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OWA Talks Podcast — 2023


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January 2023 — Daniel Wakefield
Invest in Yourself and Your Personal Brand Through Imagery

Daniel Wakefield

As we launch 2023, OWA chats with renowned photographer Daniel Wakefield, who emphasizes the need to reflect your own personal brand in a business profile. Hear about the importance of capturing genuine expression in order to best present the face you show the business world. Daniel also shares his thoughts on capturing video content to use for ever-changing marketing needs.

Daniel Wakefield, Owner/Photographer of Top-Tier Headshots, started life in Canada but lived in several areas in the U.S. growing up. Daniel and his wife Bethany moved to south Florida in 2015, and it was there that his passion for wildlife photography was born. Daniel's wildlife work has been published in several books and magazines, and he has won awards in several prestigious wildlife photography competitions, including Top 100 in Audubon Bird Photography, 2018, and Top 15 in Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year, 2020.

Daniel is renowned for his skill in photographing people and capturing genuine expression. Early in his photographic journey, Daniel recognized that people often have very forced expressions when you tell them to "smile." However, when the photographer can get people to relax in front of the camera, not only do they enjoy the experience more, they also come away with images that showcase their genuine expressions.

This interest in capturing genuine expression was heightened when Daniel began training with Peter Hurley and his Headshot crew. Peter is widely considered to be the best headshot photographer in the world, and learning from him took Daniel's headshot photography to the next level. Daniel is an Associate Photographer of Peter Hurley and a two-time Headshot of the Week winner. In July 2022, Daniel Wakefield opened his brand-new commercial studio in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Daniel lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida with Bethany and their four beautiful children.

February 2023 — Alysse Henkel
The Vision Council Unveils First-Ever Market inSights Report

Alysse Henkel

Alysse Henkel, Senior Director, Market Research & Analytics, for The Vision Council (TVC), shares differentiation points on Market inSights, which was launched in December, from other industry tools. Our co-hosts chat these report learnings with Alysse and hear details about The Vision Council prep ahead of Vision Expo East.

In her role at TVC, Henkel is responsible for establishing data management systems and policies to enable complex analysis of large data sets, developing robust market modeling sources and systems, and communicating relevant insights that can contribute to actionable and strategic business recommendations.

An experienced researcher and evaluator who works with leaders to help them make data-driven decisions, Henkel launched her career at Goodwill Industries International, where she spent 10 years leading efforts to overhaul the organization's national data collection and reporting systems and creating new opportunities to analyze the impact of the organization's programs and services. More recently, she was selected as a Data Fellow with the Strategic Data Project at the Center for Education Policy and Research at Harvard University. During the two-year fellowship, she worked with an urban school district to help build their data analysis capacity and improve their data visualization and reporting.

March 2023 — Sherianne James
Building Brands, Including Your Own

Sherianne James

Throughout her career, Sherianne James has worked with several highly-recognized household brands. As Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Wholesale Marketing at EssilorLuxottica North America, she works with the most recognized brands in our industry. Join us to learn more about the importance of growing recognized, trusted brands — including your own!

Sherianne James is an accomplished leader with over 25 years of marketing experience. She leads EssilorLuxottica's combined commercial marketing efforts across North America, including both its eyewear and lens brands.

Sherianne started her career at Kraft Foods, where she managed several iconic consumer brands such as Kraft Singles. After Kraft, she led the marketing organization of Black & Decker Small Appliances. She came into the optical industry by way of Transitions, leading the marketing organization through the integration with Essilor and eventually becoming CMO of Essilor of America in 2017. Sherianne has been a board member of The Vision Council since 2018 and has been named twice to Vision Monday's "Most Influential Women in Optical" list.

April 2023 — Kristen Tischler
The Balanced Equation: Finding Harmony Between Your Career and Life

Kristen Tischler

Are you looking to develop a sustainable career while also achieving balance in your life? Kristen Tischler, Vice President, Global Marketing for Advancing Eyecare, is the special guest on this month's podcast, where we'll discuss the challenges a lot of busy women face in today's fast-paced world. Discover powerful strategies to shape a more satisfying career and to stay on top of your craft. We'll explore how intentional leadership, networking, and professional development can help you achieve your goals. Make the most of your time and develop a plan that will help you thrive both professionally and personally!

Kristen Tischler is an accomplished leader with over 15 years of professional experience. She is currently the Vice President of Global Marketing for Advancing Eyecare, managing many of the most trusted brands in ophthalmic instrumentation.

Kristen began her career working for a prominent ad agency in New York City, building digital marketing programs for companies such as SC Johnson and Zipcar. She went on to hold a series of marketing roles in the financial services sector, including investment banking, financial technology, and wealth management.

