Committee members

The Optometry NSW/ACT Early Career Optometrists Committee - ECONA - was appointed in 2019 to engage and converse with our early-career members. It consists of a committee chair and three subcommittees - Student Engagement, Corporate Engagement and Rural & Regional Engagement.

ECONA Chair

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.

ECONA Secretary

Natasha Tein

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I am very excited to have the opportunity to be involved in the advocacy for the improvement and advancement of the optometric profession. As an ever-evolving industry, there is vast potential for progression and transformation of the way clinical optometry is delivered. I hope to represent and support your ideas for innovation and expansion of our clinical scope, with the ultimate goal of enhancing patient outcomes and improving quality of patient care.

ECONA Engagement Strategy

Elizabeth Chen

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I look forward to supporting and empowering early career optometrists so that they can confidently navigate an evolving professional landscape. My hope is that we can advance together as a profession to progress forward and continue to provide excellent patient care.

Internal Communications

Sephora Miao

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I am honoured to be part of the ECONA committee. Optometry is an evolving profession and I hope to connect with fellow ECOs, share ideas, and learn from diverse perspectives. Through my involvement, I hope to contribute to the future of our profession.

Chair Rural and Regional Engagement

Lynn Qian

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Having graduated in 2020 with limited amount of patient exposure in my final placement year and then moving interstate to a regional town, I understand the challenges that many graduate optometrists are facing. I look forward to be part of ECONA and connecting with the optometrists in rural and regional areas. I hope to grow together and support one another.

Chair Corporate Engagement

Acyel Al-Alosi

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As a recent graduate optometrist working for a corporate in a regional area, I am excited to be part of ECONA. It is an opportunity to discuss with like-minded individuals on the issues that early career 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.

Social Media Communications

Catherine Huynh

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I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to contribute to ECONA, a team actively advocating for optometry beyond the consultation room. As a regional and early career optometrist myself, I hope to support optometrists in our ever evolving role, including in areas where there may be a maldistribution of health care practitioners and resources.

Chair, Student Engagement

Amy Yu

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"As a graduate optometrist, the support from ECONA in my final year of study helped me transition from the mindset of a student to a healthcare clinician. I am delighted to work alongside like-minded peers and students to move forwards together, as individuals and as a profession, while providing exceptional eyecare services to our communities."

Chair, Student Engagement

Reynard Tay

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I am very excited to have the opportunity to provide the perspective of an optometry student to ECONA. I wish to use this opportunity to develop a connection between practising early career optometrists and current optometry students to showcase the diverse range of opportunities that are available in the field of optometry. I hope to represent current students of optometry and strategize with the ECONA team to provide the best information to people in my position.

Subcommittee members

Additional ECONA members involved in the subcommittees including:
Corporate Engagement, Student Engagement and Rural & Regional Engagement.

Corporate Engagement

Helene Ly

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I am super excited to be part of ECONA. I want to ensure that corporate optometrists are still connected to the broader optometry spectrum. I also aim to help other optometrists with achieving better work/life balance and passion for their profession, something I've had difficulty with in the past myself.

Corporate Engagement

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.”

Corporate Engagement

Tara Muralitharan

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"I’m excited to be part of the ECONA committee that supports and engages with early optometrists in corporate employment in the initial stages of their careers. I am honored to be able to be involved in the advancement of the optometry profession and help shape the future of the industry."

Rural and Regional Engagement

Ryan Seong

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“I am looking forward to joining ECONA and contributing to the advancement of optometry as a profession. As an early career optometrist working in Broken Hill, I experienced the challenges but also the joys of consulting in a remote town. I look forward to using this experience to support fellow early career optometrists working regionally/rurally in their lives both inside and outside of the consulting room.”

Rural and Regional Engagement

Rhonda Ton

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"My mission is to unite early career regional and rural optometrists. I aim to create a sense of support and inclusivity among optometrists, regardless of where they are located. I would like to support the development of early career optometrists in all aspects of optometry including patient care, advocacy, research and education. My passion lies in building strong connections within the optometry profession, which I believe will lead to improved public health outcomes in marginalised communities."

Rural and Regional Engagement

Lisa Kuoch

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"I am thrilled to be a part of the ECONA's Rural and Regional Engagement subcommittee. Having moved from metropolitan to rural optometry, I recognise the challenges faced when working in areas with a shortage of healthcare professionals and resources. Through ECONA I hope to work towards a stronger support network for our rural and regional optometrists, and ensure we continue to evolve as high-performing professionals in the healthcare system."

Rural and Regional Engagement

Andrew Salloum

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"I am very grateful for the opportunity to be apart of ECONA. As a young optometrist working in regional NSW myself, I understand the unique challenges faced by those practicing in rural and regional locations. I am passionate about ensuring that optometrists practicing in these areas are well-supported, respected and have access to resources in order to continue their development."

Corporate Engagement

Stephanie Huang

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"I am excited to join ECONA in supporting early optometrists navigate the opportunities and challenges that come with working in corporate employment. Having worked regionally since a graduate, I am passionate about collaborative care and hope to strengthen connections between healthcare professionals, improve access to resources and promote unity in our evolving profession."

Rural and Regional Engagement

Andrew Yue

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"I am excited to become a part of the ECONA team, and to work with passionate individuals to address the unique challenges facing optometrists in rural and regional practices. I am passionate in contributing and pioneering positive change, fostering relationships with the wider healthcare community, and helping to create a sustainable future for the profession."

Student Engagement

Claudia Jiang

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I am excited to work alongside inspiring optometrists and students to encourage innovation and advancement in our field. Just as ECONA has done for me, I hope to provide endless support along our journey together in becoming fulfilled and accomplished optometrists.

