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Sanity Files

From Girl Friday to Office Manager, How One Asheville ECP Stays Sane

She loves “taking a negative and turning it into a positive.”

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Jessika Arena The Eye Center, Asheville, NC

Eleven years into her optical industry tenure and Jessika Arena, office manager of The Eye Center in Asheville, NC, has solidly turned her “Girl Friday” job into a bonafide career. “I actually enjoy customer service issues,” she says. “I like the challenge of taking a negative and turning it into a positive.” But at the end of the day it’s their independence she loves the most. “My favorite thing about managing an optometric practice is that we are independent, we get to make (most) of our own rules, and our staff is like family.” Then there is her actual family, Izzy, the wonder pug, her 5-year-old daughter, Guinevere, and her husband, Michael. “He’s been my sounding board since I started in this industry. Sometimes I take his advice, sometimes I leave it, but he’s always there to listen.”

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 21 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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Sanity Files

This ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ Optical Manager Has Found Her Calling

And she has the wardrobe to prove it.

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Christine Howard
Attleboro Vision Attleboro, MA

Some people have careers, some have callings. Considering Christine Howard, optical manager of Attelboro Vision, couldn’t even come up with three things she didn’t like about managing an optical business, we’re pretty sure she qualifies as the latter … The outfit clinches it. But callings still have their challenges. At the end of a tough day, Christine relies on the unconditional love of her fur babies “who always make me smile” and the support of a husband “who lets me vent about my day.” She and her husband believe in the idea of “work hard, play hard” and “actively try to make traveling and unique experiences” a regular part of their lives to help relieve stress.

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Sanity Files

Travel, Good Food and a Handsome Man in Uniform Keep this OD in the Proper Headspace

She has lots of ways to de-stress.

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Nytarsha Thomas, OD Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN

Dr. Nytarsha Thomas loves being a practice owner. “I get to be creative and execute my own ideas,” she says. “I get to lead and motivate the members of my team, and — theoretically — make my own hours and report only to myself.” All great things … but ownership has its downfalls too. “When we are short-staffed, I fill in everywhere. I am also the last one to get paid so if we have a bad month my take home is zero, and all unreasonable patients are sent my way. Though rare, I have lost sleep over angry patients that I couldn’t do anything to appease.” Luckily, she has lots of ways she likes to de-stress, often with husband Tobe, baby Carter and pup Capri, and sometimes all by herself. “After a long day, I pour myself a large glass of cran-mango juice and watch the cheesiest Christmas theme romantic comedy on Netflix after Carter has gone to bed.”

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Sanity Files

Motorcycles, Guns and Glasses, Dave Goodrich is the Poetry Quoting Optician

He’s got it in his blood.

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David S. Goodrich

Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI

A second-generation optician, Dave has the industry in his blood. Despite that longevity, he hasn’t had two days that are the same in a “long, long time.” He loves the “variety of problems,” creative repairs and educating patients, not “just selling glasses.” His favorite part is “making a difference.” And when the “business” of eyecare — HIPAA, insurance billing — gets him down, “I’ll throttle on some backcountry roads,” he says. “Riding requires me to stay focused. Between potholes, wildlife and idiots on cellphones, I have to constantly be aware of my surroundings.” He’ll even throw a tent on the bike and disappear for a long weekend to disconnect and recharge.

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