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One OD’s Journey Into Practice Ownership

And why her first piece of advice is to keep your eye on the prize.




AS LONG AS I can remember I wanted to be an optometrist and a practice owner. I had amazing mentors along the way, starting with my own optometrist and my first pair of glasses I received as a young myope in second grade. My mom begged him to put me in contacts in third grade and my life was forever changed. The moments I live for in practice are helping a child not only see clearly but see their confidence instantly grow the moment you give them the opportunity to shine.

Growing up in a family furniture business, I learned the value of hard work from a young age. My mom blessed me with time management and my dad blessed me with an extroverted personality. Necessary skills for a student as well as a competitive dancer and cheerleader. I always knew I wanted to own a business and be a doctor so optometry was a natural fit. I saw my mentors see patients, run their business and have a family, which I also knew I wanted.

Fast forward 20 years, I graduated optometry school, completed my residency, and walked into a local practice in Fort Lauderdale. I knew I had hit the jackpot. Yes, it needed a little facelift but I knew Dr. Garmizo had built an amazing, forward-thinking practice, with a great team and great patients. I joined him in 2010 with a contract to buy into 50% of the practice in 2015 with a full buy out seven years later. A short 13 years later, I am the official owner of a wonderful practice and the future has never looked brighter.

Why do I share this with you? As we start a new year, it all begins with your vision. If you are looking through a cloudy lens, your team, your patients and those around you will also. As we take care of our patients’ vision every day, it’s important to get a clear picture of your vision and stay true to it. It’s then you will see true success. Your circumstances may change and you will be thrown curve balls but that is part of this wonderful journey. I am not saying mine is all rainbows, but it all starts with your attitude. As we live in a success theater environment — our lives on display on Instagram and TikTok — it is easy to feel inadequate. To get out of this trap, take a step back and define what success looks like for you. It is going to be completely different than what success looks like for me. It’s all about the journey … even though we all love to share just the destination!

Let yourself dream outside of the exam lane and away from your business. Write it down, share it and watch your story unfold. Identify your mental blocks and work through them. By letting your guard down and asking for help, your team will surprise and invigorate you if you give them the opportunity.

As you head into the new year, what are four goals that when you hit them by the end of 2024 will have you high-fiving everyone around you? Break those down into quarters and celebrate the wins along the way. When you step into your life and your practice with this kind of enthusiasm and attitude, everyone around you — including you — wins.



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