Mentors

By



Monique S. Anderson

PMO Director, Portfolio Solutions
VSP Vision Care
Rancho Cordova, California

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Monique’s team helps business leaders at VSP define executive programs and projects that support the growing needs of the VSP Vision Care leadership team. The result has been exceptional year-over-year growth that benefits VSP network doctors, clients and members.”





As director of Portfolio Solutions, Monique Anderson oversees 45 to 50 programs and projects encompassing a spectrum of VSP business initiatives. These include the planning and execution of corporate essential efforts for VSP lines of business and global priorities. Her division focuses on strategic decisions and tactical services that assess organizational impacts, technology solutions, business architecture and program life cycle management.

Anderson refers to her team of 28 project managers and analysts as “the most amazingly talented and diverse group who make me laugh and learn something new every day!” Her approach to leadership, she said, is to figure out what makes each team member unique, to bring out those unique skills and abilities and to amplify them to create better teams.

Anderson joined VSP in 1998 as a communications specialist. She has held positions as a business analyst, program manager and senior project manager before assuming her current role in 2018. Active in her community, she helps raise funds to support the Pleasant Grove high school marching band and serves as a mentor with the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce Young Leadership Collaborative that helps future business leaders develop the skills to succeed.

SHE SAYS… “Don’t get stuck telling yourself negative stories. Have the courage to blow through the roadblocks we set up for ourselves.”


Melissa Barnett, OD, FAAO, FSLS, FBCLA

Principal Optometrist
University of California Davis Eye Center
Sacramento, California

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Melissa Barnett, OD, is passionate about fitting scleral lenses because of the impact they can have on patients who are nearly without other options. She has great perspectives on the young, healthy population and the difficult to fit from her work at the specialty clinic at the Davis Eye Center.”





Melissa Barnett, OD, has been practicing optometry for 18 years and is a leading authority on scleral lenses. Her career started in private practice ophthalmology, which she said “was a wonderful learning experience.” After four years, an opportunity became available at the University of California Davis Eye Center, where she currently practices.

At the Davis Eye Center she performs comprehensive primary care and medical eye exams, fits contact lenses including specialty lenses, provides preoperative and postoperative care for refractive surgery patients, and teaches optics and contact lenses to ophthalmology residents.

In addition to sitting on numerous boards, including the American Optometric Association and the California Optometric Association, she is a past president of the Scleral Lens Education Society. Barnett and Dr. Lynette Johns authored and edited the book “Contemporary Scleral Lenses: Theory and Application” with perspectives and contributions from international experts.

The secret to her success? “Discover your specialty in the profession, something that you love, and become passionate about it. Understand that it is important to continue to keep learning and work hard over many years.”

SHE SAYS… “My ‘why’ is to enhance others to become their best selves through the power of connection. Being constantly mindful and aware of this affects my decisions—from the little ones I make on a daily basis to the big ones that shape my future. But more than anything, my why helps me to appreciate my life and express gratitude.”


Nelly Bonniol

Vice President Provider Relations
EyeMed-Luxottica
Cincinnati, Ohio

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Nelly embodies a true mentor and coach. She empowers those around her to push through obstacles to make the right thing happen.”





Nelly Bonniol is the senior executive in charge of provider relations and operations for EyeMed-Luxottica, overseeing provider communications and clinical standards of care for over 40,000 EyeMed providers. In this role, she provides leadership for strategic projects and initiatives designed to enhance products and services that drive provider and member satisfaction. She negotiates and manages contracts with strategic partners and identifies new ways to expand networks and develop value propositions for providers and members.

Prior to entering optical, Bonniol, a native of France, handled commercial operations for a French aviation company, negotiating large contracts. Seeking a career change, she joined EyeMed-Luxottica in 2014, hoping to play a meaningful role, she said, in making vision care accessible and affordable. “This has been a very exciting and rewarding transition, both professionally and personally.”

As a manager, Bonniol believes her job is to set people up for success and to provide them an environment to thrive and grow. This means spending time, she noted, getting to know team members individually, valuing their expertise, helping them stretch, and empowering them to make decisions and achieve great things. As a working mother of five children and former competitive swimmer, Bonniol believes in the importance of discipline, goal setting and pace in life.

