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The importance of discovering your professional purpose


Finding your purpose or calling within your profession can lead to a more fulfilling career. Leslie E. O'Dell, OD, FAAO, shares how one OD used her "why" to create a new CE event.

Casey Hogan, OD, FAAO, presenting at the CE event.

The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

Finding what motivates you and identifying your purpose within your career is part of growing as a professional. We all have our reasons for getting up each day and going to work, but what causes us to go above and beyond and make a difference in the world?

Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) recently hosted its first ever Ocular Surface Congress in Chicago. I was asked to present alongside an integrated group of MDs and ODs. It was a packed house.

Previously from Dr. O'Dell: Why meibography can be a game-changer in treating dry eye

What made this event different from other continued education (CE) events was its message, purpose, heart, and founders. This meeting gave back to a cause-what a novel concept.

The founders

The team effort of Casey Hogan, OD, FAAO; Jennifer S. Harthan, OD, FAAO; and Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO, resulted in a top-notch program with a purpose.

$5,000 check presented to the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation from ICO.

Service is a big part of the founders’ lives.

Dr. Hogan is part of many organizations, including Special Olympics, in her community. Dr. Harthan devotes much of her time to researching corneal disease and specialty contact lenses. Dr. Eiden is president and founder of the International Keratoconus Academy of Eye Care Professionals.

During the event, ICO donated $5,000 to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation.

Inspired by Simon Sinek’s book Find Your Why, Dr. Hogan shared with colleagues her vision of CE with a purpose.

Related: Diagnosing and treating Sjögren's syndrome

For Dr. Hogan, her why was simple. She was diagnosed at a young age with Lupus and Sjögren’s syndrome. Her passion is to educate others about Sjögren’s syndrome.

This team worked for over a year to bring their vision to a reality.

New thinking paves new paths

You cannot help but be inspired when spending time with Dr. Hogan. Her work ethic and dedication help motivate those around her to go out into the world and do more. Her passion is strong, and her heart is big.

Finding your passion is important. For so many of us, optometry is a common bond. We are passionate about our profession and want to make a difference. Whatever inspires you each day, keep up the hard work, but take notes from Drs. Hogan, Harthan, Eiden, and their team at ICO. Try something different to help make a difference.

Read more from Dr. O'Dell here

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