Friday, September 28, 2018

Meet Leah Exline – Instructor, Opticianry

School of Nursing & Allied Health

Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up right here in Richmond Virginia. What I loved most about Virginia is that you can drive two or three hours to the beach or two or three hours to the mountains. My family was always finding new places to go camping in between my sister and my soccer games and dance recitals.  

What got you interested in Opticianry?
Coming from a medical background, I have always enjoyed helping others. In June 2011 on the way home from Virginia Beach, I was involved in a car accident that took me out of work for three months. After talking with one of my good friends, who had just completed the Opticianry Program that same year in May; she spoke about the wonderful teachers and great support throughout the courses.  Knowing I needed a change, I completed the program interview, enrolled and started classes within two weeks of the conversation with my friend. Registering for community service events and continuing education conferences are what keeps the fire lit.  
What is the best part of your profession?
Seeing a child smile the first time he/she sees their parents.  Watching the students bloom into the great Opticians.  

In your career so far what has been your greatest “ah ha” moment?
Realizing that I love teaching!! As a child I never thought I would have the patience to help students, but after graduation in 2013, a Managers role proved me wrong.  While educating new sales associates on optics, it was great when the “ah ha” moment happened for them and they started to understand why they are doing what they do with the pair of glasses in front of them.  

You are new to Reynolds. What brought you here?
I’m new in one way and not in another.  I started at Reynolds in 2006 with the Dual enrollment program at Hanover High School.  After taking a break, I came back to the Opticianry Program in 2011. 

Teaching Continuing education credits to the Opticians Association of Virginia enlightened me that standing in front of a group is not as scary as some lead you to believe.  

What has been your greatest challenge in your position so far?
Learning about the program's 45 year history. Taking a look at what has worked and seeing where we can make improvements for the students experience.  

What is your favorite Richmond activity outside of your work at Reynolds?
Spending time with my family, we like to go out and try new events/restaurants/activities.  

If you won $100 Million in the Mega Millions lottery what would you do with the money?
Make sure that family is taken care of first (housing, education) then some would go to charity, cannot forget buying the house in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, and what is left goes into savings.  I would not retire just yet because there are still so many people to meet and students to teach.