Dr. Tessa Sokol, Class of 2015
IB is celebrating 20 years of the 40 Under 40 in 2020, and will be catching up with past recipients to see what they’ve been up to since they were honored. This week features Dr. Tessa Sokol, president, Sokol Advanced EyeCare.
What have you accomplished in your professional life/career since your 40 Under 40 selection?
Continued support from my loyal patients and employees drives my business to run strong. This stability has allowed me to follow my passion for helping the world see. One in seven people in this world lack access to vision care and are deprived of their most basic need — vision. Since 2015, I have been blessed to be able travel to Zambia, Gambia, and Rwanda examining thousands of people, as well as building eye clinics and teaching students. Sharing my knowledge creates a sustainable solution because those I teach will go on to help thousands themselves!
On top of this, I have also been elected into the position of vice president of the Wisconsin Optometric Association where I serve on committees protecting patient care and rights.
I have had opportunities to publicly speak about healthy binocular vision in children and its importance in success with learning.
I have traveled the Midwest and to California educating doctors on best clinical practices by being the key speaker at over 14 different dinner meetings.
Most recently, I was chosen to be on a national optometric advisory council to act as a liaison and voice for thousands of optometrists toward corporate entities. It’s an honor to serve my colleagues.
What accomplishments, milestones, or endeavors have you attained in your personal life since your 40 Under 40 selection?
Experiences over possessions. I do not take my life for granted and am very reverent of life. Since being selected for the In Business 40 Under 40, I have been blessed to be able to go skydiving, pet crocodiles in Africa, and see magma in a volcano in Nicaragua. Last year, I traveled to a top location on my bucket list, Banff, Alberta, Canada, where I hiked over 50 miles throughout the mountains in four days. Another physical accomplishment I’m proud of is my first completion of a half marathon last year.
If you were to “do it all over again,” what (if anything) would you do differently throughout your career?
If I was to do it all over again I would be more willing to ask for help.
How did your 40 Under 40 selection help your career?
I feel like when I was selected for 40 Under 40, I was being invited into a family. At the reunion event last November, I met so many amazing Madisonians and found out deeply what Madison has to offer. I was humbled and in awe of the strength in the room.
What is something that you have a new passion for since the time of your induction — either professionally or personally?
The current medical model frustrates me. Doctors diagnose problems based off of isolated tests and symptoms, then prescribe the appropriate medications hoping they will help the symptoms. Don’t get me wrong, this is extremely important in acute care but there needs to be more effort in educating the public about preventing chronic disease. We need to take a holistic approach and understand symptoms may be an indicator of a larger whole-body problem. Unfortunately, chronic diseases do not start the day the symptoms are diagnosed, they start years before. My new passion is to educate the public about how ocular health care is a major teller of systemic health problems and how early intervention with simple lifestyle changes can reverse chronic diseases. I intend to partner with like-minded businesses to help Madison become even healthier!
Based on your experience, do you have any advice for today’s young professionals (under 40)?
Follow your passions and do not let self-doubt get in your way. When you make your passions your job, the work is no longer work. It will not be easy and self-doubt may become strong but know this is normal and you will surface stronger on the other end.
Click here to sign up for the free IB Ezine — your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.