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Our Staff

We're the team at the coalface, here for our members 365 days a year.

CEO

Andrew McKinnon

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Tel: 0412 401 102 Email: andrew@oaansw.com.au

After nearly 25 years in the hot seat, what continues to inspire and drive me? The answer is simple: our members. I know many of you personally and I really enjoy working with you to help make your professional lives a little easier and more rewarding.

I graduated with a Business Degree (UTS) in 1986 and have since added an MBA and Graduate Certificate in Employment Law. Prior to becoming CEO, I’d been aware of optometry for some time (through my cousin, optometrist Tim McKinnon) before fate brought me to an interview with Tony Lord and Brian Layland, and the rest is history.

Outside of work? Saturdays are usually taken up with my alternative role as CEDW – Chief Executive Dog Washer. My wife runs a dog grooming and training business so you’ll normally find me cleaning pooches! Sundays are spent messing about on our boat as often as we can arrange it, in between looking after our young granddaughter and catching up with friends.

I truly believe that there is so much scope for optometry’s future. It’s really exciting to be part of a profession which is genuinely going places.

Administration Manager

Nicole Smart

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Tel: 0418 684 779 Email: nicole@oaansw.com.au

I’m the voice you’re most likely to hear when you pick up the phone to call Optometry NSW/ACT. I’ve been at the helm since 2004 and have built a strong rapport with members, our board, national and other state divisions, and our other industry partners.

My role is very diverse – running the office, organising major conferences, even project managing the office renovation in late 2018. I also manage the accounts and HR, but the best part of my role is dealing with the members, from renewals to audit support and everything in between.

Outside work I love to go camping with my husband of ten years (Pete) and my kids (Zac and Kate).

Optometrist and Professional Services and Advocacy Manager

Paula Katalinic

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Tel: 0407 115 639 Email: paula@oaansw.com.au

I’m passionate about raising the profile of optometry at all levels – from patients seeking the best eye care through to government policy makers, I believe that optometrists should be centre stage.

I’m frequently involved in undergraduate and postgraduate education aiming to support optometrists to practise to the best of their ability, with a particular interest in their role in reducing preventable vision loss through the early diagnosis of eye disease.

I’ve been part of the Optometry NSW/ACT team since 2004. I’m also a Lead Clinician at the Centre for Eye Health. I received my Graduate Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics in 2008 and completed my Masters in Optometry (UNSW) in 2010.

Soon after I graduated, I worked at Joslin Diabetes Center’s Beetham Eye Institute in Boston for nearly four years. I’ve also been a staff optometrist in the School of Optometry and Vision Science UNSW and worked in both rural and urban practices in Australia. I’ve spoken at numerous conferences and educational events both nationally and internationally and have experience with clinical research.

Outside optometry my interests include playing the violin in the Eastern Sydney Chamber Orchestra and travelling the world as frequently as I can with my husband Jon and our two boys.

Policy Advisor and Former CEO of Optometry Australia

Joe Chakman

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Tel: (02) 9712 2199 Email: joe@oaansw.com.au

Why, after all these years, do I still advise Optometry NSW/ACT on policy matters? The answer is that I’ve realised we don’t necessarily grow wiser as we get older – we just get more experienced. After 33 years in my previous role of CEO of Optometry Australia, involved in every facet of the organisation – from assisting members to lobbying government ministers – I’ve become very attached to the optometry profession. It’s like one of my children. I’ve come to really believe that our profession has something vital to offer the world. As long as I have something to contribute, I’ll keep doing so.

Optometrist and Strategic Communications and Member Liaison

Audrey Molloy

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Tel: 0414 386 824 Email: audrey@oaansw.com.au

I’m dedicated to supporting optometrists through all stages of their careers.

I grew up in Ireland and qualified as an optometrist in Dublin, where I worked for several years in clinical practice, both private and corporate.

