As some of you may know, I was unable to attend AADOM’s Annual Dental Management Conference in Scottsdale in September. The Conference is the highlight of our year at AADOM. While we do provide so much for our members throughout the year in the way of the Member Forum, practice management webinars, and The Observer magazine, to name a few, our Annual Conference is our “True North.” It is what we use to set our calendars and our compasses. To some degree, almost everything at AADOM revolves around our conference. It is the one time we are all together as a team to interact with our members, our sponsors and supporters. The fact that so many friends are included in those groups is a bonus for us all. It is a ton of work, but it is also the greatest gift to get to be with our tribe, providing education, networking, and support. It is the absolute best week for us at AADOM!

Unfortunately, and unexpectedly, life got in the way and I could not make it this year to the AADOM Conference. WHAT? Mind you, I started the AADOM Conference 13 years ago. I was the first to build the conference websites. I was the first to handle registration. I was the first to book our speakers. I was the first to get vendors. I was the first to work with the hotel. I was the first to emcee the event. HOW CAN THIS CONFERENCE GO ON WITHOUT ME? Well, it turns out it did. And it was, by all accounts, phenomenal. My team handled and executed beautifully. As it turns out, Kim McQueen builds a way better website than I do, and she’s a pro at working with the hotel, as well as all conference logistics. Our registration team does a much better and more efficient job with our attendees than I ever could. Lorie Streeter and Karin Bennett are absolute rock stars working with our sponsors and vendors, better than I could ever do, AND they have an energy that is contagious! Teresa Duncan has a talent for selecting only the most talented speakers in dental practice management. Amy Logan Parrish puts me to shame as an emcee! The rest of the AADOM team knows their role and their strengths and each contribute to the event in ways I do not. So, I guess my point is, YES, they did it without me.

There are two ways to frame this.

Reaction #1: Sad, drawn face: “They did this without me?” 🙁  How could this have happened? Am I not needed?

Reaction #2: Elated face: “OMG! THEY DID THIS WITHOUT ME!” 🙂 How wonderful!

As a Type A personality, reaction #1 (above) was my first response. Then I let it settle in, and lived with the notion a little bit. My frown slowly but surely curved up into a smile as I realized how fortunate I am to have a team that can “do it without me.” Not to say I wasn’t missed, I know I was. However, over the years, as new team members came on board we brought them into the fold enough to do as much as I did, to care as much as I do, and to love our team and our members enough to make anything happen.

Learn from my impromptu lesson – if your team can take the ball and run with it even if you are on the sidelines then that is a call for celebration! It means that you built systems that can work without you. That is a win! You will never be able to do everything yourself – it is simply not sustainable. Consider yourself a success, as I do now, when your team can do what they do without you. You may not be replaceable but with the right team you don’t have to do everything. And that, my friend, is a wonderful realization.



Heather Colicchio is the Founder and President of the American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM). She claims to have the best job in the world. She is passionate about small business and entrepreneurship. She is excited by visioning and building, and seeing ideas come to life, especially when these ideas empower others. One of her strengths is connecting people to achieve their individual and combined goals. She revels in quality collaboration and thrives working with a talented team of professionals both inside her organization and within the dental industry at large.