Women's group enjoys evening of 'speed networking'

Where would you find the opportunity to meet 10 fascinating women involved in the ophthalmic industry in less than an hour? Why at the Ophthalmic Women Leader's (OWL) reception held just prior to the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting.

New Orleans-Where would you find the opportunity to meet 10 fascinating women involved in the ophthalmic industry in less than an hour? Why at the Ophthalmic Women Leader's (OWL) reception held just prior to the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting.

Jacqualyn A. Fouse, chief financial officer and senior vice president, Alcon Laboratories, moderated the "speed networking" event to allow women to make contacts with other women that prove to be mutually beneficial.

"OWL and this event is about mobilizing an underrepresented group of people in the industry to help us all contribute to take the industry forward in a very positive and constructive way," explained Fouse, who first joined Alcon in 1986, then worked for Nestle in the 1990s, and then joined Alcon's executive team.

OWL members and guests sat in two rows facing each other and exchanged business cards and information about their jobs, families, and aspirations. Each person was upbeat about her current position and willing to share her story in 5-minute one-on-one interviews.

Various positions held by these women included president of a health-care consultant company, a LASIK center manager, an advertising administrator in global marketing services, director of periodicals project group, and an editor-in-chief of a national ophthalmic news magazine.

"It is important not to view our relationships as being adversarial," Fouse said. "Allergan sponsored the reception as well as Alcon. Healthy competition is good. There are a lot of topics that we as industry can come together. Likewise, I think we should not be viewing the regulators in a negative way. Physicians can come and get closer to industry as well. We can all find ways to collaborate to take ophthalmology forward."

The OWL event was sponsored by Alcon, AMO, Allergan, and Bausch & Lomb.