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The 2024 Student Leadership Program, which ran from 13 March to 10 April, brought together a diverse group of 18 students from across Australia and New Zealand, eager to enhance their leadership skills and make a difference.

The program comprised five online sessions run by Jahin Tanvir from the Australian School of Entrepreneurship (ASE). The themes of the sessions included public speaking and communication skills, ideation and creativity in practice, networking and mentorship, diversity and inclusion and adaptive leadership as an optometrist.

Guest speakers included Megan Zabell and Nadia Michaels from Alcon, Lachlan Hoy from Innovative Eye Care and Sophie Koh from Optometry Australia.

An in-person event held on Saturday 6 April gave students an opportunity to connect face-to-face. They engaged in educational sessions, lively discussions, and even enjoyed a social dinner, fostering friendships and a sense of community among participants.

Overall, the program was about more than just learning; it was about growth, empowerment and building connections. Participants walked away with valuable skills, newfound confidence and a network of peers and mentors to support them as they embark on their careers.


With the knowledge and experience gained from the Student Leadership Program, this year’s participants are poised to make a significant impact in the optometry profession, the communities they serve and beyond. Some testimonials from our 2024 participants:

‘Reflecting on the enriching journey I’ve embarked on over the past few months as a participant in Optometry Australia’s Student Leadership Program, I’m filled with gratitude for the multifaceted opportunities it offered. Through immersive sessions, I’ve not only refined essential skills in leadership, public speaking, networking and diversity inclusion, but also had the privilege to connect with a diverse cohort of driven peers from across Australia and New Zealand!!’
– Angela Aaraj, UNSW

‘I have been fortunate enough to partake in the Student Leadership Program where I have been able to build a variety of skills! I had the opportunity to go to Melbourne and meet some amazing like-minded individuals who will soon become great future optometry leaders. I’m excited to see where the future of optometry grows!’
– Tin Vo, Flinders University

‘One particular lesson that resonated with me was Jahin’s advice “be interested and not interesting.” This has stayed with me since and has allowed me to strive to build meaningful connections and relationships. Overall, I am grateful for the experience, knowledge, and connections gained from this program. I wish all my fellow participants the very best in their leadership endeavours, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact we will collectively make in the field of optometry.
– Leo Ho, QUT

‘I am grateful for the teachings, experience, and the wonderful connections I’ve gained from this program. Most importantly, the program has motivated me to foster connections, engage in continuous learning, and expand my network alongside my colleagues as this collaborative effort is fundamental to our growth as leaders.’
– Sri Balasubramani, UNSW

‘Following this program, I have developed skills to navigate the dynamic landscape of optometry. The connections made during this program are not only catalysts for personal growth but are fundamental to our growth as leaders. I am so grateful for this enriching experience and the wonderful friendships I have gained from this program, which has not only motivated me to engage in continuous learning but also to expand my connections for future opportunities. I look forward to seeing the positive impact we can make collectively in the field of optometry and am grateful for this opportunity.’
– Paige Tsoubarakis, Flinders University

About the Student Leadership Program

The Student Leadership Program is an annual initiative by Optometry Australia, designed to give students the skills they need to become future leaders within the optometry profession and ensure optometry’s emerging leaders have the skills to navigate the anticipated opportunities and challenges of a changing optometry landscape. The 2024 Student Leadership was proudly supported by Alcon.

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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.