Maria Barnwell

VP Business Development – Integrated Healthcare Market Solutions
Essilor of America
Dallas, Texas

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She has done an exceptional job in helping the entire industry better understand the dynamics of managed health care, and she’s providing documentation for ECPs via her white paper.”

With her degree in chemistry and biology, Barnwell had an eye on med school before she moved into mainstream health. She was an analytical chemist and associate scientist at an environmental engineering firm, then worked in pharmaceutical and capital equipment sales before moving into consulting, eventually setting up her own company which developed systems for specialty health care business units focusing on chronic illness. She wrote and published a book on chronic disease. Maria’s distinguished development work has been cited as Best Practice for Chronic Disease Management Systems by the American Accreditation Health Care Commission, URAC and it is featured in Harvard Business School’s Master of Business Administration, Case Study Program. She was pursued by Essilor to look at ways to leverage the role of ECPs into mainstream health care. Barnwell’s white paper makes the point that the ECP and the eye health exam is positioned to help identify chronic disease. “The eye exam is a micro-vessel examination performed by a doctorial level clinician. There’s a lot of power in that,” she notes.

SHE SAYS…“My father, Ernest Moore, 92, is my hero. He was an aeronautical/civil engineer, a missile scientist under Kennedy. He taught me people can either fear or respect you; your goal should always be respect.”

Sheila Haile

Manager, Marketing
and Creative Services

ClearVision Optical
Hauppauge, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE…“Sheila is quick and a fast learner. She is driven and can see future trends and how to apply them to her company.”

After more than 15 years in advertising and marketing doing everything from running a fashion and beauty design agency in NYC to working on creative and branding projects for clients like John Frieda, Estee Lauder, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, Sheila Haile found herself in the optical industry four years ago “by chance.”

“The position presented itself as a great opportunity to learn a new field and expand my skills in new ways,” she said. “I have always been fortunate enough to find positions that marry my creative and strategic skills.” Its that kind of intrepid spirit that has earned her the honor of innovator and several other honors for ClearVision, including five Platinum, four Gold and four Honorable Mentions for the 2011 MarCom Awards, a 2011 EyeVote Award and a 2011 HOW Magazine In-HOWse Design Merrit Award.

“After 15 years on the agency side, I have no fear. I want to stay on the edge, and continue to do work that is relevant to today’s marketplace. I think I make a difference because what we do actually makes our customers lives better,” added Haile.

SHE SAYS…“Stay open and relevant. The more you bring to the table the better. Understand what the customer needs. Make sure your brands are where the consumer is.”

Lisa Lorenz

Senior Brand Manager, Coatings
Carl Zeiss Vision
San Diego, California

CHOSEN BECAUSE…“Her innovation in the way Carl Zeiss Vision presents its products continues as her influence is being felt on all of the go-to-market plans for her team’s new product launches this year.”

Lorenz oversees the overall market activities of the Carl Zeiss Vision (CZV) coatings team which is responsible for anti-reflective products, self-tinting lenses, sun products, finished single vision lenses and Trivex for North America. Before joining Zeiss four years ago, she worked for Cadbury on Halls cough drops; prior to that she worked in magazine publishing and online content development. Her diverse background enables her to bring a fresh perspective to Zeiss,

“I became interested in CZV because of the potential of the Zeiss brand and because I enjoy working in marketing to promote products that make people’s lives better. CZV’s quality and technical innovation meant I could work with products that truly offered better vision choices to patients, and I find that very inspiring.”

As senior brand manager, coatings, Lorenz managed the debut of PhotoFusion self-tinting lenses in fall, 2011. “It was a big company initiative and a true team effort,” recalled Lorenz. “It was a successful launch because of all the hard work and collaboration between all of our cross-functional teams and our global teams and because it was a great product.”

SHE SAYS…“This is a unique industry because you have the rare opportunity to deliver strategic messaging and work one on one with companies and help them build their businesses.

Cynthia Shapiro

Owner/Creative Director
Europa International
Buffalo Grove, Illinois

CHOSEN BECAUSE...“Cynthia founded Europa with her late husband and together they developed a unique business model. She started Cinzia Designs and was one of the few who foresaw the explosion of the reader market, particularly through the three Os.”

