The OAA Welcomes a New President: Meet Johnna Dukes

Johnna comes to us highly qualified and ready to lead the way.

HFOAA, ABOC  •  Optician/Owner- Optique, Spirit Lake, IA  •  ABO Certified Optician Since 2001  •  Contributor- 20/20 Magazine  •  ABO Approved Speaker  •  Past President of the Opticians Association of Iowa

OAA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

JD: I’m from Iowa, so like most Midwesterners, I keep one eye on the weather report at all times!

I am an optician and business owner, and I’ve owned my own optical boutique for the last 12 years. I am a writer and have authored several articles for various trade publications. I do some continuing educational speaking and, truly, I am just amazed at how many opportunities this profession has afforded me.

I believe that opticianry is the most amazing field; I mean, what other profession allows someone to be driven by math and optical physics as well as fashion? We get to help people see AND look great at the same time. What could be better than that?

Personally, I’m a huge Iowa Hawkeye fan. I’m a sports fan in general, and if you can discuss collegiate wrestling, I’m available for conversation! I enjoy cooking, and I make a mean craft cocktail!

OAA: It's so exciting to step into this role. What are you most looking forward to?

JD: I suppose I’m most looking forward to being an ambassador for our amazing profession. It’s given me so much, I look forward to giving back.

OAA: Have you considered or formulated some goals for your two years?

JD: I want to focus on opportunities we have to be collaborative with our industry partners and to really explore how we can expand opportunities for opticians everywhere. I believe opticians play a vital role in our industry, and I want to work with the other O’s to see where we can work collaboratively. I believe the OAA has done some amazing work the past several years, and I look forward to creating more forward progress on many of the initiatives we already have in the pipeline.

OAA: It’s complicated to do EVERYTHING during a global pandemic. How does this complicate your presidency?

JD: Undoubtedly, the pandemic has affected all facets of what we do and how we do it—as a working optician, as well as being part of a national organization. I believe we have to learn how to really embrace change, as things seem to evolve almost hourly these days; and we have to understand how important communication is in these uncertain times. It won’t be easy, as there’s no playbook for how to get through a pandemic. But we will always have the best interest of opticians in mind.

OAA: What characteristic do you have that will serve you best during your term?

JD: Optimism, enthusiasm and tenacity. I love our profession, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish when we all work together. I think the sky is the limit, I believe that we have so much to accomplish, and I don’t give up easily.

OAA: How would you like to be remembered after your term is finished?

JD: I suppose I hope they use that old adage and say that I left it better than I found it!

Congratulations, Johnna!