Home News Optometry Divas ‘Real Talk’ Discuss Living Your Clearest Purpose

Optometry Divas ‘Real Talk’ Discuss Living Your Clearest Purpose

Optometry Divas held a ‘Real Talk’ virtual discussion on Sunday, March 10, where founder Lauretta Justin, OD, paneled questions to Divas Essence Johnson, OD; Maria Sampalis, OD; and Michelle Gonzalez, OD.

The Optometry Divas mission is to “empower, connect and promote the success of women ODs.” They women discussed how to live your clearest purpose in the face of adversity, including ways to deal with challenges and advice to other ODs and women in the industry.


Dr. Justin started the session by telling the “bricklayer story,” inspiring viewers to think about whether they are trudging along and just building a brick wall or building a palace they’d be proud of. She encouraged listeners to continue laying their bricks, one by one, even when they hit a bump in the road. Dr. Sampalis agreed, saying that sometimes you may feel like you’re walking alone, but that’s no reason to stop your journey. “You have to have the motivation and purpose behind what you’re doing,” she said. “If you have passion and grit and believe in yourself, the sky is the limit.”

Viewer Cynthia Heard, OD, brought up imposter syndrome and encouraged the panelists to remind students and new doctors that it’s more common than they think. “Imposter syndrome has been around forever,” Dr. Johnson said. She recommended that everyone—students and established ODs—focus on the things they can control. “Having family and friends as a support system is the best help,” Dr. Justin added.

Dr. Johnson also brought up the fact that most ODs are balancing multiple titles, including child, parent or friend. “Balancing being a wife, doctor and mom is hard,” she says. “My daughter noticed I was coming home unhappy. I asked myself, ‘What kind of woman do I want my daughter to see me be?’” Dr. Sampalis agreed. “The best thing we can do in the industry is build each other up.”

Dr. Gonzalez also chimed in, noting that it’s important to learn to say no. When she’s too busy, “I think about where I can make the best impact and enjoy what I do,” she said. “Having a foundation helps keep my peace. Take it one day at a time.”

And when all else fails, remember how far you’ve come. “I’ve made it through 100% of my toughest days,” Dr. Johnson says. “The company that I keep is what keeps me going. Sometimes you need a friend to ‘push you in the pool.’ Vulnerability is not pretty, but it’s valuable. Don’t be afraid to be real.”

“Sometimes patients are just unhappy,” Dr. Sampalis said. “Don’t be afraid to challenge the norm or think outside the box.” She also recommended sleeping on decisions. “Take time to reflect on what you can do better, and sometimes you just need the confidence to know when a task is not for you.”


Watch the full meeting here. 

Join Optometry Divas at optometrydivas.com/join.

Get the ebook 20/20 Vision: Living Your Clearest Purpose on optometrydivas.com and learn about upcoming CE courses and educational retreat.

Read more news from WO here.

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