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Updates From The OWA’s First Town Hall

Optical Women's Association Town Hall | We See Greatness When We See You

The OWA held its first-ever Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, September 20! It was an opportunity to meet and speak directly to OWA board members, hear more about the OWA’s activities and initiatives, and greet fellow members. Over 75 attendees discovered how impactful the OWA’s committees are and learned how to get more involved.

The OWA brings together a wonderful community of women in the optical industry that is supported and encouraged by our members and sponsors. We want to make sure we continue to do our best to fulfill our mission of connecting, leading, and inspiring. We enjoyed seeing everyone at this inaugural event!


Watch The Recording Of The Town Hall Or Read About It Below


Who is the OWA?

Founded in 1997, the OWA is made up of 1000 women across the optical industry in all aspects of responsibilities – from sales and marketing to dedicated service professionals. Our organization is supported by sponsors and individual contributors who believe in the mission and people behind the organization.


Updates From Each OWA Committee 


Finance Committee

  1. The OWA follows best practices for managing and investing earnings and has created a policy for the Optical Women’s Association.

  2. They have implemented a conservative investment strategy while also maintaining a reserve fund large enough to cover a full year of operations expenses.


Professional Development Fund Committee

  1. Individual Contributors fully fund the annual Leadership Scholarship Awards. In 2022, eleven scholarships were awarded – three funded by Individual Contributors and eight provided as a Platinum Sponsorship benefit. The purpose of these scholarships is to support the personal and professional development of each recipient through professional mentorship opportunities.

  2. In 2023, we have a record total of 58 sponsors in four different levels of sponsorship: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Friend.

  3. The goal for 2024 is to continue to grow our family of sponsors and add even more value to our list of sponsor benefits.

  4. Sponsoring companies have a designated “ambassador” who acts as a liaison to the OWA, making sure all sponsor benefits are taken advantage of and ensuring that fellow employees are aware of everything the OWA has to offer.


Membership Committee

  1. A large number of members find out about and join the OWA by attending our events, including those at Vision Expo events and regional meet-ups.

  2. We welcome and encourage anyone, member or not, to attend our OWA events!

  3. We want to hear from you! Please fill out this short survey – OWA members AND non-members.


Connections and Enrichment Committee

  1. Responsible for the OWA Talks podcast, monthly chats that feature esteemed guests who connect, inspire, and lead women in the optical industry.

  2. Responsible for the One-Minute Inspirations, a members-only benefit that offers mentoring, encouragement, and support via email, providing quick tips for professional growth and development.

  3. Manages the scholarship program, helping recipients best utilize their award.

  4. Provides peer support with the Fireside Chats, now offered in different two time slots to better accommodate members in different time zones!

  5. Oversees the OWA Reads book discussion group.

  6. 2023 is the pilot year for the first OWA Unplugged retreat, coming in October; in 2024 the plan is to expand this program and allow more people to participate, further strengthening the bonds of our members. 


Events Committee

  1. A new event this year at Vision Expo West is a complimentary headshot station and LinkedIn optimizing guide. This will immediately follow the Vision Monday Most Influential Women in Optical luncheon on Friday, September 29 from 2:30 to 3:30 pm in Venetian Room 3006.

  2. Our two upcoming Vision Expo West annual events are the Connections Series luncheon and the Networking Reception, Raffle, and Silent Auction.

  3. The first Champagne Breakfast at Vision Expo East was held in 2015, and its continued growth now has us in a beautiful new venue that can accommodate over 400 people! This event highlights our annual award honorees – the Pleiades, Pyxis, and Emerging Leader awards.


Digital Marketing Committee

  1. Responsible for social media content on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to tell the OWA story, sharing the events and offerings of the OWA.

  2. In the past year, the OWA has doubled our following on social media!


Communications and Website Committee

  1. Responsible for providing updates to the Optical Women’s Association website.

  2. Responsible for the OWA Connects blog, which is sent out each Friday. Blog traffic has increased 305% from 2022 to 2023!

  3. Responsible for membership “spotlights”. Membership spotlight features have increased 113% from 2022 to 2023.


Nominating Committee

This committee is made up of several past presidents of the OWA; their purpose is to constantly seek out members who are active on OWA committees, adding them to a pipeline of talent to draw from for future OWA leadership positions.

They look for leaders who represent our membership, our sponsors, and the diversity within the OWA. Leadership begins at a committee level


Intention Statement

OWA: Intentionally Celebrating All Women in Optical Since 1997, the OWA has set the standard in the optical industry by intentionally connecting, inspiring, and leading women in their professional and personal development. With a mindset of inclusion and acceptance, the OWA actively welcomes all women in optical to become members and to take part in the creation of and participation in our resources, events, and programs. We invite members to share their thoughts, opinions, and experiences openly and without criticism or ridicule. We encourage each to excel in her chosen way, and by actively welcoming and celebrating diversity and inclusion, we create space for growth and a richer experience for all.


Attendee Q&A


How do I join a committee? Any OWA member can opt into committee participation by logging into their OWA profile, select ‘edit my profile’, and check the boxes for the committee you are interested in. A committee chair will reach out to you soon after. (Please note that the committee “boxes” will appear unchecked after you click on them, but an email will have been triggered. Boxes show as “checked” once the member has officially been added to a committee.


How do I find out about upcoming OWA events? You can visit the events page on the OWA website. Emails are also sent out to all members. The OWA is at the INDUSTRY events you are!


Why can’t men join the OWA? Currently OWA membership is open to women only, as we take pride in being a strong women’s organization; however, we do welcome men at our events and are grateful for their support of the OWA through the Individual Contributor program.  


Are board members paid? No, board members are not paid. Members of the board and all committees are volunteers, working hard for the OWA in addition to their regular jobs. These remarkably talented women invest in themselves and have a passion to give back to the industry.


Is the OWA a good organization for independent doctors? The OWA acts as an industry liaison for other independents in the industry and provides fantastic networking opportunities for them as well. 


How can I engage my company in the OWA? Sponsoring companies have ambassadors who regularly attend group calls with other ambassadors. Ambassadors love to be invited to local events – you can also let them know if you yourself would like to host an event!


Closing


Connect with board members or committee chairs any time – we’d love to hear from you. Visit the board member or committees pages to find email addresses for each.


Helpful Links And Where To Find Us

  1. OWA survey

  2. Town Hall Presentation Deck

  3. Get involved In our committees — OWA members can update their member profiles to express interest in the committees mentioned in the Town Hall recording.

  4. Individual Contributors — Men & women who wish to support the mission of OWA can contribute here.

  5. Professional Development Fund Sponsors — Learn more about the benefits of OWA sponsorship and connect with the Professional Development Chair.

  6. OWA website

  7. OWA Connects Blog

  8. OWA on LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook

  9. OWA Talks Podcast

The OWA is grateful to be a part of your journey!

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