Student Engagement

Sun-young Lee

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"I believe in giving back what I have been given. Throughout my student and graduate years, what motivated me to stay focused was the guidance and support of early career optometrists who were kind enough to put in their time and effort for others. Through ECONA, I am thrilled to have a chance to do the same - to listen to and amplify the voices of students and other early career optometrists, to devise more ways to meet their academic and career needs, to help retain good people in our profession, and to build a better future for us overall."

Student Engagement

Irene Wei

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I am grateful for the opportunity to become a part of the ECONA family. As an optometry student, I am passionate in building stronger connections between my peers and young inspiring optometrists. I hope to improve wellbeing and mental health of current and future optometrists and provide support in the transition from student to professional life.

Student Engagement

Daniel Comber

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As an optometry student about to embark on my final year, my mission is to represent and champion the passions of young members within the optometric profession, fostering a positive culture that enhances student engagement and establishes an innovative network for early career optometrists.

Corporate Engagement

Ivy Kol

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I am excited to be a part of the ECONA committee 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.

ECONA Alumni

Optometry NSW/ACT is indebted to the past members of ECONA. A huge thank you for volunteering your time, energy, enthusiasm and initiative for the benefit of early career optometrists and the profession.

Past Chair of ECONA

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

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 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.”

Rural and Regional Engagement

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.”

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.”

Co-chair Scope of Optometry

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.

Corporate engagement sub-committee

Estelle Zhao

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“Observing the devaluation of other allied health professions has given me the desire to ensure that optometry does not go down the same route. I want optometry to remain a valued, respected and essential element of the health-care community. It is imperative that young optometrists working for corporates remain active in the wider optometry community and I feel that ECONA has a key role to play in guiding them.”

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.”

Past Chair of ECONA

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.”

Tyson Xu

Co-chair Rural and Regional Engagement

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.

Sunny Nandee ECONA

Rural and Regional Engagement

Sunny Nandee

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As a graduate optometrist working in Dubbo, I am thrilled to be joining the ECONA regional sub-committee. I am delighted to be part of the future, leading and representing the optometrists who work alongside GPs and ophthalmologists. I want to broaden our scope of practice and provide more educational resources to other early career optometrists for their professional development. I look forward to promoting better community awareness of the optometrist role and encourage other young optometrists to co-manage and support the local ophthalmologists to provide the best clinical experience and care to our patients.

Rural and Regional Engagement

Candice Pearson

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I am excited to be part of ECONA on the Rural and Regional Subcommittee as I find working in a regional area myself, connection and engagement with colleagues and linking into face to face CPD can be challenging. Therefore I would love to be able to help encourage online/zoom meetings to build a support network between regional members as an opportunity to share any challenges, as well as triumphs, that working in a regional area brings.

Co-chair Scope of Optometry

Sukanya Jaiswal

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I am excited to be involved with ECONA Scope of Optometry subcommittee to strengthen the role of optometrists in healthcare in Australia. It is important to secure the profession in diverse skillset and capabilities and support early career optometrists through a range of career options to excel in their future.

Student Engagement

Soumil Sharma

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I am excited for the opportunity to sit on the ECONA subcommittee. The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough for everyone, including optometry students. Lockdowns have caused uncertainty in graduation timeframes and employment opportunities. In this position I endeavour to better connect current optometry students to optometrists, to help make the transition from being a student to an optometrist just that little bit easier.

Student Engagement

Dinuki Amarsinghe

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I am thrilled to be a part of ECONA and contribute to its important initiatives. As a current optometry student, I understand the difficulty in navigating the industry and future job prospects. As such, I am extremely passionate about making the student to early career optometrist transition less daunting and more exciting!

Rural and Regional Engagement

Arveen Venzon

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As a recent grad, I am excited to be given the opportunity to be a part of ECONA and contribute to its initiatives to our always evolving profession. Students are often faced with uncertainty and are left with unanswered questions. With this in mind, it is my hope to provide reassurance and act as a conduit between students, early career optometrists and Optometry Australia NSW/ACT.

Rural and Regional Engagement

Hannah Ellis

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I am excited to be a part of ECONA, working with other passionate optometrists to support, identify and resolve issues pertaining to rural and remote optometry practice. Having commenced my career in a remote practice in Broken Hill, I have seen and experienced some of the challenges for optometry in these settings. I look forward to building relationships with the wider healthcare community and advocating for our profession to achieve the best clinical outcomes for our patients and communities.

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.

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.

Student Engagement

Michael Tran

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Student engagement with suppliers and prospective corporate and independent employers is one of the crucial stepping stones to developing our careers as optometrists. I am critically passionate about helping early career optometrists and students better communicate with these groups. Navigating the career space can be difficult and scary! And so I hope to bring my experience to assist both students and early career optometrists in helping to articulate their professional goals, needs and unique skill sets to our wider optical and ophthalmological community.

Rural and Regional Engagement

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.”

Student Engagement

Lisa Truong

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"As a regionally-based optometrist, I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of ECONA. Having such a platform, I hope to share the fulfillment that I have towards regional practice and outreach work and to inspire the same vigour among my peers."

Student Engagement

Yu Ri Kim

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I am excited to be granted this position to represent the voices of my fellow student optometrists. As an optometrist-in-training, I share with my colleagues our mutual hopes, dreams and uncertainties about our future in this ever-changing field of optometry. It is my aim to promote the positive practicing culture and the greater opportunities for student engagement to ease our transition into competent mature clinicians.

Student Engagement & Social Coordinator

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.”

Past Chair of ECONA

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.”

Rural & Regional Engagement

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.

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