Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Shakir Iqbal, ABOC

Shakir Iqbal, ABOC (Optical Manager)

​​​​​​​Shakir brings 14 years of optical experience and is a descendant from a long line of opticians and optometrists. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all in the optical field and ran their own optometry clinic in Karachi. His father, Hamid Iqbal, is responsible for introducing contact lenses to Pakistan. Shakir joined Helmus Optometry in September 2019, and is leading our optical department and team of 8 opticians as Optical Manager.

As Optical Manager, Shakir is responsible for working with our lens labs and frame manufacturers to ensure we offer advanced technology, high-quality products, and a wide array of shapes and styles. You can also count on him for expert assistance with the selection, fit, repair, and adjustment of your glasses.

Shakir received his training in ophthalmic dispensing from City & Islington College in London followed by a Fellowship of British Dispensing Opticians, a rigorous three-year program. He is also certified by the American Board of Opticianry. Past work experience includes working as an optician in London, managing his family clinic in Karachi, four years at the helm of Sears Optical in Fairfield, and most recently managing a private practice in San Francisco. He lives in West Sacramento with his wife and their 2 daughters. Helmus Optometry is grateful for the experience Shakir adds to our skilled and professional team.

Languages Spoken: English, Urdu, Hindi

Josee R. (Optical Administrator)

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City of Birth: Mountain View - Peninsula, CA
Language Spoken: Spanish, English
Joined Team Helmus: June 2019
LICENSES/CERTIFICATIONS/DEGREES: B.A. in Psychology, UC Davis. Working on ABO and NCLE with CA Dispensing License
Years of Optical Experience: 8 years
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? Mix of science, art and fashion. 'I don't wear makeup, I wear glasses!' And now learning about contact lenses and the different tools and methods to correct vision for patients with unique ocular anatomy.
FAVORITE PART OF THE WORK DAY: Helping patients find the perfect pair of glasses that puts a smile on their face as soon as they try them on. Sci-Fi nerd fo' life! Live long and prosper!
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS: I have been to three Summer Olympics and Opening Ceremonies. There is something indescribable being surrounded by a hundred thousand humans from all over the globe coming together to celebrate the feats the human body is capable of. Feeling the heat from the Olympic cauldron as it rose through the stands in Australia and seeing Muhammad Ali light the cauldron in Atlanta, unforgettable. ​​​​​​​
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: Checking the chicken coop and having a nesting box full of eggs!

Sasha B. (Operations Manager)

City of Birth: St. Petersburg, Russia
Language Spoken: English, Russian
Joined Team Helmus: June 2019
Degree: B.S. Psychology and Sociology, UC Davis. Certified Paralegal, UC Davis
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? Vision is at the heart of how we interact in today's workplace. Promulgating a vision for meaningful patient care, and implementing best practices from myriad disciplines to forward our mission. I want to be wherever the solution is needed. Collaboration with a like-minded, energetic, and demanding cohort is second to none, and makes it easy to come to work every morning.
FAVORITE PART OF THE WORK DAY: Ideation! Understanding the philosophical elements of the human condition, Religious studies, and the social contract.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS: Game theory, Basketball, Frisbee, Competition, and Coffee! "I enjoy...did someone say chocolate?"
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: Listening to a story. Something big or small, it only takes a moment to remind us of years gone by. Our impact is sometimes latent, but always meaningful.

Nancy M. (Lead Patient Care Coordinator)

Bio coming soon.

Marlene D. (Optician)

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City of Birth: Managua, Nicaragua
Language Spoken: Spanish, English
Joined Team Helmus: September 2014
LICENSES/CERTIFICATIONS/DEGREES: High School Diploma, Nursing classes on line.
Years of Optical Experience: 20 years
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? Every day brings new challenges. I love to continually learn new things. I love unpredictability, problem-solving, helping others.
Favorite part of the work day: Playing Tennis.
Little known facts: Some cats are actually allergic to humans.
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: Starting my day with sunshine and deep breathing.

Karen L. (Licensed Optician)

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City of Birth: Oakland, CA
Language Spoken: English
Joined Team Helmus: May 2019
License: ABO
Years of Optical Experience: 35 years
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? Working with patients, ordering and dispensing glasses.
Favorite part of the work day: Frame Selection
Little known facts: I love home Decoration and improvement, sewing, and spending time with friends and family.
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: Hanging out with Dr. Julie!

