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Announcing The 2024 ODA National Excellence Awards Winners

The 2024 ODA National Excellence Awards were presented on 1st March at Melbourne Town Hall as part of the annual ODA Gala evening. The black tie event saw 157 guests from all over Australia, fill Swanston Hall to celebrate the optical dispensing profession.

The awards are designed to honour outstanding optical dispensers and celebrate the vital contribution they make to the industry and the important role they play within their workplace. There are six categories to be nominated for, with each one recognising specific achievements.


The winners of the awards had all been nominated and were selected because they demonstrate a range of core values that not only fit the award category, but also makes them outstanding optical dispensers.

The 2024 awards were presented by April Petrusma, CEO of ODA and awards sponsor Adam Fletcher, CEO of CR Labs. The recipients are:

Rookie of the Year

Astrid O’Connor from Quinn and Co. Eyecare in Horsham, Victoria

Astrid has made a remarkable impact on her team in the short time she has been part of it, taking on many responsibilities in the practice well beyond the call of duty while excelling in her Cert IV studies with ACOD. Despite her workload, she continues to exceed expectations in the primary roles of dispensing, administration, and reception duties. O’Connor’s presence fosters a sense of camaraderie and warmth, contributing to a supportive and uplifting workplace atmosphere for all.

CEO’s Member Dedication Award

Raymond Moses from RM Optical Dispensary in Merrylands, NSW

Raymond takes great pride in his role as an optical dispenser and professional development. He is a wonderful advocate for continuing education and is constantly striving to better himself by seeking new knowledge and engaging in learning opportunities. Even as a business owner, it is unusual to not see him at one of ODA’s CPD events and in 2023 he was a recipient of an ODA Currency Certificate for achieving 10 ODA CPD points for the year.

Outstanding Practice Owner Award

Lucija Valentic from Base Curve Optical in Sandringham, Victoria

Lucija has been an optical dispenser for 15 years, and is a small business owner that prioritises integrity and accountability in delivering what she promises to clients. She shows respect when dealing with patients and embodies the core characteristics of the ultimate professional. Valentic demonstrates a high level of competence and knowledge in optical dispensing and eyecare, is conscientiousness in running her business, and continues to upskill through training and development opportunities.

Community Champion Award

Brett Willis from Friendlies Eyecare in Claremont, Western Australia

This special award recognises the acts of someone that has gone above and beyond their call of duty. Brett is a practice owner that is currently training for a 700 km ride with a charity called Ride for Youth. The charity raises funds for youth mental health and suicide support. The ride will take place over four days beginning 19 March. To add to this, Brett is known for acts of selflessness. Not too long ago he assisted someone who urgently needed replacement spectacles, by making a last minute dash to the international airport to deliver new glasses to the patient moments before they boarded their plane.

Role Model & Leadership Award

Kayla White from Quinn and Co. Eyecare in Horsham, Victoria

Kayla is a qualified optical dispenser that has been recognised by her workplace to have such exceptional skills that a specialised role has been created for her to travel to other practices and provide training to both new and experienced dispensers. Her wealth of experience and dedication to sharing knowledge greatly benefits her team members across all locations. Recently White invested numerous hours collaborating with other healthcare professionals to identify the most effective ways to assist and support patients who do not speak English, exemplifying her dedication to inclusive care. She has motivated optical assistants to pursue the optical dispensing course by sharing the valuable skills and knowledge she has acquired through her own experience in optical dispensing.

ODA National Medal for Optical Dispensing Excellence

Joshua Oronce-Simpson from Spex in the City Eyewear & Cooper and Lourie in East Victoria Park, Western Australia

Joshua, the winner of this prestigious award, not only works full time as a qualified optical dispenser in practice but also owns his own unique mobile optical dispensing business. He shows professionalism by respecting others whether it be colleagues or patients and displays a strong work ethic being diligent, dedicated, and focused on his responsibilities. He has a drive for exceeding patient expectations that is supported by his ongoing search for new personal development opportunities. He takes every opportunity to attend CPD events, ranging from international and local trade fairs to ODA webinars and workshops.


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