Optometric Management Symposium
Key Opinion Leaders

Jaya Badhwar Kumar

Jaya B. Kumar, MD, is a retina specialist at Florida Retina Institute. She received her medical degree from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. She completed an ophthalmology residency at Duke University, Duke Eye Center in Durham, North Carolina, and a retinal fellowship at Cleveland Clinic, Cole Eye Institute in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Kumar has received many honors and awards and has participated in numerous research projects with particular interests in ophthalmic imaging and retinal disease. She has presented at national conferences and authored several peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. In addition to research, she has a passion for medical education, having served on several curriculum committees and wellness training program for physicians. Dr. Kumar has been a leader in health outreach and mentorship programs and continues to pursue these interests.

Alessando Baronti

Alessandro Baronti serves as the President of De Rigo REM, the Los-Angeles based subsidiary of Italian eyewear manufacturer, De Rigo Vision. In his current role, Baronti is responsible for overseeing the entire American team with a key focus on driving growth, profit and sustainability for the business as well as developing and empowering the company’s next generation of leaders. A staple in the eyewear industry, Baronti brings over 30 years of optical experience. Getting his start internationally at Optyl Italia, he began his journey in the United States as a sales consultant for Luxottica Wholesale North America, moving through the organization to lead the US sales market as the Vice President of Sales for the Western region. Most recently, Baronti held the position of Vice President of Industry Relations & Education for Luxottica North America, where he was responsible for deepening the group’s footprint in the market by leading the strategic direction of educational messaging and training as well as cultivating strong business partnerships with influential groups in the eyecare industry. Through several years of studies and practices, Baronti brings a wealth of knowledge in continued education that includes a diversified list of accreditations. He is an esteemed ABO and COPE certified industry speaker, conducting countless numbers of seminars for thousands of ECP’s every year.

Edward Beiner
Founder & CEO

Edward Beiner is Founder and CEO of the Edward Beiner Group. Beiner has more than 30 years in the Optical Industry having worked in Canada, Puerto Rico and Florida. His experience includes the Sales, Marketing, Design and Manufacturing of Eyewear. Presently, he owns and operates 11 high-end optical retail stores in the Florida market under the Edward Beiner brand. The company is passionately committed to original, authentic and innovative eyewear. Its team is challenged to resist the usual, defy those that accept the status quo and lead the market. In the mind of Edward Beiner, eyewear is as much about technology as it is about beauty.

Mile Brujic

Mile Brujic, O.D. is a partner of Premier Vision Group, a successful three location optometric practice in Northwest Ohio.  He graduated from the New England College of Optometry in 2002.  He practices full scope optometry with an emphasis on ocular disease management of the anterior segment, contact lenses and glaucoma.  He is active at all levels of organized optometry.  Dr. Brujic is on the editorial board for a number of optometric publications.  He has published over 200 articles and has given over 1000 lectures, both nationally and internationally on contemporary topics in eye care.  Additionally, Dr. Brujic and Dr. Kading own Optometric Insights which provides career coaching for optometry students and emerging practitioners.

As a practicing clinician, Dr. Brujic has his pulse on the realities of being in the trenches caring for patients and the real challenges and opportunities that exist in eye care. He brings a practical approach to all of the topics that he lectures on. By providing attendees with meaningful, clinically relevant information that can be applied to improve patient care, improve office culture and ultimately improve the practice, Dr. Brujic inspires success to those that he interacts with.

Greg Caldwell

Greg Caldwell, O.D., is a 1995 graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. He completed a one-year residency in primary care and ocular disease at The Eye Institute in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) and a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry (ABO). He currently works in Duncansville, Pennsylvania as an ocular disease consultant. Dr. Caldwell’s primary focus is the diagnosis and management of anterior and posterior segment ocular disease and he has been a participant in multiple FDA investigations. Dr. Caldwell has lectured extensively throughout the county and over twelve countries internationally. In 2010 he served as President of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA) and served on the AOA Board of Trustees 2013-2016. He is President of the Blair/Clearfield Association for the Blind.

