Trey Lawrence will take up the reins as CEO of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) on March 1. Ahead of that, he joined the Orthodontic Podcasts podcast to talk to host Alison Werner about the role he’s stepping into and the work of advancing the association’s strategic plan. 

In this episode, Lawrence talks about: 

  • The role of the AAO CEO. As Lawrence describes it, the AAO CEO is the public face of the association and the go between, taking the Board of Trustees’ strategic plan and working with staff and administration to implement and carry it out.
  • The AAO’s advocacy and legal work and how members can help. Lawrence joined the AAO 5 years ago to lead its advocacy and legal efforts. In this interview he talks about the association’s successes at both the state and federal level in the last year, and about the AAO’s shift in strategy to focus on the regulatory level to affect more immediate change. Lawrence explains how members can get involved, highlighting the association’s National Advocacy Network.
  • Teledentistry and technology. Technology is making a profound and positive difference in the field—from remote monitoring to 3D printing. At the same time, however, the association is conscious that some companies are developing technology to replace the doctor’s role in the treatment equation. Lawrence says that the association is focused on protecting patients against these misuses of the technology, and outlines its approach.
  • Diversity and inclusion. One priority of the strategic plan is diversity and inclusion. Lawrence provides an update on the association’s work on this front, specifically the development of the Trustees-at-Large positions to fill in the gaps in demographic representation on the Board of Trustees, and the Special Committee for Inclusion and Engagement.
  • Transformation and Innovation. Lawrence provides an update on the work of the Business Development Committee, including the MBO-Wharton program and Tech Select and Ortho Innovator initiatives, as well as the new supplier network program launched in February.
  • Annual Session, New Orleans. Lawrence previews what attendees can expect—from the introduction of the Ortho Innovator Hall of Fame and continuation of the New Product Showcase. In addition, the AAO is continuing its pathways structure for organizing the sessions, helping attendees better identify the topic areas they want to focus on at the meeting.  
  • Non-dues revenue. The Innovation and Transformation Fund Awards were launched in large part to create non-dues revenue for the organization. The AAO is rare among associations; it boasts 86.4% market share of active orthodontists in the US, according to Lawrence. A number that is incredibly high. While that’s great news, it creates a challenge. The association can’t turn to membership for revenue growth. So to ensure the AAO can continue to grow the resources and support it provides members, Lawrence says these non-dues revenue generating initiatives are vital. 

In the end, Lawrence says his commitment as CEO is to honor the AAO’s 125-year history while also seeing it into the future. He emphasizes that he wants members to feel he is approachable—and that includes residents. “I am just an email or phone call away,” he says. 

“I want from that first day of the first year of residency all the way up to our most senior member, I want them to feel like they can talk to me, let me know what their needs are, and know that I’m working to represent their needs.” OP

Podcast Transcript

Alison Werner 0:03
Hello and welcome to the Orthodontic Products podcast. I’m your host Alison Werner. On today’s episode, we have Trey Lawrence who will begin his role as the American Association of Orthodontists new CEO on March 1, Lawrence steps into the position after leading the association’s advocacy and legal efforts as vice president general counsel for the last five years. Before that he spent almost 20 years in law practice and advocacy. Today, we’re going to talk about the role he’s stepping into and the work he’ll be doing to lead the association. Trey, thank you for joining me.

Trey Lawrence 0:30
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Alison Werner 0:32
So you’re stepping into this role, as I said, after serving as vice president, general counsel for the AAO, where you’ve led the association’s advocacy and legal efforts for the last five years, what do you take away from this time and work as you step into this role as CEO?

