By Opticians Association of America

How did you hear about the Opticians Association of America?
I first heard about the OAA through school, Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey. Our professor, Dr. Thomas, has always urged us to be active in our state associations. He encouraged all of us to become OAA and state association members and to impart positive change within both our professions and communities.

What was your experience at the Leadership Conference?
Attending the 2022 Leadership Conference was valuable on many levels. First, I was able to travel and explore. As a young adult living in a relatively small bubble, this was simultaneously terrifying and thrilling. Furthermore, I was able to take so much more away from the presentations and breakout sessions than I ever imagined. There is a certain magic that is felt when you experience these events in person. I did not anticipate that the conference would change my perception of myself. Although the theme is “Leadership”, the presentations are about finding confidence, power and understanding within oneself. This lays the foundation for strong leadership. Lastly, and most significantly, I met many incredible people. Being surrounded by a diverse group of individuals who were so passionate about their profession was remarkable. Every person I encountered exuded acceptance and warmth. I connected with a group of fellow students with fiery drive and conviction, and I will hold those memories close forever.

How do you see your role on the Board of Directors of the OAA?
Truthfully, the vision I have for my role is unclear. If you told me a few months ago I would be presented with this opportunity, I would not have believed you. I would like to shape my role into something meaningful for myself, the OAA, and the students I represent. I hope to engage both students and their educators/preceptors. The upcoming generation of our industry needs to be set up for success, and I want to contribute to that.

Is there anything specific you would like to do for student/apprentice representation?
I want every student and apprentice to feel empowered. Being a pupil (pun intended) in a multifaceted industry can be intimidating. It’s difficult to say what I would like to do specifically because I am just learning about what is possible, but a great place to start would be to amplify the voices of those growing into the trade. I have encountered students who have fresh and unique perspectives about our profession and its future, and I think highlighting that in a conference or workshop setting could be exciting and motivating.

Would you recommend students attend the Leadership Conference? 
Absolutely. The keynote speakers deliver compelling presentations, and the constructive breakout sessions are a delight to participate in. Attending events and forging connections is a key element of achieving excellence in a student and apprentice's craft. Every opportunity to grow and learn should be grasped. You will learn something about yourself that you never knew was within.

We're excited to announce the 2023 OAA Leadership Conference will be held in...
Asheville, NC!!
Save the dates:
February 9-11, 2023 
Start Planning! 
Stay tuned for more information!