The Vision Council Launches Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force

The Vision Council is proud to announce the launch of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. Launching as part of the organization’s larger brand reimagination focused on community-building and industry growth. The announcement of the task force follows The Vision Council’s recent unveiling of a redesigned logo and new website designed to better serve and accommodate the needs of members and the vision care community at large.

Comprised of 13 vision care community leaders, the task force’s mission is to amplify and embrace everyone’s voice within all segments of the vision industry in order to push forward a more equitable agenda for the eyewear and eyecare industry and to build a more diverse and inclusive community. The task force will be charged with developing dynamic programming and community initiatives and also identifying goals for the industry in order to provide actionable pathways for members to access.

Taskforce members include:

  • Dr. Derrick Artis – Management Consultant at Artis Consulting
  • Lanard Atkins – Opticianry Program Director at Georgia Piedmont Technical College
  • Dr. Diana Canto-Sims – Co-Founder at Buena Vista Optical and Designer at La Vida Eyewear
  • Gai Gherardi – Co-Founder at l.a.Eyeworks
  • Rebecca Giefer – CEO, Americas at MODO Eyewear
  • Dr. Millicent Knight – SVP, Customer Development Group at Essilor
  • Blake Kuwahara – President/CEO, Focus Group West and Creative Director, Blake Kuwahara Eyewear
  • Dr. Howard Purcell – President and CEO at New England College of Optometry
  • Dr. Danielle Richardson – Independent Optometrist at Optometrix
  • Tiffany Smith – Regional Director of Doctor Recruitment at National Vision
  • Phernell Walker – Director of Optometric Relations at VSP Ventures
  • Kyly Zak Rabin – Co-Founder at Zak.
  • Christine Yeh – Executive Editor at 20/20 Magazine

The launch of the task force builds upon The Vision Council’s recent efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the industry. In 2019, The Vision Council conducted one of the first studies of diversity in leadership for the optical industry, the results of which were intended to benchmark the optical leadership landscape and illuminate the opportunities companies have to promote diversity, cultivate talent, and improve their performance. The Vision Council shared these results at the annual Executive Summit in January 2020, marking an important starting point in gathering information and data that would allow The Vision Council to foster a more inclusive vision care community. The creation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce demonstrates our commitment to following through on this goal.

Additionally, over the past few months, The Vision Council and Vision Expo dedicated its Virtual EYE2EYE Series “Coffee Talk” conversations to the theme of “Open Your Eyes” and discussed the current state of diversity and inclusion in the eyecare industry and what is needed to build a more equitable agenda in eyecare with leading industry voices.

Details on additional upcoming Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and programming will be announced in the coming months. For more information on the task force, contact Tarrence Lackran, Director of Programming and Partnerships, at

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