Article

THE 2019 EB #GAMECHANGERS

Meet our 2019 #GameChangers: 10 women (all independent opticians, optometrists, and retailers) who are shaking things up in vision care and eyewear—and ushering in positive change in the industry.

All photography by Jurgen Reisch, except where noted by Nick Garcia, David Perlman, and Mael Stelzer
Styled + Directed by Erinn Morgan
Art Direction by William Pfaff
Written by Erinn Morgan, Susan Tarrant, Kerri Ann Raimo, and Stephanie K. De Long

In this much-anticipated issue, EB presents 10 independent female eyecare professionals who are shaking things up in vision care and eyewear, making incredible strides in their areas of expertise, and ushering in positive change in the industry for good.

They are agents of change in the optical world in critical areas that matter now—leadership, innovation, technology, service + charity, and education.

The 2019 #GameChangers awardees were nominated and confirmed by the EB editorial team, the EB Editorial Advisory Board of experts, and the 2018 EB #GameChangers, who were excited to help pay it forward. We are incredibly honored to build upon the positive vibes of the 2019 #GameChangers by featuring them here.

Read on to learn more about these incredible women, and to be ultimately inspired.

Seven of the 2019 EB #GameChangers were photographed together at Vision Expo West.
FROM LEFT: (top row) Lauretta Justin, O.D., Barbara Horn, O.D., (president of the AOA), optician Peggy Gartin, optician Autianna Wilson, (bottom row) Hannah Cho, O.D., optician Utenzi Miller, Jennifer Chinn, O.D.
[Missing from photo are 2019 EB #GameChangers optician Ruth Domber, Jaclyn Garlich, O.D., and Daniela Zanzuri, CMO. Their stories are included in the following pages.]

Jennifer Chinn, O.D.

The Jet-Setting Mentor

Co-owner of Dr. Chinn’s Vision Care in San Diego, Jennifer Chinn, O.D., is also a Transitions Change Agent and a passionate advocate for her profession as well as giving back. From frequent mission trips with VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity), which she says keep her grounded, to mentoring pre-optometry and optometry students, Dr. Chinn is an energetic and ardent supporter of her profession.

#What is your ultimate passion in vision care + eyewear?

#What are you most proud of as a #GameChanger in the optical industry?

Believing that I have the power and a distinct voice to help positively change the perception of eye care and eyewear. It is an incredible honor to be able to inspire eyecare pro-fessionals to continue to pursue their wildest dreams in optical.

#As a woman in the optical industry, I feel _____.

#Your best advice for women looking to shake things up in our industry?

Being true to yourself and your passion are both vital in positively influencing our industry. Share your authentic point of view and don’t be afraid of being told “No.”

#Biggest passion outside of work/optical?

Immersing myself in different cultures through travel. Not only do I gain more knowledge about who I am, I learn more about the human experience. It helps me be a better and more understanding clinician.

Barbara Horn, O.D.

The Optometry Advocate

Dr. Horn’s current role as president of the American Optometric Association (AOA) is a testament to her staunch advocacy for optometry. She is a past president of the Michigan Optometric Association (MOA) and was awarded MOA’s Optometrist of the Year in 2011. She is currently a member of the South Carolina Optometric Association (awarded South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association O.D. of the Year for 2018) and an associate member of the MOA. Somehow, she also finds time to be an ECP at Indigo Vision Center in Georgetown, SC.

#What is your ultimate passion in vision care + eyewear?

#What are you most proud of as a #GameChanger in the optical industry?

I am most proud of our AOA and affiliated associations for advancing our scope, increasing patients’ access to our care, and protecting our livelihood. I am proud of our successes as ONE voice for our beloved profession!

#As a woman in the optical industry, I feel _____.

#Your best advice for women looking to shake things up in our industry?

Never give up. Seek those from whom you find inspiration. In turn reach out to try and encourage and inspire others. Get involved!

#Biggest passion outside of work/optical?

Being with my kids and watching them play sports, rollerblading, and boating. #beachlife

Hannah Cho, O.D.

The Difference-Making Disrupter

One of Essilor’s 2019 #DifferenceMakers, Hannah Cho, O.D., has continued her commitment to private practice and addressing its pain points since opening FLOE (For Love of Eyes) Optometry in Irvine, CA.

In addition to her own charity, she has launched FLOE PPM. Designed to help private optometry thrive, it offers a partnership to doctors who want to own a practice and a series, “Follow us open a practice cold!”