Veronica M. (Optician)

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City of Birth: Yuba City, CA
Language Spoken: Spanish, English
Joined Team Helmus: June 2019
Years of Optical Experience: 2 years
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? Patient education, I love to share new knowledge I have picked up from our doctors and staff!
Favorite part of the work day: Right after lunch is the highest point of my day.
Little known facts: Taking my kids out to nature, purchasing kitchen gadgets.​​​​​​​
One thing that can instantly make your day better: Iced caramel macchiato, extra shot espresso.

Majid K. (Licensed Optician)

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City of Birth: Shiraz, Iran
Language Spoken: English, Farsi
Joined Team Helmus: March 2021
LICENSES/CERTIFICATIONS/DEGREES: ABOC, Business Associate Degree
Years of Optical Experience: 40 Years
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? Being able to help patients have better vision and enjoy their daily life. Helping my co-workers.
FAVORITE PART OF THE WORK DAY: Helping patients with frame selection and sharing my knowledge and experience about lenses, materials, and coatings with them.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS: Spending time with family, gardening, gym, following daily world news. ​​​​​​​
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: I was born in Iran, as a kid, I spent time in my father's optical shop. Due to the Islamic Revolution, I wasn't able to continue my higher education. We had to leave our family optical shop. In 2003, I came to the US and started my new life in Davis. Since then I have been working as an optician. I was certified by the American Board of Opticianry in 2008.

Wendy V. (Optical Assistant)

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City of Birth: Mexico City, Mexico
Language Spoken: Spanish and English
Joined Team Helmus: October 2019
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? I enjoy the challenging aspect of learning something new every day. Successfully completing my tasks by the end of my day. It's like a sigh of relief.
FAVORITE PART OF THE WORK DAY: My favorite thing to do in my spare time is take road trips. Long drives and good music complete me.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS: I am home decor savvy.
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: A Starbucks matcha iced latte.

Theresa S. (Optical Assistant)

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City of Birth: Anchorage, Alaska
Language Spoken: English
Joined Team Helmus: August 2019
LICENSES/CERTIFICATIONS/DEGREES: B.S. in Business Administration expected 12/2021
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? I really love being a part of a team that works together in finding solutions to help improve our patients' visual needs. Being able to instantly schedule a patient that is having an ocular emergency. Knowing that I am a park of helping patients find relief.
FAVORITE PART OF THE WORK DAY: Graphic Design.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS: I surf on my free time as a stress reliever. Being in the ocean is where I find peace.​​
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: When I get to experience a patient picking up their spectacle order and they show instant satisfaction in their purchase. Knowing that we as a team accomplished our goal giving our patients a positive experience from exam room to dispense.

Nadia A. (Referral Coordinator)

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City of Birth: Napa, CA
Language Spoken: English
Joined Team Helmus: January 2020
LICENSES/CERTIFICATIONS/DEGREES: Administrative Medical Assisting Certificate.
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? It gives me feelings of purpose and the opportunity to help others. Vision is a sense that we tend to take for granted. We help patients with an array of eye care needs and it's easy to become invested in that patient's care.
FAVORITE PART OF THE WORK DAY: When kids come in for exams. I was a preschool teacher for 17 years and I love the energy children bring to the office.
SIDE HUSTLES/PASSIONS/HOBBIES: I own a breakfast burrito business. Burrito AM. Cooking, singing and family.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS?: Auditioned for American Idol in 2002.
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: When I've been working all day and I go home to a clean house because my hubby had the day off!

Meredith B. (Patient Care Coordinator)

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City of Birth: Woodland, CA
Language Spoken: English
Joined Team Helmus: April 2017
LICENSES/CERTIFICATIONS/DEGREES: A.A. in Liberal Arts from Sierra Community College, A.A. in Social Sciences from Sierra Community College, A.S. Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Certification from American River College, B.A. in Anthropology from Sonoma State University.
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? I grew up in Davis and enjoy giving back to this community. We have a very diverse, friendly, and welcoming staff. This creates an appealing and enjoyable work environment. I enjoy assisting patients in scheduling their eye care, and knowing that I am part of a team that is helping to keep their eyes healthy.
FAVORITE PART OF THE WORK DAY: I have 2 cats who I love to spend time with. I also like to sing and practice meditation and Tai Chi.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS: I volunteered at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute in Washington State, helping to care for and observe chimpanzees who communicated using sign language.
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: Hearing from happy patients who appreciate the quality of our services always makes my day better.

