Rose Britton

Senior Manager, Industry Relations

Victor, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “During her time in professional, clinical and academic affairs, Rose Britton has helped build the company’s reputation and relationships with eyecare professionals and industry partners in every way imaginable. She also helps drive market-share growth and expansion of the contact lens category … through education, advocacy and commercial partnership.”

Rose Britton will celebrate 19 years in the optical business in December, all of which have been with CooperVision in the professional affairs department. Originally hired as a clinical research associate to manage post-marketing clinical studies, Britton said she “stumbled on the position and started working out of the Lake Forest, Calif., office where Tom Bender, CEO at the time, was based. I say stumbled because I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology thinking I would want to go to medical school.”

She moved from clinical research associate to manager of clinical and professional affairs (2008), when she was recognized as Business Professional of the Year. “I gave up the clinical work when Dr. Michele Andrews came on board, because she was truly on a mission to make the professional and academic areas grow and I wanted to help make it happen,” she said. Britton is a member of the Optical Women’s Association, and also part of the African-American Descent Employee Resource Group at CooperCompanies, where she co-chairs the planning and strategy committee.

SHE SAYS… “I love, love, love our professional affairs team and this industry. We have the most caring, supportive and humble group of individuals in this industry whose absolute ultimate goal is to help patients see every day. When I was pursuing my dream to be a doctor, never did I think about pursuing optometry. And now that I’m in the industry, specifically contact lenses, I am in awe of all the things we do to help patients and this industry.”

Wallatta Delvaille

Export and Key Accounts Manager

Toronto, Ontario

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Wally’s vast knowledge of how our business works, from the inside and outside, makes her unique in our company and an asset for all departments. In a nutshell, Wally knows how to get things done. She is well respected and admired by the sales teams and all internal departments, and is constantly being called upon to participate in inter-department projects and problem solving discussions. In addition to the hard work she has put into advancing her own career, Wally has also been a mentor to numerous women within the WestGroupe customer service department.”

Wallatta Delvaille fell into the optical industry while in college, when she took a customer service role at WestGroupe while completing her undergraduate degree. For her final project, Delvaille planned to assess WestGroupe from the lens of a consultant, unbeknownst to them. She found herself enamored—admiring the company’s family values and recognition of each individual employee. So, Delvaille stayed, moving up within the company and becoming an integral part of WestGroupe’s team and family.

Now responsible for WestGroupe’s North American key accounts and international export division, Delvaille works across departments to find solutions that make workflow functional for all, both internally and externally. Delvaille leads with positivity and empathy in her work, supporting and motivating her team, whether they are together in person, or connecting now via Zoom and FaceTime.

SHE SAYS… “Growth can only come if you are open to change. The fear of the unknown can be intimidating, however, your growth and strength can only be revealed if you challenge yourself. The results are immeasurable and inspiring for you and other women that may be watching. We are all influential—live your life with courage and compassion, you can’t go wrong.”

Victoria Dzurinko, OD, MBA, FAAO

Director of Professional Relations

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Victoria is helping to develop and promote an improved standard of care for the detection and management of age-related macular degeneration.”

At MacuLogix, Dr. Dzurinko nurtures professional relationships with optometric opinion leaders and manages MacuLogix’s AMD Ambassadors, a group of 20 to 30 doctors who use the company’s dark adaptation device and speak about it. She is their in-house expert on the science behind dark adaptation, reimbursement, practice workflow and all things optometric. She trains new team members and sales staff on the inner workings of an optometric practice.

She works with industry KOLs, publications, reimbursement experts and workflow champions to figure out how to best incorporate dark adapation testing as part of the standard AMD workup.

Dr. Dzurinko has worked in nearly every type of optometric practice. She became one of Alcon’s top speakers on contact lenses before she joined MacuLogix in 2019 to become a leading expert in dark adaptation and age-related macular degeneration. “I am the liaison between our company and my colleagues,” explained Dr. Dzurinko. “I help educate my colleagues on our science and its clinical applications.

“I have the privilege of meeting the most cutting-edge doctors in eyecare. I collaborate with our internal teams (sales, marketing, customer success) to continue our mission of preventing the blindness caused by AMD. I have been part of many projects here at MacuLogix which has allowed us to understand our customers’ needs and create programs that will help them implement dark adaptation testing into their AMD standard of care and help patients maintain their eye health for years to come.”

SHE SAYS… “Vision is our most important sense, and the eyes are not only the windows to our soul, but also the window to our overall health.”

Lauren Fereday, OD

Professional Development Director

San Diego, California

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Lauren serves as professional development director, acting as the face of EssilorLuxottica and is responsible for building strong relationships and partnerships to reinforce EssilorLuxottica’s brand among critical customer and stakeholder groups. She executes the strategy behind the company’s relationships and presence within specific U.S. regions, and partners with regional sales and strategic account regional counterparts to contribute to its overall growth.”