Itchy feet led me to Sydney in 1998 and since then I’ve added to my qualifications with Graduate Certificates in Therapeutics (UNSW and ACO) and Advanced Contact Lenses (UNSW). Being a naturally creative person, I felt I had a unique role to play in developing engaging, useful resources to support my peers throughout their profession. To this end, I undertook diplomas in Marketing (2005) and Editing & Publishing (2013).

I have always been interested in ocular pathology and I worked at Vision Eye Institute for 15 years (in clinical, marketing, referrer liaison and content-editing roles). I’m also very interested in the dry eye epidemic and what optometrists can do to help.

Outside of work I love to write creatively and I’m a widely-published poet. I also like to get away from it all by hiking in our beautiful outdoors. My three young kids keep me from ever getting bored.

Administration Assistant

Sarah McKinnon

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Tel: (02) 9712 2199 Email: sarah@oaansw.com.au

When a member has a problem, I enjoy taking the time to solve it for them. My background in studying anthropology and psychology nurtured my interest in both researching and being involved with people. I am currently researching the history of the optometry profession in NSW and find it fascinating. I hope to be able to turn this research into a permanent record of the progress of this profession over its 100-year history.

Outside the office I have a huge passion for writing and am working on my first novel. I also love to do competitive weightlifting and gymnastics. Aside from that I love anything outdoors – snowboarding, hiking, paddle-boarding, travelling and anything involving music.

Board of Directors

Optometry NSW/ACT is managed by a Board of Directors elected from our membership. The key function of the board is to ensure the good governance of the organisation.

President

Luke Cahill

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Tel: (02) 9712 2199 Email: vision@oaansw.com.au

I’ve been a part of our profession for 35+ years and consider myself fortunate to have experienced almost every facet of optometry. I have worked as a consulting optometrist and practice manager in both regional and metro locations, worked as a locum optometrist, taken on roles in optometric management with a large corporate optical business, and been employed in professional and medical services, as well as working in R&D with a large contact lens manufacturer.

The one constant I’ve seen over these years is change! I’m very optimistic about the future of optometry. Past leaders in our industry have helped create a profession which is respected by the public and allied health professions alike. A key role of our organisation is to continually monitor community needs in a fast-changing world, to ensure our profession is even more viable, relevant and profitable in the future.

Outside of optometry I enjoy travelling with my wife Michelle and son Conor, often combining the travel with skiing or trekking in adventurous locations!

Vice-President

Katrina Ong

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Tel: (02) 9712 2199 Email: vision@oaansw.com.au

Since running for council in 2006 I have learnt so much about the optometry profession and its forward march over time. What strikes me is the role that individual passionate optometrists contribute to this progress.

I believe we can make optometrists proud of their profession and increase their job satisfaction. I am highly impressed with what Optometry NSW/ACT has achieved over many years and am honoured to be part of it, surrounded by other motivated people.

Outside of work my loves are my family, snowboarding, music, karaoke and a good book!

Past-President and Director

Christine Craigie

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Tel: (02) 9712 2199 Email: vision@oaansw.com.au

Ever since I was involved in equestrian sports in my early years, I was motivated to jump higher and go faster to achieve my goals. Riding teaches you to have courage and to be persistent. I gained university entry to both veterinary science and optometry, but I chose optometry because I believe sight is the pinnacle of human perception.

As an early adopter of new optometry techniques, I took myself to the USA and learnt BIO and indentation skills from US university colleagues, well before the schools of optometry in Australia integrated these into our degree courses. Being exposed to advanced testing I became interested in the American Academy of Optometry for conferences and later went on to complete my Fellowship of the American Academy of Optometry in 1998.

I believe we can all advocate for our profession in many different ways. Development of different pathways for our optometry graduates is dear to my heart, as I believe optometry’s skills are under-utilised in our society.

Devoting time to the ProVision Board for many years was beneficial to developing a viable choice for independent optometry to thrive amid a crowded corporate and ever-changing marketplace. The number of those independent practices now exceeds 450 in Australia.

