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ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council hosted the organization’s first All-Member Virtual Meeting yesterday. The meeting brought together more than 300 members of the vision care product and services community for an afternoon of presentations from The Vision Council’s leadership and community leaders on timely topics including the state of the industry heading into 2021 and the post-election outlook for the vision care industry. The all-member portion of the meeting was followed by division-specific meetings, according to an announcement from The Vision Council.

The All-Member Virtual Meeting kicked off with a welcome address from Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council, during which she highlighted the organization’s recent efforts and spoke to The Vision Council’s industry outlook for 2021. “While the vision care community has faced a number of challenges this year, we are optimistic for the future and energized by the resilience of our members,” said Mills. “The Vision Council remains committed to helping our members navigate the evolving marketplace and stay competitive. We thank our members for their continued support and look forward to leading the industry forward together in 2021.”

The meeting continued with a presentation by Mitch Barkley, The Vision Council’s vice president of trade shows and events, that spotlighted the future of Vision Expo and the plans that are in place for Vision Expo East 2021, set to take place May 25-28, 2021 at the Javits Center in New York City. Barkley announced that the phased reimagination, originally planned to debut partially at Vision Expo 2020, would be revealed in its entirety at Vision Expo East 2021, including exciting new neighborhoods, a new education area and a redesigned floor plan. Furthermore, Barkley announced that a new virtual continuing education platform, VisionED Direct, will be launching soon, with an official announcement to be released in the coming weeks.

Tarrence Lackran, The Vision Council’s director of partnerships and programming, shared information on The Vision Council’s upcoming 2021 Executive Summit, taking place for the first time in a completely virtual format from January 26-28 under the banner of “An OPTImistic View of the Future.” Lackran announced that registration for the event, which is open to both members and non-members, has opened and encouraged members to take advantage of members-only pricing and register, which can be done here.

Lackran shared a breakdown of the Executive Summit agenda and key topics and announced that the keynote speakers will include Emmanuel Acho, former NFL linebacker and creator of the popular “Uncomfortable Conversations with A Black Man” video series and book, and economist Brian Beaulieu of ITR Economics, with a third speaker to be announced soon. Lackran also noted that an analysis of the results of The Vision Council’s 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey will be presented at the event. A final agenda will be shared in the coming weeks.

“We are partnering with a cutting-edge virtual platform to ensure we can deliver the same high-quality level of networking and leadership development that the Executive Summit has always offered,” said Lackran. “With options for pre-planned and organic networking and tools that allow attendees to curate their networking environment, there are countless ways for attendees to connect with each other in a meaningful way while tailoring the Executive Summit experience to their needs and areas of interest.”

The All-Member Meeting continued with a presentation by Jane Balek, executive director of Think About Your Eyes, which highlighted the future of the campaign and included details on an industry-wide consumer-facing effort planned for 2021.

Following Balek, an analysis of the U.S. optical market was provided by The Vision Council’s research team, including Steve Kodey, senior director of industry research services; Nathan Troxell, director of consumer and market insights; and Jane Yang, research coordinator. The team provided a breakdown of the $36.7 billion optical industry by market segment and product line, noting that prescription eyeglasses accounted for the majority of revenue for the 12-month period ending in June 2020.

The team also compared the change in online sales revenue over the past year, which they reported increased by 6.7 percent, to sales performance through other distribution channels. Additionally, they examined how the recent COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the optical industry from both a consumer and eyecare provider perspective.

The all-member portion of the meeting concluded with an overview of The Vision Council’s public policy platform and the government relations committee’s key strategic priorities, presented by Bill Applegate and Chris Rorick, members of The Vision Council’s Federal Affairs Counsel. In addition to speaking to the team’s public policy efforts before and after the onset of the pandemic, Applegate and Rorick gave a high-level look at the potential impact of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results on the eyewear and manufacturing and distribution community and key opportunities for success within the new Congress and Administration. Applegate and Rorick also spoke to targeted pandemic advocacy efforts that are underway and how The Vision Council is prioritizing vision care on Capitol Hill.

Following the all-member portion of the meeting, members joined division-specific meetings for tailored updates.

Members can access post-event resources from The Vision Council's All-Member Virtual Meeting on The Vision Council’s division-secured pages, found here.