Dr. Lauren Fereday began her career as an ophthalmic technician while pursuing her undergraduate degree at Loyola University New Orleans in 2010. She began her career with Essilor as an intern in Dallas, before taking on a part-time role with the company and working part-time for a private practice. She joined the company full time in 2018, and now takes a leading role in communication with optometry schools and state associations. She still enjoys seeing patients whenever she can, noting her chair-side role happened by accident.

“Honestly, I walked into an office with an eye infection and walked out with a job. Dr. Notaroberto asked me what I was in school for during undergrad and I said biology and that I wanted to go into some sort of medical field. He told me that he had a position open for a technician and it would be a great opportunity to explore optometry and ophthalmology.”

Fereday feels it is important to bring a fresh perspective to the industry and education events are one of her favorite professional opportunities to help people learn new approaches to care. She suggests that industry members use every opportunity to network through events, clubs, and conferences. She says this has allowed her to build a network that makes her job easier and more enjoyable.

SHE SAYS… “I love how we are such a small but mighty community. We get to help people see and appreciate so much that the world has to offer. It is so great that EssilorLuxottica has employed optometrists so we can be a voice for other optometrists and actual patients.”

Tine Graziosi

Enterprise Resource Planning Application Specialist

ClearVision Optical
Hauppauge, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Tine is valued for her amazing ability to always find a way to the desired solution for any problem. As a creative technologist, she is often sought out by our owners, David and Peter Friedfeld, for her thought leadership. Whether Tine takes on troubleshooting a system glitch or endeavors to build something new, she puts forth her whole energy to ensure there is a successful outcome.”

Tine Graziosi joined ClearVision, and the optical business, in 2011, taking on the responsibility of supporting and enhancing ClearVision’s highly customized Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)system, which helps run all aspects of the business. As ClearVision becomes more and more tech-forward, Graziosi expands her role, and her in-depth understanding of all aspects of the business process.

Graziosi is appreciative of ClearVision’s smaller size, which allows her to work closely with the company’s owners and leaders. Over the past 15 months, she and her colleagues have transitioned the business from being almost completely on-premises to a hybrid system, and helped launch ClearVision’s successful PPE business. In particular, she worked to integrate the online PPE shop with the ERP system to seamlessly fulfill orders and provide reporting so leadership could make timely, informed decisions regarding PPE.

Over the past few months, Graziosi said she’s seen herself and her team learn to make more deliberate decisions. Having previously worked in software consulting, office supply management and pet consumer goods, her varied background allows her to bring a unique perspective to the optical industry, and has allowed ClearVision to take advantage of the unique technological opportunities that have arisen due to the pandemic.

SHE SAYS… “Things are changing faster than ever, so keep learning, and embrace any opportunity you are presented with the eager eye of a beginner.”

Essence Johnson, OD, FAAO, Dipl ABO

Southeast Dallas Health Center
Parkland Health and Hospital System
Heartland, Texas
Chief Visionary Officer
Black EyeCare Perspective

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Inside and outside of the office, Dr. Johnson serves as a mentor, advocate and diversity champion, inspiring people in every phase of education to visualize their goals and reach their potential.”

Dr. Essence Johnson’s path to and through optometry has been distinguished by her own curiosity about science and vision care, her willingness to learn about new environments and a commitment to provide and advocate for service for patients of communities in need.

Since 2014, Dr. Johnson has been practicing at Parkland’s Southeast Dallas Health Center Community Outpatient Clinic and Lew Sterrett Justice Center and is also a Faculty Associate at UT Southwestern. In 2020, she was Parkland Hospital’s DFWHC Physician of the Year nominee. A Regional IV Trustee for the National Optometric Association (NOA), she is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion, receiving certificates from Cornell University and the University of South Florida Muma College of Business.

Dr. Johnson is also the Chief Visionary Officer of Black EyeCare Perspective and co-advisor to the Black EyeCare Perspective Pre-Optometry Club (BEPPOC) which is redefining the color of the eyecare industry one percent at a time by creating a pipeline for Black students into optometry. BEPPOC now has a total of 80 members and 30 of these students will be entering optometry school in the fall (class of 2025). One of Dr. Johnson’s latest accolades was to be awarded by the NOA with its Dr. Edwin C. Marshall Emerging Leader Award.

She earned her B.S. in Biology from Prairie View A&M, followed by her B.S. in Vision Science and optometry degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University and a residency in ocular disease at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. She credits her family, many friends and professional mentors for inspiring her to be a professional career woman, wife and mother.

SHE SAYS… “I’m happy to have found the platforms in optometry which enabled me to amplify my voice. You have to be the change you want to see.”

