Kelly Asbra

VP of Programs

Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation
Portland, Oregon

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Kelly has affected the lives of hundreds of women struggling for direction after serving lengthy prison terms and through her program, has provided thousands of pairs of new and recycled glasses for use in eye missions around the world.”

When Kelly Asbra started in the optical field in 2002, she developed a work-based education program at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF), a women’s prison in Oregon. After reading about a similar program focused on the optical field, she reached out to one of their educators, Mike Garza. He helped her learn about the operations of their program, as well as the foundations of opticianry. From there, Asbra studied textbooks and took the ABO exam to become a certified optician.

In her program, the women prisoners spend a portion of their day recycling glasses from the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation, and part of the day studying the curriculum Asbra built to prepare them for taking the ABO and CPO or CPOA exams. “I feel that with the skills these women leave the program with they are able to restart their lives and make a better future for themselves and their families,” she said.

In 2014, Asbra became the VP of Programs for the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation, overseeing all their optical, hearing and surgery programs. She helped start the Lions Eyeglass Assistance Program lab, which provides over 2,500 pairs of eyeglasses annually for people in Oregon. Her team also opened a retail shop, which has a staff made up of former students from the CCCF program. All its proceeds go back into their other charitable programs. Most recently, Asbra set up an internship program for women after completing the CCCF curriculum, which she hopes will continue to grow.

SHE SAYS… “My advice to women in optical would be to ask for help. Seek out people who can be your mentor. I find this field has so many people who want to help lift people up.”

Sherry J. Bass, OD

Distinguished Teaching Professor

SUNY College of Optometry
New York, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Dr. Bass has dedicated a lifetime to advancing the optometric profession in many areas, including research, teaching, and care of patients with complex issues. Her investigations have informed understanding and approaches to vision health and eyecare, particularly for people with retinal disorders.”

Dr. Sherry Bass has been a member of the SUNY College of Optometry faculty for 41 years, where she earned the rank of Distinguished Teaching Professor. Dr. Bass also works in the University Eye Center’s retina clinic and electrodiagnostic clinic and serves as the residency supervisor for the residency in ocular disease. One of her specialties is inherited eye diseases. “I have helped to train close to 100 residents. And I have examined thousands of patients throughout the years, helping them to see better and get the treatment they deserve,” she said.

In addition to her work at SUNY, and maintaining her own private practice, Dr. Bass has written over 150 articles and book chapters. She has presented lectures across the country and around the world. Dr. Bass is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry. She has also been a member of the American Optometric Association for 43 years. In her career, Dr. Bass has helped to educate and train over 3,000 optometrists, and many more who have attended her lectures and read her publications.

SHE SAYS… “My primary focus is helping patients get the correct diagnosis. I have been taught that 95 percent of treatment is making the correct diagnosis. Doing so helps patients obtain the most appropriate treatment that will help them to maintain their vision.”

Michelle J. Hoff, OD, FAAO, ABOM, FNAO

CEO and Co-Founder
SightLine Ophthalmic Consulting LLC
Moraga, California

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She has mentored the future of optometry as an associate clinical professor and now helps established ECPs enhance patient care through training and continuing education.”

Dr. Michelle Hoff’s life was profoundly affected when she got her first pair of glasses at age four. In the late ’70s, when she expressed her career interest during an eye exam, the doctor gave her some great advice. He said, “Start in the front office and work your way back to see if you like the whole profession.”

That’s exactly what she did. When she was admitted to UC Berkeley School of Optometry, she was hired to instruct optometry students in the clinic. When she graduated, she accepted a faculty positon to teach pre-clinic laboratory courses—and ended up instructing and inspiring optometry students for the past three decades.

“I hope that each one of my former students learned something about ophthalmics that they use every day to help their patients have clear comfortable vision,” she said.

As of June 2021, Dr. Hoff retired from teaching. But she said, “In many ways, I’m just getting started pursuing my passion for ophthalmic education.”

In the Fall of 2020, she brought together two other like-minded industry professionals and formed SightLine Ophthalmic Consulting—a collaborative optical partnership focused on educating and inspiring optical and vision care professionals at all levels through articles, ABO seminars, national speaking engagements and training.

During Dr. Hoff’s career, she also founded Mindful Eyes Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that helps homeless and low-income adults in Alameda County.

SHE SAYS… “Seek out your passion. Practice with compassion and you will find your success at the end of the rainbow. I’ve done this my whole career and I have never felt like I’ve worked a day in my life.”

Demetria Roberts, ABOC

Sales Planning Specialist

Carl Zeiss Vision Inc.
Hebron, Kentucky

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Demetria provides services for our key customers enabling them to more easily sell our products, particularly through Rx Lab network. She also develops product roll-out plans, including training programs and sales tools.”

Demetria Roberts got her start in the optical industry while still in college, working part-time as an optician at a Walmart Vision Center. She said she had no idea this part-time job would turn into her passion. Within two years, she had begun fabricating and assembling eyeglasses as a lab technician before quickly taking on management positions.

In her role at Carl Zeiss Vision Inc., she is responsible for leading key sales planning projects by tracking deliverables and managing stakeholder concerns. This includes ensuring effective communication between customers and the rest of the sales team.

After more than 25 years in the industry, Roberts still finds inspiration in the ability to help people see better. She said the most rewarding aspect of her job is connecting with people in the field and hearing their ideas on how to make the industry better.

“The most valuable insight comes from the opticians who deal with patients daily. Helping people see clearly is the foundation of my love for optical and it’s what encourages me to actively seek improvement in the industry.”

She believes it is important to surround herself with women who she describes as “innovators and leaders in the optical industry. She said she still loves sharing new innovative technology with patients and discovering new ways to help people see better.

SHE SAYS… “Find other women in the field to connect with and stay connected with those women. A strong network will take you far and encourage you on those days when it gets hard. Please remember that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.”