Home Events O&P Woman of the Year Award 2019

O&P Woman of the Year Award


OPGA is proud to announce the 2019 O&P Woman of the Year
Lisa Guichet

Lisa Guichet co-founded Innovative Prosthetics, a mobile custom prosthetic company delivering exceptional patient care to the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex and surrounding areas. She started the company in 2016 with six employees and has grown the business to three locations and more than 30 employees in just under three years.

“Lisa's vision for providing care that addresses a patient's needs beyond the basics- such as mobile appointment options and a patient advocate program- is helping put a spotlight on this dynamic profession,” said OPGA President Todd Eagen. “The O&P community continues to grow and change in a positive direction thanks to innovative business owners like Lisa who aren't afraid to try new concepts to meet the needs of the patient.”

The O&P Woman of the Year award was developed by OPGA, a division of VGM Group, Inc., and is open to all women who work in the orthotic and prosthetic profession. It was presented during the Orthotic Prosthetic Group of America (OPGA) Member and Supplier reception as part of the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association’s (AOPA) 2019 National Assembly in San Diego on September 25.

Now in its third year, the O&P Woman of the Year event continues to grow as it shines a light on women making a different in the profession. This year’s event was attended by more than 170 O&P professionals and gave attendees an opportunity to learn more about each of the finalists and their important contributions to their patients, community, and business.

According to Eagan, this year’s event was the largest to date, offering O&P professionals a chance to connect with others in the profession and network with newcomers to the field to learn and share ideas.

“This is such a phenomenal opportunity for us to not only recognize our finalists for this award, but also learn about the amazing things women in the O&P profession across the country are doing to raise the bar in terms of patient care, technological advances, and innovative new programs,” said Eagen.



2019 O&P Woman of the Year Award finalists

These women represent the best of the O&P profession. Each has made a positive impact on their organization, their patients, and their community. We’re extremely honored to shine a well-deserved light on them.

The award will be presented at a special event during the AOPA Assembly on Wednesday, Sept. 25 in San Diego.

Tess Burford, Certified Prosthetist

Fourroux Prosthetics, Birmingham, Alabama

Having utilized prostheses since she was four months old due to a left elbow disarticulation limb difference, Tess now utilizes her prosthesis as a tool, both in and out of the office. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University in Rehabilitation Services and Disability Studies and went on to complete her master’s degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics at Northwestern University. Tess recently finished her orthotics residency and anticipates sitting for the board exams in the coming months.

One of Tess’s greatest passions is Adventure Amputee Camp – a non-profit children’s amputee camp – where she was once a camper. She now serves as an ongoing counselor, also joining the camp’s board of directors in 2015. Tess also recently started volunteering with HICS (Hughes International Clinics), a non-profit organization with a mission of providing O&P care where needed throughout the world.

Tess looks forward to continuing to grow as a practitioner. Her passion is caring for others and striving to make a positive impact on each individual she works with.

Lisa Guichet, Co-Founder and CEO

Innovative Prosthetics, Southlake, Texas

As a Co-Founder and CEO of Innovative Prosthetics in Southlake, Texas, Lisa started the company in 2016 with just six employees and has grown the business to three locations and more than 30 employees in just under three years.

With offices in Southlake, Texas; Waco, Texas; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Innovative Prosthetics is a mobile custom prosthetic company, delivering exceptional care – for the convenience and comfort of the patient.

Lisa believes coaching and growing a team in a culture of compassion, dedication, care and integrity has been key to her success. When she's not at work, you'll find her with her toy poodle, BB, at the lake.  

Kathleen DeLawrence, COO

Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics, Exton, Pennsylvania

After serving on the board of directors for Ability Prosthetics, Kathleen joined the company in 2015 as Chief Operating Officer, bringing more than 20 years of experience from the pharmaceutical industry.

Before joining Ability, Kathleen parlayed her deep operational business and startup acumen into a strategic consulting practice focused on entrepreneurial businesses in the healthcare and life sciences market. She brings her cross-discipline experience to Ability, which includes a wide range of consulting and corporate management assignments. 

Kathleen’s career includes positions as Chief Operating Officer for Prism Pharmaceuticals where she was responsible for business operations and the functional areas of manufacturing, supply chain, marketing, and commercial operations, as well as Vice President and General Manager of Dover Communications, a medical education company, where she led business operations, sales delivery, and financial reporting. Kathleen began her pharmaceutical career at AstraMerck following a few years of business strategy consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Kathleen still dabbles in consulting with entrepreneurs to fulfill a personal passion of sharing her learnings and truly enjoys mentoring many individuals in Ability, the O&P profession and other industries. 

Esperanza Friedman, Certified Orthotist, President and Co-Founder

J & J Artificial Limb and Brace, San Diego, California

Esperanza was introduced to the world of prosthetics and orthotics in 1990 when she began working as a technician. She quickly developed a passion for the field and felt she could do more by continuing her studies, going on to earn her certification as a certified orthotist.

