Theresa Mc 2019 Gabryl

2019 Gabryl Award Winner

Theresa McConeghey

In recognition of her excellent, long-term volunteer service advancing the dental benefits industry, the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP) presented Theresa McConeghey the Gabryl Award, the industry’s and association’s highest honor. McConeghey, the Assistant Vice President of Specialty Benefits at Principal Financial Group®, was presented with the award on Sept. 17 during the NADP annual conference, CONVERGE 2019, in Orlando. “The Board’s selection of Theresa as the 2019 Gabryl Award recipient was an easy one based on more than a decade and a half of volunteer service. Her vision and leadership during critical years of ACA development and implementation fostered NADP policy initiatives, which promoted and advanced the dental benefits industry to provide access to quality, affordable dental care,” said NADP Executive Director Evelyn F. Ireland, CAE.

Volunteer Service 

When federal challenges facing the dental benefits industry called for effective leadership and representation, McConeghey helped strengthen the NADP voice and advocacy programs by volunteering for the Health Care Reform Task Force in 2008. She is one of a few volunteers who has continuously served on that Task Force as it transitioned to the Commission on Advocacy Policy (CAP), the permanent NADP policy body.

With years of experience under her belt, McConeghey stepped up to chair CAP in 2014—the implementation year of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and she continues as Chair today. With rare exception, this group has met once a week since 2008.

Even with this responsibility, McConeghey ran for and was elected to the Board of Directors beginning her service as secretary in 2012. She served two full, three-year terms on the Board. She was vice chair for two years before chairing the Board during her last term from 2015-2018.

Under McConeghey’s simultaneous leadership roles, NADP realized the work of the Health Care Reform Task Force should continue and reorganized the volunteer groups addressing government relations issues. The Exchange WorkGroup became the Government Funded WorkGroup; the Government Relations Commission transformed into the Government Relations WorkGroup, with a focus on state issues. Both groups report to CAP.

Under McConeghey’s leadership as Board Chair, NADP advanced the association and industry with key decisions leading to the creation of:

  • Advocacy in Action, the NADP Congressional fly-in
  • Terminology, Standards and Transaction (TST) volunteer structure
  • DSO Advisory Council
  • NADP Investment Policy
  • New dues model for dental plan members
  • Executive Director Search Committee

McConeghey also served on the Communications WorkGroup, Executive Director Search Committee and Research Commission.

Professional Biography

Theresa is an assistant vice president in the Specialty Benefits Division of Principal. She has more than 40 years of experience in the Life and Health industry working with employee benefits.

Throughout her career, she has held leadership roles in Group Administration, Claims, Underwriting, Compliance and Product Development. She is currently accountable for product management, product development and regulatory compliance associated with Principal Life’s Group Dental, Vision, Life, Disability, Accident and Critical Illness product lines. Theresa’s role includes dental network activities for PPO, Discount and DHMO programs. She also oversees all Group product advocacy initiatives for Principal®, including activities associated with health care reform.

In addition to her role at Principal, Theresa serves on the board of directors as well as the corporate risk, responsibility and audit committee for a major hospital system in Des Moines, Iowa.  She has also served as a committee chair and board member for the Red Cross of Iowa

“Principal is the only company that has two Gabryl Award recipients as Bruce Henschel, vice president of corporate strategy, received the award in 2011,” said Ireland. “These recognitions are also a testament of the company’s support for NADP’s work on behalf of the dental benefits industry. The industry has had many successes as a result of the contributions of Principal’s leaders and that is greatly appreciated.”

About Principal®

Principal helps people and companies around the world build, protect and advance their financial well-being through retirement, insurance and asset management solutions that fit their lives. Our employees are passionate about helping clients of all income and portfolio sizes achieve their goals – offering innovative ideas, investment expertise and real-life solutions to make financial progress possible. To find out more, visit us at

About NADP

National Association of Dental Plans (NADP), a Texas nonprofit corporation with headquarters in Dallas, Texas, is the “representative and recognized resource of the dental benefits industry.” NADP is the only national trade organization that includes the full spectrum of dental benefits companies operating in the United States. NADP members provide Dental HMO, Dental PPO, Dental Indemnity and Discount Dental products to more than 200 million Americans.

About the Gabryl Award

Often called the dental benefits industry’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Gabryl Award celebrates volunteer service advancing the association’s mission and spanning six or more years. Volunteer groups recommend individuals for Gabryl Award nominations and the Board of Directors make the final selection. This year the Board received only one Gabryl recommendation—the same one from four (4) volunteer groups: The Education and Research Commissions and the Communications and Membership WorkGroups.