Vision Expo+ East 2021, Virtually there

Free Registration link to follow below

Life has felt like it’s been standing still, suspended in a strange state of limbo, over the last 14 months since COVID restrictions took effect. Without the ability to travel, my feet have been firmly planted in my optical shop, while my passport collects dust. It has been easier to accept because all of us are going through it together, longing for the industry events we enjoy every year. Vision Expo East and West, are events which I have been attending religiously for the past 6 years. After I attended my first Vision Expo I was hooked. I was like a kid in a candy store (where calories don’t count), not only had I never seen so much eyewear in one place, I was surrounded by the best and brightest minds in the eyecare industry. Vision Expo has come to be an event that lights a fire in me, and being with so many like minded Optical peers, envelopes me in a bubble of enthusiasm for 3 days that results in me being a better Optician and business owner for months to come.

While these events had been postponed due to the pandemic, I could continue to mark my calendar and let my excitement grow. Vision Expo East 2021 was announced, June 2-5 in a new city and venue, Orlando, Florida. I could finally focus on a return to the event I consider a jumpstart of excitement for the new season in optical each time I attend.

Then reality hit, and all the excitement and anticipation for my return to Vision Expo East 2021 turned into a big case of FOMO, because international travel restrictions are still in effect and as a Canadian I can’t attend in person (without mandatory 14 day quarantine, which doesn’t work for a small business owner such as myself). 

But Vision Expo and The Vision Council is not going to let those of us who are unable, or understandably unready to travel, miss out on the experience of Vision Expo that we have all come to know and love.

Enter VisionExpo+, a free digital extension of the live in person event taking place in Orlando. From June 3-5 through the online platform ShopVISION registrants can participate simultaneously with the live events taking place at Vision Expo. All the events taking place at SEEN, a dynamic new main stage designed for collaborative learning will be simulcast LIVE on the shopVISION platform. This includes the massively insightful EYE2EYE series panels and discussions. I’ve marked my calendar Thursday, June 3 from 12-12:45pm EST (9am-9:45am PST), to watch liveBuilding a More Inclusive Work Environment“.  Moderated by the always fabulous Dr. Danielle Richardson. This panel will discuss diversity, equity and inclusion principles that can be utilized in any organization, regardless of how big or small your team is. A couple hours later I will be front and center at my computer screen at 4:30-5:30pm EST (1:30-2:30 PST), cheering on the remarkable Dr. Diana Canto-Sims, Optometrist and eyewear designer at La Vida eyewear, who will be moderating Removing Barriers Between You and Your Multicultural Patients”. The panel discussion will focus on exploring how to provide high quality care for a diverse population of patients and most importantly how to integrate cultural competencies in your approach to patient interactions. 

Then on Friday from from 2:30-4:30pm EST (11:30pm-1:30pm PST), I will be listening and learning more about the results of The Vision Council’s 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey Report during a panel titled, “Opening Your Eyes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: A Review of The Vision Council’s DE&I Initiatives and 2020 Survey Results.” The results of the survey and discussion by this diverse panel of industry leaders will offer insight on the balance and direction of our industries’ inclusiveness. 

The best part is if these times conflict with your availability, for the first time ever, you won’t miss out, because the recorded sessions will be available to view on ShopVISION platform starting Monday, June 7th. 

What is notably my favorite part of Vision Expo is seeing and selecting the newest frame styles to bring into my Optical shop, and this will also all be made possible through the ShopVISION marketplace virtual platform. You can source and stumble across new brands, just as you would walking the show floor. Search options results can be delivered by completing a quick questionnaire during registration and filling out each section of your profile will have you matched with the products you’re looking for. You can also browse by category, by brands or check out what’s trending to see what is exciting other attendee’s. 

Through the ShopVISION platform you can build relationships and chat with suppliers 24/7 via the messaging option and schedule meetings on your calendar. I think this is great because you can ask anything! I suggest writing a list of your top 5 questions to ask a new supplier. Save it on your notepad so you can easily copy and paste in the chat option when you come across a supplier you are interested in. I feel this year I am actually going to be able to connect with more vendors this way because I won’t be so tight on time. 

Lastly don’t forget to follow to engage with fellow attendee’s and share what you’ve found on social media by tagging @vision.expo @thevisioncouncil  #VisionExpo

For FREE registration the VISION EXPO+ click the link:  http://bit.ly/RegisterShopVISIONSheena