Without a doubt, my mentor in the optical industry was my partner and late husband, Alan Shapiro,” stated Cynthia Shapiro. “I’m also very blessed to have a strong group of advisors and supporters in Jerry Wolowicz, Janet O’Grady, my brother Chris and most recently my son, Scott. It stands to reason they’re so good at their jobs…Alan was their mentor too.”

In fact, Shapiro found her way into the optical industry thanks to her late husband. “Alan started his own wholesale optical company, and having some degree of office experience, he asked me to help him get it going. That was the beginning of a beautiful business partnership and marriage.”

Over the next 35 years, she worked in just about every position imaginable—designer, buyer, bookkeeper, inventory specialist, marketing director and everything in between. Currently, as creative director, Shapiro oversees all creative endeavors that represent Europa’s image that includes Cinzia Designs, which she found 10 years ago, that creates and distributes reading glasses, sunglasses and accessories to the optical and fashion industries. “It’s still one of my proudest accomplishments,” she added.

SHE SAYS…“Always put people first. Surround yourself with smart people who know more than you do. You can’t be and do everything yourself.”

Janet Unger

VP, Brands
Marchon Eyewear
Melville, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE…“Janet’s leadership of Marchon’s marketing initiatives for domestic brands continues to exceed expectations and solidify her as an innovator in her field

A Stonybrook undergrad with an MBA from New York University, Unger thought she’d work in the health care field, but was more fascinated by an American Express internship. She applied her financial skills in Citibank’s credit card and marketing/event planning businesses and then the liquor industry, in marketing and events for the Remy Martin/Cointreau brands. Unger then went to Bloomingdales, heading a new international and out-of-area marketing unit. She was recruited to Ray-Ban, when it was part of B + L, working on its fashion division.

She moved into the cosmetics field with Victoria’s Secret, building media plans across its fragrance and beauty businesses. Unger then began consulting for Federated Department Stores when she met Marchon’s co-founder, Al Berg. She soon started to work on the Donna Karan and DKNY business but took on other roles inside Marchon as VP of brands, including Coach, which she helped launch and oversee.

Unger soon oversaw Nautica, Sean John, the launch of DVF and Nine West and now, she oversees Calvin Klein as well. Her job is global in scope, building business plans with managers around the world as a key part of the company’s matrix organization. Unger’s mentors include Adrienne Cleere, VP international marketing at Bloomingdales, an “out of the box thinker,” Dave Whalen, who encouraged her at Ray-Ban, and Marchon’s SVP Mark Ginsberg, her current boss, “who gives people as much responsibility as they can carry, and has helped me stretch my skills.”

SHE SAYS…“Be who you are rather than trying to fit yourself into a preconceived mold; if you’re true to your beliefs, voice your opinions in an appropriate way and you’ll and be successful.”

Verna Victoria

Manager of Finance and Operations
Vision Essentials by Kaiser Permanente
Pasadena, California

CHOSEN BECAUSE…“She manages finance, accounting, and inventory reporting and provides back-office support for Vision Essentials’ business operations. She is the human reference guide to policies and procedures.”

A 14-year veteran of Kaiser Permanente, Verna Victoria initially worked in the company’s hospital unit before transferring to Vision Essentials 12 years ago.

“We have the resources to offer many types of programs and products, but you have to be smart about it,” said Victoria. “I always ask, ‘Is that the right business decision?’” Victoria points to Vision Essential’s decision to develop in-house AR coating capability as a case in point. “It was a little daunting at first, but it makes sense because we can deliver our products with the quality and turnaround we wanted.”

Recently, she launched Vision Essentials’ Sun Fit program, which promotes the idea that everyone needs a quality pair of sunglasses. Polarized lens sales have nearly doubled due to her efforts. “Sun Fit is a program that really speaks to me, because it’s not just retail, there are health consequences,” said Victoria.

SHE SAYS…“It’s gratifying when one has an opportunity to help someone realize that there are many options to see better and look better. Eyewear is functional as well as fashionable."