Jacqueline DeChamps

Chief Retail Officer

Visionworks of America, Inc.
San Antonio, Texas

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Jackie is responsible for all retail operations for our +715 plus locations and over 4,000 employees. She is an amazing leader that has unlimited potential and conviction. She helps to pave the way for many other female leaders, both within and outside of the optical industry.”

Jackie DeChamps joined Visionworks in October of 2018 as a member of the executive leadership team heading up HR and operations support groups, promoting organization-wide people focus until July 2020, when she took on the role of chief retail officer. Before Visionworks, she spent nearly 15 years with IKEA North America, eventually working her way up to COO, responsible for U.S. operations.

“I have spent my career working between human resources and operations roles. I genuinely believe that we accomplish our brand objectives when our people are engaged, nurtured, and empowered,” she said.

In July 2020, she moved from a split focus on operations and people to oversee the retail field, stores, and support center store operations team as her core responsibilities. “Today, I lead our retail business’s overall planning and effectiveness to ensure we deliver sustainable results through the flawless execution of a simplified Visionworks in-store experience.”

DeChamps said, “The Visionworks mission is to empower everyone to see the world they love in a surprisingly simple way. We are wildly focused on simplifying our operations to focus on patient care and a frictionless experience. This intersection between patient and associate satisfaction drives me every day. I strive to empower our talented associates to provide an excellent standard of care and truly be brand ambassadors.”

SHE SAYS… “The optical industry is complex and takes years to gain proficiency, let alone to master. As someone that joined only a few years ago, I am still on that journey. It has been helpful to me to be curious, vulnerable, and open to ask lots of questions. Be open to share and bring your experiences, and it will create a rich tapestry of knowledge that will move the optical industry forward.”

Johnna Dukes

Optician and Owner

Spirit Lake, Iowa
Vice President
Opticians Association of America

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She is an invaluable member of the Optician’s Association of America’s executive committee, helping to steer the organization through complex decision making.”

Johnna Dukes discovered the optical industry at age 18. “I began working in a local clinic where I had the good fortune to work with a master optician who inspired me to consider opticianry, and I’m so glad he did,” she recalled. “Opticianry has taken me on quite a journey. I’ve worked in private practice, and in retail settings, and for the last 11 years, I’ve owned and operated my own optical boutique.”

Dukes is dedicated to advancing the profession of opticianry at both the state and national level. She is a former president of the Opticians Association of Iowa. As a current board member, she works to bring high-level education to the organization’s members.

Currently, she serves as vice president of the Opticians Association of America, and is preparing for her term as president in 2022. She is active on many OAA committees and has helped revitalize the Opticians Guild of America, a sub-committee of the OAA. She was honored as the OAA’s State Leader of The Year for 2020.

Dukes credits Shirley Earley, a past OAA president, with encouraging her to get involved in the organization. She is inspired by current OAA president, Dibby Bartlett, whom she said has led with “grace and grit through all of the uncertainty of this last year due to the pandemic.”

Dukes also writes on dispensing topics, and her articles have been featured in 20/20 Magazine.

SHE SAYS… “Opticianry is a wonderful alchemy that beautifully blends math, optical physics, the ability to work with your hands, and fashion. I truly believe that I have the coolest job in the world.”

Tina Farrell

Vice President of Optical Operations

Clear Sight Partners MSO
Oldsmar, Florida

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Tina has over 33 years in the industry and started as an optician, working her way up to the VP level. She has built valuable relationships across all areas, from front-office staff and the executive suite to manufacturers, suppliers and other partners. She is kind, knowledgeable, diligent and a great role model for other women in the industry.”

Tina Farrell began her career in optical at age 20 while working as a tech for an optometrist in her hometown of Rockford, Ill. After college, she moved to a Pearle Vision Center and had her first exposure to the optical and lab side of the business. She subsequently had a leadership role at Sears Optical and began to learn the business side.