Outside of work I teach the Avatar self-development course internationally, to increase people’s awareness of living deliberately and achieving their goals. I love art and visit many galleries, especially when visiting new cities. And I still go horse riding when on vacation.

Director

Narelle Hine

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Tel: (02) 9712 2199 Email: vision@oaansw.com.au

As one of the longer-serving current councillors, I believe that our organisation plays a vital role in guiding the direction the profession takes. Our council think tank is comprised of dedicated optometrists representing a cross section of practice. The reality is that sometimes our efforts are sidelined by the aspirations of other stakeholders in vision care – but we can’t give up! The right to use therapeutic drugs in our state was not just given to optometry by the government or medicine, it was gained only by a 15 year-long campaign waged by Optometry Australia.

I was a late starter. In my earlier career, I moved to practise in the UK then returned to work in contact lens research in Sydney and completed postgraduate studies with what is now known as the Brien Holden Vision Institute. So unsurprisingly, I have a strong interest in contact lens fitting and myopia control, and offer some consulting services to industry.

I am pleased to say that running and growing my private practice over the past 20 years, pursuing postgraduate studies, regular clinical teaching at UNSW, serving on the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia and on the ONSW/ACT council for the last 25 years, have all kept me far too busy for playing golf on a Wednesday. My chosen profession has kept me interested and challenged since I graduated because there are so many avenues open to explore with an optometry degree. And I still love how my growing clinical skills can change people’s daily lives. I find my continuing professional development keeps me motivated and I want to see colleagues publicly recognised for their postgraduate studies and upskilling.

Optometry is a great profession deserving of a bigger role in eye care, so supporting our organisation is an obvious way to attain that.

Director and Optometry NSW/ACT nominee to the Optometry Australia National Board

Margaret Lam

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Tel: (02) 9712 2199 Email: vision@oaansw.com.au

Thinking about what motivates me to serve as an Optometry NSW/ACT councillor, it comes down to what this profession has given me over the years. From the joy of positively impacting our patients’ lives, to the pride I feel in belonging to a close-knit community of professionals, optometry has presented me with an abundance of riches.

I bring a lot of experience to my role as a councillor because of my diverse background in optometry. I have worked in independent and corporate optometry practices, as a locum, and built my own independent practice, theeyecarecompany, which has since become part of George and Matilda Eyecare.

As the environment in which we practice has diversified, we need to ensure we support optometrists along all of their possible career paths. This is critical in order for our profession to not only survive, but thrive. We also need to safeguard the profession by ensuring the standards of care we believe in are upheld. I believe our organisation is essential in supporting our profession and encouraging a healthy co-existence and collegiality among all of our colleagues. This underpins the work I do in the Member Engagement Committee.

Beyond this, I think we need to build the foundations for our scope of practice to grow, which is why I am also on the Advanced Skills Committee for ONSW/ACT. This committee aims to improve how we can work together to better recognise specialty skills within our optometry profession and encourage their development.

Director

Lisa Keay

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Tel: (02) 9712 2199 Email: vision@oaansw.com.au

I started my career in optometric practice in regional NSW, followed by a stint in research and development projects for the contact lens industry and most recently in public health research in the US, India, China and Australia. I took on the role of Head of the School of Optometry, UNSW Sydney in 2019 and will be focusing my efforts on high quality training in optometry and on engagement with industry and government for the best outcomes in eye health. I am really excited to be working with Optometry NSW/ACT.

I bring experience in health systems research such as evaluations of new models of care for chronic eye diseases and epidemiologic studies generating evidence for timely provision of cataract surgery and access to refractive services.

Outside of work, I enjoy community sport as a player, manager and spectator. I am also a passionate advocate for women in sport, particularly women’s soccer.

