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2023 Most Influential Women In Optical OWA Members

2023 VM's Most Influential Women in Optical

This year marks Vision Monday’s 21st annual Most Influential Women in Optical report. Over the past two decades they have profiled hundreds of women who have changed the face of optical for the better.


Readers were asked to make up to three nominations per the following categories: Above and Beyond, Executive Suite, Rising Stars, Mentors and Innovators.


Vision Monday received over 250 nominations from its readers for the 2023 MIW Report. Vision Monday’s editors reviewed all of the submissions and selected the final 51 for the honors this year.


Check out these OWA members who are included in this year’s Vision Monday Most Influential Women in Optical list:


Above and Beyond


Women who have led the way in giving back to the industry, their patients, and their communities.


Maureen Cavanagh

OWA Nominating Committee

Vice President Key Accounts — Safilo

Canton, Massachusetts

“Walk in the room with purpose, sit at the table with pride and always keep climbing the ladder to your personal and professional goals.”

Rebecca Giefer

CEO — Modo Americas

New York, New York

“Work hard, seek mentors, network, build authentic relationships, continuously learn, champion DE&I and stay true to yourself. I think an influence of my success is that I ended up at a company that values my exact superpower, which is work ethic.”

Judy Lew

Professional Development Director-Opticianry — EssilorLuxottica

Dallas, Texas

“It may sound like a cliché, but networking is essential. Invest time building relationships that many times turn into friendships. Once you do, you have this vast network of people with whom you can collaborate with at any time. You are not alone in this industry.”

Courtney Myers

OWA Board of Directors, Events Committee, Communications & Website Committee

Senior Vice President — Red Havas

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“Join the OWA. The OWA is a positive and uplifting organization where every interaction is about encouraging, supporting and uplifting each other. I appreciate how inclusive the organization is of all parts of the optical industry.”

Carol Wilbur

Executive Director — Optical Women’s Association

Dallas, Texas

“Starting your career with access to industry knowledge is a great step-up—join the OWA and see what it can offer you.”

Executive Suite


Women who hold positions such as President, VP, CEO, CFO, CIO, or COO.


Lynn DiMarco

Regional Sales Manager Southeast — Silhouette

Richmond, Virginia

“Live with passion and do not let fear get in your way. Keep moving forward, even if you feel you are not qualified and/or the goal feels too large. Frankly, what you believe about yourself impacts your success or failure—believe in yourself.”


Barbara Lax

Co-Chief Operating Officer & CFO — ClearVision Optical Company

Hauppauge, New York

“It’s important to invest time and effort into people. This leads to doing business the right way from the start.”

Cynthia McWilliams

Chief Officer of Sales — OGI Eyewear

Minneapolis, Minnesota

“Surround yourself with a great team and trust your instincts. Women are very committed and passionate, and sometimes their voice is not always loud enough.”

Simone Meskelis

Senior Vice President, ECP & Retail — Hoya Vision Care

Lewisville, Texas

“I think we have a prime opportunity to grow in the optical industry as we are seeing increased diversity in the field and increased female presence. My piece of advice is don’t try to do it alone, take in all the support and help you can get. This industry is filled with talented individuals that are eager to help.”

Wendy Salle

Chief Merchandising Officer — New Look Vision Group USA

New York and Miami, Florida

“All women should surround themselves with people invested in their success, find a mentor, join a group such as OWA and see the support that is available to help you succeed.”

Susy Yu, OD, MBA, FAAO

Director of Business Strategy & Operations Support — Vision Essentials by Kaiser Permanente

Los Angeles, California

“Be brave. Take risks.”

Rising Stars

Women who are ‘up-and-comers’ in their career and companies.


Katie Lauver, ABOC

OWA Board of Directors, Communications & Website Committee

Chief Revenue Officer — GPN Technologies

Front Royal, Virginia

“Seeing women in this industry rise to the top of their companies inspires me beyond belief. We are in a time where women in optometry are taking over. They are crushing goals and having massive success within their companies, and it motivates me to continue to push toward my goals and always go for gold.”

Erika Plank

OWA Connection & Enrichment Committee

Director, Provider Communications — VSP Vision

Rancho Cordova, California

“I feel strongly that mentors and advocates are critical to professional success, which is why mentorship is a key attribute of my leadership style.”

Gwendolyn Plummer

Senior Associate Editor — Vision Monday

New York, New York

“Everyone is nicer than you think. I have found myself feeling intimidated and overwhelmed by how experienced, smart and just plain cool the people in our industry are—but I’ve found that everyone is kind, welcoming and happy to talk. This is a tight-knit but ever-expanding industry, so ask questions and get to know as many people as you can. You will be thankful that you were brave.”

Cristin Sullivan

Director, Business Development — PERC and Opti-Port

St. Louis, Missouri

“It is important to me to pay forward the kindness, mentorship and ‘safe-space’ environments that gave me the opportunity to learn and grow.”

Mentors

Women who are team builders and developers of talent.


Gilda Mehraban

VP, Corporate Accounts & Business Development — Zyloware

Port Chester, New York

“I hope I can be an example of bringing feminine traits to the profession—trust, relationship building, listening, thoughtfulness and intuition can create many business opportunities.”


Amanda Shapiro

OWA Professional Development Fund Committee

Vice President of Marketing — Europa Eyewear

Vernon Hills, Illinois

“Everything you’ve done up to this point is something you can draw on for the career you want today.”

Stacey Soltis

National Sales Manager — Eyewear Designs

Bethpage, New York

“Never give up on your dreams. Stay motivated and focused on what you want to achieve. A strong work ethic and dedication will lead you to success.”

Innovators

Women who have initiated new products, programs, or ideas marking success.


Mikki Collins

OWA Digital Marketing Committee, Communications & Website Committee

Founder, ROWT Magazine; Business Development Lead/Groups & Alliances — Safilo

Lake Stevens, Washington

“Network with like-minded women and find yourself a mentor. Join organizations like the Optical Women’s Association and get involved in conversations like we are having at ROWT. Your voice can make a difference.”

Rose Harris

Senior Director, Marketing, North America — Transitions Optical

Pinellas Park, Florida

“Know your value and how you contribute best. Become ‘known’ for that … i.e. being innovative, or a problem solver. This will lead to being asked to be on more projects. Then, take any opportunity to work across the company or in the field with customers and with successful industry professionals.”

Quotes and images from Vision Monday PowHERful!

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