After weeks of review, a few COVID delays, and much fanfare, IOT is delighted to announce the three finalists for its Optical’s Next Top Speaker contest. Moving forward are candidates Minerva Maldonado, Kai Rands, and Wesley Scott.

The three finalists were each selected by an industry speaker and mentor who will work with them to develop and hone final presentations.

  • Candace O’Keefe Culp, a licensed Optician with 40 years of experience in Ophthalmic Dispensing and Territory Management, will mentor Kai Rands.

  • Laurie Pierce, Professor in the Opticianry program at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida, will mentor Minerva Maldonado.

  • Michael Karlsrud, executive, entrepreneur, speaker, and author, will mentor Wesley Scott.

Minerva Maldonado

Kai Rands

Wesley Scott

Finalists will deliver their polished presentations to contest judges in early November. The winner will be announced in mid-November.

IOT would also like to offer appreciation and congratulations to the three semifinalists who did not move forward in the competition: Marisol Rodriguez, Zach Kastner, and Tyjia Sherman. According to the mentors, the decision was extremely difficult, as each speaker was informed and passionate about their topics.

The contest, sponsored by IOT, encourages opticians to develop their speaking skills and share their knowledge with industry peers. The winning speaker earns mentorship to help prepare and deliver an ABO course, professional design services for the presentation, and IOT sponsorship to present the speech at an optician event or as a webinar.

Best luck to our three finalists!

Established in Madrid, IOT began offering lens designs in 2005. It has grown to serve more than 400 partners in 69 countries, supporting the production of 35 million lenses annually. With headquarters in Madrid and Los Angeles and a marketing office in Minneapolis, IOT is a world leader in lens technology and innovation.