Director

Michael Yapp

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Tel: (02) 9712 2199 Email: vision@oaansw.com.au

I originally decided to study optometry as I have a number of ‘interesting’ things wrong with my own eyes. While this helped contribute to my passion for the profession, it did make life difficult for my class mates who had me as a ‘prac-exam’ patient.

Since graduating in the 90’s I have been fortunate enough to work in a very wide range of roles within the optometric industry. This includes private rural practices, locuming around Australia and the UK, running an optometric charity, working within Ophthalmology practices and teaching at UNSW in a number of different formats.

I am currently the head of clinical operations and teaching at the Centre for Eye Health which is a diverse role involving both clinical optometric practice and management and development roles within the industry, In particular working with the public eye care sector.

This range of experiences has led me to want to be involved in helping shape the future of the profession and assisting members achieve their goals which is why I nominated for a role on the Board.

Director

Heidi Hunter

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Tel: (02) 9712 2199 Email: vision@oaansw.com.au

Being the eternal optimist, I see lots of potential for the future of optometry. I'm not one to sit on the sidelines, nor pass up an opportunity so when I was asked in 2016 if I was keen to contribute to the profession by being on council, I couldn't say no.

I love my job as an independent practitioner, business owner, NSW board member for CCLSA, and mentor to optometry students on clinical placements. What I enjoy most is looking after patients and specialty contact lens fitting, and spending time being an active role model for my two nearly teenage boys. I'm the mum you will see jumping off the bridge into deep water, or sliding down a sand dune at high speed on holidays!

I'm hoping my passion to look after people, mixed with my motivation to promote our professional standards to other health professionals, as well as promoting optometry to the wider community will make my contribution to council a valuable one.

Past President and Director

Steve Zantos

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Tel: (02) 9712 2199 Email: vision@oaansw.com.au

I fervently promote programs and services that will provide good value for our members, and decisions that will maintain the strength and integrity of our organisation and profession.

I bring a broad range of experience to the optometry organisation boards I serve on through my roles in private practice optometry, the optical industry, academia, government, and ophthalmology.

I worked for 12 years in the contact lens industry R&D area with Bausch & Lomb in Rochester, New York. I was Professor of Clinical Optometry at UNSW, as well as being responsible for the re-introduction of the school's popular Master of Optometry program. I also worked for many years at the ophthalmology practice group Vision Eye Institute in Sydney, where I directed optometry co-management and education programs. I’m also a Past-President of the Contact Lens Society of Australia, the organisation that supported my UNSW PhD research on overnight wear of contact lenses in the 1970s under the supervision of Professor Brien Holden.

I’m in semi-retirement now and as my three children have grown up, I’m in a position to do overseas volunteer work for the ophthalmic charity ‘Sight For All’, which I greatly enjoy. I also love spending time on my hobbies – travelling with my wife Penny, doing Greek family tree research, and working on my neglected golf game.

Alex Hui

Director

Alex Hui

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I am a Canadian trained optometrist and PhD graduate from the University of Waterloo. I joined the academic staff at UNSW in 2015 and have been involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching there, particularly with the Graduate Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics. I have broad experience practicing optometry, having worked and trained in academic, independent private practice, hospital and corporate settings in Canada, the USA and Australia. Therapeutics, contact lenses, and ocular disease are passions of mine from a clinical, research and educational perspective. I hope to bring my interest on these topics and all things optometry to my activities in support of the goals of the organization and its members.

Monica lette

Director

Monica Lette

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In my role as Board Director, I intend to use my experience and knowledge of eye care in a variety of settings to expand the scope of the profession and to increase optometry’s involvement in primary and public health care.

While completing my optometry degree I had the opportunity to travel to the State University of New York Optometry School as part of UNSW’s Preceptorship program. Optometry in the United States has always been a little ahead of what we are doing in Australia and being exposed to the profession in New York early in my career has motivated me to keep improving my skills and knowledge, particularly in ocular health.

