2021 OWL Awards Finalists | OWL Cary, NC | OWL

2021 OWL Awards Finalists

Visionary Leader Award

OWL’s Visionary Leader Award honors an individual who has paved the way for diversity in their field through significant achievement.  Nominees should have demonstrated leadership in their field through their careers.


Abigail Markward
Nominee Statement

Abby Markward has more than 20 years of experience in the ophthalmic industry.  She is currently the Head of Business Development for PentaVision, an ophthalmic publishing company.  She has extensive experience in advertising, marketing, and product management, and has worked for companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Bausch + Lomb.

Ms. Markward is the President of OWL and has been a hard-working supporter and visionary leader of OWL for nearly a decade. During that time, she has been instrumental in creating innovative, informational and inspirational OWL programs and digital events.  Since 2009, she has been a dedicated volunteer for SightLife, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating corneal blindness worldwide.  On behalf of SightLife, she traveled to Nepal for the Women Advocates’ Trip.  “Abby is the kind of person who adds value to everything she touches,” said one of her nominators.  Ms. Markward has mentored others throughout her career.  In nominating her, a colleague emphasized that “I can think of few people in this industry with greater dedication to enhancing diversity, supporting others’ career paths, and a strong commitment to growing the OWL organization.”

James V. Mazzo
Nominee Statement

Jim Mazzo is Executive Chairman of Neurotech, a retinal implant company, and CEO and President of Avellino Labs, a biotechnology and genetic science company.  He also serves as an adviser or board director of several other ophthalmic companies.  As one of the ophthalmic industry’s most respected business leaders, Mr. Mazzo has a reputation for building and leading world-class companies, including Allergan, Advanced Medical Optics, Abbott’s global ophthalmology business, AcuFocus, and Carl Zeiss Meditec.  He serves on the ASCRS Governing Board, the AAO Foundation Advisory Board, and the AGS Foundation Advisory Board.  He has been recognized as a Top 100 Innovator in Ophthalmology multiple times and in 2021 received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

A nominator noted that Mr. Mazzo not only mentors, but is also an active advocate for them and many others in the industry.  “He loves our industry and is completely dedicated to ensuring we have well-rounded, passionate leaders at every level — he is an example of what we want to have in our senior leaders!”

Jai Parekh, MD, MBA
Nominee Statement

Jai Parekh is CEO and co-founder of EyeCare Consultants of NJ, a comprehensive ophthalmic practice serving 7 counties in New Jersey.  He has held consulting and strategic roles for numerous eye care companies, most recently serving for 5 years as Chief Medical Officer of Global Eye Care for Allergan.  Dr. Parekh serves as a Trustee, Chief of Cornea and Medical Director of the Research Institute at St. Joseph’s Health, where trials in COVID-19 made the Center one of the top research facilities in the NY-NY area.  Additionally, by co-chairing multiple philanthropic and strategic initiatives he helps to raise awareness and funds for the underserved, striving to change what the eyecare profession can do overall for healthcare — locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.

As a key board member for OWL, Dr. Parekh continually demonstrates his commitment to advancing diversity in ophthalmology through volunteering his time and talents and sharing his gifts with others in the ophthalmic industry.

Catalyst Award

OWL’s Catalyst Award honors an individual who has contributed significantly to helping others advance their career in eye care.  Nominees should have demonstrated leadership in supporting the advancement of diversity.  (For example: mentoring/sponsorship of promising individuals; diversity advocacy; or creating a culture of equality).


Wayne Caulder
Nominee Statement

Wayne Caulder is Head of U.S. Sales, Ophthalmic Devices for Carl Zeiss Meditec.  He has held previous roles with ISTA Pharmaceuticals, Vision Care Ophthalmic Technologies, and i-Optics, which he co-founded.  Mr. Caulder is known for creating a culture of high performance and personal development for his teams.  He enjoys taking a vision and making it a reality through strategic development and a keen business acumen.  He is currently spearheading major strategic shifts for transforming his organization from a functional focus to an enabler of innovation for the ophthalmic business, as well as integrating the digitalization of devices to support a solutions approach initiative for customers.

Within Zeiss and throughout his involvement in ophthalmology, Mr. Caulder has worked hard to lead and mentor others.  A nominator said that he “seems to constantly boost the careers of everyone around him.”

