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O’Loughlin led ADA from turnaround to smooth transition

Retiring leader of American Dental Association says clarifying mission, establishing core values for decision-making were critical to success

Oct. 8, 2021
By Lori Sharn

The American Dental Association didn’t know much about its members in 2009 when Kathleen O’Loughlin became the group’s executive director.

“We simply were not doing the research,” O’Loughlin said, with the group’s volunteer leaders assuming all members “see the same view of life.” It is much different today.

“We have to personalize everything we do now. Different generations of dentists expect different things,” she said.