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How Joining AADOM Helped Me as a Dental Manager

Aubrey Gralapp, FAADOM with text, "Real-world insights from AADOM Authors"

There are acronyms for professional associations in the dental industry for every team member. ADA, ADHA, ADAA, and the list goes on.

I can still clearly remember the first time I saw a speaker who was a member of the American Association of Dental Management (AADOM).

I remember the excitement that went through me when I thought to myself,

“An association just for people like me?”

I went directly to my computer and hit the search bar.


After many years of feeling completely alone in my field, I lit up when I saw all the pictures of managers sitting together, learning, and smiling.

I quickly became a member and instantly found a whole new world on the private, members-only forum.

I FINALLY felt like I had resources and people who were speaking my language!

Not only did I have a place to look up information and ask questions, but I also learned a wealth of knowledge and ideas from other members.

Each of the online topics gave me the ability to bring fresh new ideas to my doctor and team frequently.

The year after joining AADOM, I attended the conference for the first time. If you’ve been, you know what a gift it is. For those of you who have never attended, I’ll share my top reasons for going.

Why you should attend AADOM’s conference

1. The friendships

There is something special about having amazing friends who share the same professional passions.

Often in dental office management, we’re left feeling completely alone, and you may walk into that ballroom for the first time by yourself. But as soon as you sit down at a table, you’ll meet your first new friend.

2. The education

Depending on what area you’re from, it can prove quite difficult to find educational topics relevant to the work that dental managers do. This is not the case at an AADOM conference. If you’re a CE nerd like I am, you’ll find yourself having a hard time deciding on courses to take because there are so many options.

3. The vendors and sponsors

The vendors and sponsors are at the conference to wow only you – the dental office manager.

If you’ve ever been to other dental trade shows, you’ve most likely experienced a sales rep looking at your badge to see if you’re a doctor or a hygienist and then quickly moving on to the next person when they see you’re in administration.

At the AADOM conference, you will meet reps who’ve come with specific tools and products to make your job easier and more efficient.

4. Motivation

There are so many clichés I could use for this last one. But I think the one that always sums it up is that attending the conference will “fill your cup.”

The work we do is never easy and can often leave us feeling a little drained at the end of the day. I love how the conference excites me about my work over and over again.

The reminder that what I do is awesome, and I do love it, even though there are rough days now and then.

Why I started an AADOM chapter

At the AADOM conference, I learned more about the national AADOM chapter program. I then realized that I could have this same type of learning and networking in small doses a few times a year, closer to home.

But there was no local chapter in my area.

So naturally, I began the journey to start one. And this was an experience that would take my excitement for what AADOM brings to dental office managers to a whole different level.

With the guidance and support of the national AADOM team and the other founding members, we completed all the necessary tasks to launch the chapter in my area. We used local reps to spread the word about our launch meeting and saw a great response.

AADOM has brought so much to my career; I wanted to tell all my new dental friends about it!

Local AADOM chapters can bring a glimpse of what the national conference provides. And you don’t have to wait a whole year to experience the sensation.

The value of joining a local AADOM chapter

There is something very valuable about being able to network, learn, and connect with other managers in your region.

There could be challenges you’re facing that only local members can provide support for. A new DSO moving in, new state regulations, new insurance challenges, and the list goes on.

And when your local chapter brings a national speaker to town, you can invite your doctor along to get a firsthand look at what an elevated level you perform at because you’re a member of such an amazing association.

Elevate your dental manager career by joining AADOM

AADOM is constantly providing me the opportunity to elevate both myself and the profession of dental management.

One of the greatest accomplishments of my AADOM journey was completing the fellowship program. So in a world surrounded by DDS, DMD, RDH, RDA, I had my own stamp of distinction at the end of my name, FAADOM.

Meet the Author

Aubrey Gralapp wearing a gray lace top, pearl earrings, and black framed glassesAubrey’s career in dentistry began almost 20 years ago as a dental assistant. She is now the operations manager for Northview Family Dental, a large practice with three doctors and 25 team members.

She is also president and one of the founding members of the Northeast Washington AADOM Chapter… This text opens a new tab to the chapter’s website….

In 2018, she was honored to receive her FAADOM. Aubrey is incredibly passionate about sharing knowledge and experience with both clinical and administrative team members.

Away from work, she loves living in the country with her husband, two children, and their animals.



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One thought on “How Joining AADOM Helped Me as a Dental Manager
  1. Avatar

    Great article Aubrey!! I am currently drafting a letter to dentists that specify why their office manager/practice administrators should join AADOM both at the local and national level. I have had a lot of sales representatives and sponsors ask me to email different doctors and tell them why AADOM is a great thing for their manager to join……. I want it to be short and to the point. I want to grab their attention. You have given me food for thought!! Thank you …

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