Laurie Adams

Creative Manager

Marchon Eyewear
Melville, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Laurie has mentored numerous creative professionals and perfected her craft over her 25-year tenure on some of the most recognized brands in the world. She works seamlessly with our partners around the globe in connecting the eyewear segment of the brands DNA to the end consumer.”

This past May, Laurie Adams celebrated 25 years with Marchon Eyewear. Her journey began at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Adams then moved to Milan, continuing her studies at Istituto Europeo di Design. As her career took off working in ad agencies, Adams found herself gravitating toward the accessories industry.

She said, “When the opportunity came up to be a senior art director at Marchon, I was intrigued by the health care aspect of this industry, the giving back and improving lives through sight. I love the diverse design opportunities I have, whether it’s designing a new trade show booth or creating a campaign to tell our sustainable frames story, there is always something new and rewarding to design for.”

Adams is responsible for the visual direction of both Marchon and Altair, from trade show book designs to market week event design to corporate branding and communications. In addition, she oversees the creative development of all marketing and branding across all of Marchon and Altair’s brands, and has been a central part of the teams that launched brands like McAllister and Pure Eyewear from the ground up.

“I love design and I love to help people,” Adams said. “I am fortunate enough to be able to make my two passions a career. I work alongside an amazing group of managers and have a team that is so collaborate and always goes the extra mile, no matter how difficult the challenge ahead is.”

SHE SAYS… “My team consists of all women. The most inspiring thing for me has been fostering their creativity and seeing them grow. I love to see the results of their success. My advice for women would be don’t be afraid to explore something new.”

Paula Hamon Boone, OD

Retired Occupational Optometrist

Civil Service, Department of Defense, Naval Medical Command
Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia

CHOSEN BECAUSE…“She has made a difference by influencing students to pursue the profession of optometry and advising them along their career path.”

Paula Hamon Boone, OD, spent the first decade of her career as a staff optometrist. She subsequently spent the next 30 years with the Department of Defense/Naval Medical Command located in Portsmouth, Virginia.

There she served as the division supervisor of optometry and director of the Sight Conservation Program for the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, providing eyecare and safety instructions to 10,000 civil servant employees and over 5,000 military personnel stationed in the area.

She partnered with the Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center and the US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine to enhance the role of occupational optometry in the larger environmental health community.

Dr. Boone was the first African American female licensed to practice optometry in the state of Virginia and was appointed by two governors to serve two four-year terms on the Virginia Board of Optometry.

Since her retirement in 2016, Dr. Boone now serves as a course reviewer for the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education and on the Indiana University School of Optometry Diversity Council.

“Retirement also allows me the time to fulfill my passion for the recruitment of underrepresented minority students into the profession,” said Dr. Boone, who serves as the director of the National Optometric Association’s “Visioning the Future” HBCU Mentorship Program, established in 2020 to facilitate African American students’ career advancement in the field of Optometry. “I’m honored to participate in this vital initiative.”

Dr. Boone was also recognized as the 2021 Optometrist of the Year by the NOA for her efforts in this impactful program.

SHE SAYS…“I am inspired by the enthusiasm and commitment of my mentees to become highly skilled, compassionate and culturally competent optometrists.”

Jennifer Coyle, OD, MS, FAAO


Pacific University
Forest Grove, Oregon

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Last summer, Dr. Coyle became the first optometrist to become president of the entire Pacific University—not ‘only’ the College of Optometry.”

Dr. Jennifer Coyle’s career journey is highlighted by several “firsts.” In 2013, she was elected the first woman president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), and last year, made history when she became the first optometrist to be president of Pacific University and the first alumna to be appointed to the position.

Behind all the impressive accolades is a woman who is simply passionate about making a difference in others’ lives. She said, “When I graduated from optometry school 30 years ago, I never would have believed that someday I would be the dean of two colleges, let alone someday be president of my alma mater. Or be the first optometrist to serve as the president of a comprehensive university.”

Yet that’s exactly what happened.

