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OWA members holding their awards

Emerging Leaders of Past Years

The Emerging Leader Award, created in 2018, is presented to a woman who is a rising star and exemplifies leadership qualities as a new talent within the optical industry.

All Emerging Leader Award Recipients

Reagan Colpitts

2024 Honoree

Reagan Colpitts is the Senior Business Development Manager at Safilo, spearheading go-to-market strategies for the North American sales team while also leading buying groups and strategic alliances in the USA. With 15 years of leadership experience, she has dedicated the last decade to the optical industry.

Armed with a degree in economics, she embraces her self-proclaimed status as an analytical nerd and has a genuine passion for business. She loves to bring elements from outside the optical industry into her role, and often looks for inspiration from other industries to help keep a fresh perspective.

In 2022, Colpitts was honored as one of Vision Monday's Most Influential Women in Optical. In 2023, she was awarded an OWA Leadership Scholarship, a testament to her commitment to continually enhance her business knowledge and skills.

Beyond her professional achievements, she strives to be a strong role model for her two children, showing them that there are no limits for working moms!

Talia Bruno

2023 Honoree

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.

Katie Lauver

2022 Honoree

Katie Lauver has worked in the optometry industry for 10 years, including her current tenure at GPN Technologies. In 2012, Katie started her career as an optician for a downtown optometry practice in Asheville, NC. With zero experience in optical aside from being a patient herself and an eyewear lover, she dove into the industry with her whole heart and learned everything she could about opticianry. She worked her way up to the position of business manager for a high-volume optical practice, then shifted her focus to opening her own business, which blended her love of herbalism and eye care. With The Herbal Spectacle, she sold eco-friendly eyewear and herbal medicine geared toward eye health and overall wellness to the local community, while also continuing her optical career.

After leaving the practice to go full time with her own business, Katie was offered the opportunity to move to the vendor side of the industry with GPN Technologies in 2016. First starting in sales at GPN, she is now the Vice President of Business Relations for the company, and works to educate both practice owners and partners on the importance of utilizing data analytics in their business.

Katie joined the OWA in 2018 and is now serving on the Professional Development Fund Committee, managing the "sponsor ambassador" program. She loves working with these OWA sponsor contacts and provides personal and professional development talks to them designed to help enrich their lives and promote radical action in their careers. The OWA's mission to connect, inspire, and lead is near to her heart as she empowers women to be the best version of themselves through personal connection and leadership.

Dr. Jennifer Stewart

2022 Honoree

Dr. Jennifer Stewart is an optometrist, speaker, writer, consultant, and entrepreneur. She is a partner at Norwalk Eye Care and has been involved in the optometric community for almost 20 years. She is a nationally recognized speaker, with a passion for helping optometrists and organizations with operations, optical success, contact lens sales, and practice management through her company OD Perspectives. She is an established writer and has been featured in most optometric publications. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the New England College of Optometry and a consultant for Coopervision, Zyloware, and GPN.

With a deep interest in sports vision, Dr. Stewart is the Co-Founder and Chief Vision Officer for Performance 20/20, which provides services for sports and performance vision training. She is a recipient of the Theia Award for Innovation by Women in Optometry and serves on the Executive Board for the International Sports Vision Association. She is a proud member of the OWA Membership and Schools Initiative Committees, and is dedicated to increasing awareness and membership in the optometric community.

Dr. Stewart is passionate about sports safety, enhancing performance, and helping business owners achieve their goals. An avid Disney fan, she lives her life by the quote, "If you can dream it, you can do it." She is inspired to help others with their dreams!

Jessica Goebert

2019 Honoree

Jessica Goebert is currently the Senior Public Relations Manager for De Rigo REM in Los Angeles, CA. As a seasoned PR professional, she brings over a decade of diverse experience developing communications strategy for some of the most iconic brands across fashion, sport and lifestyle. This includes six years in the optical industry where she got her start at Luxottica Group, overseeing all brand communications for the company in North America before joining De Rigo REM, where she is responsible for leading all communications, social media, advertising, events and industry relations.

As an active member of the OWA, Jessica serves as the co-chair of the Digital Marketing Committee where she has spearheaded content creation and messaging for the OWA's social platforms. She has also participated in event planning for the organization's regional events in Southern California. Some of her achievements include dressing FLOTUS Michelle Obama and Octavia Spencer for the Oscars, receiving CLIO Image Award and Platinum PR Award nominations, and being named by Vision Monday in 2017 as one of the most "Influential Women in Optical" in the Rising Star category.

Janelle Pauli

2018 Honoree

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin — La Crosse, Janelle Pauli is the Marketing Manager at VisionWeb, a software technology company in the eyecare industry, located in Austin, TX. For the past 6 years, Janelle has been a valued member of VisionWeb's marketing team, implementing digital content strategies that fuel business growth for each of the company's product lines.

As an active member of the OWA for five years, Janelle has served on the Digital Marketing Committee contributing to the foundation of the organization's digital marketing strategy, and most recently became a Co-chair to the Website Committee. In 2015, she was recognized as one of Vision Monday's Most Influential Women in Optical within the Rising Star category.

Outside of the office, Janelle can be found trying new restaurants around Austin, competing in a women's volleyball league, crocheting, or getting lost in a new book.

Explore More Awards & Honorees

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