“Most private practice owners don’t have the available funds to keep up with the latest in technology and equipment,” says Dr. Cho. “Plus, they have little time/energy after servicing patients to develop their business, employee satisfaction, marketing, and expansion strategy. I’m hoping to help with my FLOE doctor partner program.”

#What is your ultimate passion in vision care + eyewear?

#What are you most proud of as a #GameChanger in the optical industry?

I’m excited because the current optometric environment is ripe for disruption. I’ve been working tirelessly to create an alternative to the way optometry has been drifting.

#As a woman in the optical industry, I feel _____.

#Your best advice for women looking to shake things up in our industry?

Even if your colleagues think you’re crazy, if what you’re doing is purely for the greater good of optometry, put 100% into it! If you need a cheerleader, my email is eyedoccho@gmail.com.

#Biggest passion outside of work/optical?

My children. Also, being a golf caddie to my 7-year-old daughter, Calla, and tennis partner to my 5-year-old daughter, Cady.

Daniela Zanzuri

The Optical Illusionist

Photo by Nick Garcia

Known as the “chief optical illusionist” at Edward Beiner Group, Daniela Zanzuri has helped create and grow the brand for more than 18 years. Recognized for her marketing savvy and staunch support of independent retail, she is also the coordinator and strategist behind the company’s extensive social media and PR platforms and endeavors.

#What is your ultimate passion in vision care + eyewear?

#What are you most proud of as a #GameChanger in the optical industry?

The fact that I helped create a brand and was able to reinforce the persona. We were able to grow from one store into something bigger with a name that is known and respected.

#As a woman in the optical industry, I feel _____.

#Your best advice for women looking to shake things up in our industry?

Be true to your authentic self and don’t be afraid to fail. We have to put on our big-girl pants, stand tall, and feel tall.

#Biggest passion outside of work/optical?

I sound old-fashioned, but my family is everything to me. I’m blessed to have two wonderful sons, an amazing husband [Ed Beiner], and a 99-year-old mother.

Ruth Domber

The Eyewear Makeover Extraordinaire

Photo by David Perlman

As co-founder of New York City’s optical boutique 10/10 Optics, Ruth Domber is an expert at the “eyewear makeover,” frequently seen pulling out frame choices from her curated eyewear collections within the first few minutes of getting to know a client. Both she and her staff of expertly trained opticians have helped patients delight in the transformative power of eyewear for more than 30 years.

#What is your ultimate passion in vision care + eyewear?

#What are you most proud of as a #GameChanger in the optical industry?

When opening my first optical boutique in the '80s, I decided to bypass the traditional seating customarily used for more of a jewelry store concept. I sought out comfortable counter seating, built-in mirrors, and lit staged shelving. Over time, I saw that our concept was being copied all over the country!

#As a woman in the optical industry, I feel _____.

#Your best advice for women looking to shake things up in our industry?

The idea of shaking things up for me was never a goal, but seemingly a result. Look straight ahead, learn from experts, but hear your own voice. Be kind to your employees and seek creative input from your staff. Your word is your bond.

#Biggest passion outside of work/optical?

In our industry, we "give" of ourselves for a living. After a while, I found that I was no longer carving out time for me, my husband, and my family. Volunteering, taking grandkids to the park, traveling with my husband, or just having lunch with my mom—that is the fuel that keeps my engine burning.

Utenzi Miller

The Luxury Eyewear Concierge

Optician and owner at Elegant Eyes in East Orange, NJ, Utenzi Miller also offers virtual, personalized one-on-one styling sessions—making it her mission to help people “discover their eyedentity” with fashionable frames. The third-generation eyecare/eyewear specialist has been immersed in the optical field all of her life, and shares her expertise with more than 13,000 followers on Instagram.

#What is your ultimate passion in vision care + eyewear?

#What are you most proud of as a #GameChanger in the optical industry?

I am most proud of shifting people’s mindset and approach about eyewear—the importance of having multiple pairs for different needs/moods. More importantly, how eye health should be your top priority.

#As a woman in the optical industry, I feel _____.

#Your best advice for women looking to shake things up in our industry?

Know the industry inside and out. Dedicate yourself to the business with extreme passion. I believe passion is crucial to succeed in any business—passion and authenticity.

#Biggest passion outside of work/optical?

I believe in collecting experiences and moments over objects and materials. That being said, traveling and thrifting are top of the list. Also, moments with family and friends around a great meal and great conversation.

