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Speakers, Keynoter, Exhibits Shaping Up for 2013 Seeing is Believing Conference

By CLICK Staff

ROCKVILLE, Md.—Some 40 speakers, providing content, seminars and special courses, and informative product "exhibit halls" and "centers of excellence" are being put into place by the organizers of Seeing is Believing (SiB), a virtual conference planned for Jan. 30-31, 2013. The new online conference, specifically targeting the optometric market, was announced back in July, and will use an advanced virtual reality conferencing software to deliver information and showcase products and services for attendees, its aim to teach practitioners about the power of online tools, techniques and technology.

Just recently, VM's CLICK has learned that all optometric students will now be provided free registration for the two-day event due to a sponsorship from Walmart and Sam's Club. In addition, SIB's keynote speaker will be Edward Zuckerberg, DDS, whose presentation is being sponsored by SolutionReach. As a dentist, Dr. Zuckerberg has used SmileReminder but his talk, slated for Jan. 30 at SiB, will focus on dealing with the challenges that all practitioners face in communicating with their patient-base and strategies for how patient communication tools and social media – such as Facebook – can overcome those challenges. It should be noted that Dr. Zuckerberg is the father of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

Conceptualized by practitioner and CLICK contributor, Alan Glazier, OD and Daniel Rostenne, president of EyeCarePro, SiB also has a Planning Board, which includes those plus Michael Porat, COO of EyeCare Pro, along with Angel Alvarez, CEO of ABBConcise, Neil Gailmard, OD, CEO of Prima Eye Group, Gary Gerber, OD, founder and CEO of The Power Practice, practitioner and social media expert Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD and Richard Hults, OD, president and CEO of Dr. R.E. Hults Associates, a LensCrafters affiliated practice and a board member of ALLDocs.

Regarding the student registration, Glazier said, "The rich educational content available at SiB is perfect for optometric students as well as practicing optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians and staff. This sponsorship from Walmart and Sam's Club removes any barrier to entrance for optometry students across the U.S. and Canada and creates an even richer educational environment for the conference."

Walmart and Sam's Club pointed out that they have had "a long-standing commitment to optometry students. We see current optometry students as the future of optometry," stated Dr. Darin Closin, of the Health and Wellness-Talent Acquisition Division of Walmart and Sam's Club. "This form of online education is not only easily accessible, but we see great value in bringing together students with current practicing optometrists."

"I love the energy students bring to an event like SiB," stated Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, who is responsible for the student effort as part of his role on the SiB Planning Board. "Online education and the use of technology to educate is nothing new to today's students. The ease with which these students work in a technology driven environment means they will be able to derive so much from this conference."

SiB's conference will also feature "centers of excellence," which are described by Rostenne as "essentially mini-conferences within the conference that delve into a particular topic with much more focus and depth. So far we have an AMD Center of Excellence and a Practice Management Center of Excellence, with several more in development. All attendees will have access to these centers as well as a vast amount of exhibitors and speaker sessions right from their desktop."

"We believe the timing is right to move some portion of optometric conferencing online," reported Glazier. "We are seeing huge numbers of optometrists online on Facebook and other virtual environments because while there is a need for information and collaboration, travel away from the office is becoming economically more and more difficult for most practices."

To those that enjoy the culinary benefits of an in-person conference, our virtual food court sponsored by Domino's pizza provides a way to cross the virtual/brick and mortar boundary. Attendees can get a pizza and drinks delivered to their practice during the event. Glazier noted, "We are hoping that more and more offices will make this a staff training event and the food court idea facilitates the office staying together, sharing a meal and attending one or two of the many speaker sessions together. The optometrist can then use the talk to facilitate further discussion in the office. All this at no extra costs for flying and housing staff in another venue."

SiB will also be offering several focus groups sponsored by industry and a variety of educational games and prizes. "There is a lot to be learned in SiB, but it appears that it will also be a lot of fun," commented Gailmard, OD, a member of the SiB Planning Board and an SiB speaker.

Standard registration for SiB is $99, although as of CLICK's presstime today, discount registrations of $59 are available through a number of membership groups including: The Power Practice, Prima, PEN (Primary Eyecare Network), Vision West, TSO, GPN and Walmart and Sam's Club. And optometric students can register at no charge, due to the Walmart and Sam's Club sponsorship.

Conference information and registration can be found at ECPs are invited to join the SiB's Facebook Page for additional news and updates and registration for the event is open.

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