The Vision Council, the trade organization representing more than 700 companies in the vision care industry, and co-owner of Vision Expo, has been busy planning for Vision Expo East 2021, scheduled to take place for the first time ever in Orlando, Florida, from June 2-5, 2021. Join Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council, for an engaging conversation on what to expect at the first major in-person trade show since 2019. Mills breaks down the different neighborhoods that will be featured at the show, speaks to health and safety guidelines that will be in place, highlights some of the exciting CE to look forward to, and tells us what she is most excited about.
Mills also shares her own personal story - how she got started in the industry and at The Vision Council - and her advice for those just launching their careers.
Ashley Mills is the CEO of The Vision Council, the industry association serving as a global voice for eyewear and eyecare that represents companies in diverse segments of the optical industry. In this role, she works to promote growth in the vision care industry through education, advocacy, research, and industry forums, and is deeply committed to cultivating strong, effective partnerships throughout the optical arena and in adjacent sectors.
Mills brings over 20 years of progressive communications, philanthropy, and trade association experience to The Vision Council after several years in both consulting and association roles with major organizations, including the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and the Council on Foundations.
After serving as The Vision Council's Director of Marketing and Shows from 2003–2006, Mills returned in January 2016 to lead The Vision Council's International Vision Expo shows. Mills has been named one of Vision Monday's Most Influential Women in Optical and serves on the board of the Optical Women's Association, chairing the Finance Committee.
A graduate of the University of Maryland, she and her husband, Jeff, live in Bethesda, Maryland, with their two children.
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Every March, we celebrate Women's History Month to honor women's contributions in American history. This month's episode with Kate Hamm, OD, celebrates women while also focusing on the need for a more equal and inclusive workplace for them. She explains why negotiating and mentoring are two valuable methods you can use to reach that goal.
While still in optometry school, Dr. Hamm began analyzing the various components that contributed to the gender wage gap. One of her biggest passions is encouraging women to become better negotiators as a way to work toward shrinking that gap. Improving negotiating skills can help salary and promotion discussions become less awkward and sticky; once women understand and appreciate their own merits, they can advocate better for themselves when opportunities arise, leading to creative solutions for both parties.
Kate Hamm, OD, serves as the Senior Manager of OD Engagement at Luxottica. She is a Kansas native and graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in physical sciences and minors in physics and biology. After graduation, Kate attended the University of Missouri - St. Louis College of Optometry where she served in leadership roles, researched visual perception in dyslexia, and advocated for optometrists on a national scale. At graduation in 2019, Kate was awarded the Raymond Meyers Leadership Award, the COVD Pediatric Care Award, and the Optometry Scholars Award. After optometry school, Kate spent time in Dallas working with Essilor of America as an intern with the professional development team. Kate then joined a private practice in Wichita, KS, where she saw patients for 2 years before joining Luxottica in her current role. Kate lives in Wichita with her husband where she is usually watching football, connecting with her community, or finding new foods to try.
Meet Karen Giberson — President and CEO of the Accessories Council, Editor-in-Chief of AC Magazine, and EMMY Award winner! A genuine "retail insider", Karen has years of experience in communications, merchandising, marketing and public relations. As President & CEO of the Accessories Council, a non-profit advocacy group, she represents a $50B+ industry of over 350 dynamic member companies in the fashion footwear, accessory, and jewelry markets. Beyond current members, Karen works with hundreds of brands, retailers, licensees, talent, and industry support executives.
She is charged with being a voice for the industry and leads efforts to assist with legislative issues, sales, and awareness. Her position gives her a unique perspective and, as a business partner vs client, she gets a realistic view of the opportunities and challenges these companies face. She is action-oriented and works to maximize and resolve opportunities and challenges.
At the Accessories Council, Karen creates and oversees production of educational events, mentoring programs, the industry newsletter, charitable efforts, and fundraising galas. She advocates for policy, has testified in front of Congress and local governments, and has retained lobby groups to positively impact the accessories industry. She is a prolific author and has been published in many trade papers.
Most notoriously, she runs the esteemed ACE Awards, one of the fashion industries' leading events. She established many other foundation events at the Council as well, including the Hall of Fame awards, The Elaine Gold Launchpad, the Accessories Innovation Committee, the Design Excellence Awards, B.A.B.E. (a women's networking event), and Retail/Wholesale "meet days", to name a few.
In January 2021, Karen relaunched Accessories Magazine, a quarterly publication that features the accessories, jewelry, and footwear industries. Karen is a prolific author and major contributor to the publication.
Karen started her career in the executive training program at Macy's and there held a number of positions, including a two-year post in their jewelry-buying department. She then joined QVC where her career blossomed, culminating in a beloved position as director of event marketing. She was also the director of accessories, footwear and intimate apparel and senior buyer of accessories, footwear, and intimate apparel. She created and launched the company's event marketing division, which created events such as "Shoes on Sale", "Extreme Shopping", and "Red Carpet Weekends".
She is an EMMY award-winning executive producer of "Avec Eric," a PBS broadcasted television show featuring star chef Eric Ripert that was named Outstanding Culinary Program in 2010. She was named one of Philadelphia's Most Fashionable Women 2012, Main Line Today's Power Women List in 2013, 2016 Accessories Council ACE Award Winner, and 2017 Mann Foundation Leading Lady Honoree.
Despite her fashion background, Karen is a grounded and down-to-earth individual! She can be found running Spartan Races, is a fitness enthusiast, and loves spending time with her family and friends.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of women. It claims more women's lives than all forms of cancer combined! Learn how Go Red for Women, from the American Heart Association (AHA), educates, promotes awareness, and is positively impacting the heath of women related to CVD.
Speaking on behalf of the AHA are podcast guests Elizabeth Klunk and Caroline Hickam.
Elizabeth Klunk, RN, BSN, CCM-R, is the Senior Vice President of Medical Management at Versant Health. She has more than 30 years of experience in acute hospital, healthcare payer, healthcare service delivery operations, and healthcare consulting & clinical outsource operations. Liz is a Certified Case Manager and a Registered Nurse in three states; as well as an expert in regulatory and compliance, particularly when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid. She is a firm believer that annual eye exams are not only critical for vision and eye health, but overall health as well.
Caroline Hickam is the Director of Go Red for Women with the American Heart Association (AHA) in Baltimore, Maryland. She uses her personal survivor story and passion to foster relationships that benefit the mission of the AHA. Specifically, she works to improve the conditions of women who are impacted by cardiovascular diseases by advocating for women to listen to their bodies, make healthy lifestyle choices, and put themselves first. Caroline loves using her story and passion to connect with others, learn their passions, and work with each other to improve the communities we are a part of both small and large. Feeling personally connected to the work she does both in the office and out empowers her to continue making positive change.