inspire2 Our surroundings influence how we come together and how we come together in turn influences how we speak with one another. Knowing these fundamental facts, Dr. Ian McConnachie, Dr. Clive S. Friedman, Dr. Stephan Abrams and myself, Dr. Marielle Pariseau, launched a workshop this morning to facilitate a different kind of working conversation at the heart of ASM14, the Ontario Dental Association’s Annual Spring Meeting.

This workshop embodies a different way of learning that has the capacity to engage and empower our membership in dealing with the many concerns that have been identified with regards to the present and future of dentistry. It models an agile style of leadership that sees a leader in every chair in the room and it uses conversation as a core process around questions that invite all participants to make choices today to positively influence the future of dentistry.

We put a lot of thought in creating a space for this workshop that would give participants a new perspective, a sense of belonging, of connection with their inner wisdom and that of others around them. A space to inspire participants to move from knowing deep inside what to do, to talking about it, and to actually doing it.

The vision at the core of this process is



 A spark was ignited this morning as a result of this workshop. As a participant, we invite you to keep the spark alive with your comments. The rules are the same as the ones we presented during the workshop:

* Be mindful
* Be willing to be influenced
* Set aside your preconceived conclusions, your judgement
* Comment from your heart
* Engage your right brain: your left brain may be very smart, but without your right brain you can not see the whole picture

If you were not a participant this morning, May 9 2014, we welcome your comments too. However, if you find it difficult to express your inner wisdom in writing, we understand. This is normal. We learn to speak before we learn to write and this is WHY we created this workshop, to give dentists a chance to speak first. You may want to contact us to explore the possibilities of hosting a Shaping the Future of Dentistry workshop at the heart of your dental community.


  1. I had the pleasure of participating and facilitating this session and was very pleased with the outcomes. The discussion at our table was interesting and enlightening. Some very common themes and concerns about the stresses and concerns with the future of our profession.

    We need to take this style of discussion and interaction “on the road” and engage our dental community so that they can become involved and actively shape the future of our profession.

  2. Like Stephen Abrams, as a participant and facilitator, I found the experience excellent. Kudos to Mariel for leading us and organizing a superb interaction and dialogue. There were a true mixture of left brain and right brain participants, and overwhelmingly, we found this to be an important start to a path complementary to that coming from our professional organizations. We truly need many more such dialogues across the country and beyond

  3. Steve, Mary and Ian, thank you for your kind words. Without your leadership and inspiration, I wouldn’t be where I am today. The dreams, stories and ideas that were shared during the workshop resonated deeply. Here are some of them.

    During the Ice Breaker, THE STORY THAT TOUCHED ME is David Stevenson’s story on how he stood up in a room in which he knew that a large number of the people attending were anti-fluoride FAN groupies, and it is by speaking from his heart, showing passion and knowledge, that he connected with the community, effectively leading to a YES for community water fluoridation in Carleton Place.

    In sharing the DREAMS we have for our profession, WHAT STRUCK was that the dream of seeing DENTISTS AS PHYSICIANS OF THE MOUTH surfaced at every table! As I spoke to some of the participants at the end of the session, many told me that they know / feel that there are many more dentists out there who feel the same way.

    There is HOPE for the future of dentistry and it warms my heart to now know that many want to have more of this type of dialogue.

    Let’s keep the spark alive!

  4. I am amazed by the all the thoughts that were compiled (ie. the harvest of ideas) and were discussed by our group during our short dialogue. Tons of great ideas! I can’t wait for the next event and for these ideas to take off!

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