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2009 OWA Pleiades Honoree


Shining Star Rene Soltis Encourages Everyone to Reach for the Stars!

Rene Soltis

NEW YORK, NY— Sharing the spotlight with family, friends and trusted advisors, Rene Soltis accepted the Optical Women's Association's (OWA) revered Annual Pleiades Award. This award was created to honor one individual each year that has shown exceptional support of the OWA and of women in the optical industry.

Over 200 attendees and "Rene" fans gathered at the Marchon Eyewear showroom to congratulate Rene and network with colleagues and friends. President Elect Laurie Badone opened the ceremony. Deborah Malakoff Castor and Dana Weeks, both past recipients of the award presented the 10th Annual Pleiades Award to Renee. Rene's heartfelt acceptance speech brought the crowd to tears as she shared her passion for reaching out and sharing the wisdom of experience to build a strong future for the industry.

Marge Axelrad, Sr. VP / Editorial Director, Jobson Optical Group and a founding member of the OWA had this to share. "Rene's passion for eyewear and the role it plays in people's lives has been apparent throughout her career. She's touched many within the profession with her creative ideas, lively training presentations and spokesperson appearances. Her influence has been widespread and she exemplifies all the qualities honored by the OWA's Pleiades Awards over the years."

Cocktails and a silent auction started off the festivities. Luxury items generously donated by Marchon's licensing partners raised over three thousand dollars for the OWA Professional Development Fund. A big thank you from the OWA to Marchon and licensing partners for the following items:

Renee noted in her speech many opportunities she has been afforded and thanked everyone for helping her along the way, while encouraging everyone to get involved in another's success.

The Award is named after the star cluster "The Pleiades" in the constellation of Taurus. "The Pleiades" is also known as the "Seven Sisters" — referring to the seven brightest stars in the cluster. According to Greek mythology, each star was named after the seven daughters of Atlas who were turned into stars by Zeus. Together these stars create one of the brightest clusters visible in the northern hemisphere, just as by working together, the women of the OWA have created an organization that is bigger and brighter than the sum of their individual efforts.

See the September 2009 Newsletter for some great photos from the 10th Annual Pleiades Award ceremony.

Pleiades Award — Past Honorees

Click on the award winners' names from 2003 forward to see more information about the Pleiades Award recipient.

2024 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Rebecca Giefer

2023 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Karen Roberts

2022 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Erinn Morgan

2021 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Gai Gherardi

2020 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Millicent Knight, OD

2019 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Holly Rush

2018 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Ashley Mills

2017 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Kate Renwick-Espinosa

2016 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Sue Downes

2015 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Maureen Cavanagh

2014 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Sherrie Rogerson

2013 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Marge Axelrad
Press Release

2012 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Shirley Platzer-Stocks
Press Release

2011 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Christie Walker
Press Release

2010 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Danne Ventura
2010 Awards Cocktail Reception and Presentation

2009 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Rene Soltis

2008 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Stephanie K. De Long

2007 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Deborah Malakoff

2006 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Janet Callif

2005 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Mimi Friedfeld

2004 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Dana Weeks

2003 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Carene S. Kunkler — Sight Resource Corporation

2002 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Andrea Gluck — Eyewear Designs

2001 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Tom Styers — Southern Optical

2000 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Pat Patterson — Walman Optical

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