Cheryl Engels OD, MBA
Elite Diva - St. Pete Beach, FL
The featured Diva of the week is Dr. Cheryl Engels. Read the feature to learn why Cheryl believes you should never give up on yourself and your dreams.
1. Tell us a little bit about you?
I grew up in Rhode Island and practiced Optometry for many years there. I had 2 private practices in Rhode Island, one that I bought on the verge of bankruptcy and one that I started cold. I built them both into successful business and sold them to move to Florida. I now live in Pass-a-Grille, a small historic section on St Pete Beach, Florida with a very low key island vibe. I am addicted to the coast.
I have a life partner named Hobie who is a retired Hospice RN. He and I are best friends and we share a beautiful German Shepherd named Preciosa! We started a business buying and renting vacation homes 9 years ago and now we also have a new beach shop called Island Life featuring a private label frame line as well as lots of fun other stuff including wine!
2. What made you decide to become an Optometrist?
I chose Optometry because it was one of the few professions, that offered me the freedom to pursue all of my passions. I wanted to be a medical provider and I also had a very strong drive to run a small business, so Optometry was a perfect fit!
My Dad had a HVAC company when I was young. Starting at age 7 or 8, I spent most of my summers tagging along with him to work. It was my job to calculate the hours worked and the parts used on a job, and then write the invoice and present it to the customer for payment. I loved it!
I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at a young age for sure. I still use that same solar calculator I used on the job back in the 70’s! Can you believe it? It still works!
After practicing Optometry for a few years, in 2006 I went back to school to get my MBA. Armed with new knowledge, I felt more empowered to help others succeed like I had succeeded in my practices. Shortly thereafter, I began consulting with ODs and MDs to help them reach their practice goals. I had found my new calling!
3. What Optometry school did you go to?
Southern California College of Optometry
4. Where do you currently practice?
After practicing for many years, I now own a unique optical and do consulting for ODs to help them reach their private or corporate practice goals.
5. Do you have any particular area of focus?
I love creating unique optical settings focused on offering unique eyewear.
6. Name 1 to 3 hurdles you personally faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
I always felt I was cruising along in my career then in 2017 I was in a bad car accident. I was hit from behind and suffered a pretty severe concussion. After the accident, I was not able to remember certain words and had a difficult time putting my thoughts together. This made it difficult for me to function.
These symptoms lasted for quite some time and no matter how hard I worked in therapy, I just couldn’t get better. The therapists would tell me that I was doing well and sometimes things never go back to normal after brain injury. They told me to just accept things the way they were, but I refused to give up.
I finally sought help from a neuropsychologist who got me started with Cognitive Rehabilitation, a set of interventions that aim to improve a person’s ability to perform cognitive tasks by retraining previously learned skills and teaching compensatory strategies. After a lot of hard work it paid off!
This experience taught me to never give up on myself and my dreams and neither should you. If you have the will, you will find a way!
7. If you could go back to when you were a student, what advice would you give yourself?
I love the path I took and where I am now but I wish I would delegated more from the beginning. As a new grad and practice owner, I had put so much on my shoulders. It took a while to let staff do things that I thought I should do myself.
To my surprise, when I began delegating tasks to my staff, they had a sense of accomplishment. That in turn made them more efficient and happy employees. They began to thank me for letting them learn and reach new goals. As a result of delegating taks to my staff, I was less stressed, my team was happier and my practice was more profitable.
Do you have a product or side business you’d like for us to include in your feature? If so, write a brief description of the product and/or service below plus the link where the readers can learn more about it.
After 15 years working as a Senior Consultant with a national optometric consulting company, I recently decided to leave that company and work independently. This has afforded me the ability to give more individualized attention to my clients.
I work with ODs at both private practices and corporate settings and love, love, love seeing them reach their goals. I feel honored and privileged to have worked with over 700 practices. Even after all this time, I still get excited when I get a new client. I just love helping people succeed!
How to Contact Dr. Engels
If you’d like to connect with me to see if I can help you reach your practice goals, you can email me at [email protected] or call me at 401-864-4495.
I look forward to helping you reach your practice goals!
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