Trey Lawrence 0:47
Yeah, so I, you know, definitely some great victories there, I think we’ll probably talk a little bit of those in a little bit. But to at a higher level, I think two things that I take away from that time in that role. Number one is just a profound sense of purpose. It’s why an AAO, why be an AAO member and then the second is just a real optimism for what we as an association could do. So on the purpose side, you know, we’re out there, I’m so proud of us as an organization. And this certainly includes members as well as, you know, the AAO staff and administration, but we’re out there doing important work and really taking the lead on teledentistry in the direct to consumer topic in particular. And so I think that gives us such a common identity, as an AAO community of why have an AAO and why be AAO members. And then the second is out of that this just incredible optimism about what we can do. We have had constant opposition from very well funded, very aggressive, you know, opponents to the advocacy work, we do legal threats almost constantly. And in spite of that, we’ve had some really significant accomplishments. And so I think that really speaks to what we as an association and our members can do to make their practice better and to help their patients out.

Alison Werner 2:02
Great. Well, we will talk about some of that work. So before we get there, though, for those who might be wondering, what is the role of CEO at the AAO?

Trey Lawrence 2:09
Now, great question. I mean, I think fundamentally, the role of the CEO at the AAO, a lot of initials and letters there. And it’s really no different than the CEO of any other organization. And I mean, most fundamentally, as the CEO, you’re kind of the go between taking the strategic direction from the Board of Trustees and then working with the staff and administration to implement and to carry out that strategic direction that the Board of Trustees provides. So on the ground, what that looks like is the CEO, you’re responsible for leading and giving direction to the entire AAO staff and the administration itself, you’re definitely a public representative of the AAO. And then you’re also flows back toward the Board of Trustees. We’re trying to give them information on the resources that they need, and some direction that they need to help set the strategy and direction for the association.

Alison Werner 3:06
Okay. So you mentioned in our last question, you know, some of the advocacy work you’ve done on behalf of the organization. And I know, the AAO is always encouraging members to get involved about the state and federal level to affect legislative and regulatory change, but especially the state level, because this is where more immediate impact can be felt. Can you talk about some of those successes at the state level first, and then and some of those successes at the state level first, that the organization and the membership have been able to accomplish in recent years?

Trey Lawrence 3:35
Yeah, definitely. So I think your question highlighted something that really I’ve seen during my time at the AAO when I first came to the AAO, about five and a half years ago, now. We really had almost entirely a focus at the federal level. And there’s definitely reasons to be there. But as your question highlighted, things move very slowly at the federal level, it is a long term project, and it’s just difficult to get things done. In contrast, on the state side, things can move very quickly. You can really leverage members connections. You know, I’m constantly shocked at how many members are treating you know, the son or daughter of somebody that’s in the legislature has some, you know, they are friends with members of the dental boards, and we can really leverage those connections to get things done. So the kinds of things that we’ve seen accomplished and do really highlight the importance of members certainly on the teledentistry or direct to consumer topic. That’s been our number one topic at the state level for the last several years. And so 23 brought a really significant development there. We saw the bill pass in Nevada, which was the first of its kind in the country that requires an in person examination and x-rays before you can begin orthodontic treatment through teledentistry. And those are really the touchstones for us as an organization is making sure patients are seen in person examined in person and have x-rays taken before they start treatment. So that was a huge win for us. That was out absolutely case where we relied very heavily on our members on the ground in Nevada, who had connections with the legislature had leadership roles in the state dental association and brought them on and support to and it was truly a coalition effort. And then an outgrowth of that I would we’re, we’re seeing great progress in Florida this year in a very similar bill. I’m very hopeful that that bill is going to pass. It’s up before the full house in the Senate. I think it may pass in the house today, actually, as we’re recording this, but that’s a similar bill would require those in person examinations and x-rays before you start treatment. The Florida bill, if it passes in its current state would add an extra wrinkle, the kinds of the little disclaimer boxes that you see on like cigarette advertising, it would require a disclaimer like that for ortho any advertisement for orthodontic treatment, they would say that it’s highly recommended that a patient receive an in person examination and x-rays before they begin treatment. So then again, you know, we’ll be even another step forward in our progress on that issue. And so and then next year, we’ll hopefully look to take that to other states as well. So that’s, that’s been the big one over the last year or so we’ve had big wins. Also, on the student loan side, Florida created a program last year that if you’re a dentist or any of the dental specialties, including orthodontist, and you practice in an underserved area in the state, you can get up to $50,000 a year for up to five years in student loan repayment assistance. And so that’s something many states have had on the medical side. But we’re not aware of any state in the country that’s included orthodontist in that. So we’re really happy that Florida created a new program. And again, we’ll be looking to do something similar in other states. So lots of great work in both of those areas. Workforce shortages is another one. We’re working in many states and in Canada too, in Ontario right now trying to work in some of the places where heavy regulations are a part of the problem of practices being able to find and hire assistants in particular, we’re looking to loosen those restrictions, so it’s easier for practices to hire staff.