Arthur Chan, PhD, MBA
Nominee Statement

Arthur Chan is the vice president of medical affairs at Tarsus Pharmaceuticals.  Originally from Calgary, Canada, he received his PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Washington and holds an MBA specializing in pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing.
Dr. Chan is a leader with a passion for mentoring others and giving back, and someone who has brought the ophthalmic community closer together during the pandemic.  He opens doors for many eye care professionals who are looking to work with industry or are new to industry.  He’s also a diversity, equity and inclusion champion at Tarsus (and formerly at Novartis) who intentionally and successfully builds teams of individuals with diverse roots and life experiences.  He recently collaborated with last year’s OWL Catalyst award winner, Dr. Renee Bovelle, to bring awareness to the importance of diversity among clinical trial participants and investigators, and inspired residents at Howard University to partner with industry by sharing how to get involved with research.  “Arthur Chan is a great example of a leader, mentor, influencer and friend,” said his nominator.  “While at Alcon he not only supported the creation and growth of a new surgical medical affairs field-based team, but also mentored each team member in their new role.  He took the time to ensure their professional and personal successes.”

Jeanne Taylor Hecht, MBA
Nominee Statement

Jeanne Taylor Hecht is CEO of JTH Consulting, LLC, which provides business management, governance, strategy and growth consulting, and the former CEO of Ora, Inc.  She also serves as a Non-Executive Director on three Boards of Directors, including 2 that are publicly traded.  She commands broad knowledge and deep expertise in the life sciences arena, specializing in guiding international companies through healthy growth — thoughtfully, strategically, and with unyielding integrity.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Hecht held many senior roles at Iqvia (formerly Quintiles IMS Holdings, Inc.), where she served as president of the Quintiles WIN (Women in Networking) group, and she continues to promote and support the development of women in ophthalmology, advising talented women leaders how they can serve on corporate and advisory boards.  She also volunteers with several nonprofit groups that provide medication access to seniors and playgrounds for children with disabilities.

Rising Star Award

OWL’s Rising Star Award honors an individual who is an emerging leader in the ophthalmic space.  These award finalists are in their early or mid-careers and demonstrate high potential for making an impact in ophthalmology.


Kate Fehlhaber, PhD
Nominee Statement

Kate Fehlhaber began her career at Johnson & Johnson Vision and is now Global Project Director for The Fundingsland Group, an independent medical education company, where she creates compelling, compliant, and effective peer-to-peer education driven by large-scale clinician surveys to address gaps in clinical knowledge, opinions, and practice patterns.  Dr. Fehlhaber received her PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA in 2017, where she studied the molecular mechanisms of the first synapse of sight and founded Knowing Neurons, a creative education website dedicated to making neuroscience more accessible to the general public.  It won the 2016 Next Generation Award from the Society for Neuroscience, has been featured in Forbes magazine, and is currently listed as #3 on Feedspot’s Top 90 Neuroscience Blogs.

Dr. Fehlhaber was selected as a 2020 OWL Fellow and is currently serving on the Membership Impact Committee.  She spearheaded the 2019 OWL Survey and hosted a webinar to examine the results.  At TFG, she is leading a commitment to diversity and inclusion in ophthalmic education.  Her nominator calls her “brilliant and hard-working” and suggests she is “one to watch” in

Nishant Maller, MBA
Nominee Statement

Nishant Maller is Senior Brand Manager for surgical retina at Alcon, where he began his ophthalmic career as a marketing intern 9 years ago.  Since then, “Nishant has made a gigantic splash as a rising professional in our space,” said a nominator.  His experience in ophthalmology spans across cataract, refractive, glaucoma and surgical retina.

Mr. Maller has received multiple awards in the healthcare market, and has also taken key leadership positions in employee resource groups within Alcon.  For example, he serves as one of the co-chairs for OPEN (Open Professional Employee Network), Alcon’s LGBTQ+ focused employee resource group.  Having grown up and worked in different countries with different cultures, and not fitting many stereotypes, advancing diversity is an important value for Mr. Maller.

Alanna Nattis, DO
Nominee Statement

Alanna Nattis is a cornea, cataract and refractive surgeon, as well as the Director of Clinical Research at SightMD, and an associate professor in ophthalmology and surgery at NYIT-College of Osteopathic Medicine.  During residency and her fellowship with world-renowned eye surgeons Eric Donnenfeld and Henry Perry, Dr. Nattis published over 15 articles in peer-reviewed journals, wrote 2 textbook chapters, and has co-authored a landmark ophthalmology textbook designed to help guide and teach surgical techniques to residents and fellows — with the second edition coming out in 2021.

Her nominator says: “As a strong, smart female in ophthalmology, Dr. Nattis has pioneered the way to show us what ‘good’ looks like.  Not only has she spent the last few years rising in the ranks and becoming a national name, but she has done so while mentoring and educating those around her.  She has been involved in several research projects, including industry-sponsored studies and investigator-initiated trials, and has stepped ahead of her timetables to show that she is a capable leader.  Have you ever seen someone who is still rising ensure that they lift up those around them?  Alanna is that person!”

Voting now closed.

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Thank you to our Leadership Awards Sponsors

Awards Sponsors; Ziemer (Visionary Leader), CorneaGen (Catalyst), Rising Star (BVI)