Kristen joined the optical industry in 2017 with Lombart Instrument and Innova Medical. Since then, she has successfully integrated several additional leading equipment brands including Marco Ophthalmic, Ophthalmic Instruments, Santinelli International, and others—collectively known as Advancing Eyecare. With a passion for digital marketing, she launched e-commerce, email marketing, paid search, search engine optimization, digital consumer engagement, and lead generation activities across the organization.

As the Vice President of Global Marketing, she now manages an international team supporting ophthalmic equipment brands across the Americas. She is passionate about building performance-based teams and fostering an adaptive culture through collaboration, innovation, and continuous growth. Kristen was named as one of Vision Monday's "Most Influential Women in Optical" in 2022.

She currently lives in Virginia Beach with her husband, Chris, young son, and rescue pup. Kristen spends her free time staying active through Crossfit, running, and sand volleyball competitions. She is a former collegiate and professional athlete, and volunteers year-round for her favorite non-profit supporting the health and wellness of first responders.

May 2023 — Keri Sculland
Optical Insights: The Power of Content Strategy in Eyewear Business

Keri Sculland

Are you looking to enhance your eyewear business and connect with customers in a meaningful way? This month we delve into the world of content strategy and its critical role in the optical industry. Keri Sculland of Marketing4ECPs will provide valuable insights and practical tips on how effective content can shape your brand image, foster community, and create patient buy-in and customer loyalty.

Keri Sculland is the Manager of Editing and Content Strategy at Marketing4ECPs. As a content and communications specialist, Keri has published countless educational and academic articles in the past decade—which is how she discovered her special interest in the eye care industry.

Her passion for educating and connecting audiences has developed into creating cohesive content strategies to reflect personalized content branding that yields authentic, effective results. Read more about Keri and Marketing4ECPs at

June 2023 — Janna Neal
Creating Opportunities in Your Optical Journey

Janna Neal

In today's work environment, with people constantly changing companies in order to move ahead, Janna Neal of Zyloware is a great example of how you can cultivate opportunities within your current company culture as part of a strategy for advancing your career. From her early days working as a part-time receptionist at Zyloware to her present role as a senior executive, Janna shares highlights of her journey along the way. And as Co-Chair of OWA's Connection and Enrichment Committee, she's in a great position to discuss some exciting initiatives happening with the OWA!

Janna Neal is the Senior Vice President of Operations for Zyloware Eyewear, where her duties change drastically from day to day. Known as being cool, calm, and collected, Janna works with leadership teams to formulate policies, manage operations, and plan for the company's overall success.

Janna is a current member of the Optical Women's Association Board of Directors and was one of Vision Mondays 'Most Influential Woman' in the Mentor Category in 2018.

Janna graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Business; after majoring for two years in graphic design at New York Institute of Technology, she realized that she gravitated more to the behind-the-scenes operations of a business. She spends her spare time reading (hard cover books), watching crime shows, and has recently discovered a love for yoga (the quietness is so soothing!). She is learning to be a plant mama but admits she hasn't quite mastered that yet . . . .

July 2023 — Robin Brush, ABOC
If You can Visualize It, You Can Achieve It!

Robin Brush headshot

Robin Brush of Safilo joins OWA Talks to discuss her journey from optician to the moment she requested the ten-minute meeting with an executive that changed the course of her career. Tune in for the passionate, personal story that Robin shares with listeners about translating her critical communication skills and honing her craft in order to educate others. Visualize your goals and realize your dreams!

Robin Brush is the Training and Education Manager for Safilo North America, and her role supports both  the company's internal sales organization and its external customers.  As an ABO speaker, Robin provides educational seminars on a variety of topics directly to Safilo accounts and at trade shows, including Vision Expos East and West.  Many of her webinars and training sessions are featured on and on, Safilo's b2b websites for North America.

An ABO-certified optician, Robin has worked in optical for the last 28 years, with a focus and purpose of educating and leading others to see their true potential.  In 2018, Robin decided to "switch sides", and joined Safilo as a Key Account Manager.  From there, her keen ability to educate and inspire others helped her transition to the newly created role of Training and Education Manager.

During the early stages of the COVID shutdown, while optical practices were either closed or operating on a limited schedule, Robin created and led a very successful and extensive educational webinar series on a variety of topics ranging from successful frame buying and visual merchandising to managing frame return rates and inventory analysis. Robin's webinar series was translated into three languages and made available to Safilo's customers globally, largely due to customer demand for her expertise in these areas.  In recognition of her leadership, Robin was honored as one of Vision Monday's Most Influential Women in Optical in 2021.

