"Taking on a leadership role ...
... has granted me the opportunity to work with my fellow students and professors to make improvements in our program and allowed me to become more involved in the optical world. I was fortunate to attend several state conferences as well as the OAA’s State Leadership Conference, which ultimately led me to becoming the student and apprentice representative on the Optician’s Association of America board. Doing so has allowed me to network and connect with other passionate leaders from whom I have learned and with whom I've become close friends . The experiences I've had helped me grow as a person and instilled in me a sense of accomplishment and appreciation for the optical profession. It has created more opportunities and allowed me to explore areas in the industry I never thought possible.
Initially, my decision to pursue a leadership position happened when I observed several dozen fellow students huddled around four vision screening machines at the back corner of a dark and dingy cafeteria. Everybody's lack of interest and the overall atmosphere did nothing to promote vision care. This incident motivated me to become president of the Student Optical Society to change and improve the things I didn’t like. By increasing the number of screenings from two to five per semester, I was able to reduce the number of students employed per screening so that every person had a job; be it performing screenings, scheduling appointments, or discussing the program with prospective students. The location was also moved to a busier and more exposed area which increased publicity and in turn the number of appointments booked. These changes improved productivity and resulted in more successful screenings.
While my initial goal was to make improvements to a simple vision screening, the biggest improvement actually happened to me. The path it lead me down was so much more rewarding than what I could've expected. Getting involved and taking on a leadership position was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It motivated me to further my knowledge, improve myself, and pursue bigger goals. I intend on utilizing what I’ve gained in all my future endeavors. As much effort as I put in, I got a multitude back in return. So, I encourage anyone reading this to get involved with your state association, the OAA, or any organization you feel passionate about. Change and improve things you dislike and go after the promotion or leadership role you've been eyeing.
The smallest step towards your goal may be the biggest step you've taken yet.