Alison Werner 7:05
Okay. Now, at the federal level, what would you say are some of the recent successes?

Trey Lawrence 7:11
Yeah, you know, at the federal level to talking about that shift in strategy, we’ve had a similar shift there or shift at the federal level was more recognizing kind of the same theme that things can happen more quickly at the regulatory level, as opposed to getting bills passed in Congress. So we have started using our congressional relationships to influence the federal side. So our biggest success there in the past couple of years was that we had 21 members mainly of energy and commerce, on the House side that signed a letter requesting a study by the GAO, which is the government agency that audits all the other agencies, a study on what the FDA and the FTC are doing to regulate direct to consumer medical products, including and highlighting orthodontic, you know, the clear aligners direct to consumer in particular. And so the GAO did that study, we got the results back, we’re now working with the signers of that letter to what are the next steps and some, you know, talking about now taking that study directly to the FDA and the FTC, trying to get them to take a closer look at what’s going on in this space. So I think that’s a good example of a significant win for us that highlights our new strategy and focusing on the regulatory side. But definitely the congressional side is a big part of that, too. So I’ll put in my obligatory sales pitch here for the AAO PAC. And that’s such an important tool in fostering those relationships with members of Congress. And so really want to make sure that all AAO members recognize the importance of the PAC and what that money is used for, you know, a big win like this and encourage all al members to contribute to the PAC.

Alison Werner 8:53
Well, you mentioned the PAC there, what are some other roles that the members can take in addressing these regulatory and legislative challenges?

Trey Lawrence 9:02
Probably the easiest one we do is we have developed our national advocacy network and have added some team on the advocacy staff, we’re really using some new tech tools to allow members to very easily reach out to their member of Congress or their state legislature. And so what that means is watch your if you’re an AAO member watch your email inbox. And you will get emails from AAO advocacy that will describe what the particular issue is, and then very easy, many times just clicking a few links and digitally digitally signing your name by typing and it will generate a letter to your member of Congress or your state legislators. So that’s that’s going to depend on the specific work going on. But that’s a really easy way and it’s very important. Something’s going on for them to hear from many many orthodontists weighing in on an issue. So that’s the easiest way but also just getting more involved as far as leadership role. And again, I’ll highlight her national advocacy network is very easy way, for typically two or three hours a month to get plugged in to get up to speed on AAO’s issues, the talking points, learn how to speak on those issues. And then really keep track of what’s going on in your state and then work with the AAO team when something’s going on in your state to work on that issue.

Alison Werner 10:19
Okay, great. So you’re also a founding member of the Center for Telehealth and eHealth Law Oral Health Group. What’s your take on the kind of that telehealth teledentistry teleorthodontics whatever we want to call it these days in orthodontics today, and what should orthodontists be thinking about when it comes to this technology today?

