The Vision Council Hosts Inaugural Fast-Track Leadership Summit Prior to COLA Meeting


ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council wrapped up its time in Temecula, California last month with a successful inaugural Fast-Track Leadership Summit—held April 24 to 25—and COLA Spring Meeting—held April 25 to 26. Both events attracted industry leaders for networking opportunities and group discussions, plus essential panels and important industry insights. Kicking off the meetings was the first ever Fast-Track Leadership Summit hosted by The Vision Council, which gathered a select group of emerging optical industry leaders who were nominated by their peers to attend the summit.

Designed in collaboration with Bart Foster, a consultant to The Vision Council, the summit gave attendees the opportunity to build relationships, share ideas and best practices, improve their careers and take a hands-on approach to the inevitable changes affecting the optical industry while being guided by some of the most respected leaders in the business.

“It was inspiring to see the best up-and-comers in our industry join together to support each other, take ownership of their careers and tackle the larger issues we’re facing,” said Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council. “I’m excited to see the Fast-Track Leadership Summit grow and evolve year to year as the industry does.”

The event came to a head during the “How I Built This” session, modeled after the now famous podcast by Guy Raz of NPR, where innovators and entrepreneurs talked through their triumphs, failures and the risks they took to get them and their companies to where they are today.

Following the Fast-Track Leadership Summit, the COLA Spring Meeting commenced with the steering committee and golf tournament.

This year’s Goodfellow honor—presented each year to highlight an outstanding individual who actively contributes to the advancement of the optical industry—was awarded to Keith Grossman, co-founder of Simplify Optics and former COLA Board technology chairman, secretary-treasurer, vice president, program director and president.

“I am truly honored to be included in the group of Goodfellow recipients,” said Grossman. “Whenever I look at that award, I am always in awe of the incredible people who came before me that I still admire to this day.”

Other key agenda items included an optical technology panel focusing on rightsizing labs, a conversation surrounding telemedicine as it relates to the optical industry, a session for the emerging optical leaders to complement the Fast-Track Leadership Summit, a mock OSHA inspection demonstration, a regulatory affairs and technical update, and a discussion on finding and retaining talent in today’s job market.

To view the full slate of topics and presentations from the event, visit For more information on the Fast-Track Leadership Summit, visit