Wednesday, April 1, 2020

‘Contact lenses can be at the forefront of a new era in eye health’ - BCLA chief excited for the future

The new chief executive of the British Contact Lens Association will focus on the organisation’s “exemplary commitment to high standards and guidelines for practice” as part of a drive to ensure the brand is synonymous with career and professional development.
Luke Stevens-Burt will join the BCLA later in April, taking over from long-serving predecessor Cheryl Donnelly. Having started his career in the Armed Forces, he has forged a professional background in membership associations across the healthcare, information, education and public sector industries. 
In an open letter to BCLA members announcing his arrival he said: “The BCLA exists within a similar ecosystem to all other membership bodies and professional associations. They face similar challenges and share experience across the professional spectrum. 

“I intend to tap into the wide amount of knowledge from across this ecosystem to implement positive change and introduce tried and tested solutions and strategies to enhance the standing of the BCLA and build a valuable experience for all members. 

“I foresee the BCLA achieving success through the brand being synonymous with career and professional development and raising the profile of the profession. It needs to be seen as a leading stakeholder by both the profession and the public. 

“The former, through BCLA's exemplary commitment to high standards and guidelines for practice, and an active partner in key initiatives for the benefit of optometry. The latter, through a growing base of patients that receive the highest of care - in both practice and information - with a reduction in non-clinical dropout rates and improved ocular surface and anterior eye health. 
“With the ongoing convergence of advanced technology, information systems and biology, the profession is at the cusp of truly amazing opportunities. Smart contact lenses are a leap into the 21st century and herald the real possibility of our specialism being at the forefront of a new era in eye health.”
Mr Stevens-Burt has pledged to bolster membership support, engagement and development through member and sector-responsive design, while also bolstering the BCLA’s standing in overseas markets, specifically South East Asia.

He takes over from Cheryl Donnelly, who departed the association on 27 March after more than six years at the helm. During her time as chief executive Cheryl achieved an increased worldwide reach for the BCLA, including the launch of a new conference in Asia. She was responsible for the organisation’s 40th birthday celebrations and oversaw a number of hugely successful BCLA Clinical Conferences and Exhibitions, most recently in Manchester last year.

She played a pivotal role in the launch of a new suite of exclusive member resources, including promoting the acclaimed ‘No Water’ stickers and ‘Contact Lens Dos and Don’ts’ factsheets, and paved the way for innovative, 21st century communication – which culminated in the launch of webinars and live-streamed lectures to allow more members than ever before to access exclusive BCLA content no matter where they are in the world. She also oversaw the introduction of the popular Dry Eye certificate and the soon-to-be-launched Myopia Management certificate.

President Jonathon Bench said: “Cheryl Donnelly has been a brilliant ambassador for the BCLA who has a long-lasting legacy to be proud of. She has been a true pioneer and embraced the culture of change and innovation that lies at the heart of the association.

“We now look forward to a new era with Luke at the helm. He is someone with huge passion and drive and his knowledge of growing membership organisations gives us the opportunity to push the BCLA even further.”

Notes to editors
For further information, or to arrange further interviews, please call Daniel Owens from Orange Juice Communications on 07909 916668 or email [email protected]