Professional development is the fastest and easiest way to stay ahead of trends and innovations in the optical industry. As new procedures and products hit the market, it is important to stay on-top of the latest advancements. Additionally, people who want to climb the corporate ladder or become better leaders understand how critical it is to develop new tools and strategies to help grow their company and the bottom line. VMAIL Weekend asked a group of optical professionals from several sectors of the industry how they are planning to add to their skills this spring. Here’s what they had to say.

Bridgette O’Brien
Director of Marketing

So far this year, I have attended IDOC’s National Conference, The Connection (over 60+ hours of education) and Vision Expo East in New York. I also take LinkedIn Learning courses on professional development, including strategy, communications, digital marketing and more. I encourage my team to take courses as well. Lastly, I read one business related book a month. This month I am reading “Gameness.” The goal is to continue to grow professionally, stay current on industry and marketing trends, network with other leaders, and develop my team. My team participates in a variety of virtual conferences including Adobe Max, MarTech, and more, to keep up on current marketing trends.

Natalie Lacroce
Category Director
Theodore & Pringle Optical at Loblaw Companies Limited

I recently attended Vision Expo East. The goal there was to connect with our current vendor as it was my first trade show since COVID. Transitions Academy is next and the goal there is to learn more about Transitions/PK. Lastly, my goal at Vision Expo West is to focus on connecting with current frame vendors as well as innovation and sourcing new vendor opportunities.

Gerry Leinweber, OD
President and Co-Founder
Canadian Vision Care

At our office, we were all excited about sending team members to the Eye Recommend spring training event, so we were very disappointed to find out it was sold out completely as demand was so high! So we put on our own all day training event this April. We closed our office for one Friday and the team loved it. Our team members are keen to get a great CE.

Suzanne Sendel
Founder of Suzanne Sendel Agency
Optical Distributor and Accessory Designer for Frame2go!

I travel the globe attending as many optical firsts as humanly possible and support all independent businesses where I can. We engage our eyecare professionals by inspiring collaborations and gifting programs with our accessory's collection, the original FTG, as well as promote and elevate our industry's rock stars, by highlighting them in our social media platforms and our features in our trade magazines. Engagement, collaboration and by being there, creates a heart centered message and helps support our mission. Independents rock! 

Brian Snee, OD
Doctor’s EyeCare Merritt

This May 4 we will be attending the FYidoctors Annual General Meeting in Calgary. This will be full of CE courses that we need to attend to keep up to date with the progress found and taught at the current optometry schools, and to keep our practicing licences in our field. The added bonus of attending the CE and AGM is to connect with old and new friends and peers. This is where you almost learn more than the CE is talking about the personal practice functions of other optometrists. It is always educational and fun mixed in that will keep us coming to these events. Wherever the function is, Canada although a large country is still small enough that the location will be home to a close friend or past school classmate, allowing a mini reunion. This experience has a history of surpassing the two or three expectations of old classmates to a large unplanned class reunion.

Shannon Toler
Business Development Manager
IOT America

The biggest thing that anyone can do is participate in as many speaking opportunities as possible. It really helps to refine your speaking skills in front of a live crowd. Eventually the nerves settle down and you focus more on the content.