OPGA is proud to announce the 2020 Woman of the Year



Kathleen DeLawrence

Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics | Exton, Pennsylvania
 


Under Kathleen’s leadership, Ability has truly matured and is poised for growth while focusing on what it does best—serving its patients. But her impact extends beyond Ability. When she’s not improving critical aspects of patient care, Kathleen is coaching and mentoring executives, owners, and staff within the profession to help them bring better solutions and leadership to their organization.

Congratulations, Kathleen!

 

FinalistsPast WinnersSelection CommitteeAward Details and Selection Process

 

finalists

Mia Roberts, Patient Care Coordinator

Fourroux Prosthetics, Inc. | Duluth, Georgia

Mia Roberts has worked in the O&P industry for 11 years. As a fellow amputee, she strives to inspire, motivate, and relate to every patient and build a relationship with their doctors. Mia goes above and beyond to reach as many amputee patients as possible, including serving as a peer counselor for the ACA, leading by example as a patient advocate, and developing her own Patient Care Coordinator/education technique.

Kassie Harnden, Director of Operations

OrthoMedics Omaha, LLC | Omaha, Nebraska

Kassie Harnden’s relentless focus on streamlining processes has had a major effect on improving access to care for patients. So far, she has built an internal communication and inventory system, and has even created a physician's guide to prescribing orthotic and prosthetic devices that is used widely in the area. Kassie also works to create connections between the O&P profession and other medical fields.

Kathleen DeLawrence, COO

Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics | Exton, Pennsylvania

Under Kathleen DeLawrence’s leadership, Ability has truly matured and is poised for growth while focusing on what it does best—serving its patients. But her impact extends beyond Ability. When she’s not improving critical aspects of patient care, Kathleen is coaching and mentoring executives, owners, and staff within the profession to help them bring better solutions and leadership to their organization.

Amy Skuta, Resident Director, CPO

Martin Bionics | Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Amy Skuta is passionate about her patients, the prosthetic field, her family, and the Limbs for Life Foundation (LFL). She began as a lab intern in 2009 and is now with Martin Bionics as their first full-time practitioner, seeing 500 patients and directing their resident program. Amy consistently finds or creates tools and uses innovation to bring people together to serve the amputee population in unique ways.
 

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.

 

past winners

 

Lisa Guichet, 2019

Karen Edwards, 2018

JoAnne Kanas, 2017

 

Selection Committee

 


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

Dr. Kaufman is a W. Hall Wendel Jr. Musculoskeletal research professor, director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory, professor of bioengineering, and consultant in the departments of orthopedic surgery, physiology, and biomedical engineering at Mayo Clinic. He has published more than 265 papers and holds eight patents. Dr. Kaufman is a registered professional engineer and 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. He currently serves on the Medical Advisory Board of Prosthetics 2020 for the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association and is leading an effort to develop a national limb loss and preservation registry.

Karen Edwards

Karen Edwards is the founder and director of the Össur Women’s Leadership Initiative as well as a senior area manager for prosthetics for Össur in Arizona and Utah. Karen has 14 years of experience in the orthotic and prosthetic field as well as extensive experience in advertising. Karen has written articles for the OPGA Connection, O&P Almanac, and O&P Edge, has been featured on The Change Makers Podcast, and was awarded the 2018 OPGA Woman of the Year Award. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and lives in Phoenix, Arizona.



Nicole Ver Kuilen

Nicole Ver Kuilen lost her left leg below the knee to cancer at age ten and has made it her life’s goal to expand access to prosthetic technology for all amputees.

She has completed a 1,500-mile triathlon down the west coast to raise awareness for amputee rights, lobbied members of Congress in Washington, D.C., and summited Ecuador’s 19,347 ft. Cotopaxi with the Range of Motion Project. Her documentary film, “1500 Miles,” is currently touring the country and has been honored by twelve international film festivals, including a “Best Documentary” award. She also races triathlons competitively and was recently crowned National Champion at the 2019 Paratriathlon National Championships.

Nicole is the founder of the non-profit advocacy organization, Forrest Stump (www.ForrestStump.org), with the mission of promoting equitable access to physical activity for individuals with disabilities. She is now embarking on an impact tour across the country to share her film and to advocate for disability rights.

Michael A. Sotak

Michael A. Sotak is a senior executive and corporate officer with extensive domestic and international experience in manufacturing, distribution, service, and retail. He has more than 30 years of experience in the medical industry including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and orthotics and prosthetics. Mike is consistently recognized for his ability to articulate a vision and drive business solutions within complex and challenging environments to yield both top- and bottom-line growth. He is a business strategist with a unique ability to reposition businesses, resulting in significant increases to both scale and efficiency.

Mike is currently president and CEO at PEL, LLC, a leading distributor of O&P solutions. Prior to joining PEL, he was group VP and general manager at Invacare where he was responsible for six businesses within the Outcomes Management Group.

 

Award Details and Selection Process


The annual award, organized by OPGA, is open to all women who work in the profession. Nominators were encouraged to provide examples of how the nominee has made significant contributions throughout her career to serve her patients, community, business and the O&P profession. The selection committee, made up of O&P professionals, was then tasked with selecting these finalists.

“We’re excited to continue recognizing the women in O&P who are creating impactful and positive experiences to the patients and community they serve,” said Todd Eagen, president of OPGA, a division of VGM & Associates. “There are so many deserving candidates out there, and we are ready to highlight the woman who exemplifies everything that is exceptional about the O&P community.”