After completing her Doctor of Optometry and a Master of Science in Clinical Optometry at Pacific University, Coyle spent 14 years teaching the contact lens curriculum at Pacific, while concurrently serving in private practice for 12 years. She served as the dean of the Pacific University College of Optometry for 12 years, followed by nearly three years as the dean of the Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University before accepting her current role at Pacific University in 2022.

“For the 29 years I was focused on optometric education and optometric practice, it was such an honor to help students live out their dreams to provide eye and vision care that helps patients function better in their lives,” she said.

SHE SAYS… “Seek out mentors who are doing things you are interested in doing yourself, and when someone offers to coach you, take them up on that offer.”

Aurora Denial, OD, FAAO, DAAO, (OE)

Chair, Department of Clinical Education and Clinical Sciences

New England College of Optometry
Boston, Massachusetts

CHOSEN BECAUSE…“Her ability to lead, empower and mentor has benefited years of graduates and so many faculty and students.”

As a young woman, Aurora Denial was attracted to her future profession after meeting a friend’s mother who was an optometrist. “To know a female optometrist was quite unusual then, when few women were in the field. She practiced with a close friend, and they had a wonderful career.

“It was through visiting and talking with her that I recognized that optometry is a balance between a sort of science that involves working and interacting with people. That’s what drew me to optometry,” Dr. Denial said.

Today, as a professor at New England College of Optometry (NECO), Dr. Denial blends academic insights with hands-on experience gained through more than 30 years in both the clinic and classroom settings. Currently serving as chair of the Department of Clinical Education and Sciences, her primary area of research focuses on the educational process.

She develops, teaches and oversees the sequence of clinical reasoning courses that are taught to first, second- and third-year students at NECO. Additionally, Dr. Denial is a primary care provider and a clinical instructor at the New England Center for Eye Care.

“I have had the opportunity to work with many students in the clinical setting as well as in the classroom,” she said. “I like to think that I have influenced students’ critical thinking skills and clinical practice.”

SHE SAYS… I have always loved being a contributor and leader within a larger organization. The diversity of students and curiosity of the students is inspiring.”

Carla Mack, OD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA

Head, Global and U.S. Professional Education and Development

Fort Worth, Texas

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Carla is an experienced OD who has worked with the largest ophthalmic suppliers and, during the course of her career, has mentored numerous women (and men) ODs.”

Dr. Carla Mack has worked exclusively in the eyecare industry since she was 17 years old when she began working for her local optometrist. The initial interest in the optical field came from her father and a family friend.

“My father had two best friends: one was our family optometrist, and one was our dentist. We saw them both on a regular professional basis, and our families were also quite close. At the age of 12, I had a career project that included a presentation and an interview,” Mack said. “I had no real interest in dentistry, so I chose to explore optometry. Once I drew the cross-section of the eye on the poster board, I was hooked and never looked back.”

Mack has been in the industry for nearly 15 years, starting in global roles in both medical affairs and professional marketing at Bausch + Lomb before joining Alcon nine years ago. Most recently, she’s taken on a new role as head, global and U.S. professional education and development.

“My responsibility is to set the vision and strategy for my team around the world and work with my global franchise partners and U.S. leadership to bring the voice of the eyecare professional to our strategy,” Mack said.

SHE SAYS… “There are so many possibilities for growth, so explore them and be deliberate about what you want and why you want it.”

Lisa McAlister

Global Myopia Lead

Johnson & Johnson Vision
Jacksonville, Florida

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Lisa’s strengths, dedication and passion in the myopia category has led her to where she is today, currently as the chair of the board of the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC), where she and her team raise awareness of childhood myopia.”

Lisa McAlister, global myopia lead, Johnson & Johnson Vision, has more than 19 years of progressive leadership experience in multiple industries, 12 of which are in optical. The interest in optical started close to home for McAlister, who also holds the position of chair of the board of the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC) at J&J Vision.

“My dad is a type 1 diabetic, so I’ve always closely watched the impact that disease has made on his life. As I started to learn more, I realized that sight can be threatened by many chronic diseases, including myopia,” McAlister said. “Sight truly is our most precious sense and when it’s threatened, the impact is immeasurable, and I wanted to work in an industry where I could truly make an impact.”

