Eric Oltman encourages his peers to attend RDH Evolution in 2023.

True to its name, RDH Evolution helped him evolve

Sept. 21, 2022
With no specific expectations and a bit of fear as an introvert, Eric Oltman attended RDH Evolution for the first time this summer. He emerged one of its biggest proponents.

First of all, for those of you not familiar, what is RDH Evolution? It's a two-day conference that focuses on enhancing dental hygienists' careers. Covering a variety of career development topics, Evolution is an excellent opportunity for those of us with a desire for more knowledge and growth both inside and outside the operatory.

This year, speakers Amber Auger and Josey Sewell kept attendees engaged by sharing touching insights about their personal and professional lives. RDH magazine chief editor Jackie Sanders has a talent for making everyone feel at home, and she provided many pearls of wisdom throughout the two-day event. Amelia DeStefano, editorial director of the Endeavor Business Media Dental Group, educated attendees about writing and becoming published. The group of presenters worked together seamlessly and did a fantastic job of uniting the room of ambitious hygienists.

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My Evolution experience

For me, RDH Evolution was not only a career-evolving event, but a life-enhancing experience. Arriving at this event with no specific expectations, I left with a full mind and warm heart. Many attendees courageously shared their personal stories, struggles, and vulnerabilities with the thoughtful and supportive group. The sense of unity was so comforting that I no longer feel I must face my personal and professional challenges alone.

As an introvert, I struggle to meet new people, but Evolution placed me right into a mix of more than 40 passionate, gifted, and kind people who were willing to share their experiences from inside and outside the operatory. I made more genuine connections with like-minded people than I have at any other event in my 10-year career. Evolution helped me understand myself on a deeper level through assessing personality traits, identifying personal strengths, managing mindset, analyzing obstacles, and overcoming fears. We participated in many group activities and developed action steps that can be used to initiate change and work through any obstacles.

RDH Under One Roof

Immediately following RDH Evolution was the three-day continuing education and networking convention, RDH Under One Roof (UOR). Attending RDH Evolution significantly amplified my UOR experience. Not only was I still riding a mental and physical high from the two-day Evolution conference, but I was warmed up, excited, and grateful to recognize many familiar faces walking the convention halls. I now had friends and acquaintances to talk to, go to classes with, join at networking events, or just smile and say hello to.

Had it not been for the connections I made at Evolution, I would likely have been too intimidated to attend the UOR networking events and parties. Like I said, as an introvert who also carries a fair amount of anxiety, it can be extremely difficult for me to enter unfamiliar territory alone. But I was no longer alone, and I felt like I was a valuable component of this dynamic group of over 1,800 hygienists attending UOR.  

More reasons I recommend Evolution

I feel like RDH Evolution is a great option for any curious hygienist. Regardless of your goals, you’ll find something of value and leave more inspired and excited about your career. I highly encourage everyone to attend the networking events and attempt to spark at least one conversation. Although this can be scary for many people, like myself, I am confident that you won’t be disappointed.

As you can see, this year's events sponsored by RDH left a significant impression on me. I hope to keep this inspiration and use it to carry me through the year. I'm excited to see everyone at next year's events. In the meantime, I plan to stay more involved and engaged with my colleagues, and contribute to the growth of our ever-expanding and powerful profession.

Events like UOR and Evolution not only bring people together to create lasting connections, but they contribute to the success and advancement of the dental hygiene profession, including the standard of care that we all deserve. I have never been more confident in the abilities of my peers than I am right now. I am proud to be part of this profession and I’m more excited than ever for our future.