizational. To achieve excellence in the organizational structure, management, staff, and operational procedures of the MDA.

I am pleased to report that many of the strategic goals, as well as their coupled specific objectives, are in progress or are in current planning. We will continue reevaluating, revising, and initiating new, specific objectives within the Minnesota Dental Association Strategic Plan so that it is on a par with our needs and goals. As the president of the MDA, it is my duty and responsibility to facilitate the implementation and utilization of this first-ever Strategic Plan. Likewise, the membership of the Minnesota Dental Association can expect that the present and future success of our organization will be well defined and calculated. I encourage you to review the current the Minnesota Dental Association Strategic Plan at or request a hard copy from the MDA office.

As discussed in my previous yearly officer reports, I am committed to keep pressing forward with a positive and passionate attitude with respect to the MDA, developing better relationships at all levels within the MDA, embracing the position I currently hold, and developing a path for myself and others for future leadership within our great organization.

I would like to sincerely thank Immediate Past-President Bruce Templeton for his broad understanding of the purposes, objectives, practice, and procedures of the Minnesota Dental Association. He effectively kept the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees organized by assembling and arranging resources to meet Association goals, and he always displayed the confidence needed to face the toughest leadership challenges. I would like to conclude by extending a big “thank you” to the all of our MDA officers, the Board of Trustees, Executive Director Dick Diercks, our legislative team, and the entire MDA staff for all of their excellent and tireless efforts in ensuring the development of a unified voice and agenda for dentistry in Minnesota.

*Dr. Flor is the president of the Minnesota Dental Association for 2010-2011. He is a general dentist in private practice in Waseca, Minnesota. Email is