AOA Leadership Institute

The Leadership Institute was developed by the AOA Leadership Development Committee to engage emerging leaders in optometry.

AOA Leadership Institute

About the Leadership Institute

The AOA Leadership Institute program was developed by the AOA Leadership Development Committee to inspire the next generation of leaders within the AOA and its affiliates. The AOA Leadership Institute is a 12-month program with virtual components throughout the year as well as in-person lectures, focus groups and a reception at Optometry’s Meeting ®.

The aim is to energize and equip the next generation of champions for optometry, who will then be ready to step in and lead at all levels—local, state and beyond. The goal is to have a diverse leadership class each year that accurately represents the demographics of our rising generation of doctors of optometry. The Leadership Institute program will provide valuable lessons that can be applied to participants’ personal and professional development.

The purpose of the AOA Leadership Institute is to:

  • Engage emerging leaders for optometry and the AOA.
  • Provide training and personal growth opportunities.
  • Provide leadership opportunities on local, state and national levels.
  • Strengthen relationships between AOA, faculty and affiliates.

The vision of the AOA Leadership Institute is to:

  • Activate and empower participants in the program.
  • Foster cohesiveness within the class.
  • Build friendships and support for each other as they advance in their careers and leadership roles.

2024 Leadership Institute Program:

What does the 2024 program entail?

  • Personal and professional attribute assessment: Friday, February 2
  • Virtual kickoff event: Wednesday, February 21
  • Virtual education session: Leadership Brand: Wednesday, March 13
  • In-person reception and education sessions at Optometry’s Meeting®: June 19 - 22
  • Virtual education session: Negotiation Skills: Wednesday, Aug. 21
  • Virtual education session: Leading Change: Wednesday, Oct. 30
  • Virtual graduation & induction ceremony: December date TBD

What you can expect:

  • Highly interactive sessions that are designed to provide a foundation for learning from
    subject-matter experts and fellow participants.
  • Quarterly virtual sessions will not exceed 2 hours at 8pm CST.
  • Two in-person sessions at Optometry’s Meeting®
  • Quarterly prework and assignments that support learning and application.
  • Prework will not require more than 30 minutes of a participant’s time.
  • Assignments will require 60-90 minutes.
  • A web portal that will house:
  • Program curriculum.
  • Program materials including workshop and webinar resources and tools.
  • Roster with contact information.
  • AOA CE Credit upon successful completion of the program.

Your role:

  • Engage and actively participate in each session.
  • Complete all prework and assignments.
  • Attend Optometry’s Meeting® 2024 in Nashville, TN
  • Connect with peer participants to enhance learning and further develop your network.

2025 Nomination and application process

Who would be an ideal participant?

We are looking for applicants who have demonstrated dedication and leadership in our profession and meet the following criteria:

  • Active AOA membership.
  • Five to 10 years in practice.
  • Show interest or potential in leadership roles.

Review process

Nominations and applications are reviewed by a committee comprised of experienced doctors, champions and leaders of optometry.

We are accepting nominations and applications for the 2025 Leadership Institute. If you would like to nominate someone or apply for the program, please contact

Participant resources and recorded sessions can be found on EyeLearn Professional Development Hub, the AOA’s member-exclusive, centralized education portal.

Applications for the 2025 Leadership Institute class will be due this fall .

Nominate and Apply

2025 Leadership Institute Application

2025 Nomination Form for Schools

2025 Nomination Form for Affiliates

Participant resources

How to access EyeLearn

  1. When prompted, log in with the same username and password you use to login to this website. This will then direct you to your account profile.
  2. Accessing the My Courses and Learning Plan feature provides access to your AOA Classroom. 
  3. Once you have advanced to My Courses and Learning Plan, you can view all available, on-demand courses.
  4. Select Leadership Institute to access your program resources. 


Program Graduates

Congratulations to our AOA Leadership Institute graduates! These participants are now energized and equipped to step in and lead at all levels – local, state and beyond.

2021 AOA Leadership Institute Graduates

2022 AOA Leadership Institute Graduates

2023 AOA Leadership Institute Graduates

Visionary supporters

The AOA Leadership Institute is supported by AOA’s Visionary Supporters, Johnson & Johnson and EssilorLuxottica.

Johnson & Johnson

Personal development is a valuable part of becoming the best you can be, and allJohnson and Johnson of us at Johnson & Johnson  stand behind you in your specific goal of leadership development. We are proud to be a Visionary sponsor of the AOA and to have the opportunity to work with programs like the Leadership Institute. It is an honor to support you as you step out of your comfort zone to explore the value of leadership development.


At EssilorLuxottica, our mission is improving lives by improving sight. We achieve this through our Essilor innovative products, industry-leading programs, and partnerships to grow the eyecare industry. We are thrilled to partner with the AOA on the Leadership Institute, so together; we can help develop leaders that reflect the profession’s demographics. Strong leadership will ensure the continued growth and evolution of our industry, and we are excited to take part in this important initiative.

Contact us

If you have questions about the AOA Leadership Institute please contact us at

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