Welcome! For the first time in three years, we are finally emerging from the pandemic and hosting this wonderful event in person! ​Come join us for a fun and educational day with talks and discussions that include topics on networking, pathways to optometric ownership, contracts and negotiation, unique approaches to practicing optometry, traditional and non-traditional careers, and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.​

There will be opportunities to take professional head shots, to network and to find jobs with more than 40 organizations and practices. The day will end with a raffle to celebrate the symposium’s 10th anniversary!

10:30 – 11:00am
Registration & Breakfast
Lobby & 1st Floor Gallery
11:00 – 11:20am
Introductory Remarks
Rooms 101 & 103
Gui Albieri, PhD
11:30 – 12:15pm

Concurrent Session #1

Networking 101
Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Room 103
Room 101

Ray Corbin-Simon, OD, ’94, Michael Hosford, OD
Panelists: Renee Yearwood, OD, ’93 , Juanita Collier, OD, ’09, Nikita Shah, OD ​
Moderator: Richard Soden, OD, ’79​
12:15 – 12:45pm
Ice-cream/Cupcake/Coffee Break
Sponsor Exhibits
Professional Headshots
3rd Floor
3rd Floor
Schaffer Lounge, 2nd Floor
12:45 – 1:30pm

Concurrent Session #2

Pathways to Optometric Ownership
The Essentials of Contracts & Negotiations

Room 101
Room 103
Aleksandra Wianecka, OD, ’02
Georgina Tsakrios, Esq, Quy H. Nguyen, OD, ’13, Ashliegh Dumont ​
1:30 – 2:15pm

Concurrent Session #3

Traditional vs. Non-traditional Career Paths
Unique Approaches to Practicing Optometry

Room 101
Room 103
Panelists: Huy Tran, OD, ’05, John Gelles, OD, Charissa Lee, OD, ’02, FAAO, MBA​
Moderator: Behrad Garmsiri
Sara Dawson, OD, ’12, Rajat Shetty, OD, ‘13 ​

2:15 – 3:30pm
Job & Networking Fair
Professional Headshots
222, 3rd Floor, 1st Floor Gallery
Schaffer Lounge, 2nd Floor
3:15 – 3:30pm
3rd Floor
Students in Planning Committee

Concurrent Sessions

SESSION 1 (11:30 – 12:15pm)

Option 1: Networking 101

Networking is a term that students hear all the time, as a tool to find mentorship, to collaborate, and to advance one’s career. In this session, Drs. Corbin-Simon and Hosford will go over the basics of what networking means to them and share examples where it has helped them in their respective careers. Attendees can expect to learn about the various avenues that one can use to develop professional networks as well as learn how to be an effective networker for the job search and career advancement.

Speaker: Ray Corbin-Simon, OD, ’94, Michael Hosford, OD

Option 2: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Everyone (in eyecare) thought that 2020 would be the “Year of Vision” and…it did not end up being that way. The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted life as we knew it, from everything personal to professional. In this panel, we hope to draw from the lessons learned from three optometrists working in three different modality of practice: private practice, community health center, and retail. In this panel, we hope to discuss topics ranging from telehealth and new technologies usage, policy adaptations, and practice changes from the dispensary, to the way patients are scheduled and examined. Attendees are encouraged to participate and ask their own questions in the panel. The goal would be for attendees to walk away from the discussion learning about the thematic changes that have taken place and how they may utilize that information to be the best eyecare provider they can be.

Panelists: Renee Yearwood, OD, ’93 , Juanita Collier, OD, ’09, Nikita Shah, OD ​
Moderator: Richard Soden, OD, ’79​

SESSION 2 ( 12:45 – 1:30pm)

Option 1: Pathways to Optometric Ownership

Owning a private practice is a big career aspiration for many students and young ODs. It’s easy to visualize starting a practice from scratch or just buying the practice from an owner. But what most people don’t know is there are a lot of combinations in between. In this engaging session, Dr. Wianecka will discuss the various options one has at their disposal when considering to own a practice. She’ll explore the pros and cons of each path, and help you decide if owning a practice is for you, and if so, which pathway may work best.​

Speakers: Aleksandra Wianecka, OD, ’02

Option 2: The Essentials of Contracts & Negotiations

Every young professional will have a contract in front of them at some point in their career, and it can be daunting. We recognize this is a new territory for most new graduates, so in this session, we will break down the process of interviewing, receiving a contract, and negotiation. Our speakers will go over some of the legal parts of an e employment contract, discuss fair salary ranges and benefits, and help you navigate this process better.

