Liliana Stankova has contributed to the optical profession both at a national and international level. Read on to find out about just a few of her achievements:
Liliana is a founding member and trustee of the EAOO, growing its influence on local and international level. She says, “I have been elected to join the Education Committee and Professional Service Committee of ECOO in order to further advance optics and optometry and bridge national and international level, focusing on Central and Eastern Europe. One of my personal values is life time learning and constant improvement and I always strive to be informed about the newest developments in the industry and actively seek new knowledge and best practices.”
When asked about optics, Liliana says, “I love my profession. I love it mainly because of all I can do on a daily basis for people – enable them to focus on life while providing them with a feeling of visual comfort. My duty as a professional is to maintain my qualifications on a continuous basis while providing a unique customer experience. This I feel is highly relevant for the contemporary market – legislation for our profession is still evolving, consolidation of the market by big retail chains, other challenges which grow and become more diverse with every day passing. I consider that through continuous education and exchange of experience and knowledge, the opticians and optometrists can guarantee a higher quality of optical and optometric services. Furthermore, this can lead to a sustainable business growth.
Explaining how she started her career, Liliana says, “I successfully graduated as an eye optician during 1981 in the Bulgaria’s capital – Sofia. I worked for nine years in a state-owned optic retail chain. The most significant moments of this time span were my participation in a regional contest and winning the award for the best optician of the year 1987. This helped my career, but also gave me the opportunity to become a recognized mentor to junior colleagues. In 1989, my family and I immigrated to Germany where we stayed for four years which left a lasting print on my professional development. During those years I had the opportunity to work for two private companies – Allkauf Optic and Schulte Optic. I was working with customers, and also in the workshop where we produced the orders. This enabled me to gain an end to end understanding of the process flow.” She continues, “Upon my return in 1994 to Bulgaria I recognized that we were a decade behind the German market in terms of professional development. This inspired me to do something about it.
“Just like many others I decided to open my own company, a wholesale business for optical products, distributor for Essilor and Johnson & Johnson for the Bulgarian market. This gave me the opportunity to travel and meet with many of the recently emerged professionals and private owners of optical shops. Led not only by my business sense but also by my duty as a professional I decided to do something about being a conductor of professionalism. This is how I was one of the founding members of the Association of the Private Entrepreneurs in the Optical Branch. With time this Association grew into the well-known nowadays National Association of Bulgarian Opticians and Optometrist (NABOO). I organized a series of lectures and courses taught by Western specialists in the optical and optometry profession. My goal was to show to my colleagues that Optometry is a multidisciplinary profession which deserves a higher education degree and is more than just a refraction to determine the power of lenses. More than 150 people, members and non-members of NABOO, went through these courses and seminars.
“In the year 1999 I was elected by the NABOO members to represent the Association at the level of ECOO. By participating actively in the ECOO, as a member of the commissions for educational policies and professional policies, I gained additional experience in the politics around educational and professional matters. This enabled me to create a network of colleagues from various European countries as well as countries outside the European continent. As a member of the commission for education I had the opportunities to lead a round table discussion with the participation of representatives from higher education and universities in Europe. There we discussed the opportunities for establishing better relationships across the different educational institutions with the goal to harmonize the education in optometry.
“I have always supported on a voluntary basis the objective of NABOO to establish a high level of professionalism at national level. I have witnessed on many occasions how important it is to be united with others in order to achieve that objective. During the year 2005 I was unanimously elected as the Chairman of the NABOO.
“In 2006 I initiated and presented personally to the Minister of Healthcare a petition. As a result the Healthcare legislation was modified and both our professions – that of an eye optician and of an optician-optometrist – were deregistered from the law for handicrafts and recognized as healthcare professions. In 2008 a Regulation for organization and activity of optical shops was adopted and their registration in the regional health centers was initiated. In 2010 a Master’ Program for education in optometry was launched.
“In parallel to that in 2009 I was granted from the National Agency for professional education a license to open the first private school for educating eye opticians. In order to provide an adequate education we created a modern curriculum which responded to the most recent developments in the fields of optics and correction of Vision. The school proved to be an innovator in providing an interactive method for education, with lectors being officials from the highest academic level. An important part of the school is the Eurooptic Academy. There we provide opportunities for continuous education to professionals who strive to keep up to date with the recent developments.
“2009 is also the year when I became one of the founding members of EAOO. Two years later I was approved to be an associate member of the Board of the Academy and in 2012 I became a trustee.
“A key contribution as a trustee is my representation of EAOO and the recruitment of new members through NABOO and through the State University “St.Kliment Ohridski”. As a result of this activities the university became a member of EAOO as well as some colleagues enlisted as individual members. The year for the most active and highest engagement of Bulgarian representatives was 2015 when in Budapest a Bulgarian Optometrist won the award for the best poster.
“During the conference of EAOO in 2016 in Berlin, I was awarded the title Honorary Member of Bulgarian Association of Optometrists (BAO). This was due to my contribution and support of the development of Optometry in Bulgaria.”
Topic: Outstanding Opticians