Optical Women’s Association Announces 2020 Award Honorees

By

Millicent Knight, OD
DALLAS—The Optical Women’s Association (OWA) has announced the organization's 2020 OWA Award Honorees. Millicent Knight, OD and senior vice president, customer development group, at Essilor of America, will receive the OWA Pleiades award to recognize her exceptional action in advancing the leadership role of women in the optical industry. Jean Sabre, owner of Uptown Vision, will receive the Pyxis award to honor her as a member of the OWA who actively participates in the organization and contributes to its continuing growth. Sheena Taff, optician and optical writer, also known as Optician About Town, will receive the 2020 Visionary Award, newly created this year to recognize her as an OWA member who demonstrates progressive thinking and actively cultivates the professional development of women.

“Each year, the OWA carefully selects women in our industry who exemplify the best in leadership, forward-thinking views, and commitment to the optical industry. This year, I’m pleased to recognize three amazing women, Millicent, Jean, and Sheena, for their professionalism, dedication, and fearlessness, and mostly for being part of the incredible network of OWA women,” said Robyn Crimmins of VSP and OWA's president.

These women will be honored at International Vision Expo East during the OWA's Annual Champagne Breakfast on Thursday, March 26, 2020, at Gotham Hall in New York City. This event will also feature keynote speaker Erin O’Malley, a facilitator and trainer who works with leadership teams and organizations to craft cultures of trust, connection, and loyalty. The breakfast is sponsored by Luxottica and the OWA.


Jean Sabre
Dr. Knight's team aligns eyecare professional education, sales force training, and eye care professional relations to deliver on the Essilor mission of improving lives by improving sight. Knight represents the voice of the doctor as a member of the leadership team. She has a diverse and extensive background in the eyecare industry, including hospital-based ophthalmology/optometry, owner of two optometric practices (North Shore Eye Center and Integrative Eye and Wellness Center), and a former member of Vision Source. Prior to Essilor, she was vice president of professional affairs, North America at Johnson & Johnson Vision, Inc.

Dr. Knight is a member of the Illinois Optometric Association (IOA), the American Optometric Association (AOA), and the National Optometric Association (NOA), and was awarded Optometrist of the Year by both the IOA and NOA, as well as Young Optometrist of the Year by both Organizations.

Knight holds a Doctor of Optometry degree, and two Bachelor of Science degrees. She has served on the board for Augustana College and the Illinois College of Optometry, her alma maters, and was awarded Alumnus Professional Achievement Awards. Knight was, twice selected as one of Vision Monday’s Most Influential Women in Optical, and a Women In Optometry Theia Award for Leadership recipient. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Regenerative Medicine, The National Academies of Practice, and a Kellogg Leadership Fellow.

Jean Sabre, along with her husband Dr. Mark Sabre, founded Uptown Vision in Minneapolis, Minn. in 1991. In her role with the clinic, she is the practice administrator, buyer and lead optician. Before entering the optical profession, she held management and sales positions throughout the U.S. with major retailers including Marshall Field’s, Nordstrom, and Barneys New York.

Sabre has been a member of the OWA since 2004 and currently serves on the Membership Committee, where she heads up the Student Ambassador program. She is excited to be facilitating the outreach to future members of the optometric and optical professions via the OWA.


Sheena Taff
Formerly, she served on the board of directors of the OWA as co-chair of the Mentorship Committee. Sabre has also served on Transitions Optical’s Pro Forum advisory panel for the past 10 years and on the Board of Governors of Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn. Her optical interests include mentoring others, emerging eyewear and lens technology, and practice management.

Sheena Taff: Sheena Taff, also known as @Optician.About.Town, is an award-winning licensed optician and optical blogger. She runs a second-generation independent optical boutique, Roberts and Brown in Vancouver, Canada.

Taff has gained attention for her tenacious drive to change the perspective of the optical experience. Her mission is to share the benefits of wearing quality eyewear and to change the perception of what it means to wear glasses. She is the founder of the #EyeStyleInfluencers, an industry group committed to educating peers and the public on the importance of eye health and seeing an eyecare professional. She has a monthly column in EyeCare Business magazine. In her blog OpticianAboutTown.com, she shares her fashion-forward perspective and the joys of “EyeStyle” while focusing on the equal importance of lenses as part of the story.

In addition to the OWA Champagne Breakfast, the OWA will host a cocktail and networking reception on Friday evening at the Javits Center.

More details about registration for both events will be posted soon, OWA said.