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Thread: The OAA and Our Future

  1. #1
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    Blue Jumper The OAA and Our Future

    The time of disappointment is over and it's now time for action.
    -Ed De Gennaro, from the OptiBoard thread
    Education and Professional Organizations > State Leadership meeting announcement
    For those of you following "As OptiBoard Turns," you probably know we have had quite a few Opticianry threads that all point towards the need for strong national organization. However, there appears to be only a few of us posting about the subject.

    I think we need a core organization to speak for us legislatively. If you don't think that is important go back and read the posts regarding the deregulation of a couple of states. Those state societies and others fight to keep Opticianry as a regulated profession. Wouldn't it be easier if all of us had that kind of national support?

    In the past, some of us have expressed dissapointment at OAA; however, we have been promised changes recently by the new board. I see one problem with this. One of the allegations made was that the OAA was an "Old Boy" network. That may or may not have been true but there is one way to change that - new members. If any organization has a limited membership, of course it is easy to call it isolated. The only way to change that is by increasing the number of members. An organization with 1,000 members is not going to be as diverse as one with 10,000 members; that's just plain old math and statistics. We are the reason the OAA isn't been what we want it to be. (Note - I am not currently a member of the OAA)

    My main questions is: Can the OAA lead Opticianry into the future?

    I urge anyone who has a constructive opinion to please post it here.

  2. #2
    Master OptiBoarder Cindy Hamlin's Avatar
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    JO,
    It is ironic that I read you post today as I received a membership form from the OAA. I do have some questions if you or Judy can answer them for me.

    What do I receive for my membership? (I don't mean the charge card, etc.) Do I get to attend meetings and vote or am I mailed details of the meeting they have and what is decided. I agree that sometimes organizations have an old-boy's network mentality, but that is because we pay our dues and have no say as to what occurs in our "behalf".

    ~Cindy

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    Bad address email on file stephanie's Avatar
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    Confused

    Hi Jo, to be quite honest with you, I am not really sure what being a member means. What exactly is the problem with the organizations? I am sorry if I sound stupid but I really don't know. I am really confused by all of the membership to state org. and the oaa. I do know I am not pleased by everytime I turn around TN is in jeopardy of being deregulated. I did not work this hard to become licensed to have some politician take it from me. Please someone enlighten me!!

    Steph

  4. #4
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    Good question ... as far as the OAA I do not honestly know. Perhaps Homer, Judy or Ed can tell us how the process works. That was basically the purpose of posting this thread. To find out how things work, to learn how we can create a positive change in our organizations and to hear what others in optics think. I am not a member of the OAA so I probably know as much about the actual workings of the organization as you do.

    I do believe that if we can get a big enough voice together someone has to listen.

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    Bad address email on file stephanie's Avatar
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    Wink

    What do you say we have a meeting here on Sunday (isn't that when chat is?) and discuss this very thing? I want to know specifics before I join anything. I want to be sure of what is in it for me and what I can do to help the organization before I decide what to do. Would love to hear everyone's input on this subject. I am actually surprised that not many others have replied yet.

    Steph

  6. #6
    Master OptiBoarder Cindy Hamlin's Avatar
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    Count me in on the chat, too! Can someone tell me what time it is and how I join? STEVE..........

    ~Cindy:D

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    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    I can join a chat at anytime on Sunday. It would be nice to have some official folks from the OAA there. I recieved that same membership application yesterday so now would be a good time for a question and answer session.

    cah2020,
    I forgot you were having a hard time getting into the chat room that other time. We may have to meet for a practice session; that way if you can't log on we can work out the bugs before the meeting. We should post the time for a trial chat log on so that others having difficulties accessing the chat room can also have time to work out the bugs.

    Steve,
    Is there a good time to meet for a practice chat log in so that we can yell if we need help?

  8. #8
    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    Jo,

    I'm off and on the computer all day long. Pick a time and I'll try to be around.


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    Bad address email on file stephanie's Avatar
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    Wink

    I just checked to see if I could figure out the chat and get it. I can so I will be there on Sunday. I am very interested in seeing what everyone has to say.


    Steph

  10. #10
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    What's a good time on Sunday for you Steph?

  11. #11
    Master OptiBoarder Cindy Hamlin's Avatar
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    Steph And Jo......

    I clicked on the Miscellaneous button on the top and clicked on the Optiboard chatroom button and nothing happened. Should something have happened or do I have to wait for a chat for it to open?

