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What is the Optical Women's Association's 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 not limited to these generations. Unlike the Pleiades and Pyxis Awards, the Emerging Leader Award may not necessarily be presented every year.

Talia Bruno

2023 Emerging Leader Award Recipient, Talia Bruno

Talia Bruno is a sales director, entrepreneur, mentor, and most importantly, mom to three children aged 8, 5, and 2.  Prior to entering optical, Talia began her career in the consumer-packaged goods industry, holding account management positions at Fortune 500's Miller Coors Brewing Company and at A.T. Cross, both globally recognized companies.  In 2008, she entered the optical industry by joining Luxottica as a regional account manager and quickly rose to Senior Key Account Manager, overseeing a third of the KA channel sales.  Recognizing her passion for business development and corporate strategy, she left Luxottica and used her experience to grow Modo's KA Channel as a KA Sales Director.  It was at Modo that her skill for cultivating new business opportunities was challenged.  Facing ongoing challenges of practice consolidations, she searched for business opportunities outside of the typical optical customer, such as developing a reader's program for Bed Bath & Beyond and Whole Foods.  She also broke into the department store and off-price channels, furthering her knowledge outside of optical.

Displaying a deep interest in analyzing corporate structure and building from the bottom up, Bruno was asked to join De Rigo REM in July of 2018 as Senior Key Accounts Director of North America.  Here, she leads the development and alignment of the KA Channel and plays a vital role in cultivating new business and aiding the corporate sales strategy to drive revenue and growth for North America.  Her first year at De Rigo (pre-covid) lead to a 34% sales growth in the KA channel.  Throughout her career, Bruno has been the recipient of various awards. At Miller Coors, she received an On Premise award for highest sales and brand distribution; at Luxottica, she was inducted into the President's Circle for having met all sales and MBO goals for two consecutive years; at De Rigo REM she received the Above and Beyond award.  Outside of optical, Bruno serves on the board of a local advocacy group in Georgia that preserves medical freedom for GA constituents.

In recent years, Bruno has come to realize that her true passion is helping other working moms in business by sharing her own strategies with them.  She finds great satisfaction in helping women rise to their true potential and being a positive mentor for them. She joined the OWA in late 2021 and serves on the Professional Development Fund Committee, working hard to get the Individual Contributor Program up and running post-Covid and overseeing OWA's Sponsor Ambassador Program.  The OWA's mission to connect, inspire, and lead is dear to her heart, and she greatly appreciates how this organization empowers women to be the best version of themselves.

Emerging Leader Award — Past Honorees

Click on the honorees' names to see more information about the Emerging Leader Award recipient.

2022 OWA Emerging Leader Honoree — Katie Lauver

2022 OWA Emerging Leader Honoree — Dr. Jennifer Stewart

2019 OWA Emerging Leader Honoree — Jessica Goebert

2018 OWA Emerging Leader Honoree — Janelle Pauli

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