Alumni Focus on Carla Mack (OD'95)



Wadsworth, Ohio

Which degree(s), related to optometry, did you earn at Ohio State?



Who were your mentors at the College of Optometry? Who had a positive effect on your education?

My mentors in school were Joe Barr (OD’77, MS’79), Mike Earley (OD/MS’88, PhD’92) and Nick Fogt (OD/MS’92, PhD’96). Bruce Manning also greatly influenced my career.


Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.

Alcon, Senior Director of Professional Strategy for four years.

Alcon's home office is in Fort Worth, Texas, but I work remotely from Powell, Ohio when not traveling or in Texas.

Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.

No two days are alike for me. I have the great pleasure of working with our business leaders, sales and marketing personnel, medical affairs, a great professional affairs team and my OD colleagues to help gain insights and develop strategies, programs and products that will hopefully help eye care professionals help their patients see, look and feel their best.

Which optometric issues concern you the most?

I believe patient satisfaction and empowerment due to technology and social media are huge opportunities for optometrists and industry to embrace both inside and outside of the practice.

Why did you choose a career in optometry?

I knew I wanted to pursue something “medical” since I was young child. When I was 12, I prepared a career project and chose optometry because of the influence of my Dad’s childhood best friend Dr. Jack Youshak (BS’64). Working on the project, I realized the eye was really cool and decided this was where I could focus my efforts.

Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?

In five years, I may still be in industry or perhaps back in academia. I’m open to new opportunities.

What is one piece of advice you can give OPT IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?

Embrace the value that you bring as an optometrist and you can only act on that value when you emotionally connect with your patients and fully understand their needs.


What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?

My most memorable experiences are from when I worked at The Ohio State University College of Optometry as Director of Clinics and was teaching both in the classroom and in the clinical setting. There wasn’t a day that I didn’t leave work and know if I did or didn’t create the best experience for my students and patients. It was the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.

Alcon coworkers and Olympian Laurie Hernandez
Alcon coworkers and Olympian Laurie Hernandez


What does Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?

Ohio State and the College have provided my education, place of employment, amazing experiences with friends and colleagues and personal and career opportunities I could never have dreamed of.

How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry as an alumna?

I still have amazing friends at the College like Carol Wilcox and Shawn Curtner from my many years of working there. I’m lucky that I get to work with so many former students and colleagues who share OSU as a bond (Rick Weisbarth (OD’80), Marjorie Rah (OD’95, MS’97, PhD’00), Mo Merchea (OD’97, MS’99, PhD’03), Kathryn Richdale (OD’02, MS’05, PhD’11), Heidi Wagner (OD’86), Sean Powell (OD’00,MS’02), Catherine McDaniel (OD/MS’08), Tom Quinn (OD’79, MS’81) , Jason Miller (OD’99), Jason Nichols (OD’99, MS’00, PhD’04), Loretta Szczotka-Flynn (OD/MS’92) and Doug Bosner(OD’02) to name just a few) I take advantage of CE opportunities too!


What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?

L to R: Lisa VonDach (sister), Summer Mack, Carla Mack, Malia Mack
L to R: Lisa VonDach (sister), Summer Mack,
Carla Mack, Malia Mack

I’m very interested in health, personal wellness and fitness in all forms.

What was the first concert that you attended / most recent? 

My first concert was Tina Turner and Lionel Richie at Blossom Music Center.

My last concert was Tom Petty (RIP) in Nashville.

What is your favorite summer time activity?

My favorite summer time activity is spending time outdoors with family riding bikes, walking at night and eating on the patio.

If not an optometrist, I would be ...