President's Calling - A Year-End Reflection

Published November 7, 2017

In This Issue...

President's Calling

A Year-End Reflection

American Academy of Optometry © 2016.
All Rights Reserved


































December 2016


As I sit writing today, I am struck by the speed in which the past year has flown by. By the time this President’s Calling goes to you, it will almost be a new year, with challenges and joys yet to be discovered. As is always fitting, I’ve spent some time in a year - end assessment. In reflecting on our past year in the Academy, many things come to mind that positioned us for success in making our organization one that I am proud to serve. In a year-end, reflective frame of mind, I’d like to give thanks for ten things I believe had a positive impact on our great Academy and its scope of influence in our profession.

1. The Academy’s executive director, Lois Schoenbrun, a highly skilled executive director, who just celebrated her 20th anniversary with the Academy. Her organizational skills and vision allow us to continue to grow as an organization. She is forever mindful of what’s good for the Academy and those who work for us.

2. An exceedingly capable and dedicated staff that includes our Senior Director of Programs, Helen Viksnins; Senior Director of Finance and Administration, Rich Jones, and a great team of surrounding individuals (Jenny Brown, Darryl Beatty, Dana Edwards, Betty Taylor, Betty Rodriguez, Sarah Kidd, Ian Mitchell, Cristal Sanchez, Kayla Ritten, Maureen Dimont, Jennifer Rubin, and Sherry Sreekrisenjee), who make the day to day operations of the Academy a resounding success.

3. An incredibly successful meeting in Anaheim with an attendance that eclipsed our best meeting prior to Anaheim. This year’s meeting marks the largest participation of any optometric meeting EVER. We heard so many positive comments about the Plenary featuring Malcolm Gladwell, and the many new and insightful lectures, workshops and scientific papers and posters.

4. A volunteer structure second to none. We are fortunate to have many dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers that help move projects and programs throughout the year. [For those who may be interested in serving in the future please contact the Academy office].

5. A Board of Directors, officers and at-large members, that commit endless hours and are driven by a passion to move the Academy forward and assure fiduciary responsibility.

6. A financially sound and vibrant organization with over 100% of operating expenses in reserve. Nearly two decades ago we had just 10% of our operating expenses in reserve!

7. A growing student interest in the Academy. Meeting attendance was amazing this year, with fabulous representation from every school and an optometry school student enrollment program in the Academy at close to 100% participation.

8. Our second annual joint symposium with the American Academy of Ophthalmology that had more than 1200 participants in the lecture hall in Anaheim. The very same program was conducted in October at the Chicago ophthalmology meeting.

9. An incredibly successful Foundation with its capable president Dave Kirschen and talented board of directors that fosters research & education by providing important funding. The Foundation continues to strive through its strategic plan to make optometry a significant contributor to vision-related research. We are extremely fortunate to have a very dedicated staff for the Foundation that includes Maureen Dimont, Director of Development, and Jennifer Rubin, Foundation Coordinator.

10. Optometry and Vision Science, our optometric journal second to none with capable leaders that include our new editor, Michael Twa, associate editors, Don Mutti and Andrew Mick, and a tremendously capable managing editor, Kurt Zadnik. A special thank you to Tony Adams for his vision and endless service to the journal making it what it is today, optometry’s best journal.

There are many more things to be grateful for this past year. Please know if you have been involved in the Academy in any way this year, you are valued even if not mentioned here. I look forward to working with everyone again this coming year, as well as newcomers who may join us. As always, feel free to contact any of us with ideas to help grow the Academy and make 2017 the best year yet. Wishing each of you and your families a joyous holiday season and healthy New Year. 


Joseph P. Shovlin, OD, FAAO
President, American Academy of Optometry