Trey Lawrence 10:39
Yeah, so that, you know, I’m going to talk probably some more in this conversation about the challenges that tech is posing on the regulatory side. And that that’s been the challenge for I mean, the challenge for us as an organization, there’s so many great uses of technology that’s developing. So as you look at things like remote monitoring, and you know, the digital 3D printing capabilities, all of that there’s just so many great uses of the technology. So as an organization, we want to promote and allow our orthodontist members to use that technology. But we also on the flip side, we have to recognize that there are companies that will use that technology to replace the doctor. In the treatment equation, the doctor is always the most expensive component in any healthcare cost equation. And so some companies will look to gain a cost advantage by using the tech to replace the doctor. And so we want to protect patients against kind of those misuses of the technology. So I always to steal a phrase from Buddhism or concept from Buddhism, I was called the AAO’s position on all this the middle path, where we want to promote the legitimate uses of the technology, I mean, strongly support those, but also protect patients against the misuses. And so that’s the challenge for us on the policy side is where’s the policy that we can advocate for that does that that promotes the legitimate uses and protects against the misuses. The challenge on the regulatory side tech always outpaces regulation. The tech will always move faster than the regulation. That’s what we saw with teledentistry and direct to consumer is before dental boards even knew what had happened, there was suddenly this new thing out on the market where patients could get you know aligners in a box at home and never see a doctor in person. So as an organization, we really need to stay ahead of the technology to anticipate what’s coming. You know, I think teledentistry is just the first step of it. I think as the AI continues to develop, I think as robotics continue to develop, they’re probably five years from now there are going to be some things out on the market that we couldn’t have even imagined, right now. So as an organization, we need to anticipate what’s coming and then try to help work with dental boards to get them educated and anticipate these things. I hope that when Tech Challenge 2.0 comes that dental boards are able to act more proactively on it instead of you know, acting from afar reactive position, which is what we saw this time.

Alison Werner 13:09
Yeah. Well, to kind of go not that says advocacy and legislative work are gonna be a part of your job now. But one of your priorities will be seeing through the strategic plan that they put in place a few years ago. So one of the priorities of that has been diversity and inclusion. What do you see as the successes on that front? And where is the AAO’s work focused in the year to come to kind of foster that welcoming membership community?

Trey Lawrence 13:37
Yeah, so I’m really proud of the progress that we’ve made over the last few years. Certainly one big area, there was the development of the trustees at large positions. The purpose of that was recognizing that the way that the Board of Trustees was configured as of a few years ago, there were some gaps in, you know, the demographic representation and maybe level, like career stage representation. And so those trustee at large positions were specifically created to be able to identify where those gaps are, and then fill them. So we’ve been, I think, you know, some of the amazing trustees at large that we’ve already had on the board had just done such a good job of fulfilling exactly that role. We’re looking forward to welcoming a new one at annual session in 2024. Here just a couple months, Dr. Caitlin Kramer who’s going to continue that tradition and just do a great job in filling in some of those holes as far as age and she’s in the academic world, which is a piece that’s been a little underrepresented on the board. So definitely looking forward to the continuation of that. The other big piece has been the special committee for Inclusion and Engagement, which has continued to grow has become a permanent committee. Now. I think initially, they were more in the task force category and the Board of Trustees in the house recognize that that was going to need to continue to be a part of the conversation for years to come. So they have a have, you know they’ve they’ve been a huge assistance in identifying the areas of need for the trustees at large. They there was a house resolution that passed last year that came out of the sky is that how we reference that committee that rec strongly recommended implicit bias training for all AAO members and leaders in particular, and then one thing that will be new this year, I’m really excited about is Sky is going to have a live podcast during annual session highlighting the diversity among AAO members. So I think that will be a really cool thing to see during that annual session time.

Alison Werner 15:35
Oh, great. Well, another key priority of the strategic plan is driving transformation and innovation. Can you kind of update our listeners on the work of the business development task force? who oversees this initiative?

Trey Lawrence 15:47
Yeah. Well, one very fundamental thing I’m very excited about the business development task force is now the Business Development Committee. So again, you know, recognizing that that’s going to continue to be a need into the foreseeable future. So that will be a permanent group now overseeing that kind of work. So, you know, they have some great products, that they’re continuing existing products, they’re continuing to develop the MBO-Wharton program, the Mastering the Business of Orthodontics, which has been such a hit among AAO members. They’re not letting that remain static. They’re developing new content. They’ve added a live component to that some live interaction with other attendees and the leaders that are leading those sessions. Tech Select similarly, you know, in the goal of trying to be the go to unbiased resource for members on tech related project, they’re continuing to broaden the number of categories of products that are included in that. In the future coming up. I know that the business development committee is working on developing right now two new member programs, when I can’t, unfortunately, can’t share the details about those yet one of them I’ve seen the basic outline for you know what the concept is, and I’m, I think members will be very excited about this. I think this will be at the level of the MBO-Wharton program as far as member interest in that. So definitely stay tuned. You know, and hopefully in the near future, the Committee will be able to roll the plans out for those and let members know what’s coming.