SHE SAYS… “I firmly believe this is true about everything in life: you need to understand the race you are in and you have to constantly manage your pace.”


Phaedra Chernoff

Corporate Key Accounts Manager
L’Amy America
Norwalk, Connecticut

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She brings a wealth of knowledge, professionalism and experience to our company. Her invaluable dedication to hard work and enthusiasm is contagious.”





A Long Beach, Long Island native, Phaedra Chernoff attended SUNY-Albany, got her BA in Communications and just out of college, did a brief stint at an advertising agency. She then went to work for Viva International founder Harvey Ross who had built a successful eyewear business selling to ECPs and optical retailers. He thought there was much potential in the sunglass business for the brands in the company’s portfolio. Recalls Chernoff, “I took a bag and just started making phone calls, and hit the ground running. Eventually, Viva established a sun division and our business grew.” Chernoff became national retail accounts manager there for seven years.

She joined the Chernoff family at New Millennium Eyewear in 1997. “I worked in many capacities, inside and outside roles, and my husband Chris taught me so much about the product path, factories, supply chain and more.” She was there for over 17 years, moving up to VP of sales.

After a sales stint at Safilo USA, Chernoff joined L’Amy America as corporate key account manager in September 2017, where she has been focused on expanding the group’s business.

SHE SAYS… “Always be true to who you are while always doing your homework, always hustling and always staying hungry. Remember that you have no limits, so try new things, keep it positive and always have fun.”


Stephanie J. Lucas

Executive VP, Member Solutions
Healthy Eyes Advantage
Boca Raton, Florida

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Stephanie is exemplary of inspirational leadership and has the ability to bring out the best of our employees.”





With more than 25 years’ experience in the vision industry, Stephanie Lucas says joining Healthy Eyes Advantage (formed in 2017 following a merger of four separate buying groups, including the former Block Business Group—one of her prior employers—was a “homecoming.” As executive VP of Member Solutions, she leads HEA’s sales, marketing and member services initiatives to attract, grow and retain the company’s membership base, ensuring that HEA’s tailored supports for independent ECPs are properly communicated and leveraged.

Accomplishments to date include HEA’s successful rebranding, with the network now a recognized leader among IECP membership groups; the development of HEA’s value proposition as “the next-generation marketplace for IECPs;” and introduction of a new membership model with a variety of plan options to “service the intermediary,” streamline operations and aid in resource navigation to meet members’ unique needs ranging from education and tools, to billing support, payment solutions, and combined purchasing power for cost savings.

Lucas urges women developing their careers to “Immerse yourself and leverage the collaborative nature of our industry” and “take advantage of the many resources available to industry newcomers and veterans alike: professional organizations, media, events and individuals who are welcoming and eager.”

SHE SAYS… “My passion throughout my career has been optimizing the customer experience and creating value by going the extra mile—there are no traffic jams there. My goal for myself and for HEA is to make it a little more crowded.”


Susan Rose Ohneck

Regional Vice President of Sales
Marchon Eyewear
Melville, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Along with Sue’s current responsibilities she also led the team launching our Kaleyedoscope frame board management program, our Elite Account Program and our new Sun Rx program. She has built these through nurturing a strong team ‘can do’ attitude.”





As regional vice president of sales, Sue Rose Ohneck is responsible for Marchon’s sales, profitability, market growth and strategic direction in seven states and Canada. Among her accomplishments, she successfully integrated procedures in Canada resulting in increased sales and profitability.

She also created and implemented an Elite Accounts Program generating over $20 million in sales in three years. She and her team helped design a company-wide program that optimizes customers’ inventories by streamlining operational efficiencies and leveraging analytics to drive sales.

Ohneck grew up in the optical industry, she noted, having a father who was an optometrist. Early in her career, she worked as a licensed optician and as an optical sales representative for various frame companies before joining Marchon 28 years ago. Over the years, she has honed a management style based on being flexible and pragmatic in decision-making, and always being transparent and honest.

Her leadership philosophy, she said, is based on “learning about the people you lead, recognizing their strengths, finding opportunities to support them in their strengths, and expressing gratitude for their traits and what they accomplished.”

SHE SAYS… “Learn your own strengths and how to communicate what you have to offer. Read and learn from past successful women, not only in the optical industry but also in other industries.”