    Pick a time Sunday and I will be there!

    ~Cindy

  12. #12
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    cah2020:

    After clicking on the link you should be taken directly to the chat room. You should see a large blacke square on the left (the message area) and a menu down the right hand side. Below the message area and the bar you would use to type messages into should be a status bar. If everything is right it should say "Connected to chat server as user ________" if not something is wrong.

  13. #13
    since 1964 Homer's Avatar
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    OAA...?

    Joe, thankyou for your new stem on this subject. I'll attempt a response.

    History is the story of how we got here. Although I hated the subject in school, I have come to the conclusion that without it we can know very little about how to get to where we want to go from here.

    OAA was designed and built largely by independent owners of optical shops/dispensaries. Back in those days there were no national chains, there were no dispensing MD's and employees of optometrists were just that - they did not consider themselves opticians. These, granted mostly men, were leaders of state socities/associations which recognized the need for a national voice. The designed OAA as the national association of the states to protect, defend and promote opticianry at the national level. They gave great amounts of personal money and time to this endevor!

    So at this time there were only two "houses". Firm Members and State society members. As opticianry became noticed by the corporations, some of the small state chains were purchased by corporations who bought them as a "cash cow" and a hedge against bad economic cycles. As the optical industry became more nationally corporate they also began to "infiltrate" the OAA.
    Somewhere in 1990 oir 1991 the "old school" became very afraid and kicked out the national chains from firm membership.

    This action greatly hurt membership in OAA. It became a financial problem! One of the "soutions" was to open up the membership to opticians who were, 1) in states that did not have assiciations, 2) in states that had association but of which they chose not to be a part. This greatly changed the demogratphics of the National Association.

    So here we are now asking the question, "What do I get out of this membership in OAA?"
    On my part, I have been a part of a state association which has been associated with OAA since 1975. I have not expected anything personal out of my membership - at least nothing I could take to the bank. What I did expect, was to be included in the discussion of opticianrys future and be informed as to its general direction - and most of all to associate with some very talanted opticians at the state and national level. In that way it has benefited me greatly.

    I too have never been impressed with rental car discounts and credit card offers or membership cards (never had the occasion to actually show my membership card to anyone!)

    The good-old-boy system is both mythical and real. If you are not involved anywhere along the line it is very real because you have not paid your dues and are not part of the discussion and so the decisions are made by those who have. It is mythical because we love to blame our present problems on some outside enemy.
    It is real because we do have people with large egos at every level - some do not make good leaders. It is mythical because many in leadership have spent thousands of dollars a year making this organization of opticians continue.

    It has been said many times on this forum that we need a national voice and an national organization. This could be IT for you. The choices are to come up the the millions of dolllars and millions of "man-hours" to start a new one in your own image OR to pay about 25 or 30 cents a day to make your state and national organization itno a very strong unit where a national disucssion can take place. (I personally think this should be between $1 & $2 per day)

    I paraphrase a very famous saying: "Ask not what your association can do for you, but what you can do for your association!"

    If you want great immeadiate benefits, join a buying club.

    If you want to change the world of opticianry, buy a ticket and ride this wave.

    Homer

  14. #14
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    Homer,

    Can you give us some insight one how our voices would get heard?

    From what I understand, if your state has an organization that is a Society Member, then a member from that Society is able to vote and represent its "state constiuents;" Individual Members, themselves, do not vote. Is this correct? If it is then you would have to be active in your state society to be heard. Not a bad thing; I am just trying to find out how everything works.

  15. #15
    since 1964 Homer's Avatar
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    Jo, you are pretty much correct. However, individual members, as a group, could put forth a candidate for the OAA board of directors position dedicated to individual members. They can also select a person to vote at the General Assembly.

    What we really want to see come back is some kind of "dual" membership where if you are a member of a state society you are also a member of OAA. This would bring about slightly different dynamics for the individuals.

    However, to be really strong we really need to be supportive of a state society (in some cases maybe more than one) and that state society(s) needs to be supportive of OAA.

    We have had some bickering, power plays and "i'm gona' take my marbles and go home" kind of attitudes. I really hope we can get beyond that.

    Communication is the other big key. The Board not only needs to listen and respond, but treat the members as adults who have the right to be informed of all decisions. This is the goal of the membership committee - to make OAA more "user friendly".

