A sense of ownership, engagement and participation are key to building strong membership.
As I write this column, I’m reflecting on my past 13 years as CEO of Optometry WA and preparing to sign off. Back in 2005, when I took on the job, I walked into an empty office, with an empty desk, an empty bookcase, a new laptop and a small archive box.
The division secretariat consisted of me alone – it was a however, a fresh canvas. Fast forward 13 years. We have come a long way and I’m proud of what’s been achieved with the support of my Association colleagues, various OWA boards, local optometrists and suppliers.
Perhaps one of our proudest achievements has been the introduction of ocular therapeutics in 2010, which required State regulatory change and establishment of an ocular therapeutics course. Over four years, 100 post graduate optometrists completed the course, delivered by Professor Fiona Stapleton, UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science.
More recently, we established the Early Career Optometry Group in WA, which has provided a genuine avenue for younger members to have a voice. These members are the future of optometry – both professionally and in a custodial sense, as providers of community eye health.
Another focus has been membership growth. We now have a solid, stable base with a strong sense of purpose and collegiality. On a personal level, I have particularly enjoyed daily interactions with members and providing help and positive influence. In leaving the Association, I am confident it is in a strong position and will continue to grow. Ultimately this comes down to membership engagement and support of their Association.
I encourage all members to continue to participate in our ever-expanding CPD program, which has been an astounding success. The program for WAVE 18 is out – don’t forget to get online and register!
Thank you for your support and the very best of luck and success to you all.
We now have a solid, stable base with a strong sense of purpose and collegiality
As a POM, born and bred on an English farm, I love England in the Spring (April) – hedgerows vivid green with shoots, cider orchards white with blossom, new lambs: all indicative of the promise of great stuff later in the year. I also love Australia in April, because my work mirrors this burst of activity ‘down under’. In April, we reflect on recent and anticipated changes in eye health and the evolving member needs. We collate ideas developed during the year (from members, experiences, other professions) and give birth to a fresh and exciting new list of activities.
In 2018–19, we will continue our unashamedly proactive approach to collaboration, working closer with like-minded organisations within the Optometry Australia fold and the eye health sector in South Australia: it allows us to expand and improve member services and grow optometry markets, without charging members like a wounded bull.
Members will experience our brand new website, where the answers they need will be intuitively available, and we will still be on the end of the phone to provide immediate and personal support. We have a host of expertise in SA and our national office, which only our members have access to – tap in and save valuable time.
Following completion of Transforming Health and a hospital shake-up, we will work closely with our ophthalmology colleagues, GPs, pharmacy and SA health to reduce public waiting lists and provide more timely, cost effective and convenient eye health care.
Our newly-formed Member Engagement Working Group is developing networking, social and CPD opportunities, building on the success of regular events for our Early Career Optometrists, working mums and SA Blue Sky Congress. Concurrently we’re taking a new look at our membership categories to consider how they can be re-packaged to better align with your needs as you move through your career and personal life.