Changing Her Impact

OD shares how a switch to sales leadership has been a next fulfilling step in her career

Rutvi Doshi, OD, FAAO, of Chicago, Illinois, says that working in the industry side of optometry was always on her radar—she just wasn’t quite sure how she would get there. But as she kept it in mind along her journey, it became clearer how each position she took led her to her role today as Central Regional Manager, Commercial Sales for Dompé Pharmaceuticals. She started with the organization’s Medical Affairs team in 2019 as a  Medical Science Liaison.

Dr. Doshi made a shift to the sales side in 2021 to her current role where she leads the sales team of several key account managers in the Midwest. “When folks ask why I switched from medical to sales, I share that I think there is so much power that lies in transferrable skills. We gain and develop important skills and attributes during our training and in clinical practice. As ODs, we help patients daily by presenting solutions and recommending treatment options in the exam room,” she says. “Those skills don’t always look the same. The difference is largely a matter of one’s mindset and attitude towards transferable skills. From my viewpoint, selling is simply helping. And at the end of the day, my primary goal is to help improve the lives of patients, and my team at Dompe shares the same goal.”

THE PATH THAT LED HER TO INDUSTRY

From her 2011 graduation from the New England College of Optometry (NECO), Dr. Doshi completed a residency in cornea and contact lens and then began working in a large multispecialty practice and then switched to a scleral lens focused setting outside of Boston. “The skillset from my residency training was really finessed and grown there, and I got more exposure to manage severe ocular surface disease with scleral lenses, in an environment with a corneal specialist,” she recalls. These first jobs “seemed like a great match, and they were pivotal. I learned so much.”

Academia and teaching had also been a passion for Dr. Doshi; she worked as a TA as a student and later taught a contact lens lab course at NECO. So as she made a move back to Chicago to be closer to family, she sought a faculty position at the optometry school to explore her passion for teaching. Yet Dr. Doshi says that while she loved giving back to the students of optometry’s future, she yearned to get back to working with specialty lenses and gain more leadership experience. She found a good match in serving as the director of optometry at the University of Chicago. Integration of optometric services in academic medical centers helps elevate the delivery of eye care services for individuals in need, and for the next two years, she helped build and expand the optometric services within the department. She says that this was another tremendous learning experience, soaking in the knowledge of her colleagues and support from her department chair.

Those valuable lessons learned led her to pursue a career with Dompé. Making the professional switch took skills transfer coupled with a great deal of new learning to understand the pharmaceutical industry. She says that it’s been a unique opportunity to combine my clinical background with a mission to create a positive impact on a patient’s quality of life.

Dr. Doshi understands her colleagues’ hesitation in pursuing sales and industry. It took her several years of practice to have the right mindset for the job. But she wants it to be clear—even though you are not working with individual patients, you are still helping patients meet medical needs through a position in industry. I can have a bigger impact than ever before; Dr. Doshi leads a sales team covering multiple states across the Midwest. “As a people manager, each individual on my team is my top priority. To me, success is defined by the achievements and career development of my team members, which bring me great joy.”

GO FORTH WITH PERSISTENCE AND PERSEVERANCE

Dr. Doshi says that sharing her story has garnered attention from other women in the profession, and she advises them to put their mind to their goals and not give up. “Persistence is key, but so is perseverance. With the right mind, it is possible.” Utilize the power in networking. “The number of females in optometry continues to grow,” she says. “Reach out and ask questions.” She says that she hasn’t had a mentor turn her down yet.

There are so many avenues of optometry to pursue, and she says that tapping into your network can help you find your next step. “I am fortunate to work with exceptional women leaders and a supportive environment at Dompé. I’m still learning and growing, and I’m reflecting on the why and purpose of the pivot in my career.”

Her passion for the profession continues to grow and evolve since its start when she was just 7 years old, following the experience of her first pair of eyeglasses coinciding with her grandmother’s cataract surgery. “The fact that my grandmother could see me, for what seemed like the very first time, made me want to help people see better.”

Dr. Doshi invites you to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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