In mid-October, around three dozen OWA members gathered for a sunny weekend at Paradise Point Resort in San Diego for an uplifting and inspiring experience: the inaugural OWA Unplugged Retreat. A labor of love spearheaded by the OWA’s Connection & Enrichment committee and powered this year by ClearVision Optical, I feel fortunate to have been part of the group of women in the “Class of 2023” of the OWA retreat—a remarkable first for this amazing organization.
As hard workers—both in our professional and personal lives—it can seem nearly impossible to fully unplug. This was made evident by the fact that I could not resist working throughout the entire six-hour flight to San Diego. I’m sure many others in attendance can relate. But when we all started to gather in-person at the retreat, it became so apparent that true, genuine connection blooms in spaces where we are not distracted by our phones or our inboxes, where we are not defined by our professional titles, and where we are not stressing over our never-ending to-do lists. By disconnecting from the outside noise, we connected with each other.
“This weekend was better than we could have ever planned,” says Kathy Cruz of the OWA’s Connection & Enrichment committee. “We shared a weekend of laughter, tears, meals, vulnerability, stories, hugs, and our passion as a group of powerful women. We built a sisterhood that will last a lifetime.”
From an in-person fireside chat on the beach to morning yoga to getting some time on the water on paddleboards, the retreat left me feeling lucky to be a part of this industry—and even luckier to be a part of the OWA.
The LinkedIn requests, texts, and emails from the women on the retreat are all a heartwarming reminder that we didn’t leave the feeling of comradery behind in San Diego. A shoutout to Beverly Bianes, O.D, who thoughtfully remembered my (and the group’s!) infatuation with her homemade chocolate chip cookies, that she sent me a text a few days following OWA Unplugged of her handwritten, homemade recipe—putting the “treat” in retreat.
Article written by Kerri Ann Raimo