Services to be Held This Week for Donna Van Green, Well Known Optical Eyewear Exec and Mentor to Many

More Images
Donna Van Green

NEW YORK—Services will be held this week for Donna Van Green, a well known, longtime eyewear sales executive, a good friend and mentor to so many throughout the business, who passed away on Aug. 26. Her family noted that a wake will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 2 from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Romanelli-Stephen Funeral Home in Ozone Park, N.Y . A Mass celebrating her life will be at St Stanislaus Church in Pine Island N.Y.

Van Green worked early on in her eyewear career as a salesperson for Optique Du Monde and then joined what would become the Viva International Group a few years after the company had started. Initially she was a sales rep for the New York City market and eventually took on other district and regional manager roles with Viva International. Harvey Ross, founder of Viva, told VMAIL, "Donna was one of the first women we hired and she was a great salesperson, the accounts loved her and she did a great job for the company. She was funny and creative... She was with Viva for 10 years."

Added New Millennium Eyewear's CEO Edward Chernoff, who met Van Green the day he started his first job at Viva in customer service, before he later became head of sales at Viva, said that he and Van Green maintained a very close friendship throughout the years. "She was such a terrific salesperson and obviously became a leader within the company. And, in fact, before visual merchandising and marketing really came into play in the eyewear business, she was the first to help her accounts by doing window displays, making many of her own in the beginning, working all hours to develop great display ideas.

"When we saw how well they worked, we started to do window display kits so that all of our reps would be able to help their accounts showcase and merchandise the collections. She was far ahead of her time, her work and creativity really helped carry the eyewear industry forward."

In addition, Chernoff noted, "She just touched people. She had strength and determination and was so generous. She helped so many. She and her dear husband, Paul, also loved animals and devoted so much of their time to them. She was always positive and upbeat."

After Viva, Van Green started at Seiko Optical, helping the Japanese lens company move into the eyewear business in America. After several years of running and overseeing the Seiko Optical frame division, she then served as the first liaison to The Vision Council's eyewear division, representing the organization to members and prospective members and connecting many with the resources offered by the organization.

Stated Jim Anderson, general counsel to The Vision Council, “I had the good fortune of working with Donna Van Green for many years during her time at The Vision Council. I loved her wit and insights about the industry and its members. When I walked the Vision Expo Show floor with her, I felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity. People constantly came up to her and hugged her and asked for her comments about industry trends. She was by far the most popular person in the vision community and people always felt happier after talking with her.

"Something many may not know about Donna is how much she enjoyed helping young, start-up companies. She would mentor them about booth design, sales techniques, assist them with supplier introductions and anything else that she thought might help them be successful. Donna was one of most delightful people I ever met and I was blessed to have her as a good friend. I will miss her immensely.”

Van Green mentored many men and women and was one of several Optical Divas from around the industry, who became friends and supporters of each other. Van Green was recognized by Vision Monday among its Most Influential Women in Optical when that report began in 2003.

Van Green was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1949. Her sister, Michelle Palagonia Micari, remembered that the two of them often traveled with their parents, who ran an import/export business, on trips to Asia and other parts of the world. "Donna loved travel and was just passionate about helping people and making connections."

Van Green is survived by her sister, Michelle and her husband, Robert Micari, their daughter Alexandria Maestrellis and her husband Michael, and their children, Olivia Grace and Nico Marchello, along with another sister, Anita Orbita. Van Green's husband, Paul Van Green, passed away on April 2, after a long illness.

For those wishing to honor Van Green, it is suggested that donations be made to Noah's Ark, 48 Maple Avenue, Goshen, N.Y. phone: (845) 294-8948, Attention: Chris. Noah's Ark is an animal rescue and shelter. Or, donors might honor Van Green with a gift to Metavivor, an organization that supports metastatic breast cancer research, support and awareness.