Australian College of Optometry announce women-led council

The Australian College of Optometry (ACO) has announced Associate Professor Lauren Ayton and Ms Theodora Elia-Adams have been appointed vice president and treasurer respectively.

They join ACO’s first female president, Ms Sophie Koh, marking the first time in the college’s history that women concurrently hold the roles president, vice president and treasurer.

“I am honoured to serve alongside a diverse group of individuals who are dedicated to best governance and the continued good work of the ACO. It’s a strong recipe to steer an organisation,” Koh said.

The announcement follows the ACO and National Vision Research Institute’s (NVRI) first in-person Annual General Meeting in four years on 31 May.

Ayton and Dr Michelle Waugh, both returning council members, were reappointed for a further two-year term.

Mr Roman Serebrianik, a former ACO optometrist of 14 years with experience in senior policy and advocacy roles at Vision 2020 Australia and the Stroke Foundation (current) was also elected to the council.

Ms Denise Gronow, immediate past treasurer of seven years, will remain on council.

ACO council now comprises Ms Sophie Koh, A/Prof Lauren Ayton, Ms Theodora Elia-Adams, Dr Michelle Waugh, Professor Bruce Thompson, Mr Darrell Baker, Mr Rodney Hodge, Mr Roman Serebrianik, Ms Sayuri Grady, and Ms Denise Gronow.

Outgoing council member and vice president, Mr Tim Powell, was acknowledged for his valuable contributions to the ACO during his five-year tenure and his exemplary stewardship.

Koh and ACO CEO Mr Pete Haydon also welcomed questions from attendees at the AGM on the transition currently underway at the ACO to improve organisational stability and secure continued delivery of ACO’s public health, education and research work into the future.

“The ACO’s new strategic plan offers us a once in a generation opportunity to bring about change and the council is enthusiastic to continue working with Pete and staff to take ACO to its new heights,” Koh said.

The ACO 2022’s Annual Report was also launched during the AGM and can be viewed online at

Award winners

Members and stakeholders who attended the AGM also celebrated recent ACO achievements with the following awards:

ACO Outstanding University Graduate Award
Australian Universities are invited to nominate their most outstanding optometry graduate through combined evaluation of academic excellence and professional commitment.
Awarded to:

  • Kayla Adams (Deakin University)
  • Amy Ricks (Flinders University)
  • Mahmoud Haddara (University of Melbourne)
  • Johnson Tran (UNSW Sydney)
  • Vyasa Bliss (Queensland University of Technology)

Outstanding Graduate Award for ACO Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics
This award is granted in recognition of the candidate who has achieved the highest score across all assessments for their graduating year of the ACO Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics.
Awarded to:

Hetal Dagar

This article originally appeared on Insight.

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