After a few years in the field, Esperanza was driven to make a warm and welcoming environment that addressed the individual need of the patient. She wanted the patient to feel comfortable coming into a facility and using their fully customized corrective device. 

In 2001, Esperanza opened her own business, allowing her to practice the skills she fell in love with; more importantly, she could ensure her company lived the values and principles she believed in. With a kind heart and open arms, every patient that walks through the door is treated as if they are family. 

With the support of the community and Esperanza’s passion for her business, J & J Artificial Limb and Brace has expanded to include three facilities in southern California: San Diego, Oceanside, and Mission Viejo.

Esperanza continues to devote her time to less fortunate communities and individuals. She regularly sends braces to orphanages in Mexico in hopes that the device she and her employees make will help aid the daily life of an individual in need.      




Selection committee


Jeffrey Brandt

Jeffrey Brandt

Jeffrey M. Brandt, CPO, is CEO and founder of Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics, an evidence-based P&O practice that has now grown to 11 offices across three states.  Since its inception in 2004, Ability has led the advancement and implementation of outcome measures in daily practice, founded Lifenhanced magazine, and assembled a patient advisory council to inform of patient-centric best practices.  Through Brandt’s leadership, Ability has prioritized a focus on patient care, outcomes data, delivery of care, business analytics, community-based adaptive programs, and comparative effectiveness product research and development. In addition to founding Ability, Brandt is a co-founder of Kinetic Revolutions, of which the most notable product is the height adjustable pylon for use on prosthetic limbs.

After graduating from Penn State University in 1995, Brandt completed the prosthetics technician program at Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane, Washington, and became an ABC-certified technician. He then attended Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine’s Prosthetic & Orthotic program in 1999. He subsequently completed his orthotic residency at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and his prosthetic residency at Lawall P&O in Delaware, where he serviced A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital.  As a student, Brandt was awarded the Gunther Gehl Prosthetics Scholarship by the Midwest Chapter of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP) and was recently named to the O&P News 175.  Brandt currently serves on the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association’s (AOPA) executive board as treasurer, on the Limb Loss & Preservation Registry External Collaborative Panel (ECP), and as a member of the Freedom Innovations Business Leadership Council.


Karen Edwards

Karen Edwards

Karen Edwards is the director of the Össur Women's Leadership Initiative and a senior area manager for prosthetics at Össur. She has worked in the O&P profession since 2006 and was the 2018 OPGA Woman of the Year Award recipient. Prior to that she spent 13 years in the advertising industry. Karen, a native of North Carolina, now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and loves exploring the beautiful Southwest.


Kenton R. Kaufman, Ph.D., P.E.

Kenton R. Kaufman, Ph.D., P.E.

Dr. Kaufman is the W Hall Wendel Jr Musculoskeletal Research professor, director-motion analysis laboratory, professor of Bioengineering, and consultant in the departments of orthopedic surgery, physiology and biomedical engineering at Mayo Clinic. He is a registered professional engineer. He has published more than 250 papers and holds eight patents. He is a Fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, American Society of Biomechanics, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and International Society of Biomechanics. Dr. Kaufman currently serves on the Medical Advisory Board of Prosthetics 2020 for the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association.


Pamala Lupo

Pamala Lupo

Pamala Lupo, CO, LO, is currently consulting in the fields of orthotics and prosthetics.  She is an American Board of Certification (ABC) certified orthotist for more than 30 years and licensed orthotist. Her experience includes director of orthotics for one of the largest orthotic and prosthetic companies in the United States for more than 20 years and director of women’s care.  She recently served on the board of the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA).  She currently is on the board of Wright & Filippis and Carolina O & P.  She serves on AOPA's Coding and Reimbursement Committee, AOPA’s Business Education Committee, the Eastern Michigan University Advisory Committee and is an ABC facility accreditation surveyor.  Pam is an advocate for the profession and received the AOPA Snell Legislative Advocacy Award in 2018 and is currently serving on the Michigan Medicaid Medical Advisory Committee.


Brian Gustin

Brian Gustin

Brian Gustin, CP, is president of Forensic Prosthetics and Orthotics Consulting and Vanguard Metrics and Analytics with 38 years of clinical and business experience. He is a second generation CP; his father, a TF amputee since childhood, and uncle are now both retired as CPs. His father was the first person in the U,S, to have a C-Leg approved by Medicare when no codes existed for this new technology. How? Through good documentation and writing skills. Gustin has personally met with CMS policy and analytical staff to understand what research and documentation is interesting and relevant vs. what is interesting and irrelevant. His latest endeavor, Vanguard Metrics and Analytics, was designed to assist the O&P clinic collect relevant patient data over a longitudinal period of time to determine the effectiveness of the care provided.