In honor of Women’s History month, Ditto would like to highlight four influential female leaders making their mark on the eyewear industry in 2021. Since the beginning of time women have been tested and tried. Forced to show that they are not only deserving but worthy of equality and power. The month of March is dedicated to uplighting and embracing all women, and the four women highlighted in this blog are just a prime example of how innovative, creative, and influential female leaders today can be.
1. Becky Palm
Becky Palm, the President and Executive Director of Essilor Vision Foundation( EVF) was named one of the most influential women in optical for 2020. Vision Monday editors describe her as a dedicated leader, she creates and executes programs and initiatives that educate not only families but entire communities on the importance of vision care.
Her passions for serving her community and educating came naturally to Palm. She began her journey with Essilor of America as a transaction attorney in Dallas Texas. Shortly after in 2012 she made the decision to leave her law firm and join Essilor’s legal team. It was there that she continued to provide legal support and began volunteering for EVF. Six and half years later Palm is carrying out the mission of empowering children to reach their full potential by giving them the ability to see clearly. In 2018 the Changing Life Through Lenses program launched, a charitable program dedicated to providing no-cost lenses, frames, and lab services to communities in need. Inspired by the gap between those who need vision care and those who have access to it, the program gave its one-millionth pair of glasses to someone in need in July of 2019. Today, Palm leads the partnership between EVF and Essilor of America to provide protective equipment to hospitals, EMTs, schools, and eye care professionals.
2. Leigh Berberian
Pioneer, trailblazer, pathfinder, all mean one thing; innovator, a person who introduces new methods, ideas, or products. Or in this case, a person who can create a timeless experience through creativity and storytelling. That is exactly what Leigh Berberian does on a regular basis and that is why she was named one of the most innovative women in the optical industry in 2020. As the Director of Marketing at Todd Rogers Eyewear Berberian makes it her business to establish a voice where there otherwise isn’t one and to combine creativity and innovation.
The independent eyewear brand is known for creating collections that speak to everyone. Those that are trendy, retro, and daring and those that are practical, preppy, and modern. The entire business operates as one, pulling from one powerful concept and allowing it to bleed into the other. Priding themselves on quality eyewear that actually fits. Attention is paid to every single detail of each collection, each frame, and each SKU. All of what we know and love about Todd Rogers Eyewear is front and center, perfectly packaged, and uniquely relatable, all because of the innovative work of Leigh Berberian.
3. Melanie J. Poon
As the Manager of Strategic Projects for Vision Essentials by Kaiser Permanente, Melanie Poon has exhibited not only her dedication to the advancement of eye health but also her own passion and understanding for the sales side of the business. According to Vision Monday, Poon’s relationship with eyewear began at the age of 12 when she herself was faced with eyesight challenges, quickly becoming familiar with eyeglasses as well as contact lenses.
Claiming her spot on the list of female innovators in this industry for 2020, Poon is raved about as being one of the key players in Kaiser’s Vision Essentials division. Spearheading the initiative of helping each member keep their eyes healthy and vision sharp. She continues to push this initiative by handling collaborations with Kaiser sales and employers groups. As well as taking charge of any and all projects for Vision Essentials, Southern California region.
4. Colleen Galanti
Our fourth and final Female leader is Colleen Galanti, the Founder of Opticians on Facebook. An active Facebook group with over 25,000 members. The content covers everything from horror stories to miraculous findings. Think of it as a large board meeting where every optician has a seat at the table. Colleen describes her idea for the group as coming to her when she realized simply that nothing of the sort existed. A place for like-minded opticians to lend a listening ear to one another, offer advice when asked and provide a place of solace and community.
Galanti’s passion is to make a difference, in the lives of others and in the eyewear industry. Along with the management of Opticians on Facebook, Galanti works at Pascarella Eye Care as an optician and optical manager. Every day she is faced with the challenge of being an optician and every day she is faced with the honor of being a woman operating in a very much so male saturated industry. Galanti says…
“Find a mentor, listen, and let her guide you. A woman should never allow a door to close in her face. Be confident, feel confident and that will make you soar.”
March 1st until March 31st dates the 30 days we pay tribute. We pay tribute to the past, present and future influential women of this world. Reminding all that women hold a place in history, simply for just being women. Simply for just being the natural creator of life. And simply for being an intricate part in all things great and all things true. Women in eyewear are more than just female faces with beautiful tortoise cat-eye frames on them. More than a model with a perfectly symmetrical face wearing the latest designer glasses. Appreciating women in this space means showcasing all the work done behind the scenes. Highlighting the female opticians, designers, owners, and creators.
Thank you for your contribution to this ever-evolving industry!