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Maureen Cavanagh Named President to Succeed Heather Smith as President of OWA

DALLAS—After serving the Optical Women’s Association (OWA) board for four years, Heather Smith has accepted a role outside the optical industry and, as a result, has resigned her position as OWA president. Effective immediately, the board has unanimously voted Maureen Cavanagh as OWA president, succeeding Smith, the board of directors said in an announcement.


“The OWA is deeply grateful for Heather’s contributions to the growth and development of the association. We wish her every success in her new journey,” said Christie Walker, OWA immediate past president. “Equally, we are thrilled to welcome Maureen to the role of president and anticipate continued successes through her leadership.”


Cavanagh has assumed the role of president for the remaining term of 15 months. A member of the association for many years and 2015 Pleiades Award winner, Cavanagh brings numerous years of OWA and industry service experience to her new role. She has served the OWA in various capacities, including Professional Development Fund co- chair and director of the board.


Cavanagh has been in the optical industry for more than 24 years and currently serves as resident, Vision Impact Institute, a global non-profit organization focused on raising awareness about the importance of healthy vision, including the socio-economic impact of Uncorrected Refractive Errors (URE) and quality of life benefits of visual correction. She is also the current executive sponsor of the Essilor Women’s Network.


“The OWA boasts a long history of strong female leadership, and I am both honored and humbled to have been selected to serve as president of this amazing association,” said Cavanagh. “Enhancing the leadership of women throughout the optical industry is not only good for their personal growth, but it is a significant benefit to those companies that support the OWA’s efforts to embrace and encourage diversity.”


The OWA executive committee members are Tiara Claxton, vice president, Jean Sabre, secretary/treasurer, and Christie Walker, immediate past president. The current OWA board of directors includes: Katherine Allen, Robyn Crimmins, Jennifer Jackson, Janet Johnson, Lorie Lippiatt, OD, and Deborah Myres. Each of these talented women was chosen for career achievements and commitment to the OWA's goals of Connecting, Inspiring and Leading women in the optical industry, the organization said.