Alison Werner 17:17
Well, one of the recent launches the supplier network program, can you talk about what that program means for members?

Trey Lawrence 17:25
Yeah, I think that supplier network, I’m so happy that we’ve engaged in that. It’s, I think it highlights a transactional way of doing business versus a relational way. So it’s a it’s a kind of permanent relationship between the AAO and our suppliers and vendors, which I think is a win win win for everybody that gets a win for the suppliers, because it better helps them identify what their needs are for something like annual session, you know, make sure that they’re getting the most bang for their buck. And in working with the AAO and annual session and sponsorships and those kinds of things. On the flip side, it also, you know, through a point system that they’re they’ve developed, it encourages our supplier vendor partners to invest in a wider range of AAO opportunities that’s going to bring in not just like an annual session or the sponsorships, but also things like working with the Foundation to support the AAO Foundation, or even the AAO PAC. There’s some opportunities there for some corporate support for the administrative side of the AAO PAC. And so I think through that program, we’re really exposing suppliers to a wider range of opportunities across the AAO spectrum. So I think members will benefit from that from seeing things like the foundation of the PAC that haven’t been traditionally as high on the radar of our supplier vendor partners, seeing them supported by those partners.

Alison Werner 18:50
Okay, so with the AAO annual session coming up in May in New Orleans, what can attending members expect? I know, you’ll be announcing the Ortho Innovator Award winner there and there’ll be another Ortho Tank Pitch event.

Trey Lawrence 19:02
Yeah, so definitely, definitely there on the tech piece. I think, hopefully, members that have attended the last several years have really seen the growth in that in general, just that innovation pavilion area, a whole area of the exhibit floor that’s dedicated to you know, highlighting how the AAO is supporting tech and innovation. So certainly, some of those programs like the Ortho Innovator and Ortho Tank, those are going to continue, continue to grow. We have some new things coming out there’s going to be an Ortho Innovator Hall of Fame that will recognize some of the past winners and continue to give some attention to those who’ve won in the past. The New Product Showcase where members are able to vote on their favorite new product that’s being featured at annual session that’s going to be even bigger this year. I think that was a big hit last year with both the members and the exhibitors who were showcasing those new products. So a lot of things going on in the tech side and then just in general for annual session. The development of these pathways for members based on your interests. And I forget exactly how many we had last year, maybe five or so. But really helping members to focus on what am I most interested in an annual session is it the science path, is it the tech path, is that the community and social interaction path, and then giving them you know even as simple as icons to identify which events and which lectures are most pertinent to them. We’re continuing to build that out. I think there’s being another path or two that are being added to that, and the signage and the you know, in the the little icons in the program, and all of those things are continuing to expand, so that members can really easily identify what am I most interested in and navigate. Really, it really brings down the scope of this big giant event to the pieces that are most relevant to you as a member and then be able to focus on and even as simple as find them. But I think really personalizes the, you know, session event for members.

Alison Werner 21:00
Excellent. I think that’s a really great idea. So a big component of the transformation and innovation pillar of the strategic strategic plan is creating non dues revenue. And one way in which this is happening is through the Innovation and Transformation Fund Awards. Why is this part of the initiative important to the long term health of the association?

