(Press Release) ORLANDO, FL – Nearly 500 industry professionals from North and South America recently gathered at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando for the 20th annual Transitions Academy. During the two-day, invitation-only event – themed “Enlighten” – attendees took part in professional development and product technology workshops; heard from experts and educators on marketing and industry trends; and learned from their peers and partners during panel discussions.

During Thursday morning’s opening session, attendees were welcomed with a performance and opening remarks from José Alves, general manager, Americas, and Paddy McDermott, president and chief innovation officer. John Ligas, vice president, R&D, joined his colleagues during the kickoff and spoke about new insights into Transitions Optical’s existing product technology. Ligas gave attendees the knowledge they need to understand the implications of blue light exposure, how harmful blue light is actually present both indoors and outdoors, and how Transitions lenses can provide a measure of protection.

“This Transitions Academy is an important milestone for our company and we are honored to have both long-standing and new partners share in our celebration of partnership and innovation,” says Alves. “We continue to evolve Transitions Academy to meet changing business needs, but have never lost our key vision for the event which is to deliver content that is useful and inspiring to all attendees. After attending this year’s mix of courses and workshops, I am confident attendees will leave inspired and ready to advocate for the Transitions brand.”

The curriculum continued with a keynote address from Josh Linkner, professional speaker and bestselling author of “Disciplined Dreaming and The Road to Reinvention.” Attendees also participated in one of three professional development courses and one of two technology workshops.

“More than ever before, we gave attendees the chance to customize their schedule by allowing them to choose from courses taught by opinion leaders in the industry and outside experts in the fields of marketing, sales, millennials and leadership,” says Alves.

The professional development course options included:

  • Leadership Authenticity and Agility, Mikael Meir, Schulich School of Business, York University
  • Millennials at Work, Dr. Chip Espinoza
  • Effective Negotiating, Dennis Bain, from KARRASS

The technology workshops included:

  • Optics Test Force – Hands-on technology experiences led by the Transitions R&D team
  • Changing Product Perceptions for ECPs, Patients, Staff ... and You – A panel discussion featuring members of the Transitions Pro Forum

Before attendees participated in a Runway to Success interactive exercise led by the experts at Play With A Purpose, Sherianne James, vice president of marketing, set the stage and explained Transitions Optical’s strategy for broadening appeal for the Transitions brand.

Transitions Optical’s new consumer marketing plans for 2016 were unveiled by Vanessa Johns, director, Latin America marketing and Patience Cook, director, North America marketing during the general marketing session. Johns and Cook highlighted 2015 successes and gave a sneak peek at new media and influencer partnerships that are underway. Thierry Robin, chief business officer, rounded out the session with his thoughts on how the widened consumer appeal for the Transitions brand will get its strength from what the industry partners do to act upon it.

Friday’s schedule continued with a best practice panel session featuring the Transitions Innovation Awards finalists. Attendees then participated in two of five industry elective courses, which included:

  • Social Media Essentials, Samantha Toth, Innereative Media
  • Managed Vision Care Insights and Trends, Marge Axelrad, Jobson Optical
  • Sales Workshop: Why Customers Buy and Why They Don’t …, Cyndi Gundy, University of Central Florida
  • Creating a Praiseworthy Shopping Experience, Cyndi Gundy
  • Storytelling, Mark Hinton, eYeFacilitate

After an afternoon of action-planning workshops, attendees reconvened together once more to hear closing thoughts from Alves and Catherine Rauscher, global director, lenscaster sales. Drew Smith, associate director, North America channels led Transitions Optical’s 2015 Transitions Innovation Awards program, and named New Look Eyewear as the winner of Best in Marketing; Visionworks as the winner of Best in Training; VisionArts Eyecare Center as the winner of Best in Patient Experience; Henry Ford OptimEyes as the winner of Best in Growth; and Eric White, O.D., as the 2015 Transitions Brand Ambassador.

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