Patrick Caroline

Patrick Caroline serves as an Associate Professor at the Pacific University College of Optometry in Forest Grove Oregon. He is a Fellow member and Diplomat of the Cornea and Contact Lens Section of the American Academy of Optometry. For the past twenty years, Patrick has served as a contributing editor for the Contact Lens Spectrum and is on the editorial board for Contact Lens and Anterior Eye and Eye and Contact Lens Journals. He has published over 300 papers on a wide range of contact lens topics and has lectured extensively throughout the world.

Greg DeNaeyer

Dr. DeNaeyer was a co-founder and past president of the Scleral Lens Education Society and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. He is a contributing editor for Contact Lens Spectrum and a contributor to Review of Cornea and Contact Lenses and Optometric Management. Dr. DeNaeyer has lectured internationally on specialty contact lenses and was previously named GPLI practitioner of the year.

Mike DePaolis

Michael DePaolis is an Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at The University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, New York. He also serves as Clinical Associate faculty at The State University of New York College of Optometry as well as on the editorial board of allaboutvision.com. Dr. DePaolis is a member of the American Optometric Association and a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. He is the Optometric Editor of Primary Care Optometry News, and has served on the editorial review boards of Contact Lens Spectrum, Optometry, Eye & Contact Lens, Review of Optometry, and Refractive Eye Care. A graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, he is a frequent clinical investigator in the disciplines of contact lenses and anterior segment care, Dr. DePaolis has authored over 100 articles, papers, and textbook chapters, and has lectured at more than 550 eye care symposia. Dr. DePaolis is the 2007 recipient of the American Optometric Association Contact Lens & Cornea Section Luminary Award for Distinguished Practice and the 2010 New York State Optometric Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award.

Barry Frauens

Dr. Barry J. Frauens graduated with honors from Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry in 1996 and thereafter completed a one-year residency program in Primary Care at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Dr. Frauens is a full-time faculty member at Nova Southeastern University where he currently holds the rank of Associate Professor and serves as the Department Chair of Clinics and Chief of the Primary Care Service at the N. Miami Beach Eye Care Institute. He is also a Past President of the Florida Optometric Association.

Nate Lighthizer

Born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota, Dr. Nathan Lighthizer, O.D., F.A.A.O., is a graduate of Pacific University College of Optometry. Upon graduation, he completed a residency in Family Practice Optometry with an emphasis in Ocular Disease through Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry. Dr. Lighthizer has since joined the faculty at the Oklahoma College of Optometry and serves as the Chief of Specialty Care Clinics and the Chief of Electrodiagnostics Clinic. In 2014, he founded and now heads the Dry Eye Clinic at the College of Optometry. He was recently named the Director of Continuing Education as well as the Assistant Dean for Clinical Care Services at the Oklahoma College of Optometry. Dr. Lighthizer lectures nationally on numerous topics, most notably advanced ophthalmic procedures, electrodiagnostics, and ocular disease.

Doug Martin

Doug Martin has over 37 years of merchandising and management experience, with 18 years in the retail industry and 19 years in the Optical industry. Doug started his career on the loading docks at Neiman Marcus and worked his way up to managing stores for this high-end luxury retailer. He has also worked for I. Magnin and closed out his retail career with Macy's, where he had responsibility over 18 stores among five different states. Doug honed his skills in merchandising, marketing, selling and inventory management while working in the retail industry. In 1999, Doug transitioned into the optical industry where he served as President of a 50-year, two-office, five-doctor practice. Ten years later, he founded Optical Solutions, a consulting company that has serviced over 100 practices. An expert in practice management, Doug teaches optometrists to integrate purchasing, merchandising, marketing and sales just as he had learned while in retail.

In 2010, Doug joined Hoya as VP of Key Accounts. By calling on all the major optical doctor alliance groups, he familiarized himself with all their business models and joined PECAA two years later as the Director of Membership, helping the organization grow from a Northwest-based Regional Alliance Group with 200 physician members into a national brand with over 2,200 members in just four years. Doug is passionate about education and training. Using his retail and management expertise, he developed the Optical Workshop, a four-hour COPE/ABO-approved experience. The workshop instructs on how to improve the look, feel, merchandising and financial performance of an optical boutique. Finally, Doug partnered with Samantha Toth from Inneractive Media last year, and together they conduct COPE, ABO and CPC educational programs throughout the Optical Industry helping independent practices thrive.