Speakers: Georgina Tsakrios, Esq, Quy H. Nguyen, OD, ’13, Ashliegh Dumont ​

SESSION 3 ( 1:30 – 2:15pm)

Option 1: Traditional vs. Non-traditional Career Paths

When we think of “traditional” OD careers, we think of seeing patients 9-5. But in 2022, ODs are doing so much more, including seeing patients while pursuing a range of other professional interests. If you are interested in learning more about how ODs are enjoying their work in both traditional and non-traditional careers, come hear from three optometrists, with very different backgrounds, discuss how they got to their current positions, what other options there are out there, and how you can pursue other interests while seeing patients!

Panelists: Huy Tran, OD, ’05, John Gelles, OD, Charissa Lee, OD, ’02, FAAO, MBA​
Moderator: Behrad Garmsiri

Option 2: Unique Approaches to Practicing Optometry

While there continues to be new opportunities with each passing year in the eyecare industry, many of us still want to practice optometry on our own terms.  Some questions an OD may face when thinking of starting a practice are, “What are my hurdles? What are the ways I can lower my overhead and my operating costs? How can I make this work, despite all the challenges?”  We invite you to hear from two optometrists who made their dreams come true, starting their own practices, practicing on their own terms, and being very happy doing so!  Attendees can expect to learn about these ODs’ unique ideas and how they made it work for them!

Speakers: Sara Dawson, OD, ’12, Rajat Shetty, OD, ‘13 ​

Speaker Bios

Gui Albieri, PhD
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Dr. Gui Albieri is the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Chief Diversity Officer at SUNY College of Optometry. Prior to this role, he was the Senior Director of Admissions and Marketing at SUNY Optometry. His research interests include the areas of wisdom and self-control as well as inclusion, branding, cross-cultural communications, sustainable communities, and social innovations in isolated communities. Dr. Albieri has written a book chapter and published in the area of sustainable tourism development. He has won awards for public speaking, including the Jeff Gibb award for the “Best Presentation of the Year” from the Organizational Development Institute.

Prior to joining SUNY Optometry, Dr. Albieri has worked as a human resource consultant for a major American chemical company in Brazil and was directly involved with HR interventions in more than 11 countries in Latin America. He is also a small business owner in Brazil. Dr. Albieri holds a PhD in Human and Organizational Systems, and MS degrees in Human and Organizational Development and in Organizational Change.

Juanita Collier, MS, OD, FCOVD
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A leading Behavioral Optometrist and the founder of 4D Vision Gym, Dr. Juanita Collier, MS, OD, FCOVD, specializes in post-concussion care, vision-related learning difficulties, and visual rehabilitation and visual development for patients of all ages. She is one of only a few Optometrists in Connecticut to have earned Fellowship status by the International Examination & Certification Board (IECB) of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

Dr. Collier earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. She then graduated from the State University of New York, State College of Optometry with her Doctor of Optometry degree. While on the Dean’s List, she conducted research on Computer Vision Syndrome and received her Master’s degree in Vision Science from the Schnurmacher Institute of Vision Research. Dr. Collier’s research has been published in Ophthalmic and Physical Optics; the Journal of the College of Optometrists, Optometry; Journal of the American Optometric Association, and Review of Optometry. She has also been recognized by Women in Optometry Magazine, a publication of the Review of Optometry, for her work in Pediatric Optometry. She has lectured extensively to physicians, therapists, school faculty, healthcare professionals and students on the importance of visual functioning, and advocates to make vision rehabilitation accessible to individuals of all ages and abilities.

Sara Dawson, OD
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Dr. Dawson was born and raised in Western New York State and completed her undergraduate education at SUNY Geneseo. She then went on to graduate in 2012 from SUNY College of Optometry in Manhattan where she completed her optometric training, including internships at West Point USMA and Northport VA hospital on Long Island. She and her husband David have lived in Ossining since 2016 and now can’t imagine living anywhere else! Some of her simple joys include running, coffee shops, hiking and laughing with her husband and two little boys.

Ray Corbin-Simon, OD
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Ray Corbin-Simon, OD is passionate about optometry and eye health and provides patients of all ages with expert eye care at In Focus Vision Center in Piscataway, New Jersey. She earned her doctor of optometry degree at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry in New York City and completed her residency in Urban Family Optometry at East New York Diagnostic and Treatment Center. She joined the staff at SUNY as an Assistant Clinical Professor for eight years, served as the Chief of Eye Services at the East New York Diagnostic and Treatment Center and Coordinator of Affiliated Sites.