At Sears, she also was awarded Number One Club three times, earned the ABO and NCLE certifications, and moved into an area sales manager position. Her next move was into a role at Opti-Mart, which marked “the beginning of a 14-year journey with the Payne family to grow the Opti-Mart business.”

Currently, as VP of operations at Clear Sight Partners (CSP), she led the effort to integrate four recently acquired businesses into one cohesive group within the CSP portfolio. “I manage a total of 13 optical locations, where we have implemented operating strategies focused on sustaining profitable growth without losing the family-owned values that were central to their success to date,” she said.

Farrell has had several mentors during her career, including Kathy Hays and Rhonda Kratz from Sears Optical, and Ron Pierce, OD, of Pearle Vision.

SHE SAYS… “The largest impact on my career came from the entire Payne family, starting with Skip and Scott Payne who taught me that if you treat employees like family, they will treat patients like family which creates loyalty and trust, ultimately improving the business.”

Jacqueline Grove

Senior Vice President

Talent Development; Culture; Philanthropy; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
National Vision Inc. Duluth, Georgia

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Jacqueline has helped bring our company together in many ways. She started as the SVP for our Eyeglass World brand and began programs to give back to not only our community, but the entire world. She saw the need for us to grow within and took the new role of talent development and most importantly the DEI/Culture sector. She has a unique way of bringing the best out of everyone she interacts with.”

Jacqueline Grove has been in retail in some way, shape or fashion for 25 years, with 11 of those years in optical. She began in HR with Circuit City, where she became the first female regional VP in the company’s 50-year history. Later, she was a regional vice president with Luxottica’s Target Optical and vice president of operations with Sears Optical. In 2016, she joined National Vision Inc., as senior vice president for Eyeglass World, Vision Centers in Walmart, Fred Meyer and NVI’s military divisions.

Since August 2020, she has overseen the new NVI department bringing together training, culture, philanthropy, and diversity, equity and inclusion. “By having all these areas in one department, we’re able to build truly cohesive efforts to activate our mission throughout our internal culture,” she said.

Grove noted that “a pivotal mentorship came” when she made the decision to “come out” to her leadership coach Angie Wagner, and tell her that she was a lesbian. “Up to that point, I had never discussed my sexuality with anyone at work, but I decided it was time and I wanted to do it with someone I really trusted. This was a very scary and nervous moment, but I knew it had to be done because I wanted to bring my ‘whole self’ to work.”

SHE SAYS… “We’re trying to shape a more diverse and inclusive future for the optical industry by sponsoring scholarships and educational opportunities focused on supporting BIPOC students and students from under-represented communities.”

Wendy Hauteman

Chief Marketing Officer

VSP Global
Rancho Cordova, California

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Thanks to Wendy’s incredible leadership and months of sustained work across all levels of the organization, including research and insights from VSP employees, network doctors, clients, and members, we arrived at our new purpose statement: ‘To empower human potential through sight.’”

Wendy Hauteman leads a marketing and communications team of more than 250 employees at VSP Global. She has used her knowledge and expertise to drive business growth for more than 20 years including marketing strategy and execution, corporate communications, media, branding, creative development, and public relations initiatives.

She believes mentors have played a significant role in her career development. “I have never been shy about seeking out mentors throughout my career, but also was fortunate to have more experienced professionals see potential in me and offer their advice along the way.”

Hauteman noted the pandemic has helped employees in her company develop strong bonds and work toward common company goals. “A greater level of empathy among employees was born out of this difficult time. Whether it was supervisor to employee, employee to employee, or anything in between, it was clear we were all in this together. Despite the challenges we all faced, we came together in order to serve our stakeholders in new and meaningful ways.”

Hauteman served on the Dr. Pearle (Pearle Vision) Scholarship Board, the National Association of Vision Care Plans, and currently serves as a board member for the Accessories Council and the Sacramento chapter of the Salvation Army.

