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Silmo IOA International Optician of the Year Award

Silmo IOA International Optician of the Year Award

The International Opticians Association (IOA) has announced the winner of the Silmo IOA International Optician of the Year Award. This innovative award, first given in 2018, recognises the importance of the optician in the optical business and their role in the choice of optimum products for their clientele.

The winner, chosen from a competitive field, is Helen Whitaker, who becomes the first woman to win the award.

Helen became an optician in 2011. She now runs Secure Vision optical in British Columbia, Canada. Helen is also the founder of the Secure Vision Mobile Optical Academy. She says, “Our area of expertise is in helping opticians become mobile to get more of the right kind of clients at will and on demand, secure their freedom and job security.”

Describing how she works, Helen says, “My work week is never set in hours as I am always available to my clients. I found success in readily streamlining clients with booking individual time for dispensing and fitting. All extra repair work, adjustments or general contact is maintained daily to ensure that my clients receive immediate attention. If they need me, I am there. My ‘at home working time’ is spent on developing and marketing my business, as well with my students within the Secure Vision Mobile Optical Academy. This business model works as it has created opportunities for me to constantly strive to improve, to develop a vehicle of exemplary customer service that delivers true optical solutions for my clients.”

Beyond her work in her local area, Helen also supports Innovative Communities, particularly the Kenya – Kawangware Initiatives, both sponsoring children and traveling to the community to host an eye clinic for the local learning center.

Fiona Anderson, IOA President, said, “I am delighted Helen has been awarded this prestigious award. She embodies an optician whose patients are at the heart of all that she does in the beautiful province of British Columbia. Helen’s business model shows entrepreneurship & a dedication to diversifying in order to not only deliver high quality optical services but volunteer her time to charitable initiatives. A truly worthy winner & she deserves our hearty congratulations!”


The winner was announced at SILMO Paris. As well as the prestigious award, Helen also wins a trip for 2 to Silmo 2022.

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