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Business & Profession Professional Development, COVID-19

When Leadership Really Counts

It’s safe to say that just a couple of months ago, few of us expected to be where we are today. Most governments and leading health organizations are ordering or advising social distancing and self-isolation, and the medical community is bracing itself for a healthcare crisis – or already in the midst of one. 

Many ophthalmologists are rightly worried about both the near and more distant future. The risk of being exposed to SARS-CoV-2. The potential need to step up as front-line medical professionals. The cancellation of elective procedures and financial implications... 

You may ask: is now the right time to release our annual Power List – a celebration of the most influential figures in ophthalmology? After receiving a record number of over 2,000 nominations for more than 440 individuals, and drafting 15 ophthalmic experts from around the globe to act as the judging panel, the process of preparing the list is not easy – but it is exciting. And yet, in light of unfolding COVID-19 coverage, the excitement is jostling for position with understandable anxiety...

Many ophthalmologists are rightly worried about both the near and more distant future.

However, I believe that it is in times of crisis that strong leaders are most needed. Let me share a few nomination quotes: “A prominent leader in global ophthalmology, she is also helping local underprivileged communities”; “A global influencer and thought leader in his field”; “He impacts the worldwide pediatric ophthalmology community daily”; “Outstanding leadership and management of issues related to prevention of vision loss and blindness, appropriately representing ophthalmology in governmental discussions.”

The ability to influence others to work towards the common goal, no matter how difficult the undertaking might be; unlocking people’s potential and utilizing collective knowledge and experience; quickly adapting to changing conditions and environments and making use of innovative solutions – all of these leadership qualities will be invaluable in the months ahead. And I can confidently say that the ophthalmologists on our Power List have them in abundance. 

When reading the responses from our Power List winners, please bear in mind that the vast majority were collected well before anyone had any idea about the scale and impact of the coronavirus outbreak. I hope that the sometimes lighthearted comments will still make you smile, despite the incredibly difficult times we now find ourselves in. 

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