With March being Woman’s History Month, we wanted to continue highlighting outstanding women, and in this case, an outstanding association of women!

The Optical Women’s Association was founded in 1997 as a nonprofit with a simple goal: to connect, inspire, and lead women in all aspects of the optical industry. Their mission statement: To enhance and promote the leadership role of women in the optical industry through networking, education, and peer support.” By connecting, inspiring, and leading, the OWA makes sure that all of the hard work and contributions of women in the industry do not go unnoticed!



Being a part of the OWA is a great way to network, whether you are new to the optical industry or just searching for a way to get plugged in with other motivated, driven women in the optical field. Zyloware team member and OWA member Gilda Mehraban shares, “The OWA is an incredible network of women who genuinely support each other. It’s a resource to turn to as you grow in your optical career.” Janna Neal, also a Zyloware team member and OWA member, shares that her favorite part of being a part of the association is “being able to connect and network with tons of women in the industry.” Members can take advantage of this amazing community of women by attending small regional events, as well as yearly events that correspond with Vision Expo East and West, award ceremonies, and many more!


The OWA’s Mentor Committee hosts a monthly webinar series featuring savvy female leaders, both inside and outside the optical world, who address the trending topics of today. These chats can be accessed from your office, home, coffee shop… wherever you are! If you’re in need of some inspiration, Tuesday Talks are for you!

Zyloware’s very own leading women, Mary Lanning and Gilda Mehraban, were each invited to share their experiences, Mary speaking on “Doing More: To Improve Through Self Growth, Support, and Leadership” and Gilda speaking on “Navigating (Inevitable) Change.” Mary shares, “Being connected with OWA has given me a stronger sense of purpose as a woman in the optical industry. It is empowering to support other strong women and promote success within our networking groups.” Both thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to share their experiences through the Tuesday Talks!

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Zyloware’s leading women – Mary Lanning, Carly and Caitlin Crockett, and Jennifer Derrberry together in NYC


Membership co-chair Deb Bulken shares, “I love having the opportunity to engage with like-minded women, who see potential in all women in our industry; to engage through continuous learning and networking to become the best leaders they can be.” Surrounding yourself with positive, encouraging people is the best thing you can do both personally and professionally, and the OWA acknowledges the need for mentorship and friendship in a professional setting. They challenge their members to get involved in their local communities, learn something different in their field, and connect with others outside the organization to help us all be well-rounded, empowering leaders!

Zyloware believes in the mission of the Optical Women’s Association and is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor. We take pride in helping the OWA continue to achieve their goal of delivering meaningful services to their members and helping each and every woman reach her full career potential, keeping this industry strong and growing.

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