Lori Archer

Chief Operating Officer
UnitedHealthcare Vision
Indianapolis, Indiana

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She has helped UHC Vision become one of the leading providers of managed vision care. She is also responsible for numerous philanthropic efforts on behalf of the underserved population.”

Lori Archer has spent 23 of her 25 years in the eyecare field with UnitedHealthcare. She was recognized by VM in 2008’s Most Influential Women in Optical as a Mentor, when Archer oversaw account management and product development. In her current role as COO, she is responsible for management, operations and growth to help serve the eyecare needs of more than 20 million Americans in collaboration with a vision network that includes more than 30,000 health care professionals at more than 106,000 access points.

She works with a team of nearly 200 colleagues to strengthen relationships with eyecare providers and develop UnitedHealthcare’s vision products and services, including employer-sponsored, government-sponsored, and individual plans; integrated medical/vision plans, and innovative new pediatric and maternity eyecare benefits.

Archer is also proud of the group’s response to COVID-19, including establishing a $2 million fund for certain independent eyecare professionals to help support these practices amid pandemic-related financial challenges. Mentoring is still critically important to her. “At UnitedHealthcare, we strive to cultivate traditional mentorships and work to facilitate ‘reverse mentorship’ opportunities, which help us share ideas across the organization and support a diversity of opinions.”

She is also a certified UnitedHealthcare “culture facilitator” across the organization. Archer is a member of the Optical Women’s Association.

SHE SAYS… “Believe in yourself first. Regardless of position or career stage, it is important to stay curious, take well-reasoned risks and set ambitious goals for yourself and your organization. Develop and nurture a strong network of friends and family. Make time for them and never take them for granted—they will be your best source of support, guidance and inspiration.”

Dibby Bartlett

Opticians Association of America
Marshfield, Massachusetts

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Dibby has the unique talent of bringing people together: she inspires people to be the best version of themselves, and is never afraid to roll up her sleeves and jump in to help get things done.”

Dibby Bartlett began her optical career like so many: unintentionally. After graduating from Clark University in 1980 with a major in Chinese politics, she took a receptionist position at an optometry office, soon becoming the optical manager and then a licensed optician. After 32 years, she moved into a sales rep position with what is today De Rigo REM, followed by Safilo.

During this time, Bartlett joined the Opticians Association of Massachusetts (OAM) and the Opticians Association of America (OAA), eventually becoming president of both organizations. She still wrestles with understanding prism, but is passionate about teaching, as an adjunct professor at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. There, she designs and instructs the Optical Business course, bridging technical skills with operational, financial, administrative, and promotional considerations.

At OAA, Bartlett is most proud of the successful communication she has developed to engage members nationwide, along with the organization’s Leadership Conference which has continued to evolve into an “extraordinary, life-changing event.” Prior to her leadership roles, she received the President’s Award from the OAM and was named State Leader of the Year by the OAA. VM’s 2018 Most Influential Women in Optical report recognized Bartlett as COO of Todd Rogers Eyewear.

SHE SAYS… Bartlett encourages women developing careers in the optical industry to “Jump in—and if you don’t find a spot, create one. Do it, even if you are afraid.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, she continually seeks opportunities to innovate and forge new trails in service delivery, quoting Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Maureen Beddis

Vice President, Marketing and Membership
The Vision Council
Alexandria, Virginia

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “As a leader and a role model inside The Vision Council, Maureen’s influence on the association, the membership and the consumer’s impression on vision care cannot be measured. She is modest and seeks only to take the smart, right and most impactful course of action, and her judgment and accomplishments has earned her the respect and trust of everyone who works with her.”

Maureen Beddis has overseen the marketing and communications efforts at The Vision Council since fall of 2006. Last year, her role expanded to include oversight of Vision Expo social media and public relations. She said, “Earlier this year, my role expanded to include oversight of the organization’s membership and market research programs. My proud accomplishments include the Eye Health Summit of 2009, which led to the industry-wide Think About Your Eyes consumer campaign, and the viral/trending National Sunglasses Day campaign.

