PECAA chief member experience officer Justin Manning, OD, (l) and chief strategy officer Lance Anderson, OD, welcomed more than 900 attendees during Friday’s general session.

BOCA RATON, Fla.—After a three-year hiatus and for the first time since combining with Healthy Eyes Advantage (HEA), Professional Eye Care Associates of America (PECAA) welcomed more than 900 members, strategic vendor partners and industry thought leaders to reconnect in person for three days of camaraderie, education and idea exchange during its annual meeting, held from May 19-21 in Palm Springs, Calif. The event delivered a multitude of opportunities for PECAA members and their staff to connect with peers, as well as to learn more about new tools and resources now available to grow and sustain successful practices.

“PECAA was created by doctors to help doctors—we understand the value in providing ways for the independent eyecare professional community to network with the ultimate goal of supporting each other,” PECAA chief strategy officer Lance Anderson, OD, said during opening remarks to a packed general session.

PECAA kicked off its annual meeting with a luau and tropical tiki party that allowed attendees to network with peers and interact with nearly 70 vendors in the exhibit showcase hall, learning about the latest in eyecare technology and industry trends.

Creativity strategist and top change management speaker Natalie Nixon delivered the keynote address with a unique, inspirational discussion about how to leverage creativity as an innovation to achieve priority business goals. She shared valuable information to help attendees adapt and grow in an ever-changing work environment.

Continuing the creativity theme, PECAA premier vendor partners were next on stage to deliver imaginative renditions of their respective value propositions in a series of member choice awards style presentations. CooperVision, Hoya, Johnson & Johnson, Luxottica, Safilo, VSP Vision and Zeiss engaged the audience with entertaining skits, videos and more.

“I want to give a special thanks to our premier vendor partners for sponsoring our meeting, and all of our vendor partners for their participation,” PECAA chief operating officer Jamie Hughes said. “Their continued support allows our members to experience an event like no other, and we are truly grateful for our partnership over the years.”

To ensure that PECAA members are familiar with and taking full advantage of the entire suite of benefits included with their PECAA membership, program features were highlighted throughout the meeting, including PECAA Max, a new all-in-one membership fully customizable to align with the unique business goals of every independent ECP.

“This was a fantastic opportunity to further familiarize our members with PECAA Max, a breakthrough program that combines the advantages and scale of an eyecare buying group with the insights and strength of a doctor alliance to deliver exponential value to our members,” PECAA chairman and chief executive officer Jim McGrann said. “We’re excited to bring together in one simple membership the absolute best of what independents nationwide need to grow and succeed.”

Education was another key meeting component with 19 subject matter experts providing 17 educational courses, some of which offered COPE certified CE credit. “PECAA is committed to providing excellent learning opportunities for all of our members,” PECAA chief member experience officer Justin Manning, OD, MPH, FAAO, said. “This year’s educational sessions were curated specifically with our members in mind, covering a wide range of courses to meet the needs of our colleagues.”

Following a full day of speakers and education on Friday, attendees were invited to the PECAA Playground—a “Coachella-inspired” appreciation festival featuring DJ’s Coco and Breezy, Coco and Breezy Eyewear founders, whose designs have ranged from the "third-eye" sunglasses for the late Prince to recent collaborations with Hershey’s, Cîroc and SIX:02.

Attendees enjoyed an evening of dancing, food truck fare, amusement park rides, artist booths and LED games.

PECAA Gives, established in 2016 to leave a positive impact on the city where each PECAA annual meeting is held, chose the Academy of Musical Performance, a contemporary music education program whose goal is to enrich the lives of young musicians living in Coachella Valley, as this year’s beneficiary. Through the overwhelming support of attendees and vendor partners, a record amount of $32,000 was raised prior to and during the event, with donations being accepted through the end of May.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to those who made the PECAA 2022 annual meeting a tremendous success, including exceeding our PECAA Gives goal,” McGrann said. “Thanks to our members and vendors for joining us to celebrate our collective accomplishments and continuing to strive for greatness in the eyecare industry. Together, we can accomplish anything.”

Keynote speaker Natalie Nixon provided  attendees tools and resources  to apply creativity and foresight to achieve transformational business results.

PECAA members and vendors donned tropical flair during a Tiki Party. The party included a pig roast, steel drum band and hula dancing.

PECAA members put on brave faces when riding the Scrambler during Friday’s member appreciation festival.

The PECAA “playground” provided attendees an opportunity to enjoy time together while visiting artist booths, indulging in food truck fare and dancing to DJ’s Coco & Breezy.

PECAA’s vendor exhibit showcase provided members and vendor partners a chance to network and learn more about the latest in eyecare products and services.