2.21: Driving Agility and Innovation with Kathleen O’Loughlin

2.21: Driving Agility and Innovation with Kathleen O’Loughlin

Kathleen O’Loughlin, DMD MPH CAE, began honing her leadership skills early in the professional life. Dr. O’Loughlin was the first female dental school class president and a valedictorian at Tufts University. Today she is a nationally recognized executive in the health care, nonprofit, and association management. Along the way, she has discovered the importance of creative and critical thinking. In this Conversation by Association, discover the importance of taking the road less traveled and the power of innovation. From equal pay to re-imagined membership models, Dr. O’Loughlin finds ways to leverage her talents, resources and influence to improve outcomes for organizations like the American Dental Association. You’ll feel energized and empowered by the end of the episode!

Kathy O’Loughlin, DMD MPH CAE
Executive Director, American Dental Association 

“I think the idea that associations are merely a collection of individual members and they don’t need to behave as well-run efficient businesses is kind of old school.”

Dr. Kathy O’Loughlin is the executive director of the American Dental Association (ADA), the nation’s leading advocate for oral health. She joined the ADA in 2009 after serving as the chief dental officer for United Health Group and as the chief executive officer for Delta Dental of Massachusetts.

She is a nationally recognized leader in the healthcare, nonprofit, and education sectors, and she speaks around the country about the profession of dentistry, oral healthcare delivery, and public health policy.

Kathy was the first female dental school class president and valedictorian of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

Other Resources

What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help your professional development (i.e. books, courses, trainings, assessments, magazines, thought leaders, etc.)? Books, networking, management/business courses, Harvard Business Review Resources, Board Source, Association Forum of Chicago Land, and the American Society of Association Executives

What is your favorite aspect of the association management field? Volunteer leadership—their passion and enthusiasm for the mission

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Always put a volunteer between you and a decision.

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