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Imagine…Gratitude — From The OWA’s President

Woman studying sunrise

Greetings, and Happy Thanksgiving!  It’s such an honor and privilege to connect with each of you during this holiday season.  For many, this is a time of reflection, reviewing the progress made over the past year and eagerly envisioning the opportunities to be seized in the year ahead. As your newly appointed president, I challenged our board of directors to “imagine” the OWA in an inspired and reimagined way, thus setting the theme for the upcoming year.  Asking for elephant-sized dreams, thinking outside the box, and forming a mental image of an OWA that might not yet exist, has led to some lively and constructive conversations!

At the same time, I realized I was challenging myself to stretch outside of ordinary boundaries.  As a Doctor of Optometry, I’m typically pragmatic, scheduled, and very goal-focused.  You may relate… I create “task lists” and delight in methodically crossing off items from my list.  Tapping into this exploratory mind space, I started wondering:

What if I imagined my perfect day?

How would that morph without a list to reference?

Would I achieve just as much?

Would I feel the same sense of accomplishment at the end of the day?

I soon realized that imagining and crafting a mental picture is a very powerful exercise; one that calls upon creativity and curiosity.  I started discovering that through imagination, I could manifest the presence of more things and people that made me smile😊.  Rarely does schedule- adherence come with that fringe benefit!. List abandoned, I was taking more time to appreciate and recognize people, encounters, and activities that made me happy, sometimes joyful, usually spontaneous, and finally, grateful.

As your OWA President, I am committed to serving the needs of our members, while honoring the OWA Mission:  To enhance and promote the leadership role of women in the optical industry through networking, education, and peer support.  I could not be more grateful for our current board of directors, who serve tirelessly with their limitless talents, giving of their time to support each other, and our members.

Our objectives this upcoming year include: Visibility/Transparency, Measurable Growth, and Relevancy/Meet People Where They Are.  Through authentic conversations, receptivity to feedback, and a hearty appetite for considering new ways to connect, we are delighted to hear from all of you.  We welcome your great ideas, as they serve to fuel the direction of the organization. I am so appreciative for all the committee members who are dedicated and generously donate their time to help our efforts flourish and to serve more women in our industry.  Thank You.

I’m energized by the new initiatives that are already underway.  Under Past-President Deb Bulken’s leadership, we held our first ever Town Hall on September 22, 2023.  We enjoyed sharing in a more visible way, what the OWA was about, and opportunities we offer. Our membership is rich with individuals from across geographies and generations, all connected through the eyecare industry that we love. When we assemble together (virtually or in person), it is clear that we have the capability to make an impact that is meaningful.

I’m thankful for the OWA Unplugged 2023 inaugural retreat, which was spearheaded by the Connection & Enrichment committee, that allowed women from around the country to gather and unplug in-person.  Who would have imagined the overwhelming success and inspiration that derived from that weekend experience? We built lasting memories and exchanged stories, calling upon many of our favorite OWA activities (think Fireside Chat with a real fire), which reinforced the common bonds we share.

I’m especially grateful for our new and existing members; your excitement and passion for the OWA is contagious, and we love to hear your thoughts and ideas.  As we continue to “meet you where you are”, in your personal journey, professional career, or when sharing in your life’s successes and struggles, our desire is that you can find a kindred spirit, or perhaps a mentor, coach, or sponsor within the Optical Women’s Association.

I’m thankful for our many corporate sponsors.  Your evergreen support allows the OWA to continue offering meaningful programs, events, and connection points for our members.  Additionally, our Individual Contributors support the OWA and provide funding for our Leadership Scholarship Awards.  Thank You.

So, as I “imagine gratitude”, I’m purposely focusing on things I perhaps have taken for granted in my life, big or small.  Practicing an ongoing appreciation for relationships—with sincerity, empathy, integrity, and humility—is a mindful priority.  My sincere and heartfelt message to all of you during this holiday season, is that you take the time to intentionally “imagine gratitude”—it may be  eye-opening.

I love this quote by Kristin Armstrong, When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.”

Many thanks and hugs to all of you, and extending my hope that you each enjoy a wonderful holiday season!

My best, Lorie

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