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OWA Talks Podcast


July 2020 — Trudi Charest
Digital Networking & Social Selling

Trudi Charest

If you are like every business owner, executive or sales person, when the lockdown happened you understood how important it was to be able to connect virtually to your patients and customers. Now virtual and digital communications are the norm. Connecting, networking and selling online will be the way of the future. What do you need to do to build a personal and business profile and where should you start?

Trudi Charest co-founded Marketing4ecps, a digital marketing agency focused on building digital advertising for optometrists, opticians, and ophthalmologists, in 2015. She is well known for designing, developing, and facilitating training and marketing programs for eyecare professionals across North America.

Trudi is a licensed optician with over 25 years of extensive eyecare experience. She also holds a Human Resource Management certificate from the University of Calgary. Her background includes corporate training in optical retail, territory management for Bausch & Lomb, clinical consulting with Optos, and the position of Vice President of Marketing & Training for Eye Recommend, one of Canada's leading optometric buying groups.

She is an international speaker, author, industry consultant, and business innovator.

Monthly chats featuring influential optical leaders sharing their insights and stories on trending topics that matter.

Click here to learn more about our hosts — Sandra Mohr and Stephanie Espinosa.

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June 2020 — Barbara Caffery
Back to Practice: How We Will Change

Barbara Caffery

COVID-19 has forced the delivery of health care to change. The return to our clinics requires new rituals and a significant shift in our patient interactions. One of our major goals is to avoid infection and prevent the spread of infection. This requires minimal talking, covered faces and short visits. How, in this new environment, can we maintain our relationship with our patients? What is the value of our words, our facial expressions? These are the questions that will soon be answered in this pandemic world of eye care.

Dr. Barbara Caffery, OD, PhD, FAAO graduated from the New England College of Optometry in 1977. In 2009, she completed her PhD programme in Vision Science at the University of Waterloo upon defending her thesis entitled Sjogren's Syndrome: A Clinical and Biochemical Analysis. Dr. Caffery practices at Toronto Eye Care in downtown Toronto and also participates in two hospital-based clinics at the University Health Network Multi-Disciplinary Sjogren's Syndrome Clinic and the Therapeutic Contact Lens Clinic at Kensington Vision and Research Centre. Her areas of expertise include dry eye disease and contact lenses. Dr. Caffery has completed several clinical trials in dry eye treatments and has also widely published in the areas of contact lenses, dry eye and Sjogren's Syndrome. She presently serves as the President of the American Academy of Optometry. She also serves on the Medical Advisory panel of the Sjogren's Society of Canada.

May 2020 — Carrie Wilson
Changes in the Optometric Field and Adapting to a NEW Normal

Carrie Wilson

As the shelter-at-home restrictions begin to lift and the country opens back up, what changes might we expect to see in regard to doing business in the optical industry and how will we continue to adapt to a "new normal?" Listen to Carrie Wilson's take on this and more.

Carrie Wilson is going into her 21st year in the optical industry, and during this time, she has worked in many diverse roles, from dispensing to manufacturing and from private practice to corporate optical. She's a member of The Vision Council and its Lens Technical Committee, the ANSI committee, and is a former board member of the Contact Lens Society of America. She's the author of Introduction to Basic Optical Principles: National Opticianry Certification Exam Basic Certification-ABO, a textbook designed for the purpose of passing the ABO's National Opticianry Certification Exam. She has plans to release a text for the NCLE's Contact Lens Registery Exam later this summer. Carrie can be reached at

April 2020 — Alessandro Baronti
The 5 Pillar Business Approach to Surviving COVID-19

Alessandro Baronti

With so much uncertainty and disruption around the current situation with COVID-19, ECPs are feeling extra-overwhelmed. From manufacturers to eye care practices, everyone has had their world turned upside down in a matter of days. But with every challenge lies an even greater opportunity. That's why, Alessandro Baronti is sharing his five pillar approach on critical tips and tools you can apply to your business so you can come out of the this stronger than ever when doors reopen. Because, we are all in this together.

