Diva of The Week – Sally Mina, OD

Ambassador - Dalla, TX Chapter

The featured Diva for this week is Dr. Sally Mina. Read the feature to discover why Sally believes every decision is a learning experience. 

1. Tell us a little bit about you?

I immigrated to the US from EGYPT when I was 11 years old, grew up in Delaware where I attended undergrad and earned a dual BA in biological Sciences and English Literature. I am 8 years married to a wonderful husband who I have known since I was 16. We are blessed with 3 beautiful children and an amazing extended family all over the US. We moved to North Texas in 2015 and have enjoyed growing as a family and exploring this side of the country

2. What made you decide to become in Optometrist?

I have always hoped to become an eye doctor since I was a child and underwent extraocular muscle surgery to correct for a traumatic bilateral eye turn at the age of 5 after a fall. I remember distinctly having both eyes bandaged and receiving shots following surgery. I then received care from my local ophthalmologist for many years until moved to the US.

In Egypt, Optometry was not a career option. We only had Ophthalmologists and Opticians. So when I discovered Optometry during a high school research project exploring my future career, I was thrilled. The decision to finally pursue Optometry stemmed from being mentored by an amazing Optometrist in Delaware, Dr. Alton Williams. He is a pioneer in the profession and after seeing his dedication and passion for optometry, it opened my eyes to the endless possibilities. The quality of life and work balance offered by this profession were also very appealing.

3. What Optometry school did you go to?

Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University

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

I practice in Plano Texas, a growing suburb outside of Dallas and I serve the surrounding communities. I focus on Ocular Surface disease management with an emphasis on Dry Eye Disease

5. Why did you join Optometry Divas?

I never committed to any membership within the profession before Optometry Divas. The mission of Optometry Divas to empower, connect and promote the success of women ODs aligns perfectly with my passion for elevating women. I also felt a great sense of genuine comradery, understanding and care from the community and I knew this is the organization in which I would be proud to become an active member and leader.

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

After completing my residency in Baltimore MD, I sought out previous intern sites that I admired for possible employment. There was a particular practice that was well known in North Delaware and Maryland and that I admired as a student. I knew they were hiring, so I reached out to them and we went through an interview process. Unfortunately, I was not offered the position. As a young naïve professional, I took it to heart. However, I have repeatedly learned in my life, especially in my career, that when a door closes, God opens another one. It turned out to be a good thing that I wasn't hired because right after, I found an AMAZING practice in Maryland. It was owned by a phenomenal leader, Dr. Lisa Feulner. Dr. Feulner became a life, and professional, mentor. She is a successful surgeon whose values and patient care were perfectly aligned with how I'd hoped to practice Optometry.

A few years later, I moved to Texas. I got a job as an associate OD in a corporate setting. I was working 9-6, six days a week. Although the income I generated in that setting helped me pay my student loans, it made it difficult to have any life balance with my young family. The toll on my family was too much, so I eventually left that job for a new position at a nursing-home setting. The schedule was better, but I didn't like their patient care philosophy. I've always held myself to a very high standard when it comes to the quality of care I provide for my patients. However, I did not feel I could provide that kind of care in that setting and that wasn't going to work for me. In spite of the challenges, these experiences turned out to be very good for me, because they help me find the courage to start my own practice. My family deserves the best of me and my patients deserve the best care. In own practice, I am finally able to do both.

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

My best advice would be to "Look at the bigger picture of life beyond school and plan out your future as an adult!" I am the first doctor in my immediate family. However, after graduation, I did not really feel prepared for the real world. Although, I admire all of the sacrifices my parents, and siblings, put forth as an immigrant family, to help me pursue my dreams; I wish I had more guidance on what to do after graduation. Navigating the thin line between my family life and professional career without proper guidance, was very difficult. However, I don't regret anything including all the mistakes, because I've discovered that every decision is a learning experience. And, if something doesn't work out, it means there's something much better around the corner.

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