1st PPC Meeting of the Year: A Recap of Dr. Kristin O’Brien’s Visit

SCCO’s Private Practice Club kicked off our first speaker event of the year with Dr. Kristin O’Brien: previous president of her school’s private practice association, founder of the Student Optometry Leadership Network, and owner of her own private practice in Denver, Colorado, amongst many other titles.

Dr. O’Brien began with an introduction of the people in her life that had served as her mentors as she transitioned through the last couple years of her student life into her professional career. These mentors included doctors she had met through local optometry organizations such as the Colorado Optometric Association and members of Optometric Insights, not to mention the many industry professionals she met from attending optometry conferences.  This introduction revealed the network of support Dr. O’Brien had gathered around her as she worked toward her vision of opening her own private practice and introduced PPC members to some resources within the profession that they had not been aware of.

She continued to share the rest of her journey, by talking about the difficulties she had encountered during school with learning clinical skills and passing didactic courses. Members really appreciated her candid responses and felt she was very “relatable” and “open” with the obstacles she had overcome. In the questions and answer portion that followed, Dr. O’Brien touched on some of her struggles within the first few years of starting cold, including how to attract patients, hire staff that exemplified her business’ mission statement, and fire staff that do not. With unique methods of marketing and unwavering determination, she brought her business from having no patients on day 1 to a currently full daily schedule and employs a full staff that is more like family than a group of coworkers.

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Many students stayed afterward to network with Dr. O’Brien and ask questions about private practice.

Through her setbacks, we were able to indulge more fully in her triumphs. By the end of the event, we were all invigorated by the message she left us, which was to really brainstorm and determine what our goals are. Once you’re confident in your goals, do whatever it takes to achieve them. Stay determined and don’t forget to help each other out in the process.

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PPC Board with Dr. O’ Brien after a successful event