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OPGA names Össur’s Karen Edwards O&P Woman of the Year

The Orthotic Prosthetic Group of America’s (OPGA) has named Karen Edwards as the 2018 O&P Woman of the Year for her contributions to the industry through the Össur Women’s Leadership Initiative (ÖWLI).

Edwards, Territory Manager for Arizona and Utah, is a 12-year O&P industry veteran and Director of ÖWLI. “I am honored and thrilled to win this award because it validates that advocating for women and gender equality is meaningful to all of us, and that what we do in the Össur Women’s Leadership Initiative matters to the profession. Every time we empower a woman, we make this profession better,” she said.

OPGa woman of the year, Karen Edwards receiving award

The O&P Woman of the Year award was developed by OPGA, a division of VGM Group, Inc., and was open to all women who work in the orthotic and prosthetic industry. A selection committee of five industry professionals reviewed 27 nominations and selected the finalists by considering the nominees’ contributions throughout their careers to patients, community and the profession.

“If you’ve been fortunate enough to meet Karen, you know that she is a connector and mentor to many in the O&P community,” said OPGA President Todd Eagen. “She is a leader who possesses the entrepreneurial mindset and drive to develop education-focused initiatives that benefit the profession and, ultimately, the patients being served. OPGA is honored to shine a well-deserved light on her with this award.”

Since its inception in 2014, ÖWLI has focused on uniting O&P leaders through promoting gender fairness, eliminating gender biases within the industry, and providing professional educational resources, including newsletter and annual conferences, to help power women O&P professionals. Hundreds of O&P clinicians have participated in the annual ÖWLI conference and various webinars, read its blog and subscribed to its newsletter.

In August, Össur sponsored the third annual ÖWLI Conference, which had record attendance of nearly 70 registrants from the U.S., Canada and Iceland. In addition to a motivational talk by Össur Ambassador Jami Marseilles, the weekend’s topics included branding, behavioral styles and team effectiveness, using social media for business promotion, creating amputee-focused events, and a half-day workshop on negotiating skills taught by author Selena Rezvani. View photos from the event here.

According to Edwards, one of the conference’s highlights was a three-hour panel discussion that explored sexual harassment within the O&P profession. Several attendees were inspired to establish an independent workgroup to continue the discussion, with the intention of championing the topic in other industry groups.

Össur is proud to be the only manufacturer offering education specifically focused on women in O&P. All O&P professionals, regardless of gender identity, are invited and encouraged to register for ÖWLI at www.ÖÖWLI.