Beddis’ first optical job was in marketing with Carl Zeiss Vision (2002) focusing on progressive lenses and coatings. Early in her career, she was a certified children’s vision screener and volunteered with the local Prevent Blindness chapter. “I also volunteered to handle the media relations for the Optical Women’s Association (OWA)—imagine having access to that many female leaders and mentors at such a young age when I was so new to the industry!”

Her managerial style is clear and direct. “I have always set clear expectations for the quality and delivery of work for anyone on my team or external partners. When expectations are set early and clearly, there is little room for misunderstanding and everyone ends up satisfied. I’ve also found that a little humor can go a long way, as can empathy and understanding.”

Looking back, she credits Ed Greene, former CEO of The Vision Council, as a trusted mentor and advisor “If it weren’t for Ed Greene, I would not be where I am today. He was an incredible leader and introduced me to so many members of the industry early on in my career. I’m grateful to him every day.”

SHE SAYS… “Prioritization is so important. Focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses. Early on, a supervisor gave me a copy of Don Clifton’s ‘Now Go Discover Your Strengths.’ It still sits on the bookshelf behind me in my home office.”

Jill Bryant, OD, MPH, FAAO, FSLS

Executive Director
National Board of Examiners in Optometry
Charlotte, North Carolina

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She manages a team of dedicated staffers who coordinate with content experts to develop test questions, ensure appropriate standards for scoring, and manage security to protect the integrity of the exam process.”

As executive director of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBOE), the national licensing exam organization in optometry, Dr. Bryant supports the NBEO Board of Directors, which is comprised of appointees from the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, and one public member.

She navigates a multitude of interests, including a diverse board of directors, key leaders from the schools and colleges of optometry, and ultimately supports the interests and requirements of the state regulatory boards of optometry to ensure the testing process is fair and representative. Consumers and the public can be assured that candidates who pass the NBEO exam are knowledgeable and competent to become licensed to practice optometry.

Asked what drew her to optometry, Dr. Bryant explained, “I have always had a love for science and math, coupled with an internal desire to help others. Optometry and public health have been an excellent landing spot for me. It is a privilege to contribute to patient care in various ways.”

SHE SAYS… “Maintain your sense of purpose and integrity. These principles serve as a guiding light through challenging times. Make confident decisions and communicate them for understanding by others. Do not be afraid to change or shift direction when necessary. Dedicate yourself to devoting completely to everything you touch and do not be afraid to stretch yourself beyond what you imagine possible.”

Tiffanie Burkhalter

Chief Operating Officer, VSP Ventures

VSP Global
Rancho Cordova, Calif.

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Tiffanie Burkhalter is that rare combination of executive leadership, operational master, and passionate team member. She works hard and tirelessly for the entire team. Her skills and capabilities also extend to readily collaborate with business partners to ensure success. Her passionate style is effective at challenging the team to elevate their performance and contribution for the betterment of the whole.”

Tiffanie Burkhalter joined VSP Global in 2011, and has held positions in finance, e-commerce and operations, and helped launch VSP Ventures in March 2019 as the chief operating officer. Prior to 2011, she managed a client portfolio spanning multiple industries and led local and international client service teams at Ernst & Young. She is a licensed CPA and was recognized as one of Sacramento’s 40 Under 40 in 2019. She also serves on the board of GLAM4GOOD in addition to volunteering with several community-based organizations.

“I was introduced to the optical field through joining the VSP Global team over nine years ago,” she said. “I immediately gained an appreciation for the common thread throughout the optical industry of improving the quality of life of others through access to quality eyecare and eyewear. VSP’s success and business decisions have a clearly defined purpose which is beyond generating shareholder profit and I found that to be particularly appealing and a powerful differentiator in today’s market. This enables us to make decisions with short-and-long range outcomes in mind.”

