The Vision Council Brings Together Vision Community Leaders at Annual Executive Summit

By

Ken Bradley, Eschenbach Optik of America, Vision Council chairman.

MANALAPAN, Fla.—The Vision Council's Executive Summit kicked off on Wednesday at the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa here, a new select site for the annual event. Taking place Jan. 29-31, the 2020 event welcomes more than 300 industry leaders for three days of executive-level networking and leadership development. Designed to illuminate the dynamic changes ahead for the vision community from a balanced global perspective and provide curated and tangible approaches to tackling these challenges, the Executive Summit includes a robust schedule of interactive panels and presentations by industry experts, as well as dedicated networking sessions. During the summit, The Vision Council also inducted its 2020 board of directors.

"2020 is bound to be an exciting year for the vision community.” said Ken Bradley, president of Eschenbach Optik of America and chairman of The Vision Council. “With a knowledgeable and skilled board of directors in place, The Vision Council is well-positioned to serve the needs of our increasingly diverse membership while addressing larger industry challenges and seizing the opportunities presented by an evolving economic landscape.”

In addition to highlighting successes from 2019, the Executive Summit's Insights member session provided attendees with details on The Vision Council’s outlook for the year ahead. The Vision Council shared its plans for the reimagination of Vision Expo, with a new concept launching at Vision Expo East 2020, and detailed how the new concept fits into a larger marketing strategy shift for 2020.

Also at the Insights session, Industry veteran Val Scott, who retired from Vision Expo late last year, was honored for her contributions to the vision community. Jamie Shyer, COO of Zyloware and former chair of The Vision Council board of directors thanked Scott for her years of service and acknowledged her reputation for relationship-building and included a special acknowledgement from Francesco Gili, COO of Mido.

The summit’s programming on Thursday featured a joint keynote from former U.S. Trade Representative Ambassadors Ron Kirk and Susan Schwab, who provided expert insights into global trade, economics and policy. The global trade policy keynote was followed by a supply chain panel featuring Richie Woodward, president of the Wolverine Boston Group—comprised of Keds, Saucony, and Stride Rite brands; Marc Lefebvre, CEO of frame designer and manufacturer Killine Group; and Ryan Babenzien, founder of the direct-to-consumer sneaker brand, GREATS.

A special trade and tarriff discussion included The Vision Council's Rick Van Arman (c) with former U.S. trade representatives Susan Schwab and Ron Kirk.
Program chair Mike Hundert (far left) moderated a supply chain panel discussion.
The Vision Council saluted the contributions of Val Scott, longtime Vision Expo executive, in a special honor presented by Zyloware's Jamie Shyer, former Vision Council chair.

New this year, the Summit’s programming included exclusive break-out sessions led by several of the The Vision Council’s consultants and experts who provided insight on timely topics ranging from building a positive office culture to social media best practices and cyber security.

Closing out the summit today, Friday, Jan. 31, Frances Frei, professor of technology and operations management at Harvard Business School and author, will share her expertise on leadership and strategy followed by an outlook on economic trends given by Brian Beaulieu, economist and CEO of ITR Economics. Beaulieu will share a fiscal perspective for the future regarding how attendees can prepare their business and personal finances.

During The Vision Council';s annual Business Meeting, the following members were confirmed to the board of directors for a second two-year term as directors at large: Rebecca Giefer, CEO of MODO Americas; and Scott Shapiro, CEO of Europa Eyewear. The following members were confirmed to serve an initial two-year term as directors at large: Steve Wright, chief commercial officer of Safilo USA; Tim Swartz, vice president of sporting goods, optical and eCommerce at FGX; Nicola Zotta, president of Marchon; and Jim McGrann, chairman and CEO of Healthy Eyes Advantage.

Finally, the following officers were confirmed for a second one-year term: Ken Bradley, president of Eschenbach Optik of America, as the chair; Karen Roberts, vice president at Carl Zeiss Vision, as vice-chair; Dustin LaValley, Walman Optical as secretary/treasurer; and Mike Hundert, NVI, as immediate past chair. The complete roster for the 2020 board of directors can be found online at thevisioncouncil.org.

The Executive Summit kicked off with The Vision Council’s Insights: All Member Session, which updated members on the issues of highest priority to the industry. The session included a government and regulatory affairs update from regulatory affairs counsel Rick Van Arnam and senior policy advisor Chris Rorick as well as an overview of California Assembly Bill 5 and how the new law impacts independent contractor rules from general counsel Jim Anderson.

Senior director of Industry Research Services Steve Kodey provided an analysis of the U.S. optical market based on the latest VisionWatch data. Additionally, Ron Krefman, OD, shared the results of The Vision Council’s first-ever study of diversity in leadership. The study was based on a survey sent to The Vision Council members and is
intended to illuminate opportunities companies have to promote diversity and cultivate talent. In addition to highlighting successes from 2019, the session also provided attendees with details on The Vision Council’s outlook for the year ahead.

To access the annual meeting summary and post event resources from The Vision Council's 2020 Executive Summit, visit thevisioncouncil.org/executivesummit.