Erinn Morgan
Editor-in-Chief & Editorial Director

The Editor-in-Chief & Editorial Director of the award-winning Eyecare Business magazine, a PentaVision publication, Erinn Morgan has been covering the business and fashion trends of the optical industry for over 20 years. With a B.A. in Fashion Merchandising from Philadelphia University and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Temple University, she got her start as the Managing Editor of Accessories magazine and quickly moved on to become the Founding Editor-in-Chief of FrameBuyer, published by Eyecare Business and recipient of several FOLIO magazine awards. She was then brought on to 20/20 magazine as Editor-in-Chief to redesign and oversee the publication and the launch of 2020mag.com.

After several years at Jobson, Erinn set her sights on the consumer magazine sector and moved over to work as a Special Projects Editor at Playboy Enterprises, Inc. In this role, she oversaw a new magazine launch and subsequently became Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning SoHo Style, a cutting-edge magazine that focused on the culture and style of downtown New York City. At the same time, she took a position as freelance Fashion and Retail Editor with Eyecare Business. Erinn is also the author of the book Picture Yourself Going Green, and her written work has appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic Adventure, Outside magazine, Skiing and Bike. Erinn has also directed the Special Projects Team at Eyecare Business to conceive and develop custom content projects for numerous optical companies, including both trade-focused and consumer-facing sponsored content and supplements that have appeared in the magazine, as well as in Vogue, Elle, GQ and InStyle.

Brett O'Connor

Brett O’Connor, OD, is a clinical optometrist at Pullen Eye Care in Jacksonville, FL. He is a 2016 graduate of Southern College of Optometry, where he was recognized with Who’s Who distinction and awarded the Drs. Fred and Charlene Burnett Student Research Award. His professional interests include clinical and investigative management of myopia, emerging technologies, and practice efficiency. Most recently, Dr. O’Connor presented original research on myopia management at Global Specialty Lens Symposium and recorded a podcast with Defocus Media on the myopia epidemic. He is a member of the American Optometric Association and candidate for Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry.

Ryan Parker

Dr. Parker grew up in Buhler Kansas and received his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University in 2000. He graduated from the Oklahoma College of Optometry at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah Oklahoma in 2004. While in school he was honored to be elected as President of The American Optometric Student Association and greatly enjoyed his time serving the national student association. He opened Ardmore Premier Eyecare in 2007 and is proud to be among a select group of Optometrists in the state of Oklahoma that have completed the training to become licensed to perform PRK eye surgery. In 2018 he joined Essilor full time as the Director of Professional Services. Dr. Parker has lectured on practice management topics at many of the schools and colleges of Optometry and has presented numerous lectures to opticians and optometric physicians on a variety of spectacle lens related topics.

Stephanie Ramdass

Dr. Stephanie Ramdass is a clinical researcher at the Vision Research Institute and adjunct faculty member at the Michigan College of Optometry (MCO). She completed her bachelor’s degree in Human Biology at the University of Toronto, Canada. She obtained a master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, before receiving her Doctorate of Optometry at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Optometry. Upon graduation from optometry school, she completed a residency in Cornea and Contact Lens at MCO and fellowship of the American Academy of Optometry. Her research interests include myopia control, presbyopic lens designs, and the application of scleral lenses for normal eyes and in tinted form.

Nidhi Rana

Dr. Nidhi Rana MS, OD, FAAO is a graduate of Pacific University College of Optometry. She completed her Masters in Clinical Optometry in 2001 from Pacific University College of Optometry. She has also completed her one-year residency in Pediatric optometry from Illinois College of Optometry. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO). She currently works in a private MD/ OD pediatric specialty practice in New Jersey and at Wills Eye Hospital Pediatric Ophthalmology department in Philadelphia. Her specialties includes treatment and management of amblyopia and strabismus in pediatrics, specialty contact lenses including aphakic fittings and genetic conditions in pediatrics.

