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.
- Lifetime Achievement Award — Sometimes, a woman in the Optical Industry is so influential that she deserves an extra special moment in the spotlight.
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 2024 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.
2024 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient — Marge Axelrad
Marge Axelrad's Charity of Choice — SUNY College of Optometry Foundation
Marge has been on the board of the SUNY College of Optometry Foundation
(formerly known as the Optometric Center of New York) since 2014. SUNY College of Optometry is one of the country's leading academic institutions, guiding the future of optometry in practice, research, and community services.
2024 Pleiades Award Recipient — Rebecca Giefer
Rebecca Giefer's Charity of Choice — Opening Your Eyes Scholarship Foundation
Opening Your Eyes
is a scholarship program of The Vision Council Foundation designed to provide financial assistance and career opportunities to minority high school seniors throughout the United States who have an interest in pursuing a career in the optical industry. The program launched in 2021, and the first round of recipients was selected in July 2021.
2024 Pyxis Award Recipient — Trudi Charest
Trudi Charest' Charity of Choice — Women for Women International
Women for Women International
was founded in 1993 during the Bosnian war by Zainab Salbi
to reach and empower forgotten communities of women through social and economic enrichment programs. "Our vision is to create a world in which all women determine the course of their lives and reach their full potential."
Women for Women International provides educational resources, job training, skills workshops, and victim support services to women affected by conflict. The organization also educates women on their voting rights, sexual and reproductive health, mental wellbeing, and other issues that help empower them within their communities.
2024 Emerging Leader Award Recipient — Reagan Colpitts
Reagan Colpitts's Charity of Choice — Foundation for Women's Cancer
Foundation for Women's Cancer
strives to bring together all communities of advocates, patients, caregivers, partners, and the healthcare team to eradicate or lessen the impact of gynecologic cancer through research, education, and public awareness.
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.