Complete Story


The Fifties, The Southwest Journey of Professional Growth

Melissa Nudo on Skates

In the vibrant town of West Chester, Ohio, the Southwest Professional Development Event kicked off March 2-3 with a nostalgic twist. The event, designed to foster professional growth, knowledge, and networking, took attendees on a journey back in time to the 1950s.  As members arrived at the venue, they were greeted by lively scenes reminiscent of the era. OAO members were encouraged to dress in the 1950s fashion, with poodle skirts, leather jackets, and slicked-back hair aplenty. The poodle skirts, leather jackets, and pink ladies were a hit!

The event started with seasoned international speakers sharing their knowledge and wisdom from years of industry experience. The information inspired attendees and motivated them to advance their knowledge and expertise. OAO sends a huge THANK YOU to Michael Gzik, Professor Bob Russo, and John Zimmerman, whom Zeiss sponsored.

The Southwest didn’t stop there; we also held the Apprentice Workshop, led by educators Vice President Cindy Lohman and Trustee Diana Walter. This intimate all-day class was invaluable to apprentices. Thank you, Cindy and Diana, for sharing your passion for education.

On Sunday, Professor Bob Russo instructed a packed full class for the ABO basic review course sponsored by the National Federation of Opticianry Schools. Just this week, OAO was informed that Kelsey Hope Bauer took the ABO examination and PASSED. Congratulations, Kelsey Hope Bauer!

In between lectures, OAO members had the opportunity to network with their peers and explore the many exhibit tables of OAO partners, which showcased the latest products, fashion, and services in the industry. We are hugely grateful to OAO Partners who support our passion; THANK YOU! As Saturday came to a close, attendees gathered for a 1950s-themed cocktail hour, hors d’oeuvres, classic cocktails, music, dancing, a hula hoop contest, and a bubble gum contest. Everyone won the hula hoop contest, but Stephanie Aloisio and Tyrone Clark almost tied in the bubble gum contest. Congratulations, Stephanie! OAO extends our sincerest gratitude to the anonymous member donor, whose generous contribution has greatly supported our effort at OAO. Your kindness and support are deeply appreciated and have significantly impacted our organization and those we serve.

Thank you for your generosity and for believing in our mission.  As OAO members left the event, they were filled with inspiration and camaraderie, knowing they had gained valuable knowledge and connections that would help their careers. The Southwest Professional Development Event had truly been a trip back in time that propelled them forward into the future.

We hope you join us in the future to experience these memorable In-Person Professional Development Events!

Shirley Earley

Watch the bubble gum contest here! 


Kelsey Hope BauerCertificants

Edit | Add | Dup | Delete | Menu
Hits: 94 ID: 552412 Latest: 02/15/2024 10:08AM

Printer-Friendly Version