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New Year, New Perspectives!

Q&AI had the pleasure of interviewing apprentice, Keenan Anderson about his experience at the leadership conference in Forth Worth, TX. He has come back to work on fire and ready to learn. Watching his growth in the last year has been truly remarkable. Passionate apprentices and students are the future of our industry and I cannot wait to see all he accomplishes. 

-Melissa Sutherland


Q: Keenan, how did you first get involved in the optical industry? 

A: Knowing I wanted to leave the retail sector, I honestly went onto indeed and started just throwing things at the wall to see what stuck. I came across an ad for a front desk position in an optical office and thought that’s something I would be able to do. I applied and got a call the same day. It was the fastest I’ve ever been hired! After starting at the front desk, I knew this was a field I could thrive in. I quickly became an apprentice optician, and everything fell into place from there.  


Q: What was your favorite part of leadership? 

A: Before leadership, I knew nothing about the wider world of opticianry. Being able to go somewhere where you’re on the same level playing field as these important leaders of the industry was so exciting. Even as an apprentice, you can just walk up to anyone and shake hands and ask them any question you want. I expected a very corporate, “you’re below me you wouldn’t understand”, but everyone was so incredibly helpful and willing to teach.  

Keenan at Leadership

Q: What did you learn at leadership that most affected your perception of the optical industry? 

A: The thing that surprised me most was the versatility and where you can take your licensure. Prior to leadership, I thought being a dispensing optician in an optical office was the only available tract. I couldn’t have been more wrong.  You can be a dispensing optician, frame rep, lab rep, educator, etc. There was a man there that did specifically eyewear for movies! I was blown away by the possibilities. 


Q: Where do you see yourself in the future of opticianry? 

A: My goal is to become the best optician I can personally be. I want to become a licensed ABO & NCLE optician. I know I will never stop learning and growing. I just want to prove this to myself.  


Q: Why would you recommend leadership to other apprentices and students? 

A: When you first start, being licensed is your goal. Leadership really shows you all of the career paths you can take. I compare it to the college experience. If you’re just floating around and don’t have a direction, go to leadership and you’ll know if opticianry is right for you. This is a very versatile industry that you can take anywhere.  

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