President's Message

Susan Henderson

I began my Presidency of the Ontario Dental Assistants Association on April 30, 2016 and I thought I would tell you a little bit about myself. In addition to being the President of ODAA for the next year, I am an optimist, a learner, an educator, a mother, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and a dog owner. When I am not at work, I can be found keeping busy by doing renovations on our own home or the homes of my family members. There aren’t many jobs that I won’t tackle (with the help of my sister) and, as with my career, I am committed to continually expanding my knowledge and have taken courses in cabinet making and glass fusing. I am currently celebrating 40 years in the dental profession having graduated from Confederation College in 1976 as a CDA. Following graduation, I put my skills to work at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit where I have been employed since 1987. I am not one to shy away from learning and I returned to school part-time in 1998 to complete my Level II program and I have not looked back since. In September of 2000, at the request of the coordinator of the dental assisting program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay I began teaching part time in the dental assisting program while continuing to work with the Public health Unit. Over my career I have witnessed many changes to our industry. On my first day of teaching, for example, my class was mostly mature students and was entirely female. This past year, the average age of a student in my class was 18 and the makeup was mostly male, and mostly international students. In 2008, I was grateful to be elected to the role of the ODAA’s board director for Region 1, the Northern Region. I attended my first board meeting in January of 2009 and I was amazed at the amount of knowledge and passion the ODAA Board of Directors have for our profession and the dedication they have to providing the best for our members. In the years since 2009, I have served on the board’s nominating committee and the complaints and discipline committee and I became an Officer of the Board when I ran for Vice-President in 2014. I have learned so much from the presidents before me and I know that I have big shoes to fill. Of course, this year comes with a unique challenge. As many of you know, Judy Melville, Executive Director of ODAA, has announced her retirement. Judy has worked tirelessly for ODAA and our members and, over the summer and into the fall, the executive and Prime Management will have their work cut out for them finding Judy’s replacement. While we are sad to see her go, Judy’s retirement is well earned and we wish her all the best in this new chapter of her life. Just as when I undertake a new home renovation project, I look forward to the unique challenges that this role will present and I know I am up to the task. I am very excited to be representing ODAA and I hope that with the support of the board we can continue to advocate for recognition, respect and the ability to expand our scope of duties.