In 2004 she opened her private practice cold, In Focus Vision Center in Piscataway, NJ with a technology infused holistic approach centered on clinical excellence, courtesy and exceptional customer service. She purchased an existing practice, In Focus Eyecare in Metuchen, NJ. Dr. Corbin-Simon is the Past-President of the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians (NJSOP). She received the NJSOP Optometrist of the Year Award in 2020

She is a Consultant for the Power Practice, and the Advisory Board Chair at Neurolens. Consistent with her desire to help others, Dr. Corbin-Simon visits, observes and guides optometric practice owners with proven strategies and best practices they can readily implement to obtain long lasting positive results that augment staff morale, patient satisfaction and loyalty, while increasing their bottom line.

Ashliegh Dumont
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Ashliegh has recruited hundreds of Optometrists in the last 10 years for some of the largest companies in the industry, so she intimately understands the eyecare industry very well.

She currently serves as the Director of Doctor Recruitment for Eye-to-Eye Careers. Eye to Eye Careers hires Optometrists in all 50 states. With a thought leadership perspective of the recruitment market, Ashliegh helps prepare students for life after graduation and securing their first job. She’s always excited to work with students to help them transition into their careers, and is honored to present this year at the Career Symposium.

John D. Gelles, OD
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Dr. John D. Gelles, is the director of the specialty contact lens division of the Cornea and Laser Eye Institute, P.A. in Teaneck, NJ. He is a Specialty Contact Lens provider and PROSE Clinical Fellow.

He graduated from University of Oregon and received his optometry degree from the prestigious Pennsylvania College of Optometry. He is a clinical assistant professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and an adjunct clinical professor at State University of New York College of Optometry, Illinois College of Optometry and New England College of Optometry.

He is a board member of the Contact Lens Society of America, an executive board member of the International Keratoconus Academy, and an advisory board member for the Gas Permeable Lens Institute. He serves as the education chair of several of the aforementioned societies and academies. He is invited regularly to lecture nationally and internationally on specialty contact lenses and keratoconus. He is a frequent author in several medical journals and professional publications. As part of his academic positions he teaches optometry students and ophthalmology residents about specialty contact lenses and their role in visual rehabilitation and therapeutic treatment of ocular disease.

Michael Hosford, OD
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Dr. Michael Hosford is a Senior Manager with Luxottica Licensed Recruiting and Professional Services. In this role, Dr. Hosford’s team is responsible for the recruiting of both Optometrists and Licensed Opticians for nearly 500 practice locations in the Northeast region of the US. Dr. Hosford attended Michigan State University for his undergraduate work before earning his BS and Doctorate from the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University.

Dr. Hosford started his career with Luxottica as a practicing Associate Optometrist. During his time with Luxottica, Dr. Hosford has expanded his career development and training as a practicing Optometrist to include roles in Market and Regional Operations Management, co-chair of the Optometric Advisory Council and as a Doctor Recruitment Specialist with the EyeCare team.

Dr. Hosford has a great passion for networking and most enjoys helping new and experienced Optometrists in their search for the right practice. His work also includes partnering with the Luxottica brand leaders and field teams to ensure the success and access of care to patient focused doctors who deliver personalized, quality care to their patients across our many Luxottica practice locations.

Charissa Lee, OD, MBA, FAAO
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As a 2002 graduate of State University of New York College of Optometry Dr. Lee brought over 12 years of hospital-based and private practice optometry experience to her Johnson & Johnson Vision (JJV) position. Prior to joining JJV, Dr. Lee opened a private practice in Irvine, California, spoke to doctors across the country as a Professional Affairs Consultant, and served as program director at the Johnson & Johnson Institute. In her role now leading the Professional Group, Dr. Lee oversees Johnson & Johnson Vision Care’s support of Professional Advocacy, Education and Relations and serves on the North American Leadership Team. She is a strong supporter of allyship and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within and external to JJV. Outside her role as a mom and wife, Dr. Lee is also a proud member of the AOA, a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and recently completed her MBA from USC Marshall School of Business.

Quy H. Nguyen, OD
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Dr. Nguyen was raised in California and received his bachelors from the University of California at Berkeley and his Doctor of Optometry from the SUNY State College of Optometry. Upon graduation, he worked in a variety of modalities, but spent three years at an ophthalmology practice in Richmond Hill, New York and provided on call consultations at Wyckoff Hospital in Brooklyn. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Career Planning and Development and Minority Enrichment for SUNY College of Optometry.