I have practiced within ophthalmology clinics for almost 20 years and have had the opportunity to learn and develop my skill set working alongside the specialist doctors. I have also worked in corporate and independent optometry practices in city, suburban and regional locations and held roles in management, business development and training both as a practice owner and as an employee.

I believe that supporting members by providing opportunities to increase their proficiencies will lead to a stronger profession and greater career satisfaction.

Director

Thao Hannaford

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Small businesses are the backbone of the Australian economy and my focus is to ensure the long term sustainability of the independent sector. Having worked in corporate optometry early in my career, I also understand the support required for optometrists in this professional environment. My love for mentoring began as a clinical supervisor at UNSW and my private practice has been involved in the undergraduate optometry preceptorship program for well over a decade. With the advancements in ocular biometry in ophthalmic optics of recent times, it has piqued my interest in academia so I am now also a doctoral candidate at Aston University UK. I believe my experience in the many facets of optometry will bring valuable insights onto the board. Outside of optometry, I am a qualified coach with the Australian Sports Commission and the Martial Arts Industry Association as an instructor for Ryukonkai-Okinawan weaponry. I have a beautiful young family and we love the country life, playing music and travelling.

ECONA

ECONA is the early career optometrists committee of Optometry NSW/ACT and consists of nine members.

Chair

Margaret Zhong

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"I believe ECONA is the perfect platform to actively represent and support young optometrists - we face experiences and challenges in our early career that eventually become fundamental in dictating our passions and ideas around our profession. We are also frequently reminded that optometry is changing. As a member of this committee, I will strive to establish a sustainable and rewarding future for young optometrists.”

Co-chair Scope of Optometry Subcommittee

Jack Phu

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“I am excited and humbled to have the opportunity to help shape the future of the optometric profession. The young members of the profession represent a diverse cohort, and I am keen to be able to push forward an agenda of progressive and innovative practice to improve patient care.”

Co-chair Scope of Optometry Subcommittee

Nancy Liu

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“I believe ECONA represents an opportunity for us to better shape the future of optometry, as we face the ever-growing demands of an ageing population. I look forward to working alongside like-minded peers to strive for increasing optometric scope and greater unity both within optometry and the wider health care community.”

Co-chair Regional Engagement Subcommittee

Lauren Hutchinson

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“My passion in optometry lies within Indigenous and rural community health. I believe in the need for strong advocacy and leadership in these areas. I am dedicated to continually promoting the need for allied health services within small communities. I believe that optometry services should be accessible to everyone and be delivered in a culturally safe way.”

Co-chair Regional Engagement Subcommittee

Lowana Littlechild

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“I am excited for the opportunity to contribute to the ECONA committee. As a young optometrist practising in a rural area, I am passionate about ensuring that the voices of optometrists like me are heard, and that everyone within the profession is well supported by the association regardless of geographic location. I want to ensure that optometrists remain an integral and respected member of the allied health community in NSW and Australia.”

Co-chair Corporate Engagement Subcommittee

Daniel Rafla

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“I am a newly graduated optometrist who is excited to be out in the real world, testing eyes and helping to deliver optimal eye care. Being a part of the ECONA committee is an amazing opportunity, which will really allow me to contribute to future optometrists in the early years of their career.”

Co-chair Corporate Engagement Subcommittee, Student Engagement Subcommittee

Jingyi Chen

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“I’m excited to be part of ECONA and passionate about bringing together and fostering strong connections between early career optometrists from all backgrounds. I believe we must build a united front to take control of the future of our profession.”

Co-chair Student Engagement Subcommittee

Phoebe Wong

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“I'm grateful to be part of the ECONA committee and look forward to the opportunities ahead. In this position, I hope to improve the transition for students becoming optometrists, to provide specialised professional development events, and to empower optometrists to take on minor in-office surgical procedures.”

Co-chair Student Engagement Subcommittee

Sue Kweon

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“As an optometrist working in an independent practice for the first time and living in Sydney for the first time, I am forging my future. This perfectly aligns with my mission for ECONA: to empower early career optometrists to build our future in the way we imagine it to be.”