SHE SAYS… “Always look for ways to broaden your skills, and be mindful that the path to moving up in your career is not always linear and will likely include lateral moves. I said yes to many opportunities that at first glance did not appear to be advancing my career. But looking back, those roles helped me gain leadership skills, business acumen, and industry knowledge that made me a stronger marketer and leader.”

Cindy Metrose

Senior Director, Strategic Accounts and Digital Business

Carl Zeiss Meditec
Dublin, California

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “During all of her leadership roles, she has been a stable and driving force in the growth of our business throughout optometry.”

Cindy Metrose’s success in the eyecare industry began 37 years ago, when she started as an intraocular lens salesperson for Precision Cosmet (J&J), before joining Humphrey Instruments (now Carl Zeiss Meditec) as a sales representative in 1987.

Since then, she’s moved up the ranks in a series of leadership positions to arrive at her current role: leader of strategic accounts and digital business for Carl Zeiss Meditec. Her team impacts eyecare by evaluating new business opportunities and finding creative solutions for customers. In fact, her team is so talented, they continue to break records year after year.

“Our team pushes each other to perpetually improve,” she said. “I’m driven to find the best in the individuals on my team, to nurture those strengths, and to create a high-performance team culture based on integrity, growth, problem-solving, trust and success. It thrills me when people I care about succeed.”

Metrose is a teacher and motivator with a calm spirit and goal-oriented focus. She has a special gift of helping others that’s rarely found in today’s business environment. Throughout her career, she has returned many of her own learnings to help others. This dedication to helping others learn and grow, apply wisdom from experience, build a cohesive team, and learn from mistakes is all part of what makes her a magnificent leader.

SHE SAYS… “I’m inspired by the innovation and devotion to customers that’s the basis for Zeiss’s culture. We work every day to make a difference in our customers’ and their patients’ lives.”

K-T Overbey

President and Executive Director

Mason, Ohio

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She is the definition of a servant leader and her influential passion for improving the lives of others is widely felt and admired in the optical field.”

With a degree in international politics from Princeton and an MBA from Northwestern University, K-T Overbey spent the majority of her professional career in the corporate world, with stints at Bain & Company and 15 years in marketing at Proctor & Gamble. But she made a deliberate choice to change her path to have a purpose-driven focus and took a new role to oversee learning networks for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

She was familiar with OneSight and its activities but when she learned of a leadership opportunity there as the organization was being spun out to be its own separate entity with the support of founding sponsor, Luxottica, she became intrigued by the group’s global reach, realizing that all of her skills and past experience would help her to make an impact.

Since her arrival at OneSight in 2018, the group has seen continued growth, developing 97 new permanent vision centers in nine countries that provide vision care access to 28 million people and providing vision care to 260,000 patients globally through charitable short-term vision clinics. Overbey drove the organization to hit two key milestones in her tenure—the transition of ownership to create truly sustainable care in The Gambia and to achieve complete access to vision care for 100 percent of the country of Rwanda. Currently, OneSight is on track to provide 100 percent access to vision care in Zambia in 2022.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the world, Overbey updated OneSight’s training model, enabling the organization to still open 24 new permanent community-based vision centers in 2020 that provide local, affordable vision care access to 7.3 million people. In 2020, OneSight launched an Online Vision Check tool that has helped more than 23,000 people check their vision and receive recommended next steps for quality vision care.

SHE SAYS… “One of the key elements of optical is the element of service. Focus on the difference you’re making for those you serve and on what’s different among those with whom you serve. Pick out leaders, ask for introductions, guidance and support.”

Valerie Sheety-Pilon, OD

Vice President Eye Care Solutions

VSP Global
Rancho Cordova, California

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She drives strategic initiatives to raise awareness about vision, eye health and its connection to overall wellness, while providing insight into medical advancements to benefit patient care.”

