Minerva Maldonado.

TORRANCE, Calif.—Lens technology company IOT announced that Minerva Maldonado, a Connecticut-based optician, is the winner of its 2022 “Optical’s Next Top Speaker” contest. The contest, sponsored by IOT, encouraged opticians to develop their speaking skills and share knowledge with industry peers. As the contest speaker, Maldonado earned mentorship to help her prepare and deliver an ABO-approved course, as well as professional design services for her final presentation and IOT sponsorship to present the topic at an optician event, to be announced shortly. She edged out competitors with a presentation entitled “Bright Eyes on the Future of Fashion, Optics, and Vision.”

“My experiences with a B.A. in English, an A.S. in ophthalmic design and dispensing, a certification in fashion technology and former teaching experience gives me a unique perspective on the field of opticianry,” said Maldonado, who works at Walmart Vision Center in Bristol, Connecticut.
Maldonado worked with her mentor, Laurie Pierce, an opticianry professor at Hillsborough Community College and 20/20 Magazine columnist, to deliver a fun and informative continuing education course that blended fashion, optical content, and an eye toward helping patients achieve great looks and great vision while juggling today’s visually demanding lifestyle. Her tips incorporated references to social media, pop culture, and how to visually navigate a world increasingly focused on electronic devices and high fashion.
She edged out two other finalists, Kai Rands and Wesley Scott, to win the contest, which was judged, via Zoom, by a panel of four optical experts:
Barry Santini, certified master optician and nationally known optical speaker, writer, blogger, and contributing editor to 20/20 Magazine; Carrie Wilson, MBA, MA, ABOM, owner at Optigal Consulting and adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University; Tina Lahti, vice president of sales and marketing for IOT North America, nationally recognized speaker and contributing editor to 20/20 Magazine’s Pro to Pro section; and Jorae DuPont, MS, journalism and public relations and senior manager of marketing communications at IOT.
Established in Madrid, IOT began offering lens designs in 2005. It has grown to serve more than 400 partners in 69 countries, supporting the production of 35 million lenses annually. With headquarters in Madrid and Los Angeles and a marketing office in Minneapolis, IOT is a leader in lens technology and innovation.