Unique NextGEN OD Canada Meeting Recap 

NextGEN Canada Event 2024

EyeCare Business Canada proudly presented the 2nd Annual “Opportunities & Options” event from University of Waterloo and live cast to Watch Parties to Canadian students at US Optometry Schools.

A Gathering Like No Other

The NextGEN OD Canada meeting, held on March 28, struck the perfect balance between in-person engagement and digital inclusivity. Hosted at the University of Waterloo’s Federation Hall and simultaneously broadcasted via Zoom, the event connected Canadian student optometrists from across North America, including watch parties from NECO, Michigan College, and MCPHS. The event welcomed over 100 students in-person and more than 50 online attendees.

NextGEN OD Student ambassadorsThis distinctive hybrid meeting format was orchestrated by Eye Care Business Canada, significantly enriched by the invaluable contributions of the NextGEN Canada Student Ambassadors, who expertly hosted both the local and online facets of the event.

Innovative Engagement and Networking Opportunities
The live event began with students embarking on a journey through sponsor exhibits, guided by a passport card system designed to encourage exploration and engagement. Separate prize pools for the live event at Waterloo and online attendees added an extra layer of interaction and anticipation.

Natasha Reyes, (OD Candidate 2026 UW), NextGEN Student Ambassador kicked off the meeting and shared hosting duties with her remote Student Ambassador colleagues, Nyah Miranda (NECO), Sameer Majumdar (MCPHS) and Stephanie Mathews (MCO).

Spotlight on Sponsors

IRIS, Optometry Giving Sight, FYi doctors
Left to right: IRIS The Visual Group, Optometry Giving Sight, FYidoctors
CRO/Bausch + Lomb/Specsavers
Left to right: Clinical & Refractive Optometry, Bausch + Lomb, Specsavers Canada
OSI - Eye Recommend, ROI Corp
Left to right: Optometric Services Inc., Eye Recommend, ROI Corp.

Presentations from Visionary Sponsors, including Bausch + Lomb, FYidoctors, Specsavers, and IRIS, offered students a window into the diverse opportunities within the optometry field.  Collectively the presentations provided valuable lessons on career development, technological advancements, and insights into market trends

The event showcased insights from a broad spectrum of professionals, including senior executives with optometric backgrounds and more recently graduated optometrists from all sponsors, including Horizon Sponsors  Eye Recommend, OSI (Optometric Services Inc,) and ROI Corporation

Personal Journeys to Professional Success
Drs Alexa Hecht and Amrit BilkhuDrs. Alexa Hecht and Amrit Bilkhu shared their experiences and advice a presentation entitled, “Oh the Places You’ll Go… as a New OD Grad”. Their stories highlighted the importance of choosing the right career path and tops to do so.  They also shared how they leverage social media to fulfill their goals, serving as an inspiration for the next generation of optometrists.

Interactive Dialogue and Rich Networking

The evening was filled with opportunities for students to ask questions, engage with speakers and sponsors, and network with peers. This interactive environment, supported by the hybrid format, ensured that every attendee, whether online or in-person, could participate fully in the event.

A Night to Remember with Culinary Delights and Prizes
A delicious buffet dinner provided a moment for socializing, rounding off an evening of learning and networking. The evening culminated in the raffle draws, with separate prize pools ensuring that both in-person and online participants had the chance to win, marking a fitting end to an hybrid extraordinary event.

NextGEN Buffet

The NextGEN OD Canada 2024 event was a testament to the spirit of unity and innovation among Canadian optometry students. By overcoming geographical barriers and bringing together students from across North America, the event highlighted the strength and diversity of the Canadian optometry student community.


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