2016 Continuing Education Symposium
National Vision recently hosted the annual Continuing Education (CE) Symposium June 4 – 7 in Chicago, IL. With over 600 Doctors in attendance, as well as executives and associates from both the field and the Retail Support Center, the venue was buzzing with energy and passion for the Optometry profession.
This company-wide event provides National Vision affiliated Doctors the opportunity to earn all required continuing education credits at once, while networking with peers and reconnecting with friends. In addition to CE courses, the group enjoys an Awards Dinner where various Doctors are honored, including our most prestigious group – Optometrists of the Year.
We recently had a chance to connect with each winner about their thoughts on winning Optometrist of the Year and what they love about practicing Optometry.
Meet the Winners of Optometrist of the Year 2015!
America’s Best Optometrists of the Year 2015
Jeffrey Thompson, OD – St. Peters, Missouri (Store 5568)
Dr. Thompson, a 1993 graduate of Indiana University, joined America’s Best in 2001. He has given 15 years of dedicated service to patients in the St. Louis area and has chosen America’s Best as his lifetime career choice. Dr. Thompson was promoted to Area Doctor in 2008 and has on-boarded, mentored and exceeded at engagement training for Doctors in the district.
Dr. Thompson tells us, “I feel privileged to be a small part of our tremendous company growth. The office technology enhancements, along with exceptional communication between our professional services and operation teams, from top to bottom, have enabled me to succeed at the office level. I love the efficiency of our office flow, and I honestly believe this is the most perfect place on earth to practice optometry in order to help as many people as possible. It is an honor, and I couldn’t have attained this award without fantastic support from the CEO to the VA tech.”
Kit Howard, OD – Ogden, Utah (Store 5572)
Dr. Howard graduated from Pacific University in 1983 and began his career by purchasing a
Pearle Vision franchise. He quickly realized that he was “wearing my businessman hat more than my Optometrist hat,” and that was not why he went into the profession. So, he started with America’s Best in 1987. Beginning this venture allowed him to be the best full time Optometrist that he could be.
Dr. Howard adds, “I love how so many people tell me that they remember the first day with their first pair of eyeglasses for the rest of their lives. I love the fact that a life-changing experience is a direct result of the work we do in our offices every day. Being Optometrist of the Year is one of the greatest honors of my life. I am so appreciative to America’s Best and what it has meant to me and my family. To receive this award makes me feel that respect and appreciation goes both ways.”
Laurie Lesser, OD – Davie, Florida (Store 5289)
Dr. Lesser graduated from Pennsylvania College of Optometry and began her career as an Optometrist with N.L. Elgut, MD and Associates, LLC (an independent medical practice affiliated with America’s Best) in Florida in 2012. Later that same year she was promoted to Area Doctor and quickly became a leader, not just in her own district but in other areas of Florida, as well. Dr. Lesser helped on-board and train new hires as well as mentor new Area ODs. Dr. Lesser is also a leader in the OD engagement program.
Dr. Lesser shares with us, “What I love about being an Optometrist is that every day I make a tangible difference in my patients’ lives. Optometrists can open up the world for their patients by helping them see their best. There are many memorable moments, but even after all these years I still love that smile that comes across the face of a teenager when they get their contacts on for the first time, and can see without their glasses. Getting a teenager to smile is often a rare occurrence. I have always been impressed by the ODs who have won this award, and I am honored to be part of this group.”
David Krygiell, OD – Sterling Heights, Michigan (Store 5524)
Dr. Krygiell graduated from Illinois College of Optometry in 1988 and started his career with America’s Best in 1996 in the Detroit market. In 2013, he was promoted to Area Doctor and quickly became a leader through promoting and facilitating consistent, efficient primary eye care. He expanded his role by providing advanced mentoring to other ODs with state-of-the-art automated refraction system training. Dr. Krygiell continues to participate in our mentorship and efficiency programs, and displays excellence on overall management.
Dr. Krygiell adds, “What I love most about being an OD is the opportunity to truly make a difference in people’s lives. Being Optometrist of the Year is a very humbling experience. I sincerely believe that it’s an acknowledgment and recognition of the contributions and performance of every single person I work with at the store, district, and corporate levels. I am very fortunate and very thankful to work with such a great team of individuals, because after all, any leader is only as good as their team.”
Walmart Optometrist of the Year
Ryan LeBlanc, OD – North Carolina
Dr. LeBlanc is a leaseholder Doctor who has partnered with National Vision in North Carolina since 2012. He began in our Walmart Vision Center in Charlotte. In 2014, he also took the lease at our Monroe location. Dr. LeBlanc also volunteers his time to help NVI explore new lease Doctor resources, particularly through his relationship with Energeyes.
Dr. LeBlanc says, “I believe that being an Optometrist goes beyond just fitting someone with a pair of glasses. I get to meet different people with different backgrounds and unique stories every day. Interacting with my community and becoming more than just a face in the crowd to them is very rewarding for me. On the health front, I believe that this profession helps us to diagnose and treat many ocular and systemic diseases before the patient is even symptomatic. In my very biased opinion, I believe sight is one of the most important senses, and to be a preserver of that is a great honor.”
Professional Corporation Optometrist of the Year
Mailynn Pham, OD – Mesa, Arizona (Store 1646)
Dr. Pham began her career with Doctor’s Exchange of Arizona, P.C. (the “Practice”) in 2010. She joined the team in Mesa in 2012, where she quickly created a strong patient following by providing excellent eye care, and became an invaluable partner and support to the Vision Center. Dr. Pham’s commitment to her patients, and her positive influence and guidance within her district lead to her promotion with the Practice to Area Doctor in 2014. Dr. Pham is now the President of Vision Care of Arizona, P.C. and an Area OD for the same Practice.
Dr. Pham adds, “My most memorable moment with a patient was with a gentleman who was married to his wife for over 50 years. I had just examined the wife and now it was the husband’s turn. I was conversing with the husband about his medical/systemic history which included many surgeries but his doctors had done everything they can and could not help him anymore. His only concern was for his wife and leaving her because even after all this time he was still in love with her. She was and is still the love of his life. He does everything for her because he wants to, not because she needs him to. He teared up, then I teared up, and we hadn’t even started the exam yet. It was a reminder that everyone has their own story and we are all human. I feel honored that people view my standard of practice so highly and am flattered and thankful for the acknowledgment of Optometrist of the Year.”
Congratulations to all the winners!
Latest posts by Carly Schenck (see all)
- Spotlight on our 2016-2017 Optometry Student Grant Program Winners - April 12, 2017
- March 2017 Veteran of the Month: Recipient of the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal - March 1, 2017
- 2016 Continuing Education Symposium - July 20, 2016