An article from students participating in the University of Waterloo Mentorship Program.
Authors: Steven Ha, Anysia Unick, Abraham Yuen & Evelyn Zhang
It’s hard to imagine a time in CAOS without the mentorship program. It’s also difficult to believe there was a time in optometry school without CAOS. Indeed, there were many years when neither CAOS or the mentorship program existed. That’s when Dr. Janet McGugan, then an optometry student at Waterloo stepped in and started the mentorship program, allowing 2-3 students to be paired up with a mentor optometrist. The program was successful and transferred to CAOS, when it was founded in 1990. This included the annual Mentorship Bowling Night, where doctors drove in to socialize with students. Dr. McGugan went on to become an associate in a practice in London and also served at UW as a contact lens clinical supervisor and later as OAO president. Today, Dr. McGugan runs her own clinic and continues to participate in the program as a mentor and allowed us to tour her office in Strathroy, Ontario, an almost two hours drive west of Waterloo.
Dr. McGugan recently renovated her clinic and added an eyeglass gallery, featuring all the latest in frames and sunglasses, while emphasizing on the “customer experience.” We had a tour of her clinic before sitting down to chat. She explained that it is important to differentiate ourselves not only as good clinicians in taking care of our patient’s eye health, but provide an excellent customer experience and service that cannot be rivaled by internet dispensing or big-box stores. While being an owner includes dealing with day-to-day business operations, hiring good staff is imperative so that you can focus on taking care of patients with minimal distraction. After a good discussion, we wrapped up our tour with Dr. McGugan treating us to lunch at the Clock Tower Bistro in downtown Strathroy. Dr. McGugan was very hospitable and her dedication and energy to our profession is truly inspirational!