Alessandro Baronti currently serves as the President and CEO of De Rigo REM, the Los Angeles-based subsidiary of Italian eyewear manufacturer, De Rigo Vision. In his current role, Baronti is responsible for overseeing the entire American team with a key focus on driving growth, profit and sustainability for the business, as well as developing and empowering the company's next generation of leaders.

Baronti brings over 30 years of optical experience. Getting his start internationally at Optyl Italia, he began his journey in the United States as a sales consultant for Luxottica Wholesale North America, moving through the organization to lead the US sales market as the Vice President of Sales for the Western region. Most recently, Baronti held the position of Vice President of Industry Relations & Education for Luxottica North America, where he was responsible for deepening the group's footprint in the market by leading the strategic direction of educational messaging and training as well as cultivating strong business partnerships with influential groups in the eye care industry. He also held an executive position at Marcolin where he served as the Vice President of Sales, playing an integral role in the development of the company's key account channels.

Through several years of studies and practices, Baronti brings a wealth of knowledge in continued education that includes a diversified list of accreditations. He is an esteemed ABO and COPE certified industry speaker, conducting countless numbers of seminars for thousands of ECPs every year.

March 2020 — Millicent Knight, OD
Understanding the Industry with Dr. Millicent Knight

Millicent Knight, OD

Sandra and Stephanie interview Dr. Millicent Knight about all things optometry. We dive into her early beginnings in the field and talk a little bit about the direction of things moving forward.

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.

February 2020 — Sheena Taff
Preparing a Clear Path to a New York State of Mind

Sheena Taff

Mapping out your trip through the new neighborhoods of Vision Expo East. Sheena, Sandra, and Stephanie will cover what to do, who to meet, and the must attend events and trends to keep your eyes open for this year's brand new redesigned Vision Expo.

Sheena Taff, also known as @Optician.About.Town, is an award winning Licensed Optician and Optical Blogger. She runs a second generation independent optical boutique in Vancouver, Canada. Sheena has gained attention for her tenacious drive to change the perspective of the optical experience, her mission is to share the benefits of wearing quality eye wear and change the perception of what it means to wear glasses. Sheena has a monthly column in EyeCare Business magazine and is the founder of the #EyeStyleInfluencers, an industry group committed to educating peers and the public on the importance of eye health and seeing an eye care professional. On her blog she shares her fashion forward perspective and the joys of EyeStyle while focusing on the equal importance of lenses as part of the story. Sheena utilizes her role as an industry influencer, writer and speaker to share her unbridled passion for the optical industry and all the creative freedom and diverse opportunities it affords.

January 2020 — Sandra Mohr & Stephanie Espinosa
Meet the OWA Podcast Hosts

Learn more about the series and our hosts.

Sandra Mohr

Sandra Mohr

Sandra Mohr currently serves as the Dean of Academic Resources and Administration at the New England College of Optometry. She is known for being a change agent in higher education institutions through engaging multiple stakeholders and investing in modern learning environments for the 21st century. She has proven talent for aligning institutional strategy and objectives with established departmental paradigms to achieve maximum faculty and student success. Sandra has earned a doctorate degree in Global Educational Leadership from Lamar University, a master's degree in Higher Educational Leadership and Administration from West Virginia University, and a master's degree in Counseling and bachelor's degree in Psychology from California University of PA.

Stephanie Espinosa

Stephanie Espinosa

Stephanie was thrown into the optical world 5 years ago when she started at a small private practice as a front desk receptionist. Having no knowledge of anything optical besides "having a lot of astigmatism," she spent her time learning the ins and outs of the optical practice. Within a year, she passed her ABOC and was a full time optician. After a brief stint at a corporate store, she joined Shamir in 2018 as an Account Executive in Southern California. Now she spends her days meeting new doctors and optical staff and helping grow practices and train about product. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her 4 kids and running a podcast with her best friend, Maddie. "I am so excited to take Tuesday Talks to the podcast format and help reach even more women in the optical industry!"