August 2023 — Tatiana Stewart and Carissa Dunphy
The Story-Behind-the-Story: OWA Talks Co-Hosts Pass the Baton

Join us for a special episode of OWA Talks as we "turn the mic" and get the story-behind-the-story from our hosts. Outgoing co-hosts Sandra Mohr and Stephanie Espinosa pass the baton to new co-hosts, Tatiana Stewart and Carissa Dunphy, but not before they share all the tantalizing behind-the-scenes details of their experience and interview Carissa and Tatiana as they start their new journey with OWA Talks.

Carissa Dunphy

Carissa Dunphy, ABOC, is a Marketing Specialist at Professional Eye Care Associates of America (PECAA) where she promotes the business needs for more than 12,000 independent eye care professionals nationwide. Carissa has passionately worked in the independent ECP space since 2008, and founded Optician Now, which provides educational resources and optical expertise. As the Vice-Chair of the OWA's Communications and Website Committee, and now the OWA Talks co-host, she is thrilled to further contribute to the future growth and collaboration within the industry.

Tatiana Stewart

Tatiana Stewart is the Public Relations Supervisor at VSP Vision, where she leads the organization's Public Relations Team and sets media strategies that will enhance VSP Vision's brand presence and strengthen its position as a national leader in health-focused eye care. With 15 years' experience coaching and training executives and C-suite leaders on how to work with and communicate with the press corps, Tatiana makes a great addition to the OWA Talks Podcast. She has a passion for storytelling and a reporter's curiosity. As co-host, she looks forward to asking the right questions to learn the things OWA members want to know from some of the optical industry's top leaders.

September 2023 — Dr. Jill Saxon
Just Say “Yes” and Figure Out the Rest Later!

Photo of Jill Saxon

A life of service — Dr. Jill Saxon talks with new OWA Talks co-hosts Tatiana and Carissa about her journey in the industry. Throughout a career in optometry, beginning with her service in the U.S. Navy, Dr. Saxon has made a meaningful impact on the world. Listen to this inspirational episode to hear Dr. Saxon's story, drawing from family members in optometry and private practice, as well as her role as Executive Director, Professional Strategy, at Bausch + Lomb.

Jill Saxon, an optometrist and fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, is the Executive Director of Professional Strategy at Bausch + Lomb. Dr. Saxon first joined Bausch + Lomb in 2014 and has almost two decades of experience in optometry. She is a distinguished lecturer, exceptional provider of patient care, and an established industry leader.

In her current role at Bausch + Lomb, Dr. Saxon is responsible for helping to develop and launch new vision care innovations for eye care professionals. As the company's internal voice, she works with doctors to bring solutions to the marketplace that help address their patients' needs. She also shares industry insights and education with colleagues and fellow optometrists nationwide.

Dr. Saxon first began her career as a Lieutenant at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, where she cared for many of the nation's leaders. Throughout this time, she also mentored, educated, and trained optometry students. Directly following her time in the Navy, she was an independent optometrist. It was during this time that she learned of an opportunity to join Bausch + Lomb, where she helps thousands of providers around the world provide better care for their patients.

She is a member of the Armed Forces Optometric Society, the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians, and the American Optometric Association.

October 2023 — Michelle Skinner
Fostering Growth: For Your Business, For Your Team, For Yourself

Photo of Michelle Skinner

In this episode of OWA Talks, Michelle Skinner, Chief Growth Officer at VSP Vision, outlines her Three Cs approach to leadership and explains how to use this approach to navigate change, foster growth, and plan for the future in uncertain times.

Michelle Skinner leads a centralized, doctor-facing sales organization for VSP Vision, an eye health company with 85 million members and more than 41,000 network doctors. In her role as Chief Growth Officer, Michelle oversees supply chain revenue, provider relations, strategic partnerships, PECAA (a doctor alliance group), and Premier Edge, the company's flagship program for providers.

Michelle holds a bachelor's degree from California State University, Sacramento, and was named one of Vision Monday's "Most Influential Women in Optical" in 2009 and 2016. She has been married for almost 30 years and has two kids. She lives in Sacramento, California, and in her free time, enjoys long-distance running.

November 2023 — Tracy Neal
Leading a Team to Greatness vs Managing to Goals

Photo of Tracy Neal

Tracy Neal, Director of Customer Support for GPN Technologies, talks to our co-hosts about motivating and cheerleading teams to not only produce output, but on how to thrive personally and professionally. Creating goals and challenging yourself to work outside of your comfort zone is a skill Tracy has honed her more than 33-year career in optical. Listen to this episode to hear Tracy's enthusiastic perspective on leading teams to greatness vs simply managing to goals.

Tracy Neal has been in the optical industry for more than 33 years. She has worked in all areas of optometric practice, from working the front desk to being an optometric technician to being Practice Manager with her COPT. Now, with GPN Technologies since 2020, Tracy is the Director of Customer Support. She has been an active member of the OWA since 2021 and enjoys being on their Communications & Website Committee.

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