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Karen Edwards Blogger

Women in O&P Leadership

Posted by Karen Edwards | March 23, 2017

Hello ÖWLI members and welcome to our March blog! We are honored to bring you the first in 2017’s Women in O&P Leadership series. This quarter we feature Ann Moss, President of Union O&P in Pittsburgh, PA. Union O&P has 11 locations throughout Pennsylvania, and we are thrilled to have Ann’s input on the O&P profession.


Q&A Session with Ann L. Moss
President, Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co.

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How long have you worked in the O&P industry? 16 years

What is your hometown? Pittsburgh, PA

What contributions have you made to the field? I think we all make an impact on those around us and the world we live in. I like to think as the owner and president of a reputable O&P company I have made an impact the lives of our employees and the patients they serve by continuously striving to provide an empowering and compassionate culture in a stable work environment.

What boards do you serve on? NAAOP Board and Alliance Steering Committee

When did you know you wanted to be in the orthotics/prosthetics business? My grandfather lost his leg in WWII and when he returned he started his own prosthetic company. My family has been in the business ever since. I have two uncles still in the field along with four cousins and I work with my brother and sister.

What obstacles did you overcome along the way? The first ten years of my career in O&P were learning how to run the business while being pregnant and raising three young children and trying to mentally and physically balance the stressful demands of both. I had to learn to be redefine the expectations I set for myself on how to be a good leader at work and be a good mother and wife at home.

What risks did you take? Risk-taking is a key ingredient to success. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to look for opportunities to improve is essential for progress whether it is personal or business. As a business owner there are many risks. I take strategic, calculated risks on a routine basis to push my business forward always focusing on improving our company culture and the care we provide our patients.

How do you define success? Understanding yourself, being competent in areas you believe to be important, and earning the respect of your peers.

What was the key to your success? Continuously setting goals, perseverance, positive thinking, and confidence.

Have you used a mentor? Who helped you along the way? I worked with my father, Jon Leimkuehler, until 4 years ago when he retired. He showed me how to do everything involved in running the business from dealing with personnel, handling difficult patients, to understanding financial statements to employee benefits. My father enabled me to gain competence in all facets of running the business and the confidence to figure things out as I go.

What is your perception of being a woman in the O&P field? I personally have never let my gender influence what I can or cannot do but I acknowledge that others may view me differently if I was a man because I might not fit their “perception” of a person with my leadership role. I believe as a woman in any field, you need to focus on your sense of purpose whether it is in patient care or gaining a leadership role and not on worrying how others will perceive you. Make sure your attention is focused on career goals that will help you achieve your purpose.

How have things changed for women in the field during your career? The O&P field has historically been a male dominated field but this is evening out. This springs graduating class for the Masters O&P program at the University of Pittsburgh is 42%. Our female clinical staff is soon to be 25% versus the less than 5% it was 10 years ago. I think the transition in the field from craftsman to clinician has attracted a lot more women into the field.

What advice would you give to a new practitioner and/or to young women entering the field? You need to find and create your own opportunities to become your definition of success regardless of gender. Believe in yourself, focus on your purpose and remember you can be successful at work and at home.

What challenges do you think women currently face in the O&P field? I think the challenges women face in our industry are no different than any other industry with second-generation gender bias as more women are coming into the field traditionally male dominated. Focus on your purpose and don’t worry about how others perceive you and let them hinder your goals.

How can we get more women in leadership roles within O&P? I think the evolution of our industry with more women entering the field will evolve to more women in leadership roles. It is the responsibility of men and women currently holding leadership roles to mentor the women in our field and encourage them to develop their leadership skills and go after leadership opportunities.


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

Sept. 28-30, 2017: Össur Women’s Leadership Conference, Orlando, FL. Details are coming together for our second fantastic women’s conference. We have four outstanding speakers committed so far and more in the works. Note that this year the Business Owners/Directors/Managers roundtable will be held Wednesday Sept. 27 over dinner (so the evening prior to the official start of the conference) and the conference will kick off in the morning of Thursday Sept. 28, allowing us time for more speakers and more interaction. This year’s conference is going to ROCK so sign up soon to reserve your space! REGISTER HERE

Nov. 10, 2017, 12-1pm Central Time: ÖWLI Webinar Series. We are signing the paperwork now for a fantastic national speaker who will lead a webinar on Networking and Sponsors. More details to come very soon!

Best wishes for an amazing month,

Karen Edwards
Director, Össur Women’s Leadership Initiative

ÖWLI Quote of the Month: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
-Abraham Lincoln

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 owli@ossur.com. And join the ÖWLI Facebook Group today!