Leading with Grace & Determination | Shana Ess

"Failures don’t exist, as they are just situations that require the applications of one’s unique skill set to springboard towards continued success"

Shana Ess

Founder & COO


A History of Success

Shana Ess’s in-depth experience and understanding of the refractive surgery industry puts her at an advantage to leverage OVO LASIK + LENS to stand apart from other clinics within the field. She has a unique ability to identify what a patient is seeking and deliver an experience far beyond their expectations. She can take a collection of people with varied talents, personalities, and experience and meld them into a collective working force that strives for excellence. This in turn reverberates throughout the clinic, translating into exceptional patient care.

 As Shana has advanced throughout her career, she has developed the talent for anticipating and handling adversity with grace and determination. “Failures don’t exist, as they are just situations that require the applications of one’s unique skill set to springboard towards continued success,” says the pioneering leader

Shana was instrumental in the launch of the new clinic, working tirelessly on all fronts: scouting an ideal central location, negotiating the lease and financial resources, hiring the general contractor, and working with the architects. Her goal was to develop an optimal floor plan for the 18,000 square foot clinic that could maximize the patient and staff experience to the fullest. In addition to the initial start-up tasks, her roles within OVO are expansive, with her responsibilities ranging from strategic planning, marketing, equipment purchasing, recruiting, HR, and managing daily operations.

She is not in this alone and understands that one is only as successful as the people with whom you surround yourself. Amongst a team of 18 employees and 4 doctors, Shana has 6 supervisors who oversee dedicated areas of the clinic. This trusted leader has an exceptional group of female staff members who have excelled in their roles. They are known for not shying away from challenges or taking on additional responsibilities; all showing an eagerness to learn, grow, and demonstrate natural leadership traits. “Our patients have no difficulty finding ‘someone in charge’ if there is an elevated need requiring attention to get to a satisfactory outcome.”

Becoming an Inspiration

Shana’s belief is that success comes from within one’s self-belief and unwillingness to let others dictate their fate. Shana has shown the ability to take a path and turn it from humble beginnings to a dream. Instead of stepping on others along her way to the current pinnacle, she has inspired other women to rethink their purpose and steer their path towards achieving continued excellence.

Shana holds the capacity to discover hidden talents in others and empowers them to realize these abilities by placing them in advantageous positions and situations. Instead of taking one’s hand and walking them towards achievement, Shana makes sure one develops the necessary tools for success never letting them forget that hard work and maximum effort are the ultimate driving force to excellence. While Shana serves as a daily mentor and leads by example, she firmly believes every aspiring staff member needs to establish a self-driven component in their path to achievement

“As a teenager, I started working as an optometric technician at a small practice in the northern Minneapolis suburb of St. Cloud. The owner, Dr. Burt Dubow, a well-respected optometrist in his field, helped me to realize just meeting one’s expectations isn’t good enough. If you have the capacity and talent, why not always strive to be, and perform better than expected?” explains Shana. “Recognized for my hard work and commitment to excel, I was promoted into a management position early on. Often directing staff that were years and even decades my senior, I was required to tailor my leadership approach to the individual in order to be successful.” This set the tone as she later ventured into the traditionally male-dominated arena of refractive surgery and opened one of the first Laser Vision Correction facilities in the United States in 1996, Summit Vision Centers. After the acquisition of Summit by a nationwide corporate LASIK provider, Shana was recognized by the organization’s executives for the high performance of the clinics within her oversight. This led her to higher aspirations and a position of Vice President of Operations within the organization.

“Once I reached that level of success in the corporate landscape, I focused on creating and running a clinical phenomenon unlike any other in the field,” she says. That started with Whiting Clinic and culminated in OVO LASIK + LENS. It’s hard to put a timeline on success because one’s career hopefully involves success on different scales over its duration. “Ultimately, for me, my level of success has more to do with the people I’ve surrounded myself with and who I have the honor of calling my ‘work family’. These are the staff and doctors on the front line at my clinic, speaking with and seeing patients every day. They are the ones who make the real magic happen. If I can support and inspire them to give their ‘all’ to every one of our precious patients, I’ve done my job.”

Building An Institution

OVO LASIK + LENS is truly a sight to be seen with its design approach to healthcare. Shana and her team want each of their patients to feel special, so walking into a space where the beauty of every inch is considered is the first step to achieving this goal. Their LASIK clinic occupies one side of the new Xchange Medical Building’s main level, and the LENS clinic is set across the lobby on the other side. They have a separate dedicated entrance for the LENS surgical space, the first of its kind in Minnesota. OVO has revolutionized cataract and lens-based eye surgery in the market by providing these procedures in-office without traveling to a hospital or Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC). This means patients can safely undergo surgery without the need for IV sedation. “Our patients do extremely well within our comfortable and familiar environment with oral sedation alone, and they can walk out after surgery without the complications associated with anesthesia.”

Establishing their first private surgical practice that became one of the busiest and most highly reviewed in the country is one of the institute’s achievements. It is a significant task to offer a premium experience and surgical outcome at a competitive cost, and it takes the right clinical administrator to assemble the best staff and create a culture of optimism, work ethic, and cohesiveness.

From the surgeons to the front desk personnel, every staff member must understand that each patient encounter is an opportunity for a personal connection to be made, leading to individual and clinical success. Each role within the clinic is empowered to make this difference. As with many healthcare clinics, there are no roles viewed as superior within OVO. The administrative staff interaction is as critical to the overall patient experience as the surgical encounter. Patients hold their vision as their most coveted sense. Therefore, regardless of how many patients walk through the clinic doors throughout a week, the staff must understand the significance of each patient’s encounter.

Having just launched a start-up in November 2021, Shana’s immediate goal is to propel OVO LASIK + LENS to fulfill its maximum potential and become a prominent force in the national refractive surgical industry. Her aim is also rewarding the OVO staff and doctors who made it possible by providing an optimal work culture with ample financial and personal growth opportunities. “Though OVO is in its infancy stage, we are about to springboard forward due to initial growth, which is a great situation. The sky is the limit with this entity, and I’m so looking forward to seeing it realize its potential,” adds Shana.