The Living Your Best Professional Life panel was moderated by Dori Carlson, OD, FAAO, who was joined in the discussion by Mamie Chan, OD, former president of the New Mexico Optometric Association and leader in a number of other local and national organizations; Sherrol Reynolds, OD, FAAO, president of the National Optometric Association; and Rachael Wruble, OD, FAAO, vice president of the North Carolina Optometric Society and the recipient of the 2018 Young OD Theia Award from Women In Optometry.
Dr. Wruble has found her best professional life by making sure she’s happy in her work every day. Dr. Wruble struck out on her own after working in an office that experienced a transfer of ownership. Having more influence was important to her, and she’s now an owner of two practices, where she said that she’s rediscovered the joy in her work. “It’s not about just seeing patients. How can I help them see in a different way that may be new?” Dr. Wruble works toward this goal by continuing her education on new technologies and techniques.
Balance in your professional life is likely to evolve over the course of your life and career, Dr. Chan said. She grew up in the optometry practice of her father, Tony Chan, OD, watching him advocate for the profession, most notably fight on the state floor in New Mexico for the right to dilate in the 1980s. Early in her career, she had many big aspirations of taking over the Albuquerque area with multiple offices, which led to a partnership with her cousin on three practices. Yet she stepped away after eight years, feeling spread too thin. Now Dr. Chan says that her best professional life looks different: one office and more control so that she can spend more time attending school functions for her two children, ages 8 and 10. She added that she expects it will continue toevolve again in the next few years as her children get older.
Mentorship played a key role along Dr. Reynolds’ journey to leadership in the profession. She says that she met the late Terrance N. Ingraham, OD, when he was president of the National Optometric Association. His guidance and an introduction to his network paved the way to joining committees and becoming more involved in the organization. It inspired Dr. Reynolds to pay it forward as she moved through her career, mentors OD students and speaks at different college events. She also has mentored female high school students through the local program Women of Tomorrow for the past 10 years. She hopes that introducing them to the profession and showing her passion for it will inspire them. “They realize that they, too, can be empowered to speak up, take bold steps and to choose a profession they are passionate about.”
This story is an excerpt from coverage of the inaugural Women In Optometry leadership summit. Click here for the complete story on the event.