Offering 17+ years of experience as a Doctor of Optometry, Dr. Valerie Sheety-Pilon has dedicated much of her career to addressing patients’ visual and health-related needs. Today, as VP of Eye Care Solutions for VSP Global, “Dr. Val” (as she prefers to be called) advances strategic initiatives and represents eyecare providers’ interests across the entire organization. She fosters collaboration between supply chain, Eyefinity, vision care, other parts of the organization, and the profession at large—ensuring that VSP’s strategic focus aligns with the needs of practicing optometrists and members alike.

“The difference I have made and hope to continue, is being a champion of our profession,” she said. “By providing a real-life perspective of the opportunities and challenges facing optometrists, I believe VSP is better prepared to address the needs of tomorrow.”

Her participation in numerous committees across VSP ensures that the voice of the OD resonates throughout the organization. Her “voice of optometry” also extends beyond VSP’s walls, as she serves as VSP’s representative on the National Association of Vision Care Plans (NACVP) council.

As a female minority practitioner, Dr. Val is also instrumental in supporting VSP’s diversity, inclusion, equality and belonging efforts. Additionally, she is a vital member of VSP’s Global Innovation Center (GIC) that seeks to engage, foster and invest in novel innovations designed to transform the vision care space of the future.

SHE SAYS… “Seek out opportunities wherever they may arise and aim to learn something from every situation. It may not be what you envisioned, but there’s no such thing as failure—only success and an opportunity to learn.”

Sarah Throne

Chief Information Officer

Keplr Vision
Bloomington, Illinois

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Sarah has been an integral part of Keplr Vision’s rapid growth. Her leadership, process improvement skills, and general ‘can do’ attitude serve as the foundation of Keplr’s business services division. On the journey from 31 clinics (2018) to over 240 clinics (H1 2021), Sarah has internally developed several key leadership teammates. Keplr Vision would not be where we are today without Sarah Throne.”

Sarah Throne has used her more than 15 years of marketing and data analytics experience to drive business growth at Keplr Vision. Her diverse roles include overseeing operational support services including marketing, planning and procurement, revenue cycle management, business intelligence and analytics, and digital services. Her drive and hard work helped propel her from marketing manager to chief Information officer in less than 5 years.

She has used this knowledge to bring together the company and drive down costs for the organization. She noted one of her first projects was building an intranet hub, a project that now supports more than 200 clinics.

Thorne believes in using the knowledge she has gained in the industry to pass on to others, to help grow her team professionally and personally. She thinks leading by example, paired with being both a rebel and a rule follower is the best way to improve how a company does business. She says she has found success by being true to her word, being open and honest, and being consistently the first in and the last out of the office.

SHE SAYS… “Do not limit yourself—look for opportunities to improve even if it’s outside your lane.”

Gianna Venturi

Chief People Officer

Eyemart Express
Dallas, Texas

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Gianna ensures that Eyemart Express has relevant people-related programs, initiatives and policies in place that make it a great place to work.”

As chief people leader for Eyemart Express, Gianna Venturi is all about watching people grow in their careers—and making sure they love the company they work for. Before joining Eyemart, she spent 16 years in the consumer goods industry with Kimberly-Clark, followed by work in the retail/fashion industry for Coach. But today, she’s happy to have landed in the optical field with Eyemart Express.

“The company and the culture appealed to me first; but the industry has such a strong sense of purpose that it was easy for me to be swept into the optical field and want to stay here for the rest of my career,” she said.

Venturi is responsible for everything related to human resources and employee culture—including recruiting, employee relations, compensation and benefits, talent and internal communications. She firmly believes that if Eyemart associates are happy and engaged, then customers will benefit by receiving a friendly experience, as well.

In the past few years, Venturi has transformed Eyemart Express in numerous ways. She revolutionized the way Eyemart trains associates by introducing cutting-edge technology to enable micro-learning and personalized training—an effort that earned her the 2019 Retail Innovators Award from Retail Touchpoints. She also developed and launched a Leadership Academy to build a pipeline of leaders for stores; modernized Eyemart’s recruiting processes; and introduced People Analytics and a leadership dashboard to help leaders manage their teams with the support of facts, benchmarks and trends.

