By Lynn Hammonds, OD, 2018 SECO President
My family was instrumental in modeling and encouraging me to live a life of service. My parents always demonstrated the importance of giving of your time and talents and they believed that “actions always spoke louder than words.”
My involvement with SECO International began after I served as President of the Alabama Optometric Association. That experience sparked my passion in serving optometry in a wider capacity, and I naturally gravitated to SECO International as the next step and a home to grow my career. Many of the optometry colleagues whom I respected and aspired to emulate were involved with SECO, so I searched for an opportunity to become involved as well.
As luck would have it, through the efforts of Doug Clark, OD; Bob Crosby, OD; Gerald Thomas, OD; and Dick Phillips, OD, I was appointed to the SECO Awards Committee. Once I became involved, I discovered that SECO was all about bringing good people together in constructive ways to make better decisions for the organization and for the profession. SECO is like being in a family where everyone has the same goal—to see SECO remain the leader in delivering optometric education around the world and serving the industry.
SECO leadership approached me about serving on the Executive Committee, with an eye toward serving as president one day. As a woman in optometry, this was a rare and exciting opportunity to lend my leadership experience. After considering the level of commitment necessary to such an intimidating task, I said “yes,” and the rest is history.
Serving as president has been a challenge and privilege. I have seen firsthand how important it is to have a good team of volunteers and staff to take an organization’s vision and dreams and accomplish its goals. The foresight of everyone on the team helps us understand the lessons from the past, the realities of the present and the likely consequences of a decision we make now for the future. With all the changes taking place in our industry and profession, having a knowledgeable, hardworking and committed team dedicated to SECO’s success is priceless. SECO strives to be the best—we make it our mission to find unknown speakers and uncover the latest advancements. As a nonprofit association, we’re laser-focused on the value we give to participants and advancing the industry as a whole.
I hope that my serving as SECO’s president will open the door for other women in optometry who have the desire to serve their profession. I’m the second woman to serve as president in SECO’s history; the first was Dr. Esther Ingram from Florida, all the way back in 1933. She was a pioneer, and I’m sure she would agree when I say that I would not take anything for my years of service with SECO, the opportunity afforded to me to serve as SECO’s President, and the many friends I have made along the way. To paraphrase from Alex Haley, the author of Roots, “Anytime you see a turtle up on top of a fence post, you know she had some help.” This is so true for me!
I hope I’ll see more of my female colleagues at SECO this year. The event is held February 28 through March 4 at the Georgia World Congress in Atlanta. More information can be found at www.attendSECO.com.
I’ll be joining Women In Optometry Professional Co-editors April Jasper, OD, FAAO, and Katie Gilbert-Spear, OD, MPH, at the Saturday Lunch Symposium, March 3, in Amphitheater A3. Located in Georgia World Congress Center, Building A. You must register for this event.