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Optometry Australia has appointed Theo Charalambous, Deputy President, and Albert Lee, Treasurer, of the national board.

Their appointments follow the departure of Fiona Moore, Tori Halsey, and Rob Howie who stepped down from the board at Optometry Australia’s annual general meeting held on Friday 25 November 2022.

Mr Charalambous (above middle) replaces Ms Moore as Deputy President and Mr Lee (above right) replaces Ms Halsey as Treasurer.

Margaret Lam (above left) retained the position of President.

New board members include Lee Baumwol, Kevin Sun and Shuvagata Bose.

Departing board members

Ms Moore and Mr Howie joined the board at the 2021 annual general meeting (AGM) and Ms Halsey at the November 2019 AGM.

President Margaret Lam expressed her sincere gratitude to the three former directors and thanked them for their service.

‘Being on the national board is not always easy as we often face tough challenges that require sensitive, and at times difficult, decision making balancing the needs to our members, stakeholders, growing and advancing optometry, and meeting our strategic obligations.

‘The regulatory framework in which boards operate these days, also poses complexities that directors must not only need to be cognisant but need to manage.

‘Combined, these factors create a very demanding environment that often results in our directors dedicating many more hours than anticipated.

‘I find it a pleasure to lead our board because all directors have such a strong desire to see a robust and sustainable optometry sector,’ Ms Lam said.

Ms Lam praised the three departing directors.

‘Fiona, Tori, and Rob made a significant contribution to the national board and demonstrated strong commitment to ensuring that Optometry Australia delivered against its strategic commitments.

‘Fiona was a wonderful Deputy President, providing excellent input and guidance and Tori was an amazing Treasurer who over the past three years, kept Optometry Australia’s financial obligations on track.

‘On behalf of the board, I wish to thank them for their contributions to our organisation and I wish them a highly successful future.’

Ms Lam welcomed new directors, Lee, Kevin and Shuvagata to the national board.

Fiona Moore said that being on the national board provided her with a nation-wide view of optometry.

The former Deputy President said that she was excited to learn more Optometry Australia’s plans to advance and evolve optometry to secure the sector’s long-term sustainability.

‘My 12 months on the board gave me a deeper appreciation of how the national body operates, its priorities and how it always puts the needs of members first.

‘It is a truly inspiring and innovative organisation and I hope that I can apply what I learnt as a national director in other senior leadership roles in our sector.’

Former Treasurer, Tori Halsey, said that she thoroughly enjoyed her three years on the national board. “Assuming the role of Treasurer taught me a lot about driving and maximizing expenditure and revenue raising to ensure that we were meeting our strategic goals.

‘Over my period on the board we faced extenuating conditions due to the pandemic and challenging economic conditions and I’m delighted that Optometry Australia was able to continue to create exceptional member value due to our stringent financial management.

‘I sincerely hope that I can take my experience on the national board, and as Treasurer, into new leadership roles within optometry and the broader health sector.’

Deputy President and Treasurer

Theo Charalambous, Deputy President: Mr Charalambous (left) has extensive experience working in a franchise network as a franchise owner of OPSM practices based in Pakenham, Berwick, Brighton and South Yarra. He is also partners in a private practice, Hastings Optical.

A 1998 Bachelor of Optometry graduate from the University of Melbourne, Mr Charalambous also holds a Senior Executive MBA from the Melbourne Business School.

He entered the optometry profession in 2002 working in practices in the Berwick and Pakenham areas before opening his own independent practice ModernEyes in 2008 and then moving to OPSM five years later.

Having previously worked in indigenous clinics in Doomadgee and Mornington Island, he spent time in 2017 as Lead Optometrist for OneSight, a sustainable clinic with the aim of providing Zambians with access to consistent, high-quality eyecare and eyewear.

Mr Charalambous is a member of the Franchise Development Council.

Albert Lee, Treasurer:  Mr Lee (left) is a clinical optometrist and owner of an independent, full-scope optometry practice based in Rockdale, NSW.

He has worked in private and corporate practice in regional and metropolitan Australia and the United Kingdom. As a former Clinical Supervisor at the UNSW Optometry Clinic, he assisted young optometrists learn and develop their optometry skills. He has further worked in research at the Cornea and Contact Lens Research Unit, Brien Holden Vision Institute.

Mr Lee has a passion for public health and giving back to the community and society. This has seen him work with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples in Sydney, in rural and regional NSW settings and in the Northern Territory. Following the 2004 tsunami, he headed to Sri Lanka to work in eye camps and in 2015, to provide vision assessments and spectacles to people in need in Nepal. His current focus is working with refugees and people seeking asylum and with marginalised populations in NSW.

He is currently completing a Master of Philosophy at the UNSW.

New board members

Optometry Australia’s three new directors are:

Lee Baumwol: Mr Baumwol (right) is a practising clinical optometrist, with ocular therapeutics endorsement. Since 2014 Mr Baumwol has been part of the Total Eyecare partnership working out of its Claremont, Sandy Bay, and Kingston practices in Hobart. He also works part-time at the Royal Hobart Hospital Eye Clinic in the general and diabetic eye clinics.

In addition to his clinical practise, Mr Baumwol is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at UNSW’s Optometry and Vision Science faculty, and he oversees clinical placements for students from this university. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a CASA credentialed optometrist.

Shuvagata ‘Shuva’ Bose: Mr Bose (right) has practised optometry in retail and medical settings within metropolitan and rural settings. He is currently Optometry Sessional Academic, supervising practical classes and tutorials for students in the Bachelor of Vision Science program at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). He has also worked as a clinical supervisor at this university assisting students develop skills in clinical diagnostics and management.

Kevin Sun: Mr Sun (right) is a therapeutically endorsed clinical optometrist at Specsavers in Waterford, Western Australia. Mr Sun provides a range of patient services including aged and residential care home visits. He further has experience in glaucoma co-management, diabetes eye care, dry eye, myopia control, and contact lenses.





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Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation Optometry Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.