At J&J Vision, McAlister leads a cross-functional team from sales to professional education to marketing to delivery of high quality service and products to the company’s customers and patients.

“As the Global Myopia Lead at Johnson & Johnson Vision (JJV), I am focused on changing the trajectory of myopia around the world.”

SHE SAYS… “Be a continuous learner. Take on challenges that are presented to you. Collaborate consistently. Execute with excellence.”

Gilda Mehraban

Vice President of Corporate Accounts and Business Development

Port Chester, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Gilda’s main role at Zyloware includes key account sales and support, developing and growing current relationships with key retail partners as well as cultivating relationships with new perspective retail partners.”

With her background in marketing, licensing, sales, and a law degree to boot, Gilda Mehraban brings a unique edge for fashion and business development to the optical industry.

As former brand director for REM Eyewear, she has worked with Converse, John Varvatos and Lucky Brand. In 2017, she transitioned to Zyloware to work with key retailers with a focus on sales and opportunities outside traditional product lines.

This year alone, Mehraban launched an exclusive brand for Shaquille O’Neil for MyEyeDr. and won New Product Launch of the Year for a product created with National Vision.

She has not only expanded Zyloware’s retail partners, but also discovered a great passion for personal branding—and encourages other women in the industry to show up as their authentic selves.

“The industry needs more dynamic women at all levels of leadership. The best way to grow your career is to develop your own personal brand,” said Mehraban. “Focus on your strengths and what sets you apart.”

SHE SAYS… “I hope I can be an example of bringing feminine traits to the profession—trust, relationship building, listening, thoughtfulness and intuition can create many business opportunities.”

Lauren Michael

Senior Director of Product/Design, U.S. Global Brands

Secaucus, New Jersey

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Working for one of the eyewear industry’s key players in the design, manufacturing and distribution of prescription frames, sunglasses and outdoor eyewear, Lauren brings 20 years of eyewear industry experience in optical and sunwear design, and product development.”

When Lauren Michael fell into the optical industry 20 years ago, she had no idea what to expect. She said, “All I knew was that I was interested in product development for accessories and this was my segway into the industry. Eyewear was not a category I knew much about, however, I was immediately drawn to the technical aspects of the development process, combined with the creative elements.” As it turned out, Michael found the perfect career for herself.

Michael’s role oversees the development process of eyewear at Safilo, from ideation through market launch. She works closely with designers, product developers, marketing, and sales teams, while fostering synergies with Safilo’s global brand, innovation, sustainability teams—and working with the manufacturing and fiscal teams.

She maintains relationships with licensing partners, identifies market opportunities and trends, and drives innovative development. In short, she touches nearly every aspect of eyewear at Safilo, and showcases her strategic vision, leadership skills and deep understanding of the optical industry.

Michael understands the importance of having a mentor and mentorship, and has long-standing partnerships with local colleges for internships programs. She has played a critical role in the Safilo x Parsons 2019 Student Project, and has stayed in contact with many students and interns to help them make industry connections.

SHE SAYS… “Aim high and follow your goals. I am a firm believer in being supportive and helping to inspire others, as this has helped pave the way for my career path.”

Heather Oliveri, LDO

Senior Learning Manager, Health & Wellness, Vision

Bentonville, Arkansas

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She has encouraged and mentored other Walmart Vision Center employees to grow to love the career of opticianry—helping over a dozen associates become certified and licensed or promoted to Vision Center Manager roles (sometimes both!).”

25 years ago, Heather Oliveri began as a Walmart cashier and worked in several areas of the front-end and accounting office until she found her niche in a Walmart Vision Center, where she worked her way up to a certified and dual-licensed Vision Center manager with a passion for sharing her love of opticianry.

“Over the years, I had the opportunity to travel to other stores in our market, region and division, teaching and mentoring market leaders and Vision Center managers. This led to special projects with our home office, which led me to my current role as senior learning manager in 2019.”

Today, Oliveri is responsible for the end-to-end learning strategy for Vision Center and optical lab associates at Walmart, as well as program management for optical associate learning at Sam’s Club.

