Executive Director

Req Number: RG543
Location: Chicago, IL
Posted: 12/18/2020
Category: Government/Not-For-Profit : Education
Job Type: Permanent

Position -- Executive Director (ED)
Company -- American Dental Association (ADA)
Location -- Chicago, IL
Reporting Relationship -- The ED reports to the Board of Trustees, elective officers, and House of Delegates.
Website --

Organization Background/Culture

The American Dental Association (ADA) is a not-for-profit organization working to power the profession of dentistry of the national, state, and local levels.  The ADA is the world’s largest and oldest national dental association and promotes good oral health to the public while representing the dental profession.  With revenues of $130 million, the ADA has more than 400 employees at its headquarters in Chicago and its office in Washington, DC. 

The ADA was founded in 1859 at Niagara Falls, New York, by twenty-six dentists who represented various dental societies in the United States. Today, the ADA has more than 163,000 members presenting all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.  Membership in the national organization includes membership in one of the 53 state and 545 local dental societies. 

A member run organization, the ADA is managed by an elected Board of Trustees and governed by a 483-member House of Delegates. As America’s leading oral health advocate, the ADA works tirelessly to influence public policies affecting the practice of dentistry and the oral health of the American public.  In Washington, D.C., the ADA lobbies Congress and the Administration, fighting for things that matter to dentists and the patients they serve. The ADA also provides technical support to help state dental societies advance their respective policy agendas.

A sampling of service/programs are list below:

  • Education: The ADA provides cutting-edge, unique education that has an immediate impact on dentist’s ability to treat patients, grow their practice and meet state licensure requirements. 
  • Journals: Award-winning and well-respected, ADA NewsThe Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), and Dental Practice Success give members an edge by supplementing their knowledge and experience.
  • Science & Research: The ADA Science & Research Institute (ADSRI) conducts some of the leading research in dentistry while providing access to the latest clinical resources. 
  • Accreditation: The Commission on Dental Accreditation serves the public and profession by development and implementing accreditation standards that promote and monitor continuous quality and improvement of dental education programs. 
  • Foundation: The ADA Foundation supports dentists at pivotal times in their personal and professional lives.

Key Responsibilities

The allocation of time spent for each duty and responsibility is as follows:

  • General Management - Directs and manages the day to day operations of the organization in order to achieve attainment of strategic and operating goals on an annual basis.  (50% of time)
  • External Relationships - Through frequent and comprehensive communications, builds and maintains good relationships with tripartite and ADA membership. Maintains effective external relationships through frequent and comprehensive communication with the leadership of related dental organizations and representatives from other leading public and private organizations that interact with this Association.  (20% of time)
  • Fiscal Responsibility - Responsible for the Association's Annual Budget. The Executive Director is a member of the Administrative Review Committee that is responsible for the initial preparation and review of the budget for presentation to the Board of Trustees. Assumes fiduciary responsibilities for the compliance of all fiscal matters with applicable policies, laws, and regulations. Promotes operational efficiencies and effectiveness. Implements tactical plans to manage the ADA's resources in such a way as to carry out the ADA's mission and to achieve its objectives.  Preserves the integrity of the employee benefit plans and all fiduciary responsibilities of the ADA pension-plan. (15% of time)
  • Support to the Board of Trustees and House of Delegates - Acts as the Secretary to the BOT and to the House of Delegates.  Facilitates the activities of the officers and trustees of this Association in carrying out their respective administrative responsibilities under the ADA Bylaws. Maintains effective internal and external relationships through frequent and comprehensive communication with all officers and trustees of this Association. Assists the Board of Trustees in supervising, monitoring and providing guidance to all Association councils, commissions and committees in regard to their administrative functions and specific assignments, and to systematize the preparation of their reports, and to encourage the exchange of information concerning mutual interests and issues between councils, committees and commissions. Provides leadership in the formulation and recommendation of new policies to the Board of Trustees and elective officers.  Participates as requested by the BOT on task forces and provides staff support to the BOT. Directs the publication of official transactions of the House of Delegates, the Board of Trustees and the reports of officers, councils, commissions, and committees. (15% of time)
  • The ED will have oversight and direct responsibility for the following divisions: Administrative Services, Education, Finance & Operations, Government & Public Affairs, Health Policy Institute, Human Resources, Integrated Marketing & Communications, Legal Affairs, Operations, Practice Institute, and the Business Group. Indirect oversight & support for Technology; Member & Client Services; Publishing, Product Development and Conferences & CE through the Business Group. The ED also serves as a member of the ADABEI (ADA Business Enterprise, Inc.) Board of Directors, the ADABIG (ADA Business Innovation Group) Board of Directors, the ADA’s for-profit entities and the ADA Science Research Institute, LLC.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Maintains existing membership; creates and executes strategies to attract new members. 
  • Oversees the financial health of the organization and manages resources appropriately to achieve strategic and operating goals of the ADA.
  • Continues to develop and expand non-dues revenue which will result in the enhancement and value of membership.
  • Establishes and maintains effective collaboration and positive relationships at all levels of the Tripartite to enhance the achievement of desired results at each level.
  • Provides consulting support to the state and local dental societies in the areas of governance, leadership, and strategic planning upon request.
  • Oversees and manages strategic planning and all strategic initiatives; continues to scan the environment for trends that may impact the ADA members and recommends courses of action to the ADA Board of Trustees.
  • Oversees day to day administration of the ADA including the Board, the House of Delegates, Councils, Committees and Commissions. 
  • Provides leadership to the organization with an eye toward the future and motivates ADA employees toward the achievement of results as identified in the Vision, Mission, Values and Strategy. Enhances the internal organizational processes and infrastructure and ensures all work and activity comply with the ADA’s legal and regulatory policies.
  • Develops and manages a high performing competent and effective senior leadership team within the ADA organization driven by personal and professional integrity.
  • Develops Performance Metrics annually for the organization and routinely reports on ADA Performance to the House of Delegates and the Board of Trustees.
  • Represents and oversees the ADA brand and messaging integrity to external stakeholders and other dental organizations as required to achieve desired goals and objectives and in a manner that enhances the reputation of the ADA.
  • Continues to assess and manage Risk: Strategic, Organizational, Operational, Financial, Reputational, and Legal (Regulatory).
  • Oversees risk management for the organization including the Business Continuity Plan.
  • Ensures smooth transitions for ADA leadership and senior management; develops appropriate succession planning procedures to minimize organizational risk during leadership/senior management transitions. 

