Pamela Andrews

Associate Director, Retail Go-To-Market
Carl Zeiss Vision
San Diego, California

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Pamela “brings creative innovation to the company, constantly going beyond her duties to help all succeed.” She has been recognized by Zeiss with Support Staff of the Year and two Above & Beyond Awards.”

A native of Australia, Pamela Andrews is well-acquainted with the strength of the sun and its harmful effects, so her path into eyecare was a natural fit. While working as an optician she studied marketing at university, bringing her new expertise into the workplace. She then joined Carl Zeiss Vision as a marketing assistant, working her way up through a variety of roles within the Australian and global teams, moving to the U.S. in 2018 and being promoted to associate director, retail go-to-market. There, Andrew’s team supports Zeiss’ retail partners in mutual growth via marketing, merchandising and communications including major product launches, digital campaigns, and development of new demo tools.

Her passion for implementing symbiotic business relationships is also evident in Zeiss’ partnership with the MDSolarSciences skin care company. The campaign launched with a joint, interactive display in the 2019 Vision Expo East registration lobby where attendees experienced a personalized interactive and educational journey showing the effects of UV on their own skin and how lenses protect—promoting a complete UV protection message for face and eyes.

SHE SAYS… “Enable your team to work within their areas of genius, while also allowing space to develop new skills and pursue passions. There is ample opportunity to develop one’s optical career in many different disciplines, while always making a positive impact on the way people see their worlds.”

Crystal Bermudez

Director of Product Development
Tura Inc.
New York, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “With her extraordinary design vision and unique sense of color, Crystal has been leading the product team responsible for the success of the Ted Baker, L.A.M.B. and Buffalo David Bitton brands.”

Crystal Bermudez discovered her love for designing eyewear working as a product development intern at B. Robinson Optical. “My journey in the optical industry began 11 years ago when one of my dearest friends and mentor, Lauren Michael, hired me as an intern,” said Bermudez. After graduating from The Fashion Institute of Technology in 2010, she was hired full time at the company as a product development specialist by Joyce Kurtulus, another early mentor.

In 2014, Bermudez joined Tura and was soon promoted to senior product manager in charge of the Ted Baker brand. She launched the Gwen Stefani, L.A.M.B and Buffalo Ted Bitton brands and contributed to eight of Tura’s 10 EyeVote awards. Recently promoted to director of Product Development, she now leads her team in the design, product development and merchandising of all Tura brands.

Bermudez credits the women who have mentored her along her career path, including her current boss, Jennifer Coppel. “I’ve learned a lot from mentors who were instrumental in shaping me, and I am excited to share what I’ve learned in this new role.” Her personal philosophy is “to always lead by example, get your hands dirty and know your trade.”

SHE SAYS… “Always be ready to learn; do not get in your own way; make something that people want and thing big; don’t be afraid to be bold.”

Jillian Marro

Global Brand Director, Altair Eyewear
New York, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Since joining Altair Eyewear in 2013, Jillian has taken on increased levels of responsibility, strengthening not only Altair’s portfolio of licensed and owned brands but also creating new capabilities and raising the bar for Altair’s marketing, trade marketing and corporate messaging.”

Among her many accomplishments as global brand director for Altair Eyewear, Jillian Marro has successfully launched six optical brands in six years. This major undertaking succeeded, she said, with the hard work of her team members who tweaked and accelerated their marketing efforts to make each successive launch execution even better.

In addition to launching new products, Marro is responsible for Altair’s corporate narrative, brand portfolio, licensing negotiations and strategic marketing plans. She recently oversaw the contract negotiations and launch of Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James Eyewear while simultaneously launching a proof of concept Frame and Lens program for VSP.

“Juggling celebrity licensing while learning about cross lines of business was rigorous, complex and exciting,” she said. “It took me out of my comfort zone and allowed my team and I to explore new ways of doing business.”

Before joining Altair six years ago, Marro was a brand manager and director of sales for B. Robinson Optical, where she honed her skills at launching new products and developing brand positioning and product strategies that have served her well in her career.

SHE SAYS… “I encourage women developing their careers to ‘find a way or make your own’ if you have conviction in an idea or thought. Don’t let the first ‘no’ stop you, blaze your own trail.”

Catherine Satterfield, PhD

Director of Training and Development
Hoya Vision Care
Lewisville, Texas

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She has been instrumental in pushing Hoya initiatives and culture forward. She has shown the company and all teams to think beyond the job description and do what is best for the customer and the company.”

Satterfield discovered the optical industry as a college student, when she went to buy a pair of glasses at a local Minnosota LensCrafters and ended up getting not only the glasses, but a job too. “I accepted thinking it would maybe last a year, but it turned out it would eventually become my career,” she said.

She started as a frame stylist, then studied opticianry and got her ABO certification. While working as an optician, she went to graduate school and earned a doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Minnesota. Satterfield sees a common thread connecting optical and neuroscience. “A lot of science is about figuring out puzzles, and opticians try to figure out solutions for patients.”

In 2012, she joined Hoya as a territory sales manager. Four years later she was promoted to a new role within Hoya—customer development manager (CDM)—and was named director of training and development in 2018. She manages customer development managers tasked with creating transition plans for new Hoya customers, facilitates growth and education programs, and consults on customer development.

