February 25th, 2022
Hello from Sabbatical!
I am celebrating my seven years as owner of Helmus Optometry with a purposeful pause on patient care. No, I’m not in a foreign country or ill. I playfully refer to this six-month hiatus from the exam room as a “sabbatical” because of our college town roots. This time “off” has enabled me to improve operations, as well as dive into new professional projects.
It is said “you can’t work on your practice if you’re always working in your practice.” So true! Patient care ends when the last chart is finalized. The role of CEO never ceases. Helmus Optometry is a large practice with many complex moving parts. While I have no formal training in accounting, human resources, legal, marketing or IT, all these fields pepper my “To Do” list. Thankfully, I have an awesome support system, both paid and otherwise! And optometrists are by nature detail-oriented problem solvers. In the era of COVID, running a business has become even less predictable.
If you’re a parent, you may have heard the saying “no time spent with your children is wasted.” As a mom, this totally resonates. But it is also very applicable as a leader. Having more time with my team is yielding positive results on every level. As our Leadership team continues to gel and turn to one another, I have more time to contribute to my field and community.
So, what have I been up to?
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: completed a two-day leadership course
REACHING: preparing for my first foray into paid public speaking at Vision Expo East in New York (Spring 2022), Vision Expo West in Las Vegas (Fall 2022) and Heart of America Eye Care Congress in Kansas City (Winter 2023)
EDUCATING: live presentations at Woodland Senior Center (x2), Dixon Senior Center (x2), Woodland Lions in Sight and Davis Rotary.
ORGANIZING: a Downtown-wide Health Fair, scheduled for April 9, 2022 (more info to come!)
REDESIGNING: our 2-week orientation program for new staff
ONBOARDING: 5 new team members
CULTIVATING: internal synergies among our seven-member Leadership team
MENTORING: other women practice owners around the country (pro-bono)
GUIDING: the next generation of optometrists; be sure to check out the upcoming podcast by aspiring optometrist Katie Lin, a sophomore from Davis High (coming soon)
INNOVATING: during open enrollment this October we plan to launch our own in-house vision insurance (more info to come!)
BRANDING: we have a new logo! Props to our very own, Josee Rivera
PUBLISHING: three upcoming articles in Review of Optometric Business
I plan to be back in the exam room June 2022. Until them, know that I’m healthy, inspired, and grateful to be working full-time on business innovations. Perhaps during my next sabbatical, penciled for 2029, I’ll be able to go somewhere exotic?
My challenge for established “Helmus” patients: don’t miss out on your annual eye exam. Our Associate Doctors are all exceptional. This year meet our other Optometrists: Dr. Paymaun Asnashaari, Dr. Clare Thomasy, Dr. Lana Tu, or Dr. Thanh Tran. You may even like them better? Remember, I was new to you once too.
Dr. Julie Helmus