‘The most rewarding moment in my ophthalmic career’

Five members of the Ophthalmic Women Leaders board of directors reflect on a noteworthy milestone in their ophthalmic careers.



Five members of the Ophthalmic Women Leaders board of directors reflect on a noteworthy milestone in their ophthalmic careers.


The OWL Quarterly By Michael Elofer

“What was the most rewarding moment of your ophthalmic career?”

On the surface, this question might appear to have a quick and easy answer. And yet, when asked, five members of the Ophthalmic Women Leaders (OWL) Board of Directors quickly demonstrated that too often, attributing peak reward to a single moment is a challenging endeavor.

Some attributed groundbreaking technology-and their ability to champion it-as the catalyst for their most rewarding moment. Others reflected on their close peer relationships as a source of growth and personal development.

One common element, however, is a striking dedication to building something great, to seeing a long-held vision realized. These five accomplished women clearly demonstrate that at the core of any meaningful career lies a healthy dose of passion, coupled with the pleasures of changing the lives of others, seizing opportunity as a result of hard work and dedication, and fostering personal growth.

Making a difference


As part of the VISX team, Heather Ready, MBA (Director of Commercialization, Canada & Latin America at AcuFocus) found working in the refractive surgery subspecialty an especially rewarding element of her career.

She believes that by bringing together world-class science, clinical application, and technological development, she and her peers at VISX, developer of excimer refractive surgical systems, made a tangible difference in eye care by providing ophthalmologists-and subsequently, their patients-a quality offering with potential to make a difference.

Years later, Ready still values the team at VISX, and feels “proud and honored to have been a part of this dynamic and innovative team of professionals.” Their uncompromised support for one another-a key element in any successful organization-made working with patients, surgeons and their teams a more pleasant and rewarding experience.


A ‘lifelong learner’


Laurie Brown, COMT, COE, OSA, OCS, CPSS (Administrator at Drs. Fine, Hoffman & Sims, LLC) shares the same unyielding devotion to her work. She notes that all of her accomplishments to date have made “every bit of schooling absolutely worth it.”

She deems herself a “lifelong learner” and credits her career success to the realization that she has always fostered the mentality of a dedicated and passionate student, looking for lessons and wisdom wherever her career takes her. Brown appreciates the many opportunities that have been presented to her throughout her career-including physician education trips in India, Egypt, Brazil, and Europe-and attributes her career success to “those who believed in her” and took time to mentor her every step of the way.

Science behind technology


Tamara Evans (Vice President, Marketing at Ceatus Media Group, LLC) accredits the most rewarding aspect of her career to technology. Evans has been involved with VectorVision, developer of several world-class vision tests, since start-up over two decades ago. She is tremendously proud of VectorVision for being part of key FDA clinical trials measuring the effectiveness of several major IOLs, noting that VectorVision’s products were chosen for the time, passion, and effort that the team put into developing the science behind the technology. VectorVision’s CSV-1000 was one of only two instruments that met the FDA’s standards for use in clinical trials.

Another major achievement that provided fulfillment came in 2008, when VectorVision started exporting its product line to China, where it can make a difference in the lives of a previously unreached patient populace. Looking back at VectorVision’s success and the hard work that made it possible, Evans notes that she “never saw herself as a business owner, but you know, it’s been one incredible journey!”


Innovative team


The most rewarding moment for Jane Rady (Divisional Vice President, Business Development at Abbott Medical Optics) was ringing the bell on the day Abbott Medical Optics went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2002. She would later have the pleasure of ringing that same bell, again, 3 years later, when they changed their stock symbol from AVO to EYE with the acquisition of VISX. Rady credits AMO’s success to the management team she worked with, and feels privileged to have had the opportunity to work with such innovative people.

She says, “We never looked back, focusing on building a world-renowned business,” and explains that seeing her business thrive in industry is a testament to the dedication and skill of her colleagues.

Life-changing outcomes

Audrey Talley Rostov, MD (Ophthalmologist at Northwest Eye Surgeons) finds an incredible sense of reward in seeing her patients’ lives changed as a result of her work. Dr. Talley Rostov, who is involved with SightLife-the only non-profit global health organization solely focused on eliminating corneal blindness in the United States and around the world-explains that teaching surgeons abroad to utilize specific skills and techniques, through courses and one-on-one sessions, proved incredibly rewarding.

This reward is further realized when she returns to these locations several years later and sees these techniques continuing to be successfully applied. She notes that her everyday practice, and the life-changing outcomes that come with it, is also a source of great personal fulfillment.

“As surgeons, we restore sight,” she comments. “But sometimes, we lose sight, if you will, of just how important the work we do on a day-to-day basis truly is.”

To illustrate this idea, she recalls with pride the satisfaction found in performing a vision-saving cornea transplant on an infant she was then able to watch grow and thrive through childhood and adolescence.


Passion drives them forward

In answering one seemingly simple question, each of these remarkable women has defined not only the moment she considers most rewarding, but also their unwavering dedication to, and passion for, what they do. Whether the source of their drive comes from building a leading business or marketing a world-class technology; continually learning from others or making a difference in a certain subspecialty; or even saving people’s vision through life-altering surgery, all can agree that it is the people in their lives, from colleagues to mentors to patients, who make long hours well-spent and great results worth striving for.

It is this passion for effecting change that each board member brings to OWL, as well as to every professional endeavor, and that will drive them forward in their careers for years to come.

Michael Elofer is an account executive at Pascale Communications, a New York-based public relations and communications firm with a strong heritage in ophthalmology, and proudFriend of OWL. He can be reached at mike@pascalecommunications.com. For more information about Ophthalmic Women Leaders, visit the organization website at http://www.owlsite.org/.


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