She also oversees the creation of training programs involving optical knowledge, Hoya products and patient consulting protocols. Her accomplishments include creating an onboarding transition strategy for new Hoya customers and internal ECP sales managers, and creating and launching a CDM team.

SHE SAYS… “At end of the day, the patient needs to understand what they’re purchasing. If we can’t simplify it for them, they’ll find someone else who can.”

Jill Saxon, OD, FAAO

Senior Director, Professional Strategy
Bausch + Lomb
Bridgewater, New Jersey

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Ever since Dr. Saxon first joined Bausch + Lomb in 2014, she has been an agent of change, dedicated to doing whatever she can to impact the future, and to ensure that those around her knew that she was someone they could count on.”

Jill Saxon, OD, began her optometric career in the U.S. Navy in 2004. As an active duty Lieutenant optometrist, Saxon says she began to truly understand the importance of instilling change. “I had the opportunity to completely renovate the clinic aboard the USNS Comfort, and to provide critical vision care to military members and their families,” she explained. After leaving the Navy, she worked in private practice for several years until she was offered a full-time position with Bausch + Lomb in 2014.

“Initially, I was hesitant to leave my practice and patients, but I quickly realized that the opportunity would allow me to have positive impact on so many more patients,” she said. “It was, ultimately, an opportunity that could affect worldwide change, and I have been dedicated to supporting the growth of the future of eyecare ever since.”

At B+L, Saxon’s two key priorities are: professional education and outreach, and developing and launching new products. This work includes: leading a team responsible for engaging with eyecare professionals to ensure the perspectives and insights of optometrists and patients are foundational to the company’s new product development, developing and delivering the company’s training curriculum, developing and leading educational events for ECPs, and fostering relationships with optometric industry members.

SHE SAYS… “It’s been my mission to not only serve health professionals and patients, but also to inspire young professional women to grow in their careers and to develop their own purpose. I believe that one of the most powerful things we can develop is a network of people that beyond just connecting, can be a there for support, guidance, advice and direction. I encourage every woman to be courageous when their career presents challenges or opportunities; to embrace change [and] to make goals, but always strive to go beyond them.”

Giulia Valmassoi

Thema Optical North American Division
Miami, Florida

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Giulia is a “champion of family business,” with her strong support for independents and commitment to providing solutions that bring innovation to the wholesale/retail relationship.”

A native of Venice, Italy with a background in real estate, Giulia Valmassoi is CEO of Thema Optical’s North American division, which opened in 2013. In six years, sales have grown to over $2.5 million and Thema brands are present in over 1,000 optical retailers across the U.S. Valmassoi is responsible for developing and implementing strategic plans to grow brand awareness and expand the business in the U.S. and Canada, as well as daily operations.

Thema was one of the first companies to offer bespoke frames in response to growing consumer demand for personalized expression via eyewear, with the option to mix and match hundreds of design elements. Today, with Valmassoi’s strategic direction, biometrics is taking customization even further—the Virtual Eyewear Assistant, paired with their patented 3D Acetate technology, takes a 3D scan of the customer’s face to create a unique facial profile rendering. It then provides virtual try-on of over a million style/color combinations and manufactures the glasses based on the customer’s unique facial measurements in under one week—a nod to the importance of meeting the fulfillment expectations of the “Amazon consumer.”

Valmassoi is a member of The Vision Council’s Emerging Optical Leaders committee and the OWA, and embraces the power of mentorship. On her leadership style, she said, “I don’t hire people to tell them what to do and how to do it all the time. I need new ideas and fresh points of view to constantly improve our services.”

SHE SAYS… “We’ve all found people who have inspired us or been role models—always aim to be that kind of person. Realize the power of a single idea; your voice; your actions.”

Alana Whitaker

Ray-Ban Sales Consultant
San Diego, California

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Supporting others in this field is influential as hell, and Alana’s killin’ it at that! She has stayed true to her goals, providing valuable tips to reps and helping ECPs with social media.”

If you follow social media eyewear influencers, then you know @CaliforniaGlassesGirl, a.k.a. Alana Whitaker, is widely considered “a top optical follow.” Part of the optical industry for seven years, with a background in fund-raising and event planning, Alana now represents Ray-Ban and is responsible for wholesale sales and account management of independent opticals and sun specialty stores in San Diego County. She educates accounts on best practices for growing business and maximizing profits, including social media, visual merchandising, inventory management, optical dispensary sales and sell-through.

Prior to Ray-Ban, she created @CaliforniaGlassesGirl on Instagram to network and gain new business, which evolved into an engaged national audience that trusts her opinion because “I only talk about things I believe in,” whether it’s optical trends, new products or business. Alana passes that expertise to her accounts, teaching them to leverage social media and translate that to sales—an important service, as the industry continues its digital shift.

Finding her “work tribe” has made a world of difference as she develops her career. Alana is now an active member of the OWA, serving on its Digital Marketing Committee and giving and receiving support among many women (including competitors) who help each other succeed.

SHE SAYS… “It’s never too late. Go after what you want—usually the worst that happens is you’re told ‘no.’ Don’t wait for things to be handed to you. Women are often paid less, passed up for promotions, etc. because we’re scared to ask. Find a mentor—I wish I’d done it sooner.”