In March 2019, she joined Steve Baker to launch VSP Ventures and has worked to partner with practice owners and their staff as they transition to providing patient care under VSP ownership. “It has been incredible to bring together so many talented doctors and staff to reimagine practice operations with the support of VSP,” she said. “My background in finance and optical operations was helpful in launching the business, but the team of talented professionals supporting Ventures is the key to its ongoing success.”

SHE SAYS… “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible.” – Audrey Hepburn

Cheryl Canning

Vice President of Marketing and Brand Development Fashion

L’Amy America
Norwalk, Connecticut

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Cheryl has been with L’Amy America since 1997 and has been very influential in supporting and helping L’Amy America achieve wonderful growth over those 23 years. She is a great team player, works incredibly hard and executes every plan precisely.”

For Cheryl Canning, the key to success is to keep evolving. She started at L’Amy America 23 years ago, and in that time she has spearheaded the development of the company’s website, overseen its marketing, developed its corporate fit campaign and built the Nicole Miller business into a multilayered brand.

Initially interested in the international aspect of L’Amy, Canning now directly manages the fashion brand segment of L’Amy’s business, and leans on her personal philosophy—“don’t stand still and keep evolving! Look around at what’s going on not just within the optical industry but outside the industry as consumer expectations and ways of doing business are evolving faster than ever”—to ensure she and L’Amy stay on top of the game. A vital part of that is to keep communication clear and constant. She explained, “My motto is ‘always say what you’re going to do and then do what you say you’re going to do.’”

Canning finds this constant evolution inspiring, too. She said, “I’m inspired by the constant changes and evolution I see occurring in the industry both from a product point of view, such as new materials and new technology, and an industry point of view.”

SHE SAYS… “Keep learning not just within your own area of expertise but get to know all aspects of the eyewear business. The optical industry is very different from other industries—it’s like having an extended family so learn from everyone, even your competitors!”

Christine Dellecave

Chief People Officer
Vienna, Virginia

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “As chief people officer at MyEyeDr., Christine Dellecave oversees all centers of excellence related to our most important company resource: our people. She has woven together an incredible team of brilliant leaders to manage talent acquisition, human resources administration, learning and talent development, and compensation and benefits.”

Christine Dellecave is a seasoned executive who has spent time leading people strategy in a variety of organizations and industries. She thrives in situations that require transformation, and brings vision, planning and execution to bare. Her 24-year career spans many Fortune 500 companies, including Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and American Express, as well as midsized companies going through various phases of growth and transformation.

“We are proud of the work we have done to grow talent in the organization, introduce new language about our purpose and values, as well as successfully navigate the temporary closure of our business during the pandemic in a way that helped take care of both our associates and our business, allowing it to return stronger than ever several months later,” Dellecave said.

She noted that one piece of advice about leadership that she has followed comes from the publisher, columnist and public speaker Charles S. Lauer: “Leaders don’t force people to follow, they invite them on the journey.”

Dellecave also is passionate about using talent strategies to solve business problems, and helping individuals, teams and organizations grow in parallel.

In addition to her work at MyEyeDr., she invests time in the development of others, with a particular focus on women and girls through her work with various local nonprofit leadership organizations, including a role as board chair for a women’s leadership nonprofit organization.

SHE SAYS… “Understand your why—be clear about what is important to you and then learn every aspect of the business and tie what you do to driving positive outcomes.”

Ruth Domber

10/10 Optics
New York, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Ruth founded and operates one of the most impressive stores in the country. Her methods of leadership to her staff are second to none.”

Known for her unfailing eye, the collections she curates, the enthusiasm she brings to her work and the long term bonds she establishes with clients and her team, Ruth Domber prides herself on “always learning” during 40-plus years in optical.

“Business, world events, history and a review of the day were always discussed around our dinner table. Both of my parents came from family owned businesses,” she said. Her first professional mentor and guru was business educator and speaker, Harriet Stein. “She taught us to use the phrase ‘I understand.’”

Years later, Domber cites the consulting of Silkin Management Group as a game-changer for the business. “Like most kids of my generation, we went to work at an early age. By 16, I was a receptionist at our local optometrist after school and on weekends. That led to a jump to an assistant optician spot at EB Meyrowitz and then to LensCrafters.

