Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Advancing Diversity & Inclusion: A Cornell Certificate for Optical Professionals

The Vision Council has announced the launch of Advancing Diversity & Inclusion: A Cornell Certificate for Optical Professionals, an online four-course and capstone certificate program customized specifically for members of the vision community by Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR). The certificate program is designed to lead attendees through the perceptual, institutional and psychological processes that impact employee interactions in an effort to build a truly aware and inclusive work culture.

The certificate program is open to the first 35 registrants. Members of The Vision Council and non-members are welcome to register at a discounted rate.

Members of The Vision Council are eligible for special members-only pricing. To register for the program, click here.

For more information on the certificate program, click here.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force

Mission Statement

As the industry that gives the world sight, we cannot be blind to the prejudices that minorities regularly confront. The Vision Council’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force is committed to working with all segments of the vision industry to amplify and embrace everyone’s voices. In order to push forward a more equitable agenda for the eyewear and eyecare industry and to build a more diverse and inclusive community, The Vision Council is focused on creating opportunities for more courageous and impactful engagements within the communities we serve.

2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey Report

In April 2021, The Vision Council released the 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey Report. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the custom survey The Vision Council fielded to the vision care community in November 2020. 

The comprehensive report is available to download here along with several industry segment-specific reports highlighting data from different industry segments.


The confidential survey, developed in partnership with Nonprofit HR, one of the leading full-service human resources firms focused exclusively on the nonprofit sector with expertise in DEI consulting, was designed to benchmark the vision care leadership landscape in order to help organizations within the industry identify opportunities they have to promote diversity, cultivate talent and improve their performance. 

The survey was open to all members of the vision care products and services industry and was fielded from November 9-24, 2020. The survey received 1527 usable responses, all U.S.-based.

The industry segment breakdown of the 1,527 respondents includes:

  • Independent Eyecare and Retail: 37 percent
  • Academia: 20 percent
  • Supplier and Manufacturer: 19 percent
  • Corporate Eyecare and Retail: 16 percent
  • Industry group or other (includes buying groups, trade media, nonprofit organizations): 8 percent

The Vision Council’s main goals in commissioning the survey included: to assess diversity, inclusion, and career perceptions within the optical industry; to understand if certain populations were experiencing the industry differently; and to obtain feedback on how The Vision Council and other network organizations can provide support in this area.

The Vision Council’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force is using the survey results to prioritize key areas for change; identify potential policy and culture shift; set impact measurements; and identify additional resources for the industry. The Task Force’s next steps and recommendations will be shared in the coming months.

For additional information regarding The Vision Council’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Industry Task Force, please contact Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council.

Opening Your Eyes: The Vision Council Scholarship Fund

Opening Your Eyes: The Vision Council Scholarship Fund is a program of the Better Vision Institute, the charitable supporting organization of The Vision Council. The program is designed to support high school students in underrepresented communities throughout the United States who have an interest in pursuing a career in the optical industry. The program will support selected students through monetary scholarships to opticianry school, paid internships and mentorships. The intent of the program is to launch a far-reaching effort that can expand to other segments of the industry.

2021-2022 Scholarships

For scholarships for the 2021–2022 school year, eligible students must be interested in pursuing an Associates Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing from either Georgia Piedmont Technical College or New York City Technical College. Scholarships will cover tuition and fees, and $250 allowance per semester for books and supplies. Scholarships are renewable each semester upon successful completion of all course work and internship/mentorship requirements.

The Opening Your Eyes Scholarship Program does not include admittance to the colleges; students must apply separately to the ophthalmic dispensing programs.

To Donate

To contribute to the scholarship program directly, click here.

Please contact Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council, with any questions.

First Round of Recipients

In July 2021, the scholarship program’s selection committee selected the first round of scholarship recipients. The seven recipients include:

  • Genesis Opokularbi
  • Jaedon-King Fletcher
  • Aaron Nyambe
  • Melissa Bottex
  • JonChris Valerio
  • Anastacia Paul
  • Diya Folia


As of July 26, 2021, more than $330,000 has been pledged towards the Opening Your Eyes: The Vision Council Scholarship Fund. Supporters include:

  • CooperVision
  • DeRigo REM
  • Europa Eyewear
  • Eschenbach Optik
  • EssilorLuxottica
  • Jobson
  • Luxury Optical Holdings
  • MODO Eyewear
  • MyEyeDr.
  • National Vision, Inc.
  • Opticians Association of America
  • The Vision Council and RX