Ellen Adams

ASOA: The Fertilizer for my Career Growth

Despite 16 years as a technician, when I finished my MBA and got my first administrator job I was, to put it mildly, clueless.  Arrogance (I had an MBA!) was soon overshadowed by confusion and dismay.  I considered trying to get my tech job back.

My career was starting to wilt as fast as a daisy in a drought. 

Just as I was about to throw in the trowel I was fortunate to meet an administrator who encouraged me to join ASOA.  Soon I met other ASOA members, who were warm and welcoming.  I felt new optimism for my career.  I started attending meetings as often as possible and, with the help of ASOA members, figured out how to get the most out of attendance.  I devoured ASOA news; soon I found myself volunteering for ASOA.  My career was not just developing sturdy roots, it was blooming.

I consider ASOA to be a key factor in my success.  Being an administrator can be a lonely business, but ASOA has a strong peer network with others who face the same challenges, pitfalls and successes as I do.   Adding volunteerism has helped me grow in other ways and given me exposure to public speaking, writing, and committee participation. 

ASOA helps grows each member into a strong, professional individual, with tools to succeed in the overwhelming business of ophthalmic administration.  After years of strengthening my own roots, I feel fortunate to be able to help my peers now, and find myself looking out for wilting daisies to offer them encouragement and ASOA information – a little fertilizer for their renewal and growth.

Ellen Adams, MBA, COMT
Ophthalmic Consultant of Boston

Traci Kim

A Rewarding Career Jump Started by ASOA

This spring I will celebrate 20 years in ophthalmology management and 20 years with ASOA. Looking back to the winter of 1996 I had no idea how dramatically my life was about to change. I was working at a hospital in Chicago but decided to interview for a position in management with an ophthalmology practice in Mid-Michigan.  What was I doing? I knew nothing about eye care, but I decided I was ready for a change. Shortly after the interview I heard the words, “You’re hired.” Outwardly, I leapt for joy, but inside my heart sank as I wondered how I would possibly prepare myself for the first day on the job.

Little did I know, the physician who hired me had a plan. The smartest thing he did was send me straight to the ASOA annual symposium before I even stepped foot in his office for my first day of work.  In April 1996, I flew to Seattle to experience the best training ground I could have ever asked for to prepare me for the world of ophthalmology. That was a conference I will never forget. I saw videos of cataract surgery (which I survived). I soaked up every lecture and took volumes of notes. I was never more overwhelmed in my life, but I was also never more energized. At the very least, I left the conference knowing what I didn’t know, which made my first day on the job a little less intimidating. I can’t measure the ways that conference helped me in the first months on the job. It paved the way for a long and successful career as an ophthalmic administrator.

Looking back through the years, there has been no other single resource that has guided me as surely as ASOA. Annual conferences, webinars, expert consultants and the valuable ListServ are with me daily to provide direction and affirmation in my role and ensure I steer our practice into a healthy future.   Twenty years ago I never could have anticipated how medicine would evolve, how technology would become both a blessing and a curse, or how the miracle of LASIK and lens implants would transform patients’ lives. I do know I am grateful to be a part of this remarkable specialty. Now that I have a few years on me, I am able to give back to ASOA and to others who might just be starting their exciting careers in eye care. 

So, thank you ASOA. Thank you for providing a place of guidance, advocacy and perspective. I will continue to lean on you as much tomorrow as I did that first day on the job!


Traci J. Kim, MA, CMPE
Complete Eye Care