Trey Lawrence 21:21
Yeah, so to take a step back, kind of at the most fundamental level, I’m always so proud when I’m talking to other organizations to tell them the AAO has 86.4% market share of active orthodontists in the US. So that, you know, in one sense, that’s great news. It means we’re doing that’s incredibly high among associations. I think it means that we’re doing things that members need and want. And so a lot of great news out of that. But then the challenge is when you have that high of a market share that just really nowhere to grow as far as revenue, that you just can’t realistically expect to take your market share above that. So dues revenue increases, probably not much ceiling to grow there. So what that really means is if we want to continue to develop new products and services for AAO members, we really do have to focus on non dues revenue, so that we can do that without having to raise dues. And so that is a huge area of focus. And certainly one of my primary areas of focus as incoming CEO, our to do that we really do want to every year be rolling out new products and services for members that they can really benefit from, but not have to raise their dues and doing that. And so news revenue is so important to that. I mean, it’s it’s how we can do that. And then things like supporting tech, supporting innovation, developing things like the MBO program, were kind of an a la carte for additional options that members can choose if that’s something that will benefit them. Those are all the ways we’re definitely going to look to continue to expand those non dues, revenues opportunities.

Alison Werner 22:53
Okay, great. So another aspect of the AAO work that gets a lot of attention is the consumer awareness program. What are the AAO’s plans in 2024?

Trey Lawrence 23:04
Yeah, so 2023. You know, we saw great results the I think we had approximately 7 million consumers that were driven to the AAO’s consumer website through the CAP activities and work something like 915 million you know discrete hits on AAO information. So we definitely want to continue to see those numbers rise. So some of the things that are in the works this year, continuing to look at ways to use influencers that are in the social media world and have really established followings, but are not necessarily you know, orthodontic or dental people. So I know there’s a new relationship like that that’s in developed another one of these influencers, like the Holderness family was last year that has, you know, in the millions of followers that will be teaming up with the AAO. We, I think, we saw coming out of the SmileDirectClub bankruptcy news and some of the media coverage that that the AAO, I’m really proud of the job that our marketing team did of seizing on that as an opportunity to get some earned media coverage. And so myself and Dr. Guymon our president did a lot of interviews, and I don’t remember the numbers off the top of my head, but I know it was in the billions the number of times that, you know, consumers of the general public came into contact with the AAO name through coverage and like the Washington Post and the LA Times and ABC News and some great sources. So we will definitely continue to look for news opportunities like that, that are gathering attention out in the general public that AAO can be a voice in that. And then finally, we definitely have a new consumer awareness campaign that’s in development right now. It’s called The Science of Smiles. The general theme there is going to be educating the public on the science behind orthodontics and get them to recognize this is not you know just a cosmetic procedure and just going in for like tooth whitening, but it is a complex medical and biological process and recognize why they need to see a specialist to have those kinds of treatments done. So that will be coming in the next six months or so I think members will start to see the first ads coming out of that new campaign.

Alison Werner 25:17
Okay, great. So when you look to the future, the association, how do you want to see it innovate and grow?

Trey Lawrence 25:26
Yeah, I think the bottom line is we want to, you know, we always our goal in general is to make sure that we’re delivering members, the services and the products that they want. I think the challenge of that is as we grow in the scope of what we’re doing, and as the needs of members grow, the diversity of members, you know, certainly demographically, but also practice setting, you know, all of those kinds of things, we need to make sure that we’re not just bombarding members with this avalanche of information, and they have to sort through Well, what’s really relevant, or what’s not at all, the kind of kind of becomes white noise. So we’re really prioritizing, developing the technology and the internal capabilities so that if a member gets on the website, or in their email that they are getting a very specifically tailored, you know, content on what their needs are, what they want to see. So using things like AI to look at members past viewing history in which emails are they open, and all of those things on the CE, you know, you don’t you get on the CE section of the website, you don’t just get this, again, an avalanche of different CEs, but you really get the content that’s specifically tailored to your particular interests. So we’re that just in general, across every area that the AAO interacts with members, we’re really trying to streamline that interaction so that members are getting what they want. And when they want it in the form that they want it, all of those kinds of things. So I really hope members will be seeing things they can be looking in the months to come to start to see the ways that that’s showing up and things like their email or the CE content on the website. And then I think related to that, but it’s definitely just as important is recognizing you know, long, long gone are the days where the AAO can primarily put out content for solo practice owners, I mean, we have such a diversity of members. Now we need to make sure that we’re developing content for each of those members. So somebody that’s practicing in a more corporate setting with an OSO or DSO, you know, obviously, their needs as a practitioner are very different from the member who does own their practice. And you know, it isn’t solo or small practice. So we’ve got to make sure that our educational or meetings, content, all of that meets all of those needs. And and I think, hopefully, members have seen a lot of development in that direction, but definitely hope that that will, they will continue to see that as we work on that content for them.