ECONA Subcommittees

ECONA has four subcommittees - Student Engagement, Corporate Engagement, Regional Engagement and Scope of Optometry, each of which are co-chaired by two members of the main committee.

Scope of optometry sub-committee

Alex Koutsokeras

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“My vision for the future includes specialisation within optometry, increased therapeutic and surgical scope of practice, and better relationships with ophthalmology. As an optometrist in an independent practice, I’d also like to see more networking, social and industry events for all optometrists – not just those in the large corporates.”

Regional Engagement sub-committee

Wendy Saw

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“I’m excited to be involved in ECONA because I am passionate about mentoring graduates. As a regional optometrist, I know firsthand the potential for mental health struggles to occur outside the cities and I’d like to combat this. Finally, I’d love to be at the interface of our professional alliance with ophthalmologists.”

Tyson Xu

Regional sub-committee

Tyson Xu

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I look forward to working with the ECONA team as it presents itself as a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of changing tides in the optometry landscape. I hope that we can realise the full potential of our profession within the healthcare system and be proud of the positive impact we have on our patients.

Elie Jaajaa

Corporate Engagement Subcommittee

Elie Jaajaa

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Being part of the Corporate Engagement subcommittee is a great opportunity to progress and protect the value of optometrists in the allied health industry. As an optometrist working for both independent and corporate practices, I would like to provide more insight on ways we can be more reputable and valuable to our patients. I am a firm supporter of networking with other optometrists, ophthalmologists and GPs, where knowledge and experience shared can provide our patients with the best clinical solutions for their concerns.

Corporate Engagement Subcommittee

Ivy Kol

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I am excited to be a part of the ECONA subcommittee and my aim is to strengthen relationships between optometrists, corporate bodies and other stakeholders. I believe that fostering these relationships will enable the profession to move forward in a positive direction.

Student engagement sub-committee

Judy Nam

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I’m excited for this opportunity to be involved in ECONA to represent and promote the passions of young members within the optometric profession. By fostering a positive culture, I want to develop student engagement and create an innovative network for early career optometrists. Ultimately, I look forward to help shaping a progressive future for optometry such that the profession remains an integral part of the healthcare community.

Regional sub-committee

Kathy Qiu

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I'm incredibly excited to be a part of the ECONA committee, specifically within the regional sub-committee. As an early career optometrist who has worked predominantly in regional areas, in ACT and interstate since graduating, I understand first hand the unique challenges and issues that arise from the limited resources regional optometrists encounter. I hope to be someone my fellow colleagues can reach out to with any ideas or concerns, and act as a spokesperson for them in working towards a better support network for all optometrists.

Regional sub-committee

Acyel Al-Alosi

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As an early graduate optometrist working in a regional area, I am excited to be part of ECONA Regional Sub-committee. It is an opportunity to discuss with like-minded individuals on the issues that regional optometrists face and how these issues can be solved. My hope that my engagement with ECONA will bring better community awareness of the optometrist role as well as encourage regional optometrists and other health professionals to co-manage to provide the best clinical care to our patients.

Corporate Engagement Subcommittee

Nicholas Tran

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I sincerely appreciate that there is a group of optometrists who are committed to supporting their peers in the corporate industry. I recognise that corporate employment dominates the industry and that a large proportion of our peers work in a corporate environment. As this will likely remain the case for the future I think it is really important that there are resources available to support those in the corporate environment. I would love to support ECONA in developing resources and sharing knowledge on what can be expected from corporate optometry, especially for new graduates. Being a new grad at a rural franchise, I believe that I am in a position to support the ECONA Corporate Subcommittee continue the great work they already do.

Scope of optometry sub-committee

Kerry Ho

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“I am keen to be part of ECONA with the desire to advance the field of optometry and to help transition those who are new to their careers. Furthermore, I would like to deliver further education and development in an engaging and interest manner.”

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