INSIGHTS: Voices + Views Elena Pryadkina Is Living Her Life in Color By Stephanie Sengwe, Contributing Editor Thursday, July 25, 2019 10:00 AM Elena Pryadkina’s Instagram page, EyeAmElena is as colorful as her sense of fashion and it is clear for anyone who stops by the page that she is quite the fashionista. A second-year optician student at Douglas College in New Westminster, British Columbia, she converted EyeAmElena from a personal page to a more optical focused page in order to show her passion for eyewear. Pryadkina found herself falling in love with the profession in 2016 when she took a job as an office administrator in a local independent optical store. “I came to work as an office administrator for an independent optical store in Vancouver and after a few weeks of working there I began thinking ‘how could I make this my career?’” she said. “I had never enjoyed working until I started working there and that’s how I knew opticianry was a good career to pursue.” While she’s had her Instagram page for years, it wasn’t until last year that she decided to mesh her daily life with her passion for glasses and the optical industry. Her first posts were centered around Transitions Lenses, and once she noticed they were receiving high engagement, she knew she had found her niche. Her Instagram consist of posts about different frames that currently have her eye in the moment. Sometimes she’ll post the frames as a standalone post, other times she pairs her glasses with a well-coordinated outfit. Her love for Transitions Lenses caught the company’s eye, and she even got the opportunity to attend the Transitions Academy—which took place in Orlando, Fla. this past February—as one of their Transitions Student Ambassadors. “I have to thank Transitions for giving me a reason to start posting on Instagram and then rewarding me with an opportunity to meet the most amazing people from all over the world at Academy. Instagram has definitely sparked more drive in me to keep doing what I’m doing by exposing me to cool experiences like this,” she said. Pryadkina tries to update her page every day or every other day, but because she is a student, getting the time to sit down and create individual posts can be a challenge. Instead she uses Planoly—an end to end Instagram visual management platform—that allows her to create her posts in advance, so her page remains active even when she’s busy. “It’s sometimes difficult to always have photos on hand which is why I use Planoly to try to stay organized and on top of my game. Some weeks I don’t even feel like finding an outfit to shoot in but we’re all human. Sometimes I just need a little extra inspiration,” she said. In addition to getting the opportunity to go to Transitions Academy, Instagram has also helped Pryadkina connect with professionals in the industry. She sites Sheena Taff (@optician.about.town) as an incremental mentor in her journey through school as well as social media. “She has been my number one mentor and the woman who helped me achieve so much that I have today. I will be forever grateful to her and I will never forget how many doors she had opened for me. She is incredibly inspiring and motivating in career and life and has always pushed me to just go for what I want and that’s what has stuck with me the most.” Going forward, Pryadkina hopes that her page is an example for how far passion can take you. Currently, EyeAmElena also has a counterpart in the form of a blog. She hopes the blog will not only expand her reach, but also be an outlet that helps her express opinions that would otherwise be too wordy for Instagram. “I really want to show all the opportunities that have come to me through having a social media presence. I want to connect with more people and be able to visit and possibly collaborate with the people I meet. Work stops being work when you actually enjoy doing it and I think that’s why I am able to keep up with my content as well as juggle school and a job at the same time. If I can do it so can you,” she concluded.