Professional competencies, Experience, and Qualifications

Executive Director Competencies:

  • Strong focus on ADA members’ needs and wants and builds a strong member value proposition.
  • Thinks strategically and provides visionary innovative advice/information to the Board of Trustees and accepts responsibility and accountability for the overall performance of the ADA organization.
  • Assesses risks to the ADA effectively and in a timely manner. Perseveres through significant challenges; persists in the achievement of positive results; and overcomes adversity consistently.
  • Builds, manages, and motivates an effective, dedicated senior leadership team. Inspires, empowers, and motivates ADA employees in the development of the strategic plan and organizational goals with an eye toward high performance, impact, and results.
  • Inspires and effectively communicates a strategic plan and gains buy in by critical stakeholders including the House of Delegates, Councils, Committees, and Commissions.
  • Effectuates change and functions as a change management leader. Performs duties with integrity, honesty, and humility through consistency of words and actions.
  • Delegates decision making appropriately throughout the organization to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Responsive to the needs of Members, the House of Delegates, and the Board of Trustees and brings issues of importance to the attention of the volunteer leadership effectively and efficiently.
  • Develops and maintains strong, productive, and positive relationships with volunteer leaders and the Tripartite leadership and with external oral health advocacy, industry, and stakeholder groups such as CDC, OSHA, NIH, NIDCR, Foundations, etc.
  • Anticipates, tracks, and manages budget expenditures and makes recommendations to the Officers and the Board for adjustments. Implements business development for the purpose of growing non-dues revenue in an appropriate risk-benefit framework.

Qualifications & Experience:

  • Extensive knowledge of the health care industry, the dental delivery system, governmental health related agencies, and/or the profession of dentistry.
  • Association management and nonprofit financial, operational, and strategic planning skills.
  • Demonstrated professionalism to enhance the integrity and ethics of the profession of dentistry.
  • Working knowledge of and experience with strategic planning and implementation of plans to the achievement of stated goals.
  • Superb written and oral communications skills to build and maintain productive relationships with the House of Delegates, the Board of Trustees, and its Councils and Commissions, the state and local dental societies, and all levels of management and staff.
  • Strong financial, operational, organizational, technological, analytical and time management skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and public speaking skills.
  • Extensive travel (both domestic and international) and weekend commitments for meetings and various work-related obligations.
  • Business, budget and managing large organizations experience.


  • Advanced degree i.e. MS/MA, MBA, DDS, DMD, MD, JD or PhD, etc. is required.


A competitive compensation and benefits package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.

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