November 9, 2022
It has certainly been a busy year for the SAO-SWSO Merger. We made significant progress, from a strategic and operational standpoint. The AAO House of Delegates passed resolutions over the last few years, supporting various aspects of the prospective merger. The most significant resolution, passed in 2021, stated that SAO and SWSO can become the first two constituencies to merge as one, but would not be recognized as a merged association until over 50% of constituents have merged. We also put forth a “feel-good” resolution that passed at the last HOD in May. This resolution emphasized to the delegation that SAO and SWSO never have and never will engage in block-voting and this passed as well. Over this last year, the SWSO Executive Board has worked side by side with the SAO Executive Board to discuss practical ways to move the merger forward with a specific timetable to follow.
We have the support of the entire AAO leadership, SWSO, SAO Boards and the AAO House of Delegates to proceed with the operations to make this merger a reality. Both SAO and SWSO accomplished the first significant step in this merger progress by obtaining a majority vote in favor of adopting the merger provisional bylaws at our respective Annual Business meetings in Austin this past weekend. Our next step will be a strategic planning session of the SAO and SWSO Executive Committee in January 2023 to formulate a strategic plan that will govern all future decisions that will shape the merged constituency.
We have also learned a few lessons along the way in successful joint meeting planning, which started when Dr. Mike Ragan was SWSO President in 2019. We have built upon that foundation and continue to refine our meeting planning methods. I believe every year we will have more successful meetings, especially with the expertise of our newly formed joint SAO-SWSO CAMP committee (Committee on Annual Meeting Planning), which will set the stage for this progress.
I am proud to report that we had 1,655 total meeting registrations, with 646 doctors and 652 team members in attendance at our Annual Session in Austin this past weekend. In comparison with our previous 2019 joint meeting with SAO, we have realized a 9% increase in number of registrations, a 35% increase in registration revenue, a 25% increase in our sponsorship and exhibitor revenue and a 32% increase in total meeting income. These metrics indicate that we are on an exciting path to a future of successful meetings. This will allow our association to offer more services, education and benefits to members year after year. I cannot tell you how many doctors, staff members, speakers and exhibitors personally pulled me aside to let me know how this meeting was so well done and how much they enjoyed the food, music, education, entertainment and comradery this weekend.
I would like to thank two local Austin orthodontists, Dr. Adriana Da Silveira, who I selected as the general meeting chairwoman and Dr. Clark Colville, who I selected as the Speaker Committee Chair. They were both significant reasons why this meeting was so successful. I also want to thank Mollie Pillman, who assumed the Execute Director position seven months ago at our Ad-Interim meeting. She has been a superstar – keeping a full-time position at ACEP (American College of Emergency Physicians), and working on SWSO business on the evenings and weekends so that we did not skip a beat. She has done so well that she is also assuming the ED role at the Texas Association of Orthodontists. I also want to thank SWSO Coordinator Amanda Pairitz-Campo, who has also supported our Executive Board in so many areas. Finally, I want to recognize my Executive Board, Dr. Steve Robirds, Dr. Bryn Cooper, Dr. Joe Moon, Dr. Onur Kadioglu and Dr. Matthew Ng. We have had the benefit of having such a tight knit executive board that has been supportive for many years and fortunately that is all that I’ve experienced during my time on the SWSO Board.
It has given me immense honor and pleasure to serve the Southwestern Society of Orthodontists as your President this last year. I had the advantage of standing on the shoulders of the “giants” who have preceded me and used this motivation to maintain the high standard of respect and care for our constituency and profession. You are in great hands with the current SWSO Board members in place and I am confident that incoming President, Dr. Joe Moon will continue to position the SWSO for success and strength into the future.
In Your Service,