By Lynn S. Hammonds, OD, Immediate Past President, SECO
When I was first approached by SECO leadership asking if I had a desire to serve as this association’s president, my immediate reaction was, “I can’t do it.” Quickly, the men who have gone before me—and they’ve all been men except for Dr. Esther Ingram from Florida, who served as president in 1933-34—all said they felt the same qualms. It takes time and commitment to serve in a leadership position, but SECO is blessed with women and men who have the leadership skills to help steer us forward.
Serving as president has enriched my life. It has provided me with opportunities I did not see myself having. I’ve networked with some of the finest doctors in the Southeast and the country. I’ve become a better doctor because I’ve wanted and needed to know the latest treatment and technological advancements in our profession.
ODs see the importance of community and family. Women ODs may feel more compelled to look closer to home, but your professional family and community rely on you, too. If there’s a prevailing myth, it’s that women don’t want to be involved in the professional community. From what I’ve seen and the people I’ve talked with, that’s not the case. Many women want to lean in to their families, their careers, their business success and the health of their profession. It’s just that they, like everyone, need a network of support.
We cannot do this alone, and we cannot do this divided. The opportunities before optometrists today are wider and more exciting than ever before. Surround yourself with people who have confidence in your ability—and you’ll be more successful than you thought possible.
We need to help each other along as we face the changing economics, demographics, delivery methods and technological advances that will define our profession.