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Karen Edwards Blogger

Women in O&P Leadership Series - JoAnne Kanas

Posted by Karen Edwards | November 27, 2017

Hello ÖWLI members and welcome to our November blog! We hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving. We continue to be grateful for your leadership in the profession and your support of other women in Orthotics and Prosthetics. No doubt you are hard at work getting those final legs out the door before the holidays arrive and deductibles restart! We are right there with you and also working on getting 2018 plans in place. Before the end of the year we hope to have dates for our next webinar series as well as dates set for the 2018 Össur Women's Leadership Conference.

This month we continue with our Women in O&P Leadership Series and are proud to feature this year's winner of the OPGA's O&P Woman of the Year Award, JoAnne Kanas.

JoAnne Kanas

What is your current position and title: Corporate Director of O&P Shriners Hospitals for Children

What is your hometown? Currently live in Tampa Florida, but lived in Philadelphia/South Jersey area prior to that.

How long have you worked in the O&P industry? 30 years

Where did you attend school and what did you major in? BS in Physical Therapy Northeastern University; Long Term Certificate O&P Northwestern University, CPO; Doctorate in Physical Therapy Boston University

What boards do you serve on? OPAF and AAOP

What contributions have you made to the field? I have lectured at state and national meetings, taught O&P for PT students, guest lectured at MS O&P programs, helped to plan the clinical content for AAOP national meetings, and written a few chapters and articles.

What obstacles have you overcome during your career? I don't think I would say I had "obstacles". I was and am still passionate about clinical care and education. I have always been involved in that. Over time I "came up in the ranks" and had the privilege and honor to do more from a leadership role.

What risks have you taken? Transitioning from PT to O&P I basically "gave it all up," sold everything and started over not truly being sure where I was headed.

How do you define success? Tough one, I think it is seeing the faces of patients and families when they SEE WHAT THEY CAN NOW DO.

What is the key to your success? Hard work, patience, and commitment to the profession and my patients

Have you used a mentor? Who helped you along the way? I am a big proponent of mentors and have had several along the way, but I have had one special mentor in O&P, Don Shurr, PT/CPO, and he has truly been a gift.  I met him back in 1990 and we have stayed in touch ever since.

What is your perception of being a woman in the O&P profession? They are truly changing the "face" of O&P.

How have things changed for women in business during your career? When I started I was one of very few women in my class.  Now they are 50% or even more. No one thought I could "make a brace" when I started.  Those stereotypes are gone or fading away.

What advice would you give to a new practitioner and/or to young women entering the field? Excellent career choice, and you can balance career success and family.

How can we get more women in leadership roles within O&P? It's coming.  More and more women are in the field, and they are talented and skilled. 

What leaders do you admire? Hilary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Golda Meir

Thank you, JoAnne, for sharing your insights and for your continued example of a strong female leader in O&P!

Best wishes for an amazing month,

Karen Edwards
Director, Össur Women's Leadership Initiative

ÖWLI Quote of the Month (JoAnne's favorite quote): "A bend in the road is not the end of the road…. Unless you fail to make the turn." – Helen Keller

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 ÖWLI@Ö And join the ÖWLI Facebook Group today!