Leah Johnson, OD, FAAO, FSLS

Director of Professional Affairs

CooperVision Specialty EyeCare, Americas
Phoenix, Arizona

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Leah Johnson is quickly and seamlessly building a reputation as an exceptionally knowledgeable, trusted and well-respected voice in the specialty lens community. She is both relentless in her study and pursuit of knowledge around myopia management and other specialized conditions, and passionate about sharing information and clinical expertise for the benefit of ECPs and their patients around the world.”

Leah Johnson, who has been in the optical business for 15 years, is responsible for the development and implementation of clinical and educational programs supporting current and future eyecare practitioners across the U.S. and China for CooperVision Specialty EyeCare. This includes specialty contact lenses within the ortho-k portfolio and lenses for the irregular cornea. She leads a professional affairs team of 16 people.

Beginning as an optometry assistant and optometry technician, she attended optometry school at the University of Houston and completed a year of training with a Fellowship in Cornea & Contact Lens. She has been published in peer-reviewed journals on orthokeratology, was part of the team gaining CE Mark approval (EU countries) for myopia control in Paragon CRT lenses, and is on the team driving development of customization options for Paragon CRT and Paragon CRT Dual Axis contact lenses.

Johnson also has spent extensive time in China (pre-COVID), which has the highest numbers of myopic children. “There I work collectively with eyecare professionals to bring a better understanding of myopia and selecting the best treatment options that enhance patient outcomes and care,” she said.

SHE SAYS… “I love patient care and my goal is to share with practitioners the wonders of specialty contact lenses—especially with ortho-k and scleral lenses—and how they can make a difference in their own patient’s lives.”

Allison Lancaster

Director of Marketing

AEG Vision
Dallas, Texas

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Allison (Allie) is AEG’s director of marketing and manages both the day-to-day marketing programs (digital, web, TV, radio, print, website development) and the integration of marketing programs for each of the 50+ new practices that AEG acquires. AEG’s model is to keep the brand/business model intact—but to use better tools to get their message out.”

Allison Lancaster oversees the integration of new practices acquired by AEG Vision. In her role, she maintains core businesses by executing integrated marketing and promotional strategies. She began her optical career 10 years ago as a marketing intern for Crown Vision, quickly rising through the ranks. She was named marketing manager and then director of marketing when the company was acquired by AEG in 2017.

Having gone through the acquisition process herself, she understands the importance of brand legacy. “In partnership with our development teams, we have built proprietary systems to allow us to market to patients with targeted messaging while maintaining a practice’s legacy branding.” She said when AEG Vision acquires a practice, the goal is to maintain the legacy brand name and ultimately the DNA they have built-in to their communities.

She believes the fast pace of the optical industry should be a catalyst for learning. Lancaster thinks it is important to set clear goals for yourself and the organization and don’t be afraid to lean on your mentors for help when needed.

During her time as an intern, she was exposed to many different areas of the business. Her favorite moments were her time spent with Kids Vision For Life in St. Louis, a charitable division bringing vision to children in need through local schools.

SHE SAYS… “That is where I learned that vision is so much more than sight; it can change lives. I will never forget how kids’ faces lit up when they could see the chalkboard and their classmates for the first time.”

Melissa Nichole Long

Coatings Lab Manager

Eye-Kraft Optical
St. Cloud, Minnesota

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Melissa is Eye-Kraft’s coatings master and is instrumental in the lab’s budding but robust AR business.”

Melissa Long manages the entire coatings and treatments process at Eye-Kraft, including the scratch coating cell, AR process, tints, and outsourcing. She runs a six-person lens treatments team responsible for all coatings and treatments production.

Long first came to work for Eye-Kraft as a temporary staffer and quickly established herself not only as a hard worker, but as someone who truly cared about the lab and the success of her product. Eye-Kraft didn’t have AR vacuum deposition until 2017, and the lab tagged Long to operate the new equipment.

Since then, she has created all of the lab’s AR processes, engineered new coatings and established quality control processes. She is quickly becoming a thin films expert, managing complex equipment and processes with no formal education or training in the field.

Before starting in optical seven years ago, Long worked in the culinary industry. She sees a parallel with the two industries. “There’s a lot of multitasking and mathematics in both,” she observed, adding that both industries require precision and a high level of cleanliness.

“I have a passion for AR technology,” she said. Her quest for knowledge has motivated her to start a master’s degree in material science and instrumentation this fall at St. Cloud State University. Long is a member of National Academy of Opticianry and The Vision Council. Outside of optical she volunteers for the City of St. Cloud Parks and Recreation Department and coaches soccer for the middle school girls.

SHE SAYS… “I am inspired every day for success. There is always more to learn, goals to accomplish, more knowledge to apply. Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.”

