XXpert Influencers

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View XXpert Influencers pdf
View an Alphabetical List of Honorees from 2003 to 2013


NEW YORK—Women’s influence in optical is undeniable. What’s remarkable, though, is just how pervasive their influence has become.

Today, more women than ever before are playing vital roles at every level of our industry. In retailing, wholesaling, product design, manufacturing, distribution and vision care and managed care, talented women are shaping the direction of the companies and organizations they work for, and, in many cases, lead.

What is it about the optical industry that allows women to succeed in so many different roles? Several of this year’s Most Influential Women offered responses to this question:

“Women have inherent qualities that make them successful in business, especially in a field like vision care. We are creative, collaborative and empathetic which are great qualities to have in an industry with a social focus,” said Bidisha Rudra, director, business development, Essilor of America.

“Team Think is superior to Me Think,” Kathy Wallace, national sourcing manager for Kaiser Permanente, pointed out. “Consensus-driven decisions based on data and team member participation generates not only excellent outcomes, but full implementation of new decisions, directions or policies.”

Changing market conditions and changing attitudes are also affecting the outlook for women in optical. As Rebecca Chippior, OD, St. Lawrence Optometry, Kingston Ontario, Canada, noted, “Women were often seen as ‘part-time ODs,’ but optometry schools enroll almost twice as many women as men annually. I believe women will start buying into or starting their own offices to protect and guarantee their own destinies.”

Lisa McCauley, information technology projects manager, Classic Optical Laboratories, put it simply: “Women have a can-do attitude, love a challenge and know there has to be a better way.”

These observations speak to important characteristics shared by many of VM’s Most Influential Women. In general, these women are energetic team players who are good communicators and problem solvers and who are motivated to do their best and help others do the same. This is just as true in 2013 as in the 11 years since we inaugurated this annual report.

In this context we view our Influential Women—who are chosen from a large pool of nominees named by VM readers—and profile their accomplishments in the following roles:

  • Executive Suite: Women who hold positions such as president, VP, CEO, CFO, CMO, CIO or COO and who guide their companies forward, inspire leadership among their teams and peers and achieve high performance.
  • Rising Stars: Women who are “up-and-comers” in their careers and within their companies or arenas within the industry; sharp talents who are on their way toward higher levels of responsibility and influence.
  • Mentors: Women who are team builders, developers of talent, who via example or education and training successfully influence others to learn and to grow in their business or professional acumen.
  • Innovators: Women who have initiated new product developments or special programs in the arena of marketing, technology or retail, who have spearheaded innovative business ideas or enterprises.

Please visit www.VisionMonday.com to review an alphabetical listing of past years’ honorees and to read prior years’ Special Reports. ■

–The Editors