Sherrol Reynolds

Dr. Reynolds is an Associate Professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry. She is the course instructor for the Clinical Medicine and Physical Diagnosis courses; and clinical attending in the diabetes and macular clinic. She was awarded the National Optometric Association (NOA) Optometrist of the Year in 2013 and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry and the Optometric Retinal Society. She currently serves as Interim President of the NOA.

Bryan Rogoff

Dr. Rogoff has a unique background in areas of holistic eye care, business management and health care reform. His experience spans both the corporate, and private sectors and continues to specialize in clinical management and operations, telemedicine, industry analysis, healthcare strategy, and strategic partnerships. Currently, he serves as a consultant for the FDA as well as other industry partners, Immediate Past-President & Education Chairperson for the Maryland Optometric Association, reviewer for the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education and is the Founder of Eye-Exec Consulting, LLC. Dr. Rogoff received his Bachelors of Science from Stony Brook University, Doctor of Optometry from Nova Southeastern University, and Masters of Business Administration concentrating in Accounting and Taxation from The George Washington University. To understand the complexity of the healthcare system, he completed a certification in 2013; CPHM - Certified Professional in Healthcare Management.

John Rumpakis

Dr. Rumpakis is currently President & CEO of Practice Resource Management, Inc., a firm that specializes in providing a full array of consulting, appraisal, and management services for healthcare professionals and industry partners. He has developed some of the leading Internet-based software applications for the medical/eye care field such as ReimbursementPLUS.com®, the industry leading cloud-based CPT CodeData and Information Service and WhatsMyPracticeWorth.com®, a dynamic online practice appraisal tool. He is also the founder of Opt-ED® Professional Continuing Education. Named the Chief Medical Coding Editor for Review of Optometry & Optometric Management, he has been extensively published on the topics of third party coding & billing, strategy development and execution, practice management, team building, maximizing effectiveness and profitability, including the textbook “Business Aspects of Optometry”. Dr. Rumpakis is a popular lecturer both nationally and internationally.

Bridgitte Shen Lee

Dr. Bridgitte Shen Lee earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of Texas in Austin and her Doctor of Optometry magna cum laude degree from the University of Houston College of Optometry. She is passionate about helping people see better and live better lives, and inspiring other eye care professionals. Dr. Shen Lee helped two eye care industry companies to launch product and to educate the eye care professionals in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan (2011) and Singapore (2015). She served as the past editor of Optometric Management’s Blue Light Bulletin. She is the current editor of the Ocular Aesthetics column for Eyecare Business. Dr. Shen Lee's upbringing in medical academia helped to shape her own career in helping others with their sight. Through iTravelCE, Dr. Bridgitte Shen Lee is a consultant and a speaker for various eye care industry companies and was recognized as one of the 2017 Houston Most Influential Women by Houston Woman.

Joseph Sowka
OD, FAAO, Diplomate

Dr. Sowka is a Professor of Optometry at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry where he serves as Chief of The Advanced Care Service and Director of the Glaucoma Service at the College’s Eye Institute. He is also Chair of the Department of Optometric Sciences. He is the longest tenured faculty member at the College.

Dr. Sowka is a founding member of both the Optometric Glaucoma Society and Optometric Retina Society. He is also the Chair of the Neuro-Ophthalmic Disorders in Optometry Special Interest Group for the American Academy of Optometry. Dr. Sowka is a Glaucoma Diplomate of the American Academy of Optometry. He is the lead author of the annual Handbook of Ocular Disease Management published by Review of Optometry. He is a partner and co-owner of Optometric Education Consultants.

Samantha Toth

Samantha is a professional speaker and marketing consultant for Innereactive, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She grew up in an optical practice with multiple family members in the industry. An ABO-certified optician herself, Samantha worked as a dispensing optician for eight years, as well as managed an independent optometric practice. During this time, she realized there were very few people, or marketing companies, that understood the unique marketing needs of the optical industry.

With a strong passion for marketing and design, Samantha pursued and completed her bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University. In 2003, she started Innereactive, a full-service marketing company that specializes in the optical industry. Her experience as a certified optician, along with her formal marketing education has given her a unique perspective on marketing, design, and website solutions for the optical industry.