Nancy Roellke

Director Practice Experience
VSP Optics
Rancho Cordova, California

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Nancy’s vast knowledge in the optical industry and remarkable character make her an asset in mentoring and the development of others.”





Recently named director of practice experience at VSP Optics, Nancy Roellke leads a team responsible for providing VSP network doctors with the tools and support needed to deliver a differentiated patient experience. Her group is focused on developing new tools and redesigning existing tools to further enhance patient care. In her previous position, Roellke collaborated with international R&D partners to bring advanced technology lens designs to market. Her team launched Unity Via progressive lenses, Unity Via OfficePro computer lenses and Unity Relieve lenses for digital eye strain.

Roellke’s 30-year career in the industry began in optical retail, where she earned ABO certification. She then moved into sales, marketing and product management roles with SOLA Optical and Zeiss. She joined VSP Optics in 2015.

Developing her leadership style over the years, Roellke noted, “It’s important to surround yourself with bright people who challenge you and challenge conventional wisdom.” Her guidelines for managing are to: Always ask staff members to identify solutions not simply problems; offer guidance while providing the latitude to learn; express confidence in people’s abilities; and thank them for their accomplishments.

SHE SAYS… “Take inventory of your skills and interests, then find a path that’s meaningful to you. Know your value and ask for what you want. Work hard; remember to respect people at every level, both inside and outside of your organization. You never know where your path might take you.”


Tamara Sanders

Senior Director of Sales, Independent Distribution Division
Essilor of America
Dallas, Texas

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Tamara is the consummate team leader/role model with the best interests of her team, the company, and her customers at heart. She maintains a positive attitude in the face of business adversity and has an ability to make negotiations and business tasks nearly stress-free.”





Tamara Sanders’ journey with Essilor began 12 years ago with a Texas A&M University MBA internship in the company’s marketing organization, joining full-time in 2007 to work in consumer advertising. She led the initial pilot launch for Think About Your Eyes (TAYE), then moved into leadership roles in both channel and product marketing, and served on the marketing committee for the TAYE Industry Coalition.

Sanders then took on her current role, bridging marketing expertise with commercial experience by partnering with Essilor’s Managed Vision Care customers who operate their own labs. There she has driven strong sales growth in 2018 and the first half of 2019, activates new product introductions for Essilor’s Wholesale lab division, and also oversees Essilor’s online resource which houses product technical details for labs. By leading the inventory management process for new product launches, Sanders has increased transparency and enhanced partnerships with lab customers.

An active member of the OWA, Tamara serves as vice chair of its Website Design Committee. She is also a leader within the Essilor Women’s Network and participates in its Dallas-area community outreach program. She names Maureen Cavanagh, VP of retail at Essilor and OWA board member, as one of her strongest advocates who instilled the value and power of networking and building relationships.

SHE SAYS… “My personal leadership philosophy is “Be N.I.C.E.: Always be thinking of the Next steps to guide your team, be Inclusive to foster ownership in the process, be Collaborative to ensure alignment across key stakeholders, and lead by Example.”


Carrie Wilson, ABOM

Senior Field Quality Assurance Manager, Optical Division
Walmart Inc.
Bentonville, Arkansas and Dalton, Georgia

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Carrie designed and implemented training plans that have a direct impact on more than 3,000 Walmart Vision Centers and Sam’s Club Opticals. She also developed and presented communications that have reached thousands of associates in multi-media formats.”





Carrie Wilson is going into her 21st year in the optical industry, and during this time she has worked in many diverse roles, from dispensing to manufacturing and from private practice to corporate optical. She’s a member of the Optical Women’s Association and The Vision Council and its Lens Technical Committee, and is a former board member of the Contact Lens Society of America. She’s also a founding member and former board member of the Society to Advance Opticianry.

At Walmart, she is responsible for ensuring the quality output of 3,200 locations, three manufacturing facilities and the vendor partners. “In essence, I work as a liaison between the stores, labs and corporate so they can create and dispense quality eyewear,” she said. Wilson helped develop science-based training programs for Walmart that reach approximately 10,000 associates.

SHE SAYS… “My role is to serve those who I lead. My goal is to inspire, develop and encourage them to reach their full potential and to make their lives better… Do not underestimate yourself. You are probably stronger and more knowledgeable than you realize.”