Sathi Maiti, OD

Ocular Surface Disease Clinical Research Fellow, Optometrist

Periman Eye Institute, Eye Eye, SEE Eyewear
Seattle, Washington

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She is always teaching and elevating others, and loves to share knowledge and humor. She writes and speaks on many topics related to optometry and is a rising star in the key opinion leader world.”

With seven years in the optical field, Dr. Sathi Maiti serves in three roles. She’s an ocular surface disease clinical research fellow at Periman Eye Institute (a dry eye specialty clinic); an associate optometrist at private practice Eye Eye; and a subleasing optometrist at Dr. Maiti’s Eyeballs and Stuff, located within SEE Eyewear.

She’s also a rising star in the optical field—bringing a fresh voice to optometry through modern channels. Her social media accounts have a large following and she writes many fun and relevant posts on optical-related content.

“When I first started practicing as a solo OD, I felt cut off from other ODs and I didn’t really engage with the profession outside of my daily work,” she said. “I wanted to share the eyeball stuff I loved with other like-minded people, so I started an Instagram account (@drmaitiseyeballsandstuff) to connect with others in the eyecare world. I’ve made many connections with ECPs from around the world, and I hope my posts bring some joy, humor, interest and education to those who follow the account.”

Dr. Maiti also serves on several associations and is a member of the Optometric Physicians of Washington’s (OPW) diversity/inclusion/access task force, launched in 2020 to focus on anti-racism in optometry, promote diversity among ODs, and improve access to eyecare by underserved populations in Washington State.

SHE SAYS… “Many people in our industry are willing to share their advice and experience. Look for mentors and let people know what you want to do. You’ll be surprised at what opportunities come your way.”

Hayley Rakus

Marketing and Communications Manager

The Vision Council
Alexandria, Virginia

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Hayley shapes the reputation of The Vision Council among the industry members and also promotes the importance of the industry through press and PR outreach. In a challenging year, Hayley has kept members updated and engaged, and when appropriate, positioned our industry members as an essential part of comprehensive eyecare.”

In her current role, Hayley Rakus is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of The Vision Council’s consumer and trade media relations campaigns, including Vision Expo.

Rakus said, “It has certainly been a challenging year, but I’m proud of how we’ve been able to bring the community together through virtual events, from our virtual Executive Summit to two virtual All-Member Meetings. Coming off the heels of Vision Expo East 2021 in Orlando, we are so looking forward to a vibrant, impactful Vision Expo West 2021 in Las Vegas this September.”

At the start of her career, Rakus honed her PR skills in the hospitality and travel world when she was based in New York City and handled public relations strategies for high-profile luxury lifestyle brands, from Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio of luxury properties to private jet company Sentient Jet.

She said, “I had two very demanding managers at my last PR agency job before joining The Vision Council who inspired me through their passion for and dedication to our clients. They taught me the power of perseverance, smart communication and polished presentation.”

Coming from such a completely different world in travel and hospitality, Rakus has been able to bring a fresh perspective to optical. “Also, having worked on the PR agency side, I think I bring useful insight to an ‘in-house’ marketing role,” she said.

SHE SAYS… “Communication has never been more important than during the past year and a half. From communicating with our members to media, we have had to be creative, transforming typically in-person events to virtual and offering all-member virtual meetings to keep members informed.”

Amy Russell

Regional Director

EyeCare Partners
Columbus, Ohio

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Amy leads a region of optometry offices in the states of Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Texas. She is in charge of leading a team of eight district managers who each manage about 8-10 offices. Amy also is very involved in our acquisition and integration process—when we acquire a practice in her area, she helps to lead the practice through a smooth transition into ECP.”

For 12 years, Amy Russell has been supporting the optical industry, currently serving more than 65 EyeCare Partners offices across five states as regional director, a role she is proud to fill. “I have played a vital role in successfully integrating 28 optometry offices into EyeCare Partners operations over the last five years. Our rapid growth has enabled us to provide many career opportunities for our staff and I am most proud of the tenure, experience, and development of those I support.”

She believes assembling a team that supports each other is the key to creating a workplace that is enjoyable and allows for personal growth and development. “I’ve taken a bit of an unconventional path which had me finishing my degree just a few months after my oldest son was born, working many years from home, raising five kids, and juggling too many schedules.

“When I shifted to a full-time job outside of the home, then to a corporate role, and most recently to a regional role that includes frequent travel, my husband has supported and encouraged me to continue doing what I enjoy, often reminding me of my own strengths when I doubt myself.

SHE SAYS… “Be honest with yourself about what you love to do and your skillset—if you aren’t sure about your strengths/weaknesses, don’t be afraid to ask a trusted colleague or supervisor. Don’t back down from a challenge and don’t compare yourself to those around you.”