by Ana Bonaldi, MCPHS University School of Optometry Trustee-elect

by Ana Bonaldi, MCPHS University School of Optometry Trustee-elect

Even though many of us do not realize it, a lot of work goes on at AOSA headquarters for us to be able to enjoy all the benefits we get from our association. I chatted with our Executive Director Bob Foster, who gave me a lot of insight on what it is like there.
First, lets start with a little bit of history! The first AOA headquarters was established in Anna, Ill., in 1952; in a tiny house behind Dr. James Wahl’s office, who was the AOA president at the time. Then, in 1953 the headquarters was moved to St. Louis. In 1968 when AOSA started, it shared staff with AOA, so their headquarters was located in the same building as AOA. In 1978, both AOA and AOSA HQ moved to the building they still share – 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd, St. Louis.

As you can imagine, since the building is from the ‘70s, it was a little dated and showing signs of age – the windows were leaky, it was not well-insulated, and so on; therefore, they decided to renovate. Renovations started mid-August; AOA and AOSA staff will remain on the premises while the renovation goes on, so everyone will have to share their space for a little while!

In addition to our executive director, there is also Laura Teasdale, who works with AOA Meetings and helps AOSA in planning our great meetings and Stacey Struckhoff, who is in charge of the AOA’s membership programs for students and recent grads.

As I mentioned, Bob was kind enough to share with us a day in his life in the AOSA HQ! He has been working for AOA and AOSA for quite a few years and, in 1994 began biking his way to the office.

Besides all the hard (and sometimes fun) work, Bob also adventures on quality control tests. Recently, he tested the AOSA mugs (the ones we got at the AOSA booth at Optometry’s Meeting®) to verify it supports boiling water, since our friends from Montreal had a little accident with one. It was concluded that the waters from Canada have more gusto. So if you ever find yourself there, be careful!

On that note, I hope you all enjoyed getting to know about the AOSA headquarters and if you are ever in St. Louis make sure to pay our friends a visit!

PS: Don’t forget to bring some coffee or donuts to Bob and our friends in the office!

A Day in the AOSA Office with Executive Director Bob Foster (July 15, 2015)
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at the AOSA HQ in St. Louis, Missouri? Here’s a sneak peak at a day in the office of AOSA’s Executive Director Bob Foster.

8 a.m. — Arrive at office, armed with laptop, cup of coffee and thermos of coffee, and lunch 9:30 — Stacey Struckhoff, AOA student/new grad membership manager, stops by to catch up. It’s her first week back from maternity leave and there’s a lot to talk about — including Optometry’s Meeting®, the start of the new school year, and upcoming meetings and programs to ensure new grads continue membership.

10 — The AOSA fiscal year ended June 30. I’m reconciling financial accounts to provide to our accountants. AOSA uses Quickbooks Online so Treasurer Jordyn Barnwell, our accountants, and the executive director can all share information.

11:30 — Work with AOA Meetings Manager Laura Teasdale to ensure Allergan Travel Grant winner information is correct and check requests are complete. This year we had 100 Allergan grants and 180 entries, which was a terrific response.

Noon — Lunch at desk. I jokingly call the usual lunch a “sad little salad with self-esteem issues,” but with feta, Craisins and walnuts, it’s pretty tasty.

1:00 p.m. — Leave message for Essilor’s Danne Ventura, who manages the Varilux Optometry Student Bowl. The AOSA contracted with Essilor to provide social media services for the OSB and I want to discuss a few items before sending her the invoice.

1:05 — Send an email to one of the AOSA trustees about thank-you notes. The AOSA has a great reputation for sending thank yous to our guests and sponsors.

2:15 — Visit the office of Bob Kehm, who is manager of AOA Excel. During the first phase of the AOA’s building renovation, the AOSA administrative staff person and I will be in that office so I want to see how much room is available and what furniture we should move.

We discuss AOA Excel’s programs for students, especially malpractice and student loan programs.

2:45 — Draft a new version of a postcard/flier for pre-optometry students and send to AOSA president Hunter Chapman and membership committee chair Reid Cluff for their feedback. In less than a year since the program launched, AOSA has gained more than 80 pre-optometry members and created a website just for them ( 3:30 — Left early to pick up Spirit Award from trophy shop, where it was engraved prior to shipping to PUCO.

4:00 — Stopped on way home at Office Depot to get toner and certificate paper.

7:15 — Call with AOSA VP Alex Conley to discuss January AOSA Board meeting and review survey comments from Optometry’s Meeting.