Christopher L. (Patient Care Coordinator)

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City of Birth: Houston, TX
Language Spoken: English, Korean
Joined Team Helmus:
LICENSES/CERTIFICATIONS/DEGREES: B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, UC Davis
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? I love the fact that vision and eye health are essential parts of our day-to-day lives! I love coming to work while enjoying cool and refreshing morning air!
FAVORITE PART OF THE WORK DAY: Assisting a Professor of Asian American Studies with research by translating Korean news articles.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS: I spent my childhood in Seoul, Korea!
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: Any fluffy Animals!

Fatima J. (Patient Care Coordinator)

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City of Birth: Patterson, NJ
​​​​​​​Languages Spoken: English
Joined Team Helmus: August 2021
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? I love seeing the structure and development of the eye and helping patients.

Francisco N. (Lead Clinical Technician)

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City of Birth: Santa Ana, El Salvador
Language Spoken: English, Spanish
Joined Team Helmus: September 2020
Degree: B.S. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UC Davis, minors in Chicana/o Studies and Music.
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? What I love about the eye care field is the ability to improve people's quality of life. I strongly believe that our sight is our most precious sense, so by improving people's vision and overall eye health, they can complete their daily tasks as comfortably as possible. In addition, the eye care field is a very social profession and I enjoy being able to interact with patients and make long-lasting connections.
FAVORITE PART OF THE WORK DAY: My favorite part of my work day is being able to train new contact lens wearers. Often patients feel scared or doubtful that they can wear contacts. But as a contact lens wearer myself, I have been in the same position so it is extremely rewarding to help patients walk away happy and excited to see and experience the world a bit differently.
One of my passions is music. Whether it is writing songs/poetry, playing random chords on my guitar, or making Spotify playlists, my heart is beating to the rhythm of my favorite tunes.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS: My favorite actor is Michael Cera.
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: Hearing a Beatles song playing in the background.

Matthew T. (Clinical Technician)

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City of Birth: Fresno, CA
Language Spoken: English
Joined Team Helmus: May 2021
Degree: B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, UC Davis
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? I enjoy being able to help address a Patient's vision issues and provide care for something that is very important for a person's wellbeing. I am able to make a great difference in the lives of patients. My favorite part is sitting down and having awesome conversations with patients about their vision.
FAVORITE PART OF THE WORK DAY: Building Computers; Researching computer hardware, phones, technology; Basketball/Badminton/Boardgames.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS: I have a twin brother. I am older by 2 minutes.
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: Having an enjoyable conversation with a patient.

Christian S. (UCD Student, Pre-Optometry)

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City of Birth: Carmichael, CA
Language Spoken: English, Romanian, Spanish
Joined Team Helmus: August 2020
Degree: I'm currently working on my biology and music majors at UC Davis.
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? I love that I get to work and study one of the most complicated parts of the body: the eye! It's so vital to our lives, yet there's so much to learn about it, so it's really an adventure as I become more experienced in the eye care filed.
FAVORITE PART OF THE WORK DAY: My favorite part of the workday is when we get a satisfied patient that we were able to help. Knowing that we've made their life just a little bit better is a wonderful feeling.​​​​​​​
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS: I love reading and studying my Bible. Aside from that, I enjoy playing the piano and flute, learning more languages, learning about different cultures, and meeting new people! Although I was born in the United States, I learned Romanian before English, and now I'm proficient in both languages. ​​​​​​​
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: Food will definitely make my day! If it's something I've never tried before, even better!

Katya F. (UCD Student, Pre-Optometry)

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City of Birth: Los Angeles, CA
Language Spoken: English, Russian
Joined Team Helmus: April 2021
Degree: Undergraduate at UC Davis, Pre-Optometry. On track to finish with a major in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior (B.S). Graduating in 2023.
What do you love about the Eye Care F‪ield? "I love the field of eye care because it allows me to help people in many different ways. It is extremely rewarding because I work with a great team that helps make sure that patients have healthy eyes and are able to see clearly after their visit. Another great aspect of working in the field of optometry is being able to assist a patient in picking the perfect pair of glasses. Both great eye health and confidence can make the biggest difference in someone's life!"
FAVORITE PART OF THE WORK DAY: My favorite part of the work day is having the opportunity to interact with patients and to help them with their eye care needs. Interacting with patients helps me better understand how I can help them, while also creating a fun and friendly environment in the office!​​​​​​​
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS: Aside from optometry, my other passion includes music! I play the piano, guitar, ukulele, and love to sing. I used to sing with a competitive choir and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I love all genres of music and I am always singing around the house. I have composed several original pieces on the piano and have been playing since a very young age. I can play a tune on the piano just by hearing it. ​​​​​
ONE THING THAT CAN INSTANTLY MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER: Learning something new.

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