“This carried me from high school through Adelphi University but instead of law school, I decided to lean into a career in optics, having worked with some incredible optical talent. Among them was Dr. Stephen Rozenberg, OD, who ultimately became my best friend, business partner and later, my husband. Today, I’m honored to be a member of the SPEC GROUP (Strategic Partnership of Eyewear Companies), an organization of non-competing eyecare professionals—basically a brain trust of the best business practices for the optical industry. It’s been extraordinary!”

SHE SAYS… “The growth of our business is based on a code of ethics and the knowledge that a handshake is to be honored. From that principle, it’s good to surround oneself with like-minded people who may be trusted to learn, do their best and contribute all while feeling safe and valued.”

Emilia Flamini

Chief Financial Officer
Luxottica North America
New York, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Emilia Flamini has been an exceptional role model for women at all levels of the company. In addition to inspiring a team of top finance talent in N.A., she has led the company’s regional efforts to shine a light on female employees and create opportunities for women to engage with the company in new ways. Specifically, she has anchored early efforts to bring the women of Luxottica and Essilor together to build relationships and network.”

Emilia Flamini started her career in 1999 in Procter & Gamble Italy as a financial analyst. She has subsequently worked for other multinational companies (including General Electric and Coca Cola) in four different countries. She received her MBA at Paris’ INSEAD in 2003 (where she also met her husband). In 2014, she joined Luxottica in Milan as corporate controller for wholesale, then moved into corporate controller for all business units and finally moved to New York City as chief financial officer of Luxottica in NA in 2017.

“My biggest strength is my passion: I truly love what I do,” she said. “I feel blessed to sit in the finance executive role. This gives me visibility into so many areas of the company and helps me recommend the right course of actions. As I always tell my kids when I leave for work in the morning, while I am sad to leave my two boys and my girl, I also have a big smile on my face as I know that I will have 10 to 12 hours to focus on what I love.”

She added, “This helped me progress in my career as I never was thinking about the next promotion but on what I was doing every day. This allowed me to achieve great results.”

SHE SAYS… “My advice [to women in optical] is to leverage the great network of women in this industry. It is a fascinating sector in constant evolution with very different stakeholders and there are so many women who have grown and developed for decades in the sector. Don’t be shy, reach out.”

Bettina Friedl, PhD

Vice President Vision Technology Solutions
Zeiss Vision Care
Aalen, Germany

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She is a strong and influential leader with an excellent capacity for technical and business development activity.”

Bettina Friedl leads a global business unit responsible for developing and implementing technology solutions that assist the practice with comprehensive eye exams and dispensing eyewear. These digital solutions enable the consumer to be more intimately engaged and informed through the process.

She works closely with the Zeiss Vision board and Zeiss Medical division to understand how ODs and patients can be better served and supported with technical and digital solutions for better care outcomes and a better experience.

Prior to her current role, Dr. Friedl lived and worked in the U.S., where she was responsible for customer service and support. As a PhD physicist she has also directly supported the chairman and CEO of Carl Zeiss GmbH with strategic and business planning initiatives.

“Through my work, I want to help enable ECPs to become more digital and competitive across rapidly expanding online and omni-channel environments,” she explained. “With my global team I strive to help them to create unique patient solutions which offer both state-of-the-art care and truly innovative customer experiences.

“Today, I think a lot of caregivers in our industry are feeling overwhelmed by the abundance of technological offers with new apps, online tests and telemedicine solutions popping up almost daily. Working for a leading company with a highly trusted brand name like Zeiss, I want to help eyecare providers navigate the “technological maze.”

SHE SAYS… “Do not get discouraged by setbacks. They are part of every great career. It is a matter of drawing conclusions from the setbacks and adjusting going forward.”

Sherianne James

Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Customer Experience
Essilor of America
Dallas, Texas

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Her deep understanding of how Essilor products are utilized by independent ECPs and experienced by consumers guides her approach to marketing them effectively.”

