International Women’s Day!

Dr. Joelle Zagury and Dr. Kirsten North

On March 8th 2018, Merivale Vision Care celebrated International Women’s Day! This year we continued our ongoing support to the Zonta Club of Ottawa and donated $25 for every pair of glasses sold to the Zonta Club of Ottawa.

The Zonta Club of Ottawa is a chapter of Zonta International – an organization that has over 30,000 members worldwide. Zonta, meaning “honest and trustworthy” is made up of incredible women who work together to empower and assist women locally and internationally.

Our very own optometrist Dr. Kirsten North is on the board of the Zonta Club of Ottawa. For International Women’s Day we sat down with Dr. North to learn more about what she does for this great organization.

Q: How did you get involved with Zonta?

A: Back in 2015, one of my patients felt that Zonta would be a good fit for Merivale Vision Care since the organization is made up of strong female business leaders. I attended one of the meetings and was amazed by the stories of women, who have been in the organization for 40 years, who are now industry leaders in their respective male dominated fields. Soon after, I joined the board of directors for the organization. Zonta’s mandate is to advance the status of women locally and internationally and I wanted to take part in being an advocate for women of every walk of life.

Q: What is the Zonta Club of Ottawa currently working on?

A: We are focused on spreading the news about Zonta’s fantastic scholarship programs. There are yearly scholarships and awards that high school and university students are eligible for. Women who are actively committed to community service or have overcome hardships are the perfect applicants for these scholarships. All applications are available on the Zonta website.

Q: How can we get involved with Zonta Club?

A: Women who are interested in our chapter can apply online. There is an interview process that follows the application. There are monthly meetings throughout the school year and fundraising events throughout the year. If you are a woman working or volunteering 50% of the work week then join the Zonta movement and help make a difference for young ladies locally and globally.

Our next event is in the summer: July 19, 2018. We are hosting our annual Theatre in the Park event at the Odyssey Theater. This year’s play is The Amorous Servant. We would love to see you there!

Click here to watch a segment of Dr. North on Rogers TV discussing scholarship opportunities with Zonta. Learn more about the Zonta Club of Ottawa for more information. Starting Thursday all Zonta Members will receive 20% off all glasses purchases till the end of March!

Merivale Vision Care celebrated its 30th anniversary last summer! Did you know that Merivale Vision Care was founded and is still run by a team of awesome women? We sat down with Dr. Joelle Zagury to talk about being a woman in business.

Q: What do you enjoy most about running Merivale Vision Care?

A: The job satisfaction is amazing because there are new challenges every single day. I love having the freedom to make patient oriented decisions. I also enjoy all the interdisciplinary aspects of the clinic: health care, fashion, and staff management. Being an employer is a great privilege and responsibility. Merivale Vision Care is a place where many women and men have spent their entire working careers! That is pretty cool – it’s like a huge family.

Q: What are the challenges you face as a woman in business?

A: I very rarely think of my gender as an obstacle. I was raised to believe I could do anything I wanted and I was honestly sheltered from the male bias nature of corporate America. Often in business meetings I am questioned about whether or not I am the decision maker, I think that is a mix of ageism and sexism- I am not super old.

Another challenge is balancing home life and work life responsibilities. Being a full time optometrist, owner and mother of three can be hectic at times, but I can honestly say that I seldom meet a working adult without some form of work life balance challenge.

Q: How has optometry changed for women over the past years?

A: Optometry has changed enormously over the past years. Thirty years ago there were two to three females in the graduating class. Now optometry is dominated by females and this trend is not optometry-specific but also trending in healthcare. Women are really starting to run the healthcare show so it’s pretty cool not to have to worry about being overlooked. We still have some compensation disparity to tackle but we are getting there!

Q: What would like to see change for women in business?

A: I’d like it to be the norm that a woman can own a business. Also I’d like women to be valued for their contributions and work ethics rather than having the focus be on their gender. Merivale Vision Care has partnered with many female business owners and we love supporting local boss babes in the city!

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