O&P Woman of the Year

Nomination Period for the 8th Annual O&P Woman of the Year Award Now Open!

OPGA is proud to announce that the nomination period for the 2024 O&P Woman of the Year Award is open. The O&P Woman of the Year Award is open to all women in the profession and is presented to someone who has made significant contributions to her patients, community, business, and the O&P profession throughout her career.

Submit Your NominationAward Details and Selection ProcessPAST WINNERSSELECTION COMMITTEE

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Award Details and Selection Process

Every year, OPGA organizes the Woman of the Year award campaign, and a selection committee made up of O&P professionals is tasked to select the winner. The award will be presented during the 2024 AOPA National Assembly on Friday, September 13 at 9:50 a.m. ET. 


Past Winners

Meet the 2023 Annual O&P Woman of the Year Award Winner, Nikki Grace-Strader!

Nikki Grace-StraderNikki Grace-Strader, Director of North American Operations with Osseointegration International, Inc.

Nikki's journey is a remarkable testament to the profound impact of personal experience and unwavering determination. She has transitioned from overcoming her own challenges as an amputee to becoming a dedicated advocate and leader in osseointegration education in the O&P field.
 
In her role as the Director of North American Operations for Osseointegration International, Nikki offers support to amputees worldwide. Her intimate familiarity with the physical and emotional complexities of limb loss allows her to connect deeply with patients. By offering guidance and resources, she empowers individuals to navigate the process of exploring and obtaining osseointegration surgery, fostering a sense of empowerment and optimism in their personal journeys.
 
Nikki's commitment goes further with her establishment of Central Illinois Amputees. By recognizing and addressing the specific challenges faced by amputees in rural areas, she has proactively bridged gaps in access to care. Through her nonprofit organization, Nikki not only improves the lives of individual amputees but also raises awareness about the distinctive needs of these communities. Her efforts encompass providing resources, advocacy, education, and a sense of belonging.
 
Her adeptness at advocacy, both nationally and locally, underscores her genuine empathy, thoughtful approach, and dedication to meaningful change. Nikki's personal experience has undoubtedly shaped her viewpoint, granting her a unique voice in championing emerging technology, prosthetics, patient care, and access to services. Concurrently, she is a staunch advocate for ensuring that the O&P profession receives the essential support and resources needed to provide exemplary patient care in a sustainable manner.
 
Nikki's journey is a source of inspiration, highlighting the profound impact that a committed individual can make on countless lives. In a field where innovation and understanding are crucial, her story stands as a shining illustration of how personal experience can drive forward progress, shape policies, and uplift communities. Her ongoing contributions are actively reshaping the landscape of O&P and osseointegration, leaving behind a lasting legacy of empowerment and support for both the O&P profession and the limb loss community.

Nina Bondre, CPO Ashlie White, 2021 Kathleen DeLawrence, 2020
Lisa Guichet, 2019 Karen Edwards, 2018 JoAnne Kansas, 2017

Selection Committee

Dr Kenton Kaufman

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

Dr. Kenton Kaufman is the W Hall Wendel Jr Musculoskeletal Research Professor, Director-Motion Analysis Laboratory, Professor of Bioengineering, Professor of Orthopedics, and Consultant in the Departments of Orthopedic Surgery, