OWL grows, evolves with renewed focus for 2015

December 1, 2014

Finding value in the diversity of ophthalmology is at the core of the Ophthalmic Women Leaders’ success, share two members of its Board of Directors.

 

Take home

Finding value in the diversity of ophthalmology is at the core of the Ophthalmic Women Leaders’ success, share two members of its Board of Directors.

 

The OWL Quarterly By Michael Elofer

Every quarter, Ophthalmic Women Leaders (OWL) uses this column to provide leadership insights, tips, and perspectives. As we approach the end of 2014, we wanted to take an opportunity to discuss how the not-for-profit organization is evolving following a highly successful year and recent American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting. In this interview, Katherine C. Wiseman-vice president of client services at DevicePharm-and Laurie K. Brown, MBA, COMT, COE-administrator at Drs. Fine, Hoffman & Sims LLC-share their history with OWL and perspectives on the organization’s growth.

-Michael Elofer

How did you become affiliated with OWL?

Katherine C. Wiseman: I joined 6 years ago. I had many clients in ophthalmology and had heard great things about the group from a networking standpoint.

About 2 years ago, I decided to get more involved with the organization from a strategic standpoint and help the organization grow and evolve. I contacted the group about sitting on the communications committee, and now, as the committee chair, I’ve found that the more I put in, the more I get out of it, so to speak.

Beyond just networking, I’m able to connect with peers and contribute to the organization’s brand development, an excellent and rewarding exercise that goes beyond just “networking.”

More in this issue:  Why you should take your staff to the movies

Laurie K. Brown, MBA, COMT, COE: Honestly, it’s been so long-maybe 10 years now-that I can’t remember the exact length of time! I saw an ad in the meeting program, grabbed a colleague, and went to a Monday night event at an ASCRS or AAO meeting.

I remember being nervous about networking at the time. At the first event, we were introduced to a room full of successful women in ophthalmology, including some of whom I knew from my work with industry and other practices. After meeting these inspiring women and listening to engaging presentations, I was hooked.

 

Today, OWL’s energy is what keeps me coming back. It’s a positive and charged group, comprising motivated professionals working in several capacities but focused on the same end result: furthering the field to provide better outcomes for patients. Members genuinely love ophthalmology and what they do, and openly share career advice with each other to lift each other up wherever possible.

How do you see OWL changing or evolving as an organization as we move into 2015?

Brown: I see OWL expanding in membership-both in terms of numbers and diversity-adding even more value for existing members. As an organization, we provide significant resources to members in the form of relationship building and support, in addition to an ever-growing list of programs and opportunities to network. We have recently reaffirmed our mission, vision, and values through strategic planning and are working our commitment to continue to support professionals in ophthalmology, whatever their role.

Wiseman: Agreed. As we define our mission, we are focusing not only on the role of women in the profession, but also on the value of diversity in the industry. And so I think that’s a major change, because it’s not just about women and how we advance women, but more about helping to explain to the industry and to our peers and colleagues why diversity at every level of an organization is so critical.

Developing leaders that draw on that diversity and finding leaders that meet a diverse profile really strengthens our industry, our practices, and our organizations. The new organization will increasingly focus on creating opportunities for members to work collaboratively and to develop personally, so that they can in turn enhance their contribution to their organizations or companies and subsequently, the industry. It’s not solely networking, but actual skills building and collaborative work opportunities.

How would you describe the value of OWL programs, such as its digital webinars or live meeting sessions?

Brown: I have found great value in the programs OWL has set up and will continue to run in the year ahead.

 

In particular, our OWL Mentoring Program has been completely retooled this year and is receiving rave reviews. In an efficient and organized fashion, the program has been streamlined to ensure both the mentor and mentee are achieving their expectations of participation. Mentors and mentees are carefully matched to ensure value on both sides; structure allows for formal check-in mechanisms to monitor the pulse of progress. There is no better learning aid than to have someone share his or her experience with a challenging issue.

Wiseman: When you look at the breadth of what we offer, it’s pretty comprehensive. We get some of the best and brightest minds together at small group sessions, where you really get an opportunity to talk one on one, as well as at the well-known Monday night reception, where you can have an opportunity to reconnect with people you know. There’s strong value there.

 

Laurie Brown, MBA, COMT, COE, is administrator at Drs. Fine, Hoffman & Sims LLC, located in Eugene, OR. She is on the Governing Board of Directors and a Member-at-Large, as well as Membership Committee Chair at Ophthalmic Women Leaders. She can be reached at lkbrown@finemd.com.

Katherine C. Wiseman is vice president of client services at DevicePharm. She is on the Governing Board of Directors and a Member-at-Large, as well as Communications Committee Chair at Ophthalmic Women Leaders. She can be reached at katherinew@devicepharm.com.

Michael Elofer is assistant general manager at Pascale Communication, LLC, an all-virtual health-care public relations firm with a strong heritage in ophthalmology. He can be reached at mike@pascalecommunications.com. Readers can learn more about Ophthalmic Women Leaders’ offerings, services, and events at www.owlsite.org.