The American Optician

FALL 2017

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2 0 BY DIBBY BARTLETT If you met Ashley Mills in some casual non-business setting for the first time, you'd probably never guess she is the executive director of an organization that serves as the global voice for vision care products and services. She is smart, approachable and full of passion for opticians and the entire optical industry. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Ashley at a professional event, and shortly after, she shared some thoughts with me about her goals and aspirations for the optical industry. DIBBY BARTLETT: What is The Vision Council and what does it do? ASHLEY MILLS: Championing better lives through better vision – that is our vision statement and one that we all feel very passionate about. The Vision Council represents optical suppliers and manufacturers from high fashion eyewear to lens processing technology equipment to low vision devices. Most consumers know us for our National Sunglasses Day campaign, bringing awareness to digital eye strain and our promotions of eye health and fashion eyewear. Opticians may know us best through International Vision Expo, our two annual trade shows in New York and Las Vegas that bring the entire optical community together to see new products, learn, find inspiration and connect with peers. DB: How did you become affiliated with The Vision Council and eventually take the helm? AM: I was first introduced to the optical industry in 2003 when I joined The Vision Council's show team to handle marketing for International Vision Expo. Having previously worked in consumer marketing and public relations at global public relations firms, I could not believe my good fortune to find a consumer-facing industry that was equal parts healthcare and fashion. I left The Vision Council in 2006 to consult and spend more time with my young family, but I always hoped to return. Prior to returning to The Vision Council in January 2016, I held communications roles at the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and The Council on Foundations. DB: Please discuss the Think About Your Eyes campaign. AM: Think About Your Eyes is a national advertising campaign with a strong call-to-action encouraging consumers to prioritize their vision and get an annual eye exam. There are over 20 partners who fund the initiative, including The Vision Council and the American Optometric Association. We know that the campaign is effective in growing the number of first-time eye exams and in shortening the time between exams. Think About Your Eyes recently released a new series of ads that focus on the emotional connection between your life, your experiences and the importance of your vision. This is a great example of many groups working together to elevate the importance of vision and an initiative that the entire optical industry and profession can be proud of. The American Optician Interview Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council Learn more about theThink About Your Eyes campaign here

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