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What is the Optical Women's Association's 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" in the constellation of Taurus. "The Pleiades" is also known as the "Seven Sisters" - referring to the seven brightest stars in the cluster.

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.

Millicent Knight, OD

2020 Pleiades Award Recipient, Millicent Knight, OD, FAAO, FAARM, FNAP

Dr. Millicent Knight is Senior Vice President, Customer Development Group, Essilor of America . Her team aligns Eye Care Professional education, sales force training, and eye care professional relations to deliver on the Essilor mission of improving lives by improving sight. Dr. Knight represents the voice of the doctor as a member of the Leadership Team.

She has a diverse and extensive background in the eyecare industry, including hospital-based ophthalmology/optometry, owner of two optometric practices (North Shore Eye Center and Integrative Eye and Wellness Center), and a former member of Vision Source. Prior to Essilor, she was Vice President of Professional Affairs, North America at Johnson & Johnson Vision, Inc.

Knight is a member of the Illinois Optometric Association (IOA), the American Optometric Association (AOA), and the National Optometric Association (NOA), and was awarded Optometrist of the Year by both the IOA and NOA, as well as Young Optometrist of the Year by both Organizations.

Knight holds a Doctor of Optometry degree, and two Bachelor of Science degrees. She has served on the Board of Trustees for Augustana College and the Illinois College of Optometry, her alma maters, and was awarded Alumnus Professional Achievement Awards. Dr. Knight was awarded the J&J Standards of Leadership Award, twice selected one of Vision Monday's Most Influential Women in Optical, and a Women in Optometry Theia Award for Leadership recipient. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Regenerative Medicine, The National Academies of Practice, and a Kellogg Leadership Fellow.

Knight took an interest in this field as a child with Myopia and an accommodative disorder resolved with vision therapy at Illinois College of Optometry (ICO), and by age 8 told her father she was going to be an eye doctor. She is a passionate advocate for quality patient care, has mentored many students and colleagues, and benefitted from their mentoring as well. Her husband and life partner is Harvey Echols, MD, and they are the parents of one son, Matthew.

Past Honorees