Samantha is an ABO, NCLE, AOA, JCAHPO, and COPE approved speaker and she lectures across the country teaching optometrists and opticians best practices for marketing their practices. Her niche expertise led her to be named one of the "Most Influential Women in Optical," and her company was named one of Michigan’s Top 50 Companies to Watch in 2016. She and her team work with laboratories, frame and lens manufacturers, and eye care practices all across the country.

Michael Ward

Michael Ward is a Past President of the Contact Lens Society of America, and recently retired Instructor in Ophthalmology and Director of the Emory Contact Lens Service at Emory University School of Medicine. He is a recipient of numerous honors and awards, and was named Practitioner of the Year, 2014 by the GPLI/Contact Lens Manufacturer’s Association, and most recently honored in 2018 by AOA as a Legend of Optometry.

Michael achieved his Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from the University of Washington with an undergraduate thesis in ocular microbiology. He earned his Master of Medical Science degree from Emory University. He conducted ophthalmic research at the University of Washington and the University of Chicago prior to joining the Emory University School of Medicine faculty and director of the Emory Contact Lens Service. He is a an Honored Fellow of the Contact Lens Society of America, a Fellow of the Cornea, Contact Lens and Refractive Technologies section of the American Academy of Optometry, and a Fellow of the Scleral Lens Education Society. Michael is a consultant to industry, a frequent national and international speaker, and an author of many publications. Areas of interest include ocular microbiology, contact lens care, irregular astigmatism/keratoconus, ocular surface disease and scleral lens design.

Eric White

Eric White, O.D. is the owner of Complete Family Vision Care Optometry in San Diego, California. He is a clinical Investigator for several contact lens companies having participated on over 420 clinical studies. Dr. White is a consultant to many advisory boards and numerous professional optometric organizations. He has published several articles on contact lenses and given numerous talks on contact lenses, eye safety, computer vision syndrome and practice management. Dr. White was awarded the 2012 Transitions National Eyecare Practice of the Year, the 2014 Vision Monday Innovator of the Year, the 2015 Transitions Ambassador of the Year and the 2017 San Diego County Optometrist of the Year.

Walt Whitley

Walter Whitley, OD, MBA, FAAO serves as the Director of Optometric Services and Residency Program Supervisor at Virginia Eye Consultants in Norfolk, Virginia where his practice encompasses ocular surface disease, glaucoma, surgical co-management, clinical research and the supervision of an extensive referral network. Dr. Whitley is a nationally recognized author and lecturer on topics ranging from ocular disease, surgical co-management, pharmaceuticals and practice management topics. He serves as Co-Chief Medical Editor for CollaborativeEYE and contributing editor for the Review of Optometry. On the state level, he serves as President-Elect of the Virginia Optometric Association and has been recognized as the 2012 VOA Young OD of the Year (a long time ago) and 2015 VOA Keyperson of the Year.

Stephen Wright
Chief Commercial Officer

A highly experienced eyewear industry senior executive with deep expertise and knowledge of the U.S. market, Steve Wright was appointed to the role of President and Chief Commercial Officer of Safilo North America on June 19, 2018. His role additionally encompasses that of Chairman and CEO of the company’s Solstice Sunglasses US-based retail chain. Steve serves as a member of the Safilo Group Executive Committee. Capitalizing on the company’s extensive brand portfolio and independent business approach, Steve’s mission as the leader of Safilo North America is to further develop the company’s strength in the region as the largest independent eyewear manufacturer through enhanced Safilo's customer partnerships and locally relevant and mutually successful commercial programs.

Wright’s CCO appointment coincides with the further evolution of Safilo's 2020 transformation to guarantee the highest standards of commercial leadership and reinforce the company’s strong foothold in the United States, the company’s strategically most relevant and largest market. Born in the U.S., Steve’s career in the eyewear industry spans over four decades. Throughout his career, he has held numerous positions with increasing responsibility within VSP Global, such as President of Altair Eyewear and Senior Vice President of the Americas for Marchon Eyewear. Most recently, he served as President of VSP Global Omni-Channel Solutions.