Lisa Philp, RDH, CMC

Profiles in Excellence

Despite their varied personal and professional backgrounds, this year’s Lucy Hobbs Award winners share a number of admirable traits.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE winners of the 2016 Lucy Hobbs Awards! These half-dozen remarkable women (see page 39) have all made a profound impact on their patients and colleagues, on education and on dentistry overall. Their stories inspire us — as does that of Lucy Hobbs herself — with their vision, selfless generosity and courage to take a stand for their goals and the betterment of our profession.

Reading these women’s stories makes clear that they share two attributes above all: well-rounded leadership and an embrace of the timeless principles of passion, responsibility and the vision to see it all through. Let’s break it down a little further, though: What traits truly define this year’s Lucy Hobbs winners?

Authenticity. Leadership isn’t just, tautologically, what leaders do; it is instead innate to who they are. Genuine leadership encompasses honesty, integrity and trust — trust built on truth telling, keeping one’s word, getting feedback on one’s personal behavior and ensuring consistency with one’s stated values. That’s how you get others to follow the course you chart, and all six winners exemplify it.

Clarity of focus. Each of these distinguished women exude certainty when faced with three elemental questions: Where am I going? (That is, what is my vision for the future?) What do I truly believe? (What are my dearest principles and values?) And even Why do I exist? (What is my larger mission in life?) This all sounds a bit airy-fairy, sure, but answers to these questions are crucial for true self-awareness.

The courage to grow. It’s very easy to stick with what’s comfortable — the old ways are the old ways, after all, precisely because they offer security, stability and predictability. But those old ways can also lead to complacent stagnation, thereby stunting one’s progress. Lasting security comes only from change, from learning new abilities in order to adapt as needed. You can’t steal second base with your back foot still on first.

Abiding commitment. Successful people get energized by their love for what they do because it brings them ever closer to who they are. They overcome apathy and cynicism in the service of a sense of personal discipline that will help them, and others in their orbit, achieve their dreams.

Responsibility. This one’s obvious, right? It’s what separates adults from children — and accountable adults from everyone. Responsible people do not wait to see what might happen; they recognize that they exert the greatest influence on their own environment and refuse to let themselves be made a victim regardless of circumstance.

A giving spirit. This trait, perhaps above all, is what makes the Lucy Hobbs Awards what they are. Each of the winners you’ll read about in this issue possesses an admirable spirit for her work and her life far beyond considerations of mere recompense. They’re all selfless benefactors within their communities — great leaders and strong women who truly embody the spirit Lucy Hobbs first brought forth and animated a century and a half ago.

LISA PHILP, RDH, CMC is the president of Transitions Group North America, a full-service dental coaching company. You can reach her at 800-345-5157 or