Charlene Trinidad, OD, made a stop during her travels back to Los Angeles, California, for optometry school graduation after completing her final clinical rotation in Denver, Colorado. Instead of heading to the bright lights of Las Vegas, she drove to Henderson, Nevada, just 20 miles away from the tourist destination. Dr. Trinidad had a job interview that she couldn’t pass up, and it went so well that she secured a dream starting position before she even received her diploma from Western University of Health Sciences. “In school, we focus on excelling academically when it comes to all of the technicalities of prescriptions and the many details in our textbooks,” Dr. Trinidad says. “I knew I wanted to be a great doctor as I went through my classes, but I also knew I wanted to be strong on the business side. My experience as an associate and managing OD at Kopolow and Girisgen, OD, PC, has helped me fulfill both of these goals.”
The practice has 20 doctors in 13 locations in the Las Vegas area. As a managing OD, Dr. Trinidad holds leadership responsibility in the Henderson office as well as working closely with the independent contractors who provide care and services for the practice. “I’m involved in how the business operates, from staffing and billing, to staying up to date on new technology.”
The community is another reason Dr. Trinidad loves her job. “This area is a big melting pot that attracts so many people from different walks of life and from all around the country and world,” she says. “It’s been a great learning experience.” With opportunities to work with this diverse base of patients, she adds that it’s so meaningful to see the impact on her patients, especially with those who come to the office thinking that the scope of optometry ends with eyeglasses and contact lenses. “I’ve seen those life-changing moments, and those patients value the relationship with their optometrist because of those experiences.”
More recently, Dr. Trinidad has had some guest speaking opportunities at her alma mater to provide advice to soon-to-be graduates. She’s thankful for the opportunity to be transparent and honest about her career. “Fresh out of school, the mentality may be that your career is handed to you on a silver platter,” Dr. Trinidad says. “Learn how to be self-sufficient, make moves toward your goals and celebrate your accomplishments, but then use them to push yourself forward.” She embraces a mentality that “dreams won’t work unless I do,” and she reminds students to make time for what they really love outside of the office. For her, that means taking time to educate her community on eye health as well as volunteering for a local animal shelter.
What will be next for Dr. Trinidad? She says that she sees herself in an ownership role in her future. “I don’t believe in complacency,” she says. “The more success I have, the more I want to embrace the next opportunities fully as they come along.” So she’s focused on building her reputation as a doctor who loves what she’s doing—and letting it show and shine.