    This in no way counts out IOC! I think it could take OAA and opticianry to the next level.

    Nonetheless, if opticians think that all of this is going to happen for $65 to $75 per year (average state society membership), we have another think comming. I think individuals should pay somewhere between $250 to $500 per year and firm members should pay between $1200 to 1500 per year. ( yah, I'm talking about me on the big bucks). It's just like our whole society today to think that we should be able can get a Panamic, Transitions with Crizal in a Cazal frame for about $199.00. If we think cheap, we will get cheap - look at the past 5 years.

    Finally, we need to stop think of OAA as Mommy and/or Daddy who has all the money and ain't givin' us our share. OAA R US!
    Going to a foster home ain't gona' fix the problem. We need to keep up this conversation and see where it leads.

    Sorry for the too long answer. Other questions welcomed!

    Homer

  16. #16
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    This in no way counts out IOC! I think it could take OAA and opticianry to the next level.
    I hope so. The IOC's purpose is to create consumer demand for service from licensed/certified opticians, you could call it a type of consumer and industy public relations council. The IOC is there to support the functions of national and state organizations and relate those organizations' accomplishments to the public and other opthalmic professionals in a way that makes them confident in opticians.

    A few of us recieved a membership mailer during the week. Under the topic "What is the OAA?" it says the "OAA is the only national organization representing opticianry's business, professional, educational, legislative and regulatory interests." That is a great deal to take on. How does the OAA plan to do all of that effectively? What is currently in place to make advancements in any of these areas? Do you think the OAA can effectively represent opticians in all of these areas?

  17. #17
    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Jo
    The IOC's purpose is to create consumer demand for service from licensed/certified opticians, you could call it a type of consumer and industy public relations council.
    This is exactly it! Well said Jo!


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    Master OptiBoarder Cindy Hamlin's Avatar
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    Homer,
    I don't believe we can have a formidable presence in the optical community without the state societies and the national societies joining together as one. I have seen in my 12 plus years of optical experience a lot of pulling apart, but I am all for anything that brings us together!

    Please tell us more!

    ~Cindy

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    Re: The OAA and Our Future

    Originally posted by Jo
    For those of you following "As OptiBoard Turns," you probably know we have had quite a few Opticianry threads that all point towards the need for strong national organization. However, there appears to be only a few of us posting about the subject.



    My main questions is: Can the OAA lead Opticianry into the future?

    I urge anyone who has a constructive opinion to please post it here.

    Jo:

    The question isn't whether OAA can lead opticianry into the future, the question should be whether opticians are ready to lead themselves into the future. OAA is nothing more than its members. If people join it and demand changes, then OAA will change. If people don't join it, then nothing will and and OAA will likely fold.

    As I stated in my earlier email announcing the state leadership meeting, the time for action is NOW. It's time to fix OAA or move on to something else. Personally, I think OAA needs to be restructured and revitalized so it can truly represent 21th century opticians and their diverse needs. But an organization is only a group of people and their collective wishes. What we need right now is participation from the state leaders in every state to come together at this coming leadership meeting to discuss the issues and begin making the decisions that will set OAA on its future course and but opticianry back on the right track.

    Ed De Gennaro

    PS ... the likely date for the leadership conference is Feb 1 & 2, 2002.

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    Master OptiBoarder Cindy Hamlin's Avatar
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    JO,
    Steve helped me out and I downloaded the internet explorer 5.5 upgrade and I can now get into the chatroom. Have we determined a time for the chat on Sunday? The afternoon would be great for me (after 3pm) as I will be home from church and lunch by then.

    ~Cindy

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    OptiBoard Professional Dannyboy's Avatar
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    OAA?

    Over the years I have belonged to soo many organizations and have NEVER received anything in exchange other than some CE.
    As far as the OAA and NAO are really out of touch with the average optician. I strongly believe that my primary duty is with my state society, then comes the others. The OAA is NOT ready at all to lead opticianry into the future.

    My proposal for a fix is to give all the state societies a say so as to what are the requirements in their particular state for entry into the profession, thus requiring the states societies to define what they want as their educational standards. If you live for example in Florida and the Florida society agrees that they want all their entry opticians to have a Associates degree to be eligible for the ABO and the NCLE, then everyone who sits for the ABO or NCLE in Florida must have an Associates degree prior to allowing them to take the test. Thus it will automatically raise the bar without any legislation. States that have no interest in increasing their education then keep what we have. The ABO and NCLE would have to let these candidates know that the results are invalid unless they meet the states society requirements which should be clearly defined. We cannot fight an uphill battle if it is already lost. See we forget that these associations such as OAA, CLSA, NAO have a say so as to what is the bar that the ABO and NCLE has to require.....