Jaclyn Garlich, O.D., F.A.A.O.

The Newsie

Photo by Mael Stelzer

Jaclyn Garlich, O.D., believes in the power of education...and in sharing it. In addition to her work at Envision Optometry in Boston, Dr. Garlich is the curator of 20/20 Glance, a weekly e-newsletter for optometrists that shares the latest in research, FDA approvals, and pop culture in the world of optometry. It’s a popular platform that’s equal part clinical, educational, and industry news, with a healthy dose of pop fun. Dr. Garlich is also a major in the Air National Guard!

#What is your ultimate passion in vision care + eyewear?

#What are you most proud of as a #GameChanger in the optical industry?

Developing an efficient way to educate my peers. Knowledge is power!

#As a woman in the optical industry, I feel _____.

#Your best advice for women looking to shake things up in our industry?

Connect with people who inspire you and get to know them. The innovators in this space are a welcoming bunch of people who want you to succeed.

#Biggest passion outside of work/optical?

Family and traveling.

Peggy Gartin

The Social Eye

The founder of “woman-owned, idea-powered” The Social Eye, a social media agency for optical businesses, Peggy Gartin is also an optician, working at Be Seen Optics and Urban Optiks in San Diego, where she delights in styling customers to help them find the eyewear that suits their personality and look. Gartin uses her social media presence to promote eyewear as well as women in the industry.

#What is your ultimate passion in vision care + eyewear?

#What are you most proud of as a #GameChanger in the optical industry?

I’m so proud to work in an industry that has vital roles for older women. The biggest drivers in our market are progressive lens wearers, mostly aged 45 and over, and women 35+, who are the health managers of their families.

#As a woman in the industry, I feel ______?

#Your best advice for women looking to shake things up in our industry?

Don’t be afraid to stand out! Once I stopped wearing a business suit, let my naturally white hair grow in, and started putting my opinions in a blog, my whole life changed.

#Biggest passion outside of work/optical?

Yoga. I do yoga every morning, even when I’m at Vision Expo. It started when I was trying to heal a back injury, but now it’s an essential part of my life. Self-care is everything, and yoga helps me breathe through the hard stuff in life.

Lauretta Justin, O.D.

The Optometry Diva

Lauretta Justin, O.D., knows the power in women supporting other women. She’s the founder, president, and CEO of Millennium Eye Center in Florida as well as the creator of the CEO of You business consulting program, and also an author, inspirational speaker, and singer. In 2015, she founded Optometry Divas, an organization that strives to empower, connect, and promote the success of women in optometry.

#What is your ultimate passion in vision care + eyewear?

#What are you most proud of as a #GameChanger in the optical industry?

I am most proud of my community of Divas! I have had the privilege to connect with some of the most determined, intelligent, vibrant, assertive, and secure women I’ve ever met. These ladies are movers and shakers, and the movement we’ve started together is the #GameChanger!

#As a woman in the optical industry, I feel _____.

#Your best advice for women looking to shake things up in our industry?

A winning mindset is your foundation because it will help you become secure in who you are, in what you want to do, where you want to go and why. And, your strategy is your map; it lays out the path to your grand vision.

#Biggest passion outside of work/optical?

My family. I get the most joy when I spend quality time with my peeps! LOL!

Autianna Wilson

The Optical Goddess

Optician of 10 years and independent eyewear advocate, Autianna Wilson, known as “The Optical Goddess,” shares her exceptional skill in frame selection, lens knowledge, and uncensored opinions on eyewear and fashion with more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, as well as on her website, which has developed into a trusted optical-insider source.

#What is your ultimate passion in vision care + eyewear?

#What are you most proud of as a #GameChanger in the optical industry?

Being recognized as a #GameChanger is really rewarding. This recognition came at a time where I believe my representation has inspired people of all ages to feel good about themselves, to feel valuable and proud in an industry that tells you, "You’re too much." As a #GameChanger, I wear the title of "too much" with pride and I feel empowered!

#As a woman in the optical industry, I feel _____.

#Your best advice for women looking to shake things up in our industry?

Being “cookie-cutter” is an easy way to the top. Pave your own way and create a life for others to be inspired and moved by. My best advice would be to remember YOU’RE A FORCE. The only person who can get in your way is you.

#Biggest passion outside of work/optical?

I am very passionate about spending quality time with those whom I love…Taking a break from work to connect on an intimate level is very important to me!