SHE SAYS… “I love being part of people reaching their full potential, getting stretched beyond what they thought they could do, and taking on their professional dreams.”

Stephanie Waugh

Vice President and Global Head, Ocular Health

Alcon Vision Care
Fort Worth, Texa

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She’s passionate about creating a more holistic and equitable eyecare ecosystem for aging and emerging populations worldwide through innovative solutions, outreach programs and consumer education.”

Stephanie Waugh ensures that Alcon continually drives patients toward the right eyecare solutions and is constantly raising the bar on product efficacy.

As vice president and global head of the Alcon Ocular Health business, she manages a portfolio of leading consumer eyecare brands, including Systane, Pataday, Opti-Free and ClearCare. Her strategic leadership covers Alcon products in dry eye, allergy and contact lens care, including innovation strategy, portfolio optimization, new product development and launch excellence to deliver above category growth.

One of her biggest career highlights at Alcon was the 2020 over-the-counter (OTC) switch of the Pataday brand right before the COVID-19 pandemic. She shepherded the launch from start to finish—navigating numerous obstacles to bring these Rx products to the OTC market, ensuring consumers can obtain Rx-strength relief without a prescription. The launch team grew to over 150 people and delivered a historic debut, beating the prior OTC switch record with just 17 days from FDA approval to store shelves.

“I try to ensure we focus on patients and their ability to access the best eyecare solutions for their condition,” she said. “Let’s keep raising the bar on product efficacy and clearly communicate the importance of great eyecare.”

Waugh’s next adventure began on Aug. 1. She’s moving to Singapore to lead the Alcon Vision Care business across Asia Pacific where she will oversee dynamic markets with a mix of businesses including contact lenses, consumer eyecare and pharmaceuticals.

SHE SAYS… “The power of new products helps change the dynamic for consumers and professionals as they seek new solutions for ocular health. I love creating momentum through innovation.”

Meg Weathers

VP of Strategic Marketing, North America

Hoya Vision Care
Dallas, Texas

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “After 10+ years of rapidly advancing roles at Essilor of America, including a multi-year international assignment in Singapore, Meg took over the marketing department for Hoya Vision Care North America and is tasked with completely changing the go-to-market for Hoya Vision Care. Her influence and strategic decision making have completely shifted the way in which the marketing team works on promotions and product launches and has dramatically increased the perception of Hoya marketing both internal and external in the industry.”

Meg Weathers understands the impact the optical industry has on the lives of eyeglasses wearers. With each new career opportunity, she has learned the integral role eyesight plays in the human experience. She said she is proud to work for an industry that works so hard to educate around health issues that are having a significant impact on the quality of life for many patients. “I believe that the innovations and the products we bring to market can significantly benefit and enhance people’s everyday lives.”

Prior to joining the Hoya Vision Care team in October 2020, she worked for Essilor of America serving in various marketing and product branding roles. Her work took her around the world including Southeast Asia where she worked to create a more cohesive marketing approach across seven markets that leveraged the strength of the company. but was also customized to the unique individualities of each market. She has also been involved in charitable projects that have allowed her to help those in need of eyecare.

“I’ve always been somewhat awed by how much people are willing to help and support others if they just ask and treat them with the kindness and respect they deserve.”

She has an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and an MBA in marketing from Southern Methodist University. Her current responsibility is to lead marketing strategy and development in the North American market for Hoya Vision Care. Her experiences have taught her to have faith in her capabilities and to not lose sight of her strengths. She believes these are what you can lean on while you grow your career and utilize help to manage your weaknesses.

SHE SAYS… “I’ve been very lucky in my career to work at some great organizations with passionate and intelligent peers that I’ve learned a lot from over the years. I’ve also been blessed with several direct managers who trusted me with new opportunities to grow into roles and learn new skill sets. I’ll always be thankful for their faith in my capabilities even when I questioned them myself.”