He spends his time writing and lecturing to help optometry and pre-health minority students on topics related to career development. He also conducts workshops for schools and organizations on topics that include eye care, communication skills, and academic and career success. With free time during the COVID-19 pandemic, he dedicated his time creating “Weyed,” a frame line for large styles, both as a way to help his patients and as a way to create a platform to help future eye doctors.

Nikita Shah, OD
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Dr. Nikita Shah currently serves as the OD Area Leader for the Mid-Atlantic market. Originally from Chicago, Dr. Shah completed her undergraduate studies at Loyola University and obtained her Doctorate of Optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry. Following graduation, she joined Warby Parker as a full-time optometrist in Chicago. In 2018, she made the move to NY and took on a specialized leadership role within the company, which included sharing clinical insights with internal teams and taking on professional relations with external partners. In 2021, she was promoted to her current role as the Optometrist Area Leader. She manages the talented group of Mid-Atlantic ODs and helps implement clinical and business initiatives that support OD operations under the Eye Care & Vision Services department.

Rajat Shetty, OD
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Dr. Shetty graduated from SUNY College of Optometry in 2013. He worked in various practices and business and after a year, he opened a practice cold with 2 colleagues in LIC. It was a full scope practice, focusing on primary care, contact lens and anterior segment issues. After 4 years, he opened a solo private practice which had no staff. For three years he worked that way, growing the practice. When COVID began, he was fortunate enough to continue growing and during the height of the epidemic, was able to procure a larger space and transition my practice to a larger space and grow the scope to include more medical optometry. Current spends 2 days at his partnership and 4 days at his private practice.

Huy Tran, OD
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Dr. Huy Tran is currently an Associate Director of Field Medical Affairs at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, supporting the ophthalmology business unit. Prior to industry, he was in clinical practice for 12+ years.

After graduating from SUNY College of Optometry in 2005, he returned to his hometown of San Diego, CA to complete his fellowship in Vision Therapy and Behavioral Optometry at the Optometric Vision Development Center, where he continued to practice and serve as an Adjunct Clinical Professor for a few optometry schools. Huy then traded his flip-flops for snow boots to practice at the Neuro-Ophthalmology Service at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. As life would have it, he returned to NYC where he transitioned to industry, initially at a medical device startup company, Smart Vision Labs, then Sun Pharmaceuticals as a medical science liaison (MSL), leading to where he is now at Regeneron.

Georgina Tsakrios, EsQ
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Georgina Tsakrios is currently a third-year student at SUNY College of Optometry. She received her bachelor’s degree from Drew University and obtained her Juris Doctorate from New York Law School. Georgina served as a Deputy Attorney General for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office where she represented the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. She still maintains her law license in New York and New Jersey and is of counsel at Seigel Law, a NJ-based law firm.

As she always had an affinity for the eye, she left her position as a Deputy in 2016 and attended the post-baccalaureate program at Rutger’s University. She had the honor of presenting at the American Academy of Optometry in 2021, where she discussed legal issues such as malpractice. She looks forward to her future as an optometrist and exploring new opportunities the healthcare field has to offer.

Aleksandra Wianecka, OD
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Dr. Aleksandra Wianecka graduated with Honors from SUNY College of Optometry in 2002. Dr. Wianecka then completed her residency at Northport VA in primary eyecare, low vision, head trauma, vision therapy and ocular disease. After her residency she was an Assistant Professor at SUNY College of Optometry and worked at Stony Brook Hospital Opthalmology Department.

She worked at Northport VA optometry clinic as a consultant and residency supervisor. Since 2004 Dr. Wianecka has opened her private practice from scratch and now is a proud owner of 3 private Optometris practices on Long Island and belongs to the vision source network of optometrists. Dr. Wianecka is the past Suffolk County NYSOA president and past NYSOA Trustee.

Renee Yearwood, OD
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Dr. Renee Yearwood graduated from SUNY College of Optometry in 1993 with clinical honors. She was president of the National Optometric Student Organization (N.O.S.A.) 1990-91. She did her residency in Primary Care Optometry at SUNY and East NY Diagnostic and Treatment Center.

After finishing her residency in 1994, she joined the staff of SUNY Optometry. In 1997 she joined the clinical staff of St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx. In 2017 she became Director of Optometric Services at Union Community Health Center in The Bronx.