Sherianne James is responsible for the end-to-end customer experience, including marketing, customer service and sales optimization. She has shifted EOA’s messaging approach from an individual brand approach to an Essilor umbrella lens approach. “This simplifies yet crystalizes how the consumers understand our products by enabling them to recognize that one superior lens corrects, protects and enhances their vision so they can see their best,” she noted.

“Our consumer advertising drives patients to seek out an independent eyecare professional with a desire to get the best lenses not only to correct their vision but enhance it, making it seamless for an optician to trade them up to one lens solution without the patient feeling like multiple lenses are being imposed upon them.”

The daughter of a chemical engineer, James is a self-described “STEM kid” who pursued her interest in science, earning a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Florida and later an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She credits her science training for her “peel the onion” way of thinking which informs her systematic, data-driven approach to marketing.

James joined Essilor of America in 2016 from Transitions Optical where she held several marketing roles over a five-year span, her last being vice president, global marketing.

SHE SAYS… “Our industry should be three times the size it is today, and there is value for everyone by focusing on growing the entire size of the industry and ensuring that everyone in the world has access to their best vision.”

Erika Jurrens

Senior Vice President of Strategy and Commercialization
ABB Optical Group
Coral Springs, Florida

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She instills confidence in those around her and her enthusiasm for continuous improvement, strategy and achieving tomorrow’s success is contagious.”

Erika Jurrens leads ABB’s corporate strategy, marketing, communications and runs the company’s business solutions portfolio. Among her recent achievements is rebranding ABB into a trusted, world-class optical platform. Under her direction, the company has launched six new-to-market or new-to world business solutions to grow optical practice revenue, decrease operating expense and stay competitive in a highly competitive, complex environment.

Her philosophy when it comes to the optical business is “Be the change! Always act from personal power and take accountability for your world. One of my earliest mentors used to say: When you hear yourself saying, ‘someone should do something about that’… that someone is you.”

Although Jurrens is a relative newcomer to optical—she joined ABB in 2019—she draws on a strong health care background, having previously served as vice president for Cardinal Health, a Fortune 15 company with revenues topping $100 billion and brand strategy lead at GlaxoSmithKline, a Top 5 big pharma company.

Asked what inspires her as a team leader, she replied, “It’s the people who ask intriguing questions without easy answers. People who challenge others. People who fight to open doors for others. People who wish and work to offer more. People who care like crazy. Those are my people. Those people inspire me, and fortunately they are my teammates at ABB.”

SHE SAYS… “Find your own strength and champion it, in big ways and small ones. Find others who will champion it. Rinse repeat. Rinse repeat. Never quit.”

Jessica Kozak

Senior Vice President, ECP Sales
Essilor of America
Marietta, Georgia

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Jessica is a respected, proven leader who has contributed to the success of Essilor’s customers in each position she has held. Her passion and advocacy for her customers is an inspiration.”

As leader of the independent ECP channel commercial sales organization in the U.S. for Essilor of America, Jessica Kozak is responsible for developing and executing the sales strategy for over 25,000 independent eyecare professionals. Under her direction, her team actively partners with ECPs to create lens and lab solutions for their patients.

Kozak’s strong background in optical retailing makes her ideally suited for her job. She entered the field at age 16 when she began working in an optometry office. “I instantly fell in love with the field and the science of light and lenses,” she recalled. “Being an eyeglasses wearer since the age of one, I personally understand the difference vision care can make in your life.” Kozak later worked at other eyecare practices and at LensCrafters, where she gained valuable experience in all aspects of the business.

After joining Essilor in 2007 as a field level sales consultant, she rose through multiple levels of leadership before taking on her current role in March, 2020. Along the way, she led some of Essilor’s highest performing sales teams and was recognized in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019 for outstanding sales results.

SHE SAYS… “Women bring diversity of thought and create a culture of inclusivity. Diversity and inclusivity feed a positive culture and that builds a productive and successful work environment.”

