Each year the OWA presents awards to individuals who exemplify a passion for promoting the role of women in our industry. The recipients are honored in New York City during Vision Expo East at the annual Champagne Breakfast and Star Awards Ceremony.
Pleiades Award — Each year, our Pleiades Award honors an individual who has shown exceptional support in advancing the leadership role of women in the optical industry. This award is named after the star cluster The Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters — referring to the seven brightest stars in the cluster, located in the constellation of Taurus. According to Greek mythology, each star was named after the seven daughters of Atlas who were turned into stars by Zeus. Together these stars create one of the brightest clusters visible in the northern hemisphere, just as by working together, the women of the OWA have created an organization that is bigger and brighter than the sum of their individual efforts.
Pyxis Award — PYXIS is a constellation in the southern sky known as The Compass. The PYXIS Award is presented to a member of the OWA who actively participates in the organization and promotes the OWA throughout the optical industry, contributing to OWA's continuing growth. The recipient of the PYXIS Award is exceptional in her commitment to support and develop the OWA. She helps set direction of the organization by her actions and inspires by her leadership.
Emerging Leader Award — The Emerging Leader Award, created in 2018, is presented to a woman who is a rising star and exemplifies leadership qualities as a new distinctive talent within the optical industry. Examples may be a Millennial or GEN Xer but is not limited to these generations. Unlike the Pleiades and Pyxis Awards, the Emerging Leader Award may not necessarily be presented every year.
OWA Charities of Choice
Each year, the annual OWA award honorees receive $1000 each to put toward a charity of their choosing. The Charities of Choice
selected for 2023 are:
If you would like to make an additional contribution to any of these charities, please visit their respective donation pages.
Read below for more information about each honoree's choice.
2023 Pleiades Award Recipient — Karen Roberts
Karen Roberts's Charity of Choice — The Fred Hollows Foundation
The Fred Hollows Foundation
is an international development organization working towards eliminating avoidable blindness and improving Indigenous Australian health. Fred's vision is a world in which no person is needlessly blind and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders exercise their right to good health. The Foundation now works in more than 25 countries and has restored sight to over two and a half million people.
2023 Pyxis Award Recipient — Dr. Beverly Bianes
Beverly Bianes' Charity of Choice — Mary's Guest House
"The organization I selected to receive a charitable donation is Mary's Guest House
. Their mission is to offer refuge, hope, and healing to women who are victims and survivors of human trafficking. Mary's Guest House was founded by the Marist Missionary Sisters on November 7, 2005, in San Diego, one of the top ten areas of human trafficking in the United States. I have been blessed to provide eyecare to these women over the last 8 years. I've witnessed first-hand how this organization helps women cope with their trauma and gives them the tools and resources to regain their self-confidence and integrate back into society."
2023 Emerging Leader Award Recipient — Talia Bruno
Talia Bruno's Charity of Choice — Whispering Hope
"I have been blessed to be involved with various fundraising efforts for Whispering Hope
, a local organization in my county, Forsyth, Georgia. Whispering Hope is a pregnancy center that operates under board-certified physicians and specializes in pregnancy diagnostic services. Their highly trained and respectful medical staff provide professional care to women in need at no charge. They offer free pregnancy testing, free STI testing, and limited ultrasounds in a clean and private atmosphere. Medical professionals and Patient Care Advocates work with women on an individual basis to determine how to best meet their needs. I am thankful for this local organization in my community as it serves mothers and mothers to be."
Check out some of OWA's other awards and previous recipients:
- Visionary Award — This award recognizes a member who is known as a "visionary" in our industry. This influential leader demonstrates progressive thinking and actively cultivates professional development of women, contributing to the successful future of the entire optical industry.
- Pinnacle Award — OWA recognizes a member who has demonstrated long-standing and consistent dedication and commitment to the OWA and to furthering the advancement of the leadership role of women in the optical industry. A pinnacle is the highest point of development or achievement, and the Pinnacle Award honors the person's success, determination and influence. The recipient is one who is recognized for inspiring others to reach aspirational heights and career advancement. Signifying a lofty peak, the Pinnacle Award also symbolizes major OWA milestone years as it will only be bestowed on anniversaries.
- Lifetime Achievement Award — Sometimes, a woman in the Optical Industry is so influential that she deserves an extra special moment in the spotlight.