It happens every year. When Vision Monday solicits nominations for women across all sectors of the eyecare and eyewear fields to be considered for recognition in our “Most Influential Women in Optical” feature, our VM editorial team will tell you that three things occur.

First, we continue to receive hundreds of nominations from all over the U.S. (and a few internationally) from readers who want to recognize the contributions and commitment among women who are influencing patients, customers, colleagues or a cause. This is exciting and gratifying. We’re humbled to read through the descriptions.

Second, we have a very difficult time choosing among the submissions we receive. A really hard time. There are some incredible people doing great things out there. More than can be included every year, we do just want to say that.

Third, our team divides writing these short profiles—admittedly not enough words to do these women justice—but that means we are able to learn and listen to our honorees’ individual stories. We learn what’s been their path, what motivates and drives their approach to their work. And for many, in a year like this one and last one due to the pandemic, we learn how they overcame a range of challenges to rethink and thrive in their roles.

The span of the work these women are doing, through private practice and local or even national activities, within the supplier and lab worlds, making change in research, academia and public health sectors, reminds us of the wide and important scope of vision care, the impact of eyewear, and the transformational year we’ve experienced.

We see a number of women who are making their mark and still finding time to get involved with so many of the fine associations in our field and industry. They are taking time to be active, to volunteer and be vocal about the underserved and underrepresented. They make the time to network, influence and help lift up others.

Women continue to make vital contributions to our industry, inside and beyond their communities, to patients and colleagues.

Once again, please join us in saluting them all.