Alison Werner 27:55
Great. So how do you want AAO members to see you as you take on this role as the CEO.

Trey Lawrence 28:04
I just read a quote recently reading some CEO leadership type, you know, books and articles about it. And I don’t remember the source of the quote, but it was very applicable, I think, said that ultimately, the most important job of the CEO is it’s the ultimate balancing act. So I think about in this particular role, on the one hand, I definitely want members to see me as trying to lead the AAO and that strategic and visionary thinking about what the future is going to require, making sure that we develop for that, but at the same time, also recognizing the AAO has this amazing 125 year history that we’re going to be celebrating that anniversary this year, it just so many, you know, legends have gone before and the science and you know, the, the members that are toward the end of their career and definitely need to be just as much a part of the organization. So I think that kind of a balancing act. I definitely the on the one hand, like I mentioned, you know, being the figurehead for the AAO being out there and being the public representative other organizations. But I also want every single member to feel like I’m approachable that I am, you know, just an email or phone call away for them to let me know, you know, hey, I got a problem or feel like it needs not being met. And that goes all the way back to you know, the resident that’s in their first day of residency. I, during the interview process for this position, I heard somebody mentioned something about you know, when I first started as a resident, I felt like, no offense to old white guys, but there were old white guys everywhere, and they felt very unapproachable. And that is absolutely not the you know kind of the general impression that I want to send. I want from that first day of first year of residency all the way up to our most senior member, I want them to feel like they can, you know, talk to me, let me know what their needs are and know that I’m working to represent their needs.

Alison Werner 29:55
Great. Well, as we look forward to the upcoming annual session, what are you looking forward to there?

Trey Lawrence 30:02
I just love annual session so much. It’s just such a great event I but we as an organization, we just recently trademarked the phrase “The World’s Greatest Celebration of Orthodontics,” which I think is so representative of what goes on, and so much of the reason I look forward to annual session. I mean just the staggering amount of the incredible lectures and the great research and the product innovation out on the exhibit floor. It really is a celebration of the specialty and all of the amazing the work that goes on in the specialty. But if I could put a little bit of a slant on that phrase that we trademarked so think it’s the world’s greatest celebration of orthodontists. You know, as individuals and that’s really what I look forward to more than anything about annual session. You know, I’m about six years into my life in the orthodontic world and it just discovered that orthodontists are such amazing people. They’re so talented, they’ve got such you know, care and concern for their patients, do such great work. And so, really, ultimately, you know, annual session, when you think about just this collection of those kinds of people coming from all over the world. It really is such a great reason to celebrate. And again, me being a relative newcomer to this world. It just I’m so happy. It just feels like home now just being around all those people, all those amazing members is just that’s where I feel like the AAO is most the AAO like that you really get the utmost expression of of what we do and why we and our members are just such a great body of people. And so look forward to all of that I can’t wait to in New Orleans is such a fun place to begin with, you know, it’s all the more reason to celebrate that event, having such a great purpose, but being in a fun venue on top of that.

Alison Werner 31:45
Yeah, absolutely. We’ll Trey it, it was great to get to know you. And thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. I really appreciate it.

Trey Lawrence 31:52
Yeah. No, I absolutely. Thank you.

Alison Werner 31:54
Yeah. And I look forward to talking to you again in the future. So good luck.

Trey Lawrence 31:58
Definitely, definitely.

Alison Werner 31:59
Thanks. As always, thank you for joining us. Be sure to subscribe to the Orthodontic Products podcast to keep up with the latest episodes. And be sure to check out orthodontic products online dot com to keep up with the latest industry news. Until next time, take care.