IOT Announces Three Finalists for Optical’s Next Top Speaker Contest


(PRESS RELEASE)After weeks of review, a few COVID delays, and a lot of fanfare, IOT announces the three finalists for its Optical’s Next Top Speaker contest. Candidates Minerva Maldonado, Kai Rands and Wesley Scott are moving forward.

The three finalists were each selected by an industry speaker and mentor who will work with them to develop and refine the final presentations.

  • Candace O’Keefe Culp, a licensed optician with 40 years of experience in ophthalmic distribution and territory management, will mentor Kai Rands.
  • Laurie Pierce, a professor in the optician program at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida, will mentor Minerva Maldonado.
  • Michael Karlsrud, executive, entrepreneur, speaker and author, will mentor Wesley Scott.

The finalists will deliver their polished presentations to the contest judges in early November. The winner will be announced in mid-November.

IOT would also like to thank and congratulate the three semi-finalists who did not advance in the competition: Marisol Rodriguez, Zach Kastner and Tyjia Sherman. According to the mentors, the decision was extremely difficult, because each speaker was informed and passionate about their subjects.

The competition, sponsored by IOT, encourages opticians to develop their speaking skills and share their knowledge with their industry peers. The winning speaker earns mentorship to help prepare and deliver an ABO course, professional design services for the presentation, and IOT sponsorship to present the talk at an optician event or as a webinar.

Good luck to our three finalists.



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