I can hardly believe that three months have passed since I updated everyone on the IOA Convention held in the UK in April of this year!
Things have been slowly taking shape over the past few months with the new Interim Board. We have set up an online contact group so we can ‘speak’ to each other ‘virtually’ and work streams are emerging. As President it is my job to lead and chair the Board on behalf of all our members and it is my hope that everyone can see a more visible organisation emerging. It is our collective responsibility as a Board to both keep momentum going and engage with our membership around the world, in order to fuel the success of the organisation as a whole.
For us to survive and be a vibrant, relevant organisation for our members we need input from everyone, not just the Board. The old saying is true – “You only get out of something what you put into it”. If we don’t engage and contribute we can’t expect to gain anything from being a member.
In addition to working hard behind the scenes, the IOA has been represented at a number of international events, most of which have been showcased on the events section of the IOA website. Lots of these events are not solely aimed at IOA members but are often sector wide events and conferences in conjunction with colleagues from all areas of the optical profession, including industry partners, education partners, technicians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. We see these colleagues as vitally important to showcase the skills and expertise we as opticians possess. It is my hope that by attending we can engage with the whole optical sector and new potential members who will see the benefit of belonging to an organisation like the IOA.
In May 2018, Elaine Grisdale, IOA Director of Development and President Fiona Anderson attended the European Council of Optometry & Optics (ECOO) and European Academy of Optometry & Optics (EAOO) spring meeting in Pula, Croatia. I was installed as the ECOO representative to the EAOO Board of Trustees and Elaine was awarded Fellowship of the EAOO at this meeting. Congratulations to Elaine on this wonderful achievement. Both Elaine & I were involved in the education programme at the Academy and presented on The Future of Optics and Sports Vision and Occupational Dispensing respectively.
In July, as part of an ABDO (UK awarding body) initiative, both Elaine and I attended the Vision China Conference in Beijing with another colleague from the UK, one from the USA and one from New Zealand making the delegation a truly international one. Topics presented were wide ranging, covering aspects of running a successful business, paediatric dispensing, sports vision and occupational dispensing. Other highlights included taking part in a fashion show and interviewing candidates for the ‘Rising Stars’ programme – a three year internship that identifies the leaders of the future within the sector in China.
I was also asked to address colleagues at the International Conference of Association of Nigerian Dispensing Opticians in early September in Abuja, Nigeria. Sadly the invitation came too late to make the necessary travel and visa arrangements; however I recorded a lecture on the role of a Dispensing Optician in the UK and the specialism of Paediatric Dispensing to be aired at their Conference, which was held from 6 – 8 September.
The diary looks to be busy moving forward, a resume of the recent 2018 Convention will be available in the coming months for all to see and I urge you to keep an eye on the website for all the up and coming events around the world which we can all attend.
Topic: Letter from our president