Mary Loranger

Director of Vendor Relations
ADO Practice Solutions A Division of Walman Optical
Denver, Colorado

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Mary has been influencing the success and development of programs as an advocate in the industry for over 30 years. She is passionate about the IECP business.”

During her storied career, Mary Loranger, MBA, has held various sales and marketing leadership roles with Wesley Jessen, CIBA Vision, Alcon, SynergEyes, ODG Distribution and ABB Optical Group. Today, as director of Vendor Relations for ADO Practice Solutions, she works to develop cost-savings programs for independent ECPs, adding value and increasing profitability. Loranger’s focus on communication, programming and partnerships has built and sustained over 150 vendor relationships, while strengthening ADO’s messaging and market positioning as a Doctor Alliance with buying group benefits.

Loranger names the late Kevin Ryan of Wesley Jessen as a key mentor. Some of the “Kevinisms” she carries with her: “Develop a vision and strategic objective, then boil it down to the essentials to communicate effectively; prioritize ELM (ethical/legal/moral) considerations; Cash is King—make spending decisions like it’s your own money; and Culture Matters.” She noted, “Listening for understanding allows me to turn on my creativity and problem-solving engine.”

Loranger challenges herself to “stay focused on key targets in an opportunity-rich environment,” balancing determination to meet goals with the wisdom to know when to consider pivoting. Her advice for women developing careers in the optical industry: “Don’t sit on the sidelines.”

SHE SAYS… “I always see the glass as half full. We are all fortunate to be in an industry where people build powerful connections that can last a lifetime. At ADO/Walman, I love the culture, can-do attitude, and being part of an employee stock ownership plan.”

Sara Osculati

Chief Brand and Product Officer
Paris France

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “With longstanding expertise in luxury eyewear, she’s played a considerable role in the foundation of Thélios, the eyewear business of the world’s largest luxury player, the LVMH Group.”

After graduating from Bocconi University in Milan, Sara Osculati worked in the eyewear industry for almost 20 years, holding various leadership roles. She was eyewear department director for Dior from 2012 to 2017 and helped advance eyewear among the central categories in the Maison/house’s strategy. Osculati said, “I was hooked by the concept of eyewear, combining design with functionality. It offers endless possibilities and is a unique expression of the brand.”

The philosophy is how Thélios approaches the market, she noted, “We are not licensors; with our collections we are expressing the essence of each Maison and respond to the demands of the different segments of their consumers.” Osculati took on her current role in 2017, among the founding members of Thélios, with responsibility for a large team of brand management, design, communication, retail management and product development.

Osculati cites the help and inspiration of many mentors. “They have pushed me to go beyond my comfort zone. To name just a few: Sidney Toledano, CEO and chairman LVMH Fashion Group, has always brought his passion for the product and respect for the brands he is working with. Serge Brunschwig, CEO of Fendi, and Dominique de Longevialle, CEO of John Galliano taught me much. Last, but not least, Gianni Zoppas, CEO of Thélios, is a seasoned industry leader with deep knowledge of the industry.”

SHE SAYS… “I truly believe in the statement ‘The future is female.’ Our industry gathers very talented and bold young women, who will push the eyewear sector forward and drive innovation. Women have the ability to overcome their own boundaries and to find the synthesis in every situation.”

Becky Palm

President and Executive Director

Essilor Vision Foundation
Dallas, Texas

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She leads a dedicated and driven team at EVF that creates and executes programs and awareness initiatives that educate parents, loved ones and communities about the importance of vision care, and provides people in need with free vision services. Under her leadership, EVF’s fundraising, exams and eyewear dispensed has risen exponentially.”

Becky Palm started her career as a transactional attorney at a Dallas law firm that provided outside legal support to Essilor of America, among other clients. In 2012, she joined Essilor of America and then spent the next 6.5 years as a member of its legal team providing legal and volunteer support to Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF). It soon became clear that a sense of community service and volunteerism was always in her blood.

