Senior Surgical Consultant First Center Employee to Achieve Service Milestone

Aside from pride, nothing is bigger in Texas than football. A favorite t-shirt from my days as a UT Longhorn boldly states that one should “come early, be loud, stay late, wear orange”. Turns out this would also accurately describe my future TLC Tysons Corner Senior Surgical Consultant, Cindy O’Connor, who will proudly celebrate her twentieth TLC anniversary on May 1, 2013.

Come early.
Cindy started in ophthalmology as a technician well before I had seen a cornea for the first time. To be a little more accurate, I am not even sure that I knew what a cornea was back then. Her TLC career began with Dr. Mark Whitten in 1993. She was with him when he performed the first LASIK procedure at the old TLC Fairfax location.

Fast forward to now, and things are still the same. Every morning, I can count on seeing Cindy’s car already parked in the garage when I arrive. Before the first patient has signed in, Cindy has uncovered and calibrated all the equipment needed to see the average 20+ patients per day. When extra help is needed to staff continuing education seminars, Saturday clinic, or volunteer at an upcoming charity walk/run, I can count on Cindy’s e-mail reply landing in my inbox shortly after the call to action is made.

Be loud.
While Cindy is mostly reserved in her demeanor, her TLC message is heard loud and clear: She loves everything about this job! Cindy is a fierce patient advocate. She proudly educates each patient on their refractive surgery options. If a patient mentions Cindy’s favorite food and drink during a surgical consultation, the patient often leaves the Center with a desire to try new wine and cheese pairings!
Not a day goes by that I cannot overhear Cindy’s sweet laughter in the next exam room as she is diligently building rapport with my next patient. She has endeared herself to fellow staff members, too. “Cindy and I have worked together off and on since 1999,” Kris Evertsen, an ophthalmic technician who currently works at TLC Rockville and DC, said. “She really taught me a lot about the business. She is someone that I always have felt I could go to with questions or concerns.”

Stay late.
Cindy has a habit of staying at the office until all of her responsibilities have been completed with care. She always has time to contact one more Eye Care Professional to gather patient information or to motivate me to clean off my desk (because this usually means that she will get one more surgical chart returned to her!).

Speaking of charts … Did you know that Cindy prepares each of our surgical charts for me to review prior to the day of surgery? This is no small task when you consider that our surgeon, Dr. Andrew Holzman, averages approximately 250 cases per month! “When Cindy goes on vacation, she calls the office to make sure that we are still preparing charts,” TLC Tysons Corner ophthalmic technician Eleni Katiskes said. “I have to remind her that she is on vacation. Now, I proactively tell her not to call the office while on vacation!”

When we decided to open every Saturday, Cindy could have used her seniority as a reason for not working those days; however, she always tells me to put her “wherever you need me”.

Wear orange.
I would love it if we all wore Burnt Orange scrubs around the office, but the staff keeps choosing more normal colors like blue and purple. While Cindy does not currently wear orange (not ruling this out for the future!), she certainly does wear her heart on her sleeve. She has the most endearing of personalities and is quite gentle by nature.

“Cindy is a wonderful human being, and I love how she takes others into consideration,” Dr. Andrew Holzman, Regional Medical Director for TLC Tysons Corner, Rockville, and Charlottesville, said. “It is sometimes almost silly how she treats me with undeserved respect. For example, Cindy has never entered my office without first asking if she could come in or apologizing for handing me a huge pile of charts.”

Congratulations, Cindy! Your entire TLC family congratulates you on being the first center employee in TLC Vision history to attain this distinguished achievement. You sure do know how to set the bar high!

Jen Weigel, OD, FAAO

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