    Another idea that was told to me by an educator is to let the profession to be define by the highest standards in training, which is the colleges. If the ABO and the NCLE has to answer to them then we all know what the results should be. But if the OAA and NAO leaders have vested interests in keeping lower standard then I am definetly NOT interested in their membership.
    I am not in a position to travel to every national convention but I most certainly can do my part in my state. The more democratic the better. Yep, the more I have a say so the better.

    We have the solution in our hands. Lets be brave and do something about it. A terrific idea would be do it nationally but the forces of evil will not let them agree. Our leaders know exactly what the general opinion is about what should be done but .... Proof to us that you guys and gals in the top have no vested interest in keeping the profession the way it is. It is time for a change.

    Dannyboy
    Wicked as ever:o

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    Dannyboy:

    You've got some good ideas here. Openness is a key part of putting opticianry back on track, so it a democractic process. The plan is to have a very participatory state leadership conference in Feb so that ALL opticianry state associations can come together and begin working on the strategies that will turn things around. I think a restructuring of OAA is inevitable ... but that will be decided by the leaders that attend the meeting. I also think there's got to be a very clear and attainable strategic plan that guides OAA's activities, not the executive committee, president or executive director. A strategic plan is continuous, the executive officers and the president change every year. One of OAA's problems ... in my opinion ... is a lack of continuity; they're not consistent. That's why state leaders get upset. One year things look like they're going in this direction, a couple of years later they go in that direction. You can't run an organization like that. It's got to stand for clearly defined and implemented objectives that the membership buys into. Without that, you might as well close the doors to the shop ... any shop.

    The one thing you can do to help improve things right now is to make sure your state leaders (as many as possible) attend this leadership conference.

    Ed De Gennaro

  23. #23
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    Dannyboy:

    I think you are correct. If I read the OAA bylaws correctly, we need to be active in our State Association to effect a change on a national level. We are represented during OAA voting proceedures by State Society members. (Sorry, back on my soapbox for a second. This is why it is important to me that the Connecticut Opticians Association be recognized as a Member Society again. Any ideas if this may happen this year?)

    I think there is a lack of continuity because Opticians, in general, have a hard time defining themselves and who they are. How can you organize a group of people that aren't clearly defined as a profession?

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    Master OptiBoarder Cindy Hamlin's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Jo
    Dannyboy:

    I think there is a lack of continuity because Opticians, in general, have a hard time defining themselves and who they are. How can you organize a group of people that aren't clearly defined as a profession?
    I agree completely, Jo! I will step on my soapbox for a minute here...

    We seem to have a tremendous amount of infighting here. I see (working with states along the east coast) different requirements for licensure between the states and different requirements for reciprosity-even among persons of like credentials, background and education. I received my license in Virginia through apprenticeship, since I have been an optician for about 8 years now, I couldn't be granted reciprosity in about three states I know of. Some states make getting a license an act of God and keeping it a herculean feat!

    I agree there has to be continuity and common vision, but that won't be accomplished until, as Dannyboy said, first we get the state societies fixed and then we get them together on a national level. I have been on a few boards of directors of local interests and ego has to be put aside, "we have always done it this way", and "our way is the only way" and then and only then can we begin the open dialogue that will get us on the same page. Ed Degge maybe the State Leadership Conference's theme should be "CHECK YOUR EGOS AT THE DOOR!"

    That's my truth and I am sticking to it!

    ~Cindy

  25. #25
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    "maybe the State Leadership Conference's theme should be "CHECK YOUR EGOS AT THE DOOR!"


    Cindy:

    That's exactly what we're telling everyone ... check you egos and your weapons at the door and come prepared to work hard on affecting change. Complaining is over. It's time consuming and unproductive. Let's start putting that energy to use in a positive way.

    As far as defining opticians, it's not as complex as it appears. Just search for all the things we have in common and you'll see that there's plenty that binds us. Optometry licensing laws are very diverse but somehow they manage to cope.

    Only we can change the status quo. The time as come for change. I hope everyone will be a part of it.

    Ed De Gennaro

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