Trustee’s Corner: Search for a New AAO Executive Director

By Dr. John Callahan, NESO Trustee

On May 3rd, all AAO members received an email from Dr. Nahid Maleki, the president of the AAO, to inform us that the Board of Trustees (BOT) had replaced the previous Executive Director (ED) with Dr. Dewayne McCamish as an interim ED. We (BOT) strongly felt that it was time for the AAO to move in a different direction.

It is always difficult when there is a change in leadership for any organization and it is very fortunate that DeWayne has stepped into this role while the BOT is searching for our next ED. For those of you who are not totally familiar with DeWayne, he is our immediate AAO past-president. He has been a long-time practicing orthodontist in Tennessee with two other partners and a very successful practice. He knows how to run a big operation and his experience as a long-time AAO leader should give everyone confidence in his ability to lead the AAO administration short term. He is extremely approachable.

The Board of Trustees have many responsibilities but at the top of the list would certainly include:

  • Searching for an Executive Director
  • Hiring an Executive Director
  • Evaluating an Executive Director
  • Firing an Executive Director

The ED is essentially like a CEO of an organization. Hiring the right one is critical to our success going forward. As this affects all members I thought giving everyone a feel for the process the BOT will take to find our new ED might be interesting.

The Board’s first step was to form a search committee. This committee is being chaired by Brent Larson, the AAO president-elect. The other three other trustees are Ken Dillehay (Southwest), Gary Inman (Southern) and myself. Dr. Maleki sits on as ex-officio (President) and we are supported by Dr. McCamish as the interim ED.

The Committee’s first responsibility was to send out RFPs (Request for Proposal) to multiple national executive search firms with the goal of selecting the search firm best suited to working with us. We received 7 interested responses by the required deadline of May 31. The Committee reviewed and narrowed down our choices to our top 3 and then interviewed each. The Committee made a recommendation to the whole Board on June 13. The firm that has been selected is Tuft & Associates based out of Chicago. They have great experience placing Executive Directors and CEO’s in similar non-profit associations. They have a great game plan.

The search to identify the winning candidate usually takes about 120 days. The first step is for Tuft to understand our needs. By the time you read this we will have met with Tuft so they can gain a more thorough understanding of the ED position. It is also most important that they understand our organization’s unique culture and environment. We will then develop an ideal strategy and timeline. They will assist us in developing a position profile and the specifications they will use. They have an extensive network of contacts and resources that link them to candidates. Tuft will work through all prospective candidates and eventually interview a dozen or so. They will do all the necessary vetting and background checks. They will then then provide the Board Committee with six candidates with all the background work.  We will then review and interview those that we feel would be excellent choices. Tufts, as the professionals, will be completely supporting us along the way. It is a very extensive and time-consuming process worthy of the importance of the position.

If the timeline is correct a new Executive Director should be on-board before Thanksgiving. I will bring everyone up to date on the status in the next eNews.

I wish everyone a most wonderful summer and look forward to seeing you in Boston, November 10-12 at the NESO Annual Meeting. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns at either or 315-569-8219.

Thank you,

John Callahan, NESO Trustee