Diva of The Week – Erika Cox, OD

Ambassador Candidate - Memphis, TN Chapter

The featured Diva for this week is Dr. Erika Cox. Read the feature to discover why Erica believes Optometry chose her. 

1. Tell us a little bit about you?

I was born and raised in Memphis, TN and returned home from Atlanta in 2010. I have two sisters who am I extremely close to, one is a dentist and one is an ophthalmologist who is an oculoplastic surgeon. I absolutely love trying new recipes, spending time with my dog Scruffy and collecting vintage designer handbags.

2. What made you decide to become in Optometrist?

I always love this question because I feel like optometry chose me! I was planning on becoming an anesthesiologist, however after a shadowing program I participated in, I began working with an optometrist. She opened my eyes to the world of optometry so I applied to SCO as a backup to medical school. Somehow during the process I was admitted into optometry school before hearing back from the medical schools I applied to. I took it as a sign that optometry was meant for me! Of course I am grateful for how things turned out because I couldn’t be happier with the work I do! Quick side note: when I was in third grade a church member gave me a VHS tape about SCO and it’s program and said to me “one day you may be a student there!” Talk about manifesting the future!!!

3. What Optometry school did you go to?

Southern College of Optometry

4. Where do you currently practice and do you offer any specialty services?

Infocus Eyecare in Cordova, TN and Local Eyes in Memphis, TN

5. Why did you join Optometry Divas?

For the sisterhood! I am so excited to be able have a group of women who not only understand what I go through daily as a professional but who may also share some of the same experiences or at least relate on a personal level.

6. Name 1 to 3 hurdles you personally faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

One hurdle I always like to mention is that as optometrists we are trained as clinicians, not business owners! We are taught how to take great care of our patients but that is it. When we enter the world, excited and ready to work, we are only prepared for working for someone else or going into the family business, if you have that option.

When I decided I no longer wanted to work for someone else and to start my own practice, I quickly realized that I had no idea of how to even begin the process. Luckily I am an observant person and soaked up a lot of information working for other people. And I did my research and reached out to people that could give me trusted business advice! I basically built a team that supported me all the way through. I will say it is getting better in that schools are offering placement services for students and some schools are even offering an OD/MBA program.

I think another hurdle I have had to deal with is feeling like I belong in the field of optometry. It’s no secret that it was a male dominated field for years. Going to meetings or continuing education and feeling like I wasn’t being heard or taken seriously was something I had to deal with. I overcame that by rallying with fellow female optometrists and also knowing my worth as not only a woman but a doctor. Knowing that we are as much apart of this optometric world and bring as much value to it as any other male OD.

7. If you could go back to when you were a student, what advice would you give yourself?

Stop planning so much and live in the moment! It’s great to have a plan but plans will always change, so be flexible and enjoy what’s going on around you.

To contact Dr. Cox visit her website at https://infocuscordova.com or email her directly at [email protected].

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