2022 Thought Leader of the Year Nominee - Orlando, FL
Tell us a little bit about you?
I'm originally from Harrisburg, PA and moved to Florida after graduating from Optometry school in 2019. I recently married my college sweetheart a year ago in March 2021. We don't have kids yet but we love to travel with each other. One unique thing about me is that I'm the first African-American to graduate from a 3-year accelerated scholars optometry program! Now, I enjoy creating content on my social media channel @askdrnish and encouraging young students to pursue Optometry.
What is your why for doing what you do?
Creating my "AskDrNish" online brand stemmed from wanting to document my own journey through Optometry school to show others who look like me that they can do it too! Soon thereafter, I realized that I could use my platform for so much more. Approximately 3% of practicing O.D.s identify as Black or African American, yet we make up 13% of the U.S. population. Early exposure to the younger generation can make all of the difference, and social media is helping me do that! I use my platforms to advocate for diversity in Optometry, encourage the younger generation to pursue the profession and educate anyone who will listen on eye health!
What contribution have you made to the profession that is most meaningful to you?
Being the first African-American to be admitted to and graduate from an accelerated 3-year optometry program is one of the most meaningful contributions I've made to the profession (and anyone who wishes to follow in my footsteps!). There were many days where I wanted to give up, but I thought about the doors I would be opening and the barriers I'd be breaking. I'm happy to be the first and I KNOW I'm not going to be the last.
How would you use being the recipient of this award to empower other women ODs?
Receiving this award would mean so much to me! This would allow me to show the younger women ODs that you don't have to be 5-10 years in practice to make a difference. You can start making a difference NOW by being true to yourself, telling your story and empowering others.
What advice would you give to someone who looks up to you as a role model?
Understand that there is no one like you. My mother always said, “Just be you.” By being yourself and staying true to your beliefs, success will find its way to you.
This Thanksgiving, you’ll gather around the table and tell your friends and family that you are thankful for them. As the holiday approaches, you should make an effort to do the same thing for your patients. After all, they are the people who keep your practice going year after year.