The Power Of One Small Idea With The Confidence To Make It Happen

As I stood in the bustling lobby of my practice, observing our staff and patients, a realization struck me. The vendors and reps who entered our doors each day, often receiving a hurried greeting, were the unsung leaders of our industry. Without their support, where would we be? How many other offices face similar time constraints like ours? How many yearn to find time for meaningful connections?

As a leader in the optometric industry, I am always on the lookout for innovative ways to reach out and share the valuable offerings of Vision Source. Educating others about best practices and nurturing relationships with our industry partners and optometric staff are paramount to me. It was then that an idea sparked in my mind—a grand statewide trunk show combined with educational sessions, a valuable experience for Vision Source members. A gathering where doctors, staff, and industry partners could unite under one roof, shop for their practices, explore new frame lines, and gain invaluable knowledge to take home. While I had only organized small meetings in Oregon before, the prospect of hosting such a significant event excited me.

Embracing the Challenge: Yet, questions loomed over me. Where should I begin? What if I couldn’t execute it successfully? What if no one showed up? But then, I recalled the words of Dr. Hale, who always emphasized that taking action, even imperfectly, is better than doing nothing at all. Encouraged by this mindset, I shared my vision with fellow facilitator Ric Peralta, also known as the Optical Jedi, a respected figure in our industry. He wholeheartedly embraced my idea and connected me with Mikki Collins, an accomplished event planner associated with the Optometric Women’s Association.

Making Connections: When Mikki visited my office and sat across from me, her confidence and poise immediately impressed me. I expressed my vision and aspirations, albeit with my usual self-doubt regarding effective communication. To my surprise, Mikki wholeheartedly loved the idea and eagerly offered her support in whatever capacity I needed. Energized by this positive meeting, I rushed to share the great news with Dr. Hale, who, true to form, offered unwavering support and assistance.

Success and Lessons Along the Way: Success rarely comes without its fair share of challenges and setbacks. As the planning unfolded, I encountered a major setback three months before the event when one of my key sponsors pulled out. In my nascent experience of organizing such a large-scale event, I made numerous mistakes along the way. However, I refuse to call them mistakes; they are lessons that contribute to growth. During this trying period, I found solace and guidance from my supportive Vision Source team. Tami Franklin, CPOT, my incredible mentor, connected me with other Vision Source industry partners and patiently listened to my tearful phone calls, offering invaluable advice and introducing me to additional mentors. Robert from Kering Eyewear taught me how to create a budget spreadsheet and start afresh from the ground up. I also had the privilege of meeting Luca, the VP of Vendor Relations and Programs at Essilor of America, who connected me with even more leaders in the industry, providing unwavering support via email and ensuring my success. I reached out to as many partners as possible, and they all reciprocated with utmost support.

The Power of Collaboration: What made this event truly remarkable was the multitude of people who rallied to mentor and ensure its success. These industry partners stood by my side every step of the way, offering guidance and support.

After the event, I found myself lacking the confidence I had hoped to feel. I became fixated on the small details and what didn’t go according to plan. Determined to gather valuable insights, I decided to reach out to my partners who attended the event and requested their feedback. To my surprise, their responses were overwhelmingly positive. While the cozy nature of the room was mentioned, it was seen as a catalyst for networking and building connections among attendees. In fact, the success of the event became a topic of discussion at Vision Expo East, with partners commending its excellence.

I also distributed a survey to the attendees, and once again, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. It was inspiring to see their excitement for next year’s event. Despite the minor setbacks and areas for improvement, the event turned out to be a tremendous success.

To all the aspiring visionaries out there, I encourage you to bring your visions to life. Reach out to those around you, and you’ll be amazed by the support and mentorship that awaits. Together, we can turn dreams into reality. Along the way, you’ll build meaningful relationships and continuously enhance your vision for the future. Embrace the lessons learned, for they are essential to your growth and development.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our industry partners, Vision Source, and my mentors for their trust, guidance, and shared commitment to providing the best education and products to our industry. I eagerly anticipate next year’s event and the continued success it will bring.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on making an event successful:

Step 1: Define Your Goals: Clearly articulate the objectives of your event. What do you want to achieve? Who is your target audience? Understanding your goals will guide your planning process.

Step 2: Plan and Organize: Create a detailed plan outlining the event logistics, including the date, venue, budget, and schedule. Break down tasks into manageable milestones and assign responsibilities to a dedicated team or collaborators.

Step 3: Build a Network: Reach out to industry partners, mentors, and relevant organizations for support, advice, and potential sponsorships. Establish strong relationships and leverage their expertise to enhance your event.

Step 4: Marketing and Promotion: Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to create awareness about your event. Utilize various channels such as social media, email campaigns, and targeted advertising to reach your target audience effectively.

Step 5: Engage Attendees: Design an engaging program with valuable content, speakers, and interactive sessions to attract and retain attendees’ interest. Incorporate networking opportunities and consider incorporating activities that encourage participation.

Step 6: Attention to Detail: Pay close attention to all aspects of the event, including registration, catering, audiovisual equipment, and signage. Create a positive experience for attendees by ensuring smooth operations and addressing any issues promptly.

Step 7: Post-Event Follow-up: Evaluate the success of your event by collecting feedback from attendees, partners, and team members. Analyze the data to identify areas of improvement for future events. Show appreciation by sending thank-you notes and maintaining connections. Remember, each event is unique, and adapting your approach based on your specific goals and audience is essential. By incorporating these steps and infusing your personal experiences, you can create a comprehensive and impactful guide on event planning success.



Article written by Brandy Yeack, CPOA

Find her here: LinkedIn


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