February 19-22, 2025
Orlando, FL

Vision Expo East 2021 Explores Diversity, Equity and Inclusion through Series of Panels and Courses

Show Organizers Share Details on Programming Dedicated to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Alexandria, VA – May 26, 2021 – The Vision Council and Reed Exhibitions, organizers of Vision Expo, today share details on the panels, discussions and education courses dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion planned for Vision Expo East 2021, taking place June 2-5 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

To register for Vision Expo East, click here.

“It is important for industry leading shows and conferences to reflect an accurate picture of how our industry looks as well as the communities we serve,” said Tarrence Lackran, Director of Partnerships and Programming at The Vision Council, co-organizer of Vision Expo.  “One of the initiatives that The Vision Council’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force has been charged with is to work with event planners and associations to make sure they are tapping into the diverse talent we have in our industry as speakers, as well as addressing the issues that ECPs from diverse communities face on a daily basis. It has been great working with the Vision Expo show planners and the Conference Advisory Board on this year’s Vision Expo East and we look forward to building an even more inclusive experience for future shows.”

Several of the panels taking place at The Seen, a new main stage destination at Vision Expo East, will be dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion, including two EYE2EYE Series panels. 

On Thursday, June 3 from 12-12:45pm, The Seen will host a panel titled, “Building a More Inclusive Work Environment".  Moderated by Dr. Danielle Richardson, West Coast Director of Clinical Care for Zak, panelists will discuss how to engage team members from different backgrounds to build a more equitable agenda in a place of business. Attendees will learn about diversity, equity and inclusion principles that can be utilized by any team – regardless of the size of the organization.  Panelists include: Marvin Davenport, Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer at VSP Global; Cristina Lopez, Head of Talent, Inclusion & Diversity at Essilor Group; and Jacqueline Grove, Senior Vice President, Training, Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Philanthropy at National Vision, Inc.

Additionally, on Thursday, June 3 from 4:30-5:30pm, Dr. Diana Canto-Sims, Co-Founder at Buena Vista Optical and Designer at La Vida Eyewear, will moderate a panel titled “Removing Barriers Between You and Your Multi-Cultural Patients,” that will explore cultural competence in eyecare as a foundational element of providing high-quality care and a bedrock for meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse population of patients. The discussion will highlight the need for eyecare providers to systematically consider how to integrate cultural competencies into their approach in patient interactions to deliver the best quality of care.  Panelists include: Dr. Lina Arango, Co-founder of Clear Eyes Clear Mind; and Arlene Segovia, Marketing Manager, Trade Communications for Transitions Optical.

Vision Expo is also offering two education courses focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.  On Thursday, June 3 from 11:30am-12:30pm, Hector Santiago, OD, PhD, FAAO, will lead Cultural Competence: The Opportunities of Serving the Needs of Hispanic Patients, which will provide recommendations on how to improve the access of eyecare services to Hispanics, the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States.

On Friday, June 4 from 2:30-4:30 pm, attendees have the opportunity learn more about The Vision Council’s 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey Report during a panel titled, Opening Your Eyes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: A Review of The Vision Council's DE&I Initiatives and 2020 Survey Results.  Moderated by Derrick Artis, OD, who also serves on The Vision Council’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, the panel will take a closer look at the results of The Vision Council’s 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey report, which provides an in-depth analysis of the custom survey The Vision Council fielded to the vision care community in November 2020.  Panelists include:  Dr. Howard Purcell, President and CEO at New England College of Optometry; Dr. Millicent Knight, Senior Vice President, Customer Development Group at Essilor; Phernell Walker, Director of Optometric Relations at VSP Ventures; and Dr. Diana Canto-Sims, Co-Founder at Buena Vista Optical and Designer at La Vida Eyewear.

Additionally, the National Optometric Association (NOA) an organization dedicated to “advancing the visual health of minority populations” through the delivery of effective and efficient eye and vision care services to the minority community, will host a Regional Meeting on Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5.

Due to COVID-19, the NOA National convention will be a virtual event and this in-person regional meeting will serve as an opportunity for NOA doctors and National Optometric Student Association (NOSA) students to connect and learn together safely. As part of the regional meeting, NOA will offer six hours of education exclusive to their members on Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5.

“Vision Expo is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all attendees and exhibitors,” said Fran Pennella, Vice President, Vision Expo at Reed Exhibitions.  “Recently, we, along with our partners at The Vision Council, released a new Anti-Harassment Policy that speaks to our commitment to creating and maintaining an environment where all people are treated with dignity, decency and respect.”

The schedule of DEI panels and education at Vision Expo East 2021 includes:

Thursday, June 3

11:30 am-12:30 pm       
Cultural Competence: The Opportunities of Serving the Needs of Hispanic Patients

12 pm – 12:45 pm:        
EYE2EYE Series: Building a More Inclusive Work Environment

4:30 pm – 5:30 pm:       
EYE2EYE Series: Removing Barriers Between You and Your Multi-Cultural Patients

Friday, June 4

2:30-4:30 pm:                 
Opening Your Eyes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: A Review of The Vision Council's DE&I Initiatives and 2020 Survey Results

About Vision Expo
Vision Expo East and West are trade-only conferences and exhibitions for eyecare and eyewear presented by co-owners Reed Exhibitions and The Vision Council. Vision Expo is the complete event for ophthalmic professionals, where eyecare meets eyewear, and education, fashion and innovation mingle. In the Vision Expo Exhibit Hall, eyecare providers can discover trends, interact with new technologies and access innovative products and services. The Vision Expo education program is driven by the profession, offering content of the highest quality and relevance to enhance overall patient care. For more information, visit VisionExpo.com and follow Vision Expo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.   

About The Vision Council
As the vision care leader in enabling better vision for better lives, The Vision Council positions its members for success by promoting growth in the vision care industry through education, advocacy, research, consumer outreach, strategic relationship building and industry forums. Furthermore, through a partnership with Think About Your Eyes, The Vision Council supports consumer education around eyewear and eyecare.

About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is a leading global events business. It combines face-to-face with data and digital tools to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 500 events in almost 30 countries across 43 industry sectors, attracting more than 7 million participants.

Our events, organised by 35 global offices, leverage industry expertise, large data sets and technology to enable our customers to generate billions of dollars of revenues for the economic development of local markets and national economies around the world. Reed Exhibitions is part of RELX, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. www.reedexhibitions.com