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Karen Edwards Blogger

ÖWLI 18-Month Review

Posted by Karen Edwards | July 27, 2016

Welcome to the July 2016 edition of the ÖWLI blog. Things are heating up – both outside in the searing heat and inside with our ÖWLI initiative! We are gearing up for two webinars (including one next week on August 5) and an exciting first-ever Women's Leadership Conference for women in O&P. Be sure to check the calendar at the end of the blog for dates and registration information. FYI, our conference only h​as 14 spaces remaining so be sure to sign up soon!

It is hard to believe our initiative has now been in existence for a year and a half. Our initiative is a smashing success and has accomplished so much over this short period of time. This month's blog provides us a timely opportunity to review who we are, what we have accomplished and to share what our goals are moving forward.


The Össur Women's Leadership Initiative seeks to encourage and support O&P practitioners by providing a forum for discussion and education with the goal of developing and strengthening the leadership skills of female O&P practitioners.

As a result, we hope to:

  • Engage inclusively with both women and men to provide development support to female practitioners
  • Bring awareness to:
    • Conscious and unconscious gender biases in the workplace
    • Practices and policies that promote diversity and flexibility
  • Create a forum for females practitioners to network and provide support to each other
  • Establish a greater number of  female role models for future practitioners
  • Create a positive, balanced perception of both female and male industry leaders


To-date we have:

  • Registered 184 members across five countries (88% U.S., 5% Canada, and others in Australia, Iceland and South Africa)
  • Posted 17 blogs
  • Presented four educational webinars
  • Held four book clubs
  • Hosted three local round-table discussions (Hanger Ed Fair, Chicago and Raleigh)
  • Launched a Facebook discussion page, Twitter page and LinkedIn page
  • Instituted the industry's first Women's Leadership Conference
  • Been featured in industry publications O&P Almanac and OPGA Communicator


We strive to ensure that our content is relevant to you and useful in propelling you forward in your career, as well as beneficial to the industry in general. To further this, we have set the following goals for the immediate future:

  • To continue our monthly blog and utilize ÖWLI members as guest blog writers as a way to ensure our blogs are relevant to you and to provide a path for you to engage with each other and the initiative
  • To continue to provide quarterly educational webinars and to add clinical education to the mix of topics
  • To provide 2-4 local events each year for networking, education and mutual support
  • To secure a business diversity-related presentation for one of the national conferences by 2018
  • To continue to find ways to make our initiative more inclusive and to garner more support from males in the industry, including coverage of our Initiative in industry trade publications
  • To discontinue the book club, and to add quarterly book recommendations to the blog
  • To recruit an ÖWLI practitioner(s) to participate as a partner to assist with content and focus
  • To distribute a survey to ÖWLI members by the end of 2016 to gather feedback on the Initiative and input on future improvements
  • To host a second Women's Leadership Conference in 2017


We recognize that blogs and webinars are only the beginning to providing support to women in O&P and to creating a truly equitable, inclusive profession. The initiative will be genuinely significant to you when we provide ways for you to network, discuss issues with each other directly and involve the entire industry in the discussion. How can you get the most out of your ÖWLI membership?

  • Encourage your colleagues to register for ÖWLI, including your male colleagues
  • Read the blogs and send your thoughts about it to us and/or post it on the ÖWLI Facebook page
  • Write one of our monthly blogs (just email to volunteer)
  • Suggest blog and webinar topics that would be most beneficial to you
  • Attend and participate in our webinars, perhaps with your coworkers as a group on your lunch hour (most topics are applicable to either gender and inclusiveness is encouraged)
  • Join the ÖWLI Facebook page and post discussion topics, share industry and educational articles and events
  • Follow our Twitter page and share posts we publish on LinkedIn
  • Request a local ÖWLI event in your area via email to us or directly with your local Össur representative
  • Let your manager know about the ÖWLI initiative and how it has encouraged you as a leader in the industry

THANK YOU for such a successful start to our initiative and please send your feedback to us anytime at!


MARK YOUR CALENDARS:  Reserve a spot on your schedule for the following upcoming ÖWLI events…

Aug. 5, 2016, 12-1pm EST:   ÖWLI Webinar "Networking 101". Join us next week on Friday for the next in our quarterly webinar series, with guest speaker Allison Matejczyk, Director of Corporate Partnerships at Ellevate Nework.

Networking has been called the #1 rule of success in business. Who you know is what you know. But sometimes it may feel daunting, or a lot of work for not much return. So what should you do (or not do) when trying to connect with others and build your network? How should you nurture those relationships? And most importantly, how do you make "the ask" and get the advice, referrals and business you want to get from your network effectively? Learn the top 10 tips of networking from the experts at Ellevate Network. What a great precursor to our Össur Women's Leadership Conference in September! REGISTER HERE!

Sept. 15-17, 2016:   Össur Women's Leadership Initiative Conference, Orlando, FL. If you haven't registered, NOW IS THE TIME! Please join us for a FIRST-CLASS education and networking event at Össur's Orlando facility.  This three-day conference is applicable to women in the O&P profession at all levels and will focus on issues relevant to female O&P practitioners as well as leadership development. 13.75 business CEU's will be offered and topics include leadership development by former Black Hawk fighter pilot Elizabeth McCormick, career development led by a panel of female O&P leaders, and the chance to network with your female peers and colleagues. Best of all, the event is FREE and includes all meals (including a super fun dinner outing on the Friday)! Register NOW as spaces are limited to 50 attendees and we are down to 14 available spaces. Click here to register//

Oct. 14, 2016, 12-1pm:   ÖWLI Webinar Series. Our topic this quarter is "Personal Branding." More information on the speaker and the details to come!

Thanks for your support, and, as always, for being a part of ÖWLI. We look forward to hearing from you, meeting you at the conference, and to continued alliances in the future. 

Until August,

Karen Edwards
Director, Össur Women's Leadership Initiative

ÖWLI Quote of the Month"Many women live like it's a dress rehearsal. Ladies, the curtain is up and you're on!" – Mikki Taylor, public speaker, former beauty and cover editor, Essence Magazine

Talk to us!! Your feedback is welcomed and encouraged! Please let us know what you think of our initiative, share your ideas, share your victories, or just say "hi" by emailing us at And follow us on Twitter @OWLIOssur and Facebook at Össur Women's Leadership Initiative page.