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HomemioptometryGrowth and Opportunity

Growth and Opportunity

Pete Haydon will soon take on the role of CEO of the Australian College of Optometry. Here he reflects on the support he’s had at OV/SA and what lies ahead.

mivision readers may have heard that I have resigned as CEO of Optometry Victoria/South Australia (OV/SA) to take a job with the Australian College of Optometry (ACO). I genuinely believe in the work the ACO does and there is a strong fit with my own personal philosophy and professional goals. I think I can do some good there, and I’m looking forward to getting started. My belief in humanitarian principles is lifelong and to be part of an organisation that is founded on such principles – and embodies them – will be a privilege.

I want to continue the Council’s vision of a modern ACO that honours and respects its heritage, but enhances its relevance in the health care landscape

I think the ACO can grow and expand its core clinical business into every state and territory in Australia, and look to form strong, sustainable, mutually-beneficial partnerships with other sector stakeholders. Alongside this, I believe the ACO can be a leading provider of postgraduate education for optometrists in Australia and throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and continue to evolve its position as a revered leader in vision research. In my view, the ACO can also be a prominent Australian advocacy voice for those who benefit from its services and those who deliver them.

As CEO of the ACO, I will try to be an ethical, compassionate, contemporary leader. I want to continue the Council’s vision of a modern ACO that honours and respects its heritage, but enhances its relevance in the health care landscape, and engenders pride from its members.

People have asked me if I’m sad to be leaving OV/SA. I’m not. I have always tried to exit when I still have plenty to give rather than when my best contributions are behind me. I think organisations have a responsibility to refresh themselves and hear new ideas and seek out new challenges. That’s OV/SA’s opportunity now and I’m sure they’ll do that very well.

I have a few thank-yous, so if you’ve read this far I hope you’ll stick with me. First, thanks to all of our members for their kindness, honesty and support. Optometrists are great people to work with and I’m really glad I’ll still be able to do that.

Second, thanks to all of my colleagues throughout the sector, including those friends I have made overseas who I have been lucky enough to meet through our conference programming. In particular, I want to single out Finola Carey for her steadfastness and humour through our great partnership on the O=MEGA project.

Thirdly, thanks to the OV/SA secretariat team for their incredible hard work and flexibility throughout my time. They are a wonderful group of people and I wish them well. In particular, thanks to Michelle Marven and Jenny Hall who have been with me for many years. Thanks for their excellence and seemingly endless capacity for clear, concise, quality work on behalf of our members. If we are better than we were, it’s because of them and I couldn’t have asked for better managers.

Finally, thanks to all of the Directors I have worked with over my time with OV/SA. I’m very lucky to have had this experience. Their strategic acumen and selfless stewardship of the association is an example for others to follow. To Elise Pocknee Clem, whose passion for the Association, alongside her diligence and pragmatism have meant a lot to me, thank you. I have truly valued her counsel over the last couple of years. To Murray Smith, thanks for his superb judgement and intelligence, as well as his wit and vision. Now that he’s not my boss any more, I look forward to us being mates.

And finally, thanks to Kylie Harris for her preparedness to invest in an untried CEO seven years ago. We both knew I was only ever going to be a temporary custodian with OV/SA. I hope she thinks that time has been well spent.

My last day with OV/SA will be 18 November 2021. Many thanks everyone and I look forward to when we next meet.

Pete Haydon is the Chief Executive Officer of OV/SA. Mr Haydon will finish work with OV/SA in mid-November 2021 and commence as CEO of ACO on 22 November.