“I’m most proud of launching our new optical education platform, OpticalU, from the Optical Training Institute, to all of our vision/optical associates,” she said. “It includes the new Optician Development Program (ODP) that will help more than 9,000 associates access higher-paying roles and more career opportunities through certification and licensure.”

SHE SAYS… “I can’t believe I get to share my passion every day with our 15,000 Vision Center associates while bringing them education and programs to further their careers.”

Amanda Shapiro

Vice President of Marketing
Europa Eyewear
Vernon Hills, Illinois

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “She always leads her team by example, while also taking the time to teach and mentor those in and outside of her department.”

Amanda Shapiro’s career has taken some unexpected turns—ultimately taking her from researching the genome to marketing eyeglasses. She worked in genetics after college, eventually transitioning to marketing and starting her own production company. But when she met her husband, Scott Shapiro (CEO of Europa Eyewear), she started attending optical events, helping him with projects and advising on brand strategy. It wasn’t long before she started working full-time for Scott’s family business.

In her role as VP of marketing, Shapiro translates top-level organizational objectives into a strategic marketing approach and creative direction. She played an important role in creating and launching the STATE Optical Co. brand. She also led the initiative to build a new Europa website, reintroduce the American Optical brand to consumers and create a new AO Eyewear website—all while building and leading the internal marketing team and cohesive network of agencies and freelancers.

The success and happiness of her team and of each member of the Europa family is always her number one professional priority, and it’s reflected in everything she does.

SHE SAYS…“Everything you’ve done up to this point is something you can draw on for the career you want today.”

Rhonda Sizemore

Regional Vice President of Sales

EyeMed Vision Care
Mason, Ohio

CHOSEN BECAUSE… “Rhonda has been crucial in the building of our sales development program in partnership with a local university. The time and care that she gives to our interns who become sales development trainees is incredible.”

Rhonda Sizemore’s passion for mentoring within the optical industry is both the reason for her professional success and the driving force behind her personal legacy.

Almost 16 years ago, Sizemore went to work for EyeMed. With a background in sales and account management, she believed in the company’s culture of innovation and scientific growth—as well as the optical solutions they provide.

“When you believe in your company and product, your passion shows to the client,” said Sizemore.

As regional vice president of sales, Sizemore leads several sales teams, including 18 sales representatives across several states. She also manages the sales intern program, which partners with local universities to recruit new talent, convert interns into EyeMed sales executives, and relocates representatives to various territories throughout the country.

When speaking in college classrooms, her advice is always simple and twofold: “Work hard and love what you do.” Since 2015, the sales intern program has successfully converted 13 interns into full-time positions.

“Observing the success of the young interns and sales representatives within our organization is one of my proudest career accomplishments,” said Sizemore.

SHE SAYS… “I hope my legacy in the optical industry is that I helped others develop their careers; I truly want to see everyone in the field flourish.”

Stacey Soltis

National Sales Manager

Eyewear Designs LTD
Bethpage, New York

CHOSEN BECAUSE…“Stacey leads by example. There is no one better one-on-one. She helps individuals see a vision of the future and guides them on how to achieve their goals.”

Like many people, Stacey Soltis fell into the optical field by accident. While she was searching for something new in marketing and business, she met an OD and his wife who amazed her with their practice’s growth story and values. That inspired Soltis to become a sales consultant with Rem Eyewear, where she earned a long and distinguished list of accolades over nine years.

In 2019, she joined Eyewear Designs LTD as regional manager, and was promoted to national sales manager in 2021.

Today, Soltis excels at growing relationships with key accounts nationwide, building and mentoring the sales team, and serving as the liaison between sales consultants and the corporate office. In fact, Soltis’ expertise, ability to motivate her team, and unwavering commitment to her customers’ success, have all played a key role in tripling the growth and sales for Eyewear Designs’ direct sales force.

“Under her leadership, our sales team has achieved outstanding results in an era where sales reps are experiencing new challenges and need new solutions to succeed,” said one colleague. “Her dedication to the success of her team and her tireless work ethic places her in the first rank of the many sales managers I have worked with over my 40 years in the industry.”

SHE SAYS… “Never give up on your dreams. Stay motivated and focused on what you want to achieve. A strong work ethic and dedication will lead you to success.”