Today, as president of EVF she oversees Essilor’s mission of improving lives by improving sight to communities, non-profit partners, industry players, employees and more with the intent to inspire others to help a brother or sister in need; to give them a better life through better sight, which is literally, the EVF motto.

Palm was responsible for the promotion and expansion of Changing Life through Lenses (CLTL), EVF’s charitable glasses program that provides free lenses and frames to people in need, that launched when she joined EVF in the fall of 2018. “In July 2019, we provided our one millionth pair of glasses to a person in need—six-year-old Khloe—and we celebrated this accomplishment with our “One Million Magic Moments” campaign.”

These days, Palm is spearheading the partnership between EVF and Essilor of America to provide more than 100,000 pieces of protective equipment to local hospitals and first responders in Texas and Ohio, OD schools, and ECPs.

As for her management style, Palm said, “I want to be the manager/leader who people believe in, who will challenge them and, when they reflect back, who provided them with pivotal career growth.”

SHE SAYS… “The [optical” world is your oyster—think about what you are good at, what brings you joy and how you can add value when you marry the two. It is a beautiful thing when career and passion come together!”

Nicole Rush, OD

Bandon & Coquille Vision Centers
Bandon, Oregon

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “A tireless volunteer and successful practitioner, she is more than worthy of this honor from Vision Monday. As president of Oregon Optometric Physicians Association’s board of directors, she personifies the word ‘leader.’ A graduate of Pacific University College of Optometry, as well as an adjunct clinical professor at PUCO, Dr. Rush has given back to the optometric industry throughout her inspiring career.”

Dr. Nicole Rush has been practicing optometry in Southern Oregon for nearly 20 years. She started practicing straight out of optometry school and was eventually bought in as a partner in two practices. The practice now has two associate doctors and they have added a vision therapy office and plan to add another office location.

Dr. Rush credits her father, Dr. John Rush, “who allowed me to be involved in his optometry practice from a very young age and learn about this profession.” He was also a past president of the Oregon Optometric Physician Association and a past trustee to the AOA Board of Directors. It seems the acorn doesn’t fall from the tree as Dr. Rush is beginning her second year as the president of the Oregon Optometric Physicians Association (OOPA).

When it comes to leading and managing people, Dr. Rush said, “I fully believe in leading by example. It may be to the point where I’ve had to work very hard to delegate duties, because I like to get in and get my hands dirty. I learn better that way and I teach better that way.”

SHE SAYS… “I love optometry. I can’t imagine a more meaningful career to give my life to. I truly look forward to my work every single day. I hope that everyone finds something to do with their life that brings so much value to their life.”

Selima Salaun

Creative Director and Founder
Selima Optique
New York, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She is a true independent retailer serving the elite of New York and Paris and a very successful wholesale eyewear designer who mentors new talent. Her heart is huge.”

A unique force and passionate personality, Selima Salaun has carved a singular approach to her signature optical boutiques in NYC, Paris, her website (www.SelimaOptique.com), her spirited collections and vintage eyewear finds. Salaun, born in Tunisia, recalls, “My mother, who opened the first lens factory in North Africa, is the one who propelled me in this career. I was supposed to be a veterinarian but instead followed the path she traced. After school in Morez (where I learned about the factories), I went to work for Royal Optique where I mastered the art of bespoke eyewear.”

Salaun became an opticienne-lunetiere and an optometrist. “I did the eye exams, the lab work and sales. My colleagues then let me buy product. I fell in love with a collection from a new young designer, Alain Mikli, placed an opening order and the next week sold the 36 pieces to a celebrity. That sales rep was Frederic Ferrant who mentioned that Mikli was opening a retail store, and I would be the perfect candidate. I did end up doing that and later, I arrived in NYC to open Mikli’s first store here. I fell madly in love with the city and decided to stay.”

Her design collabs range from June Ambrose to Iris Apfel. She has long been involved in the Council of Fashion Designers and is on the EDCFDA board.

SHE SAYS… “Do not be afraid to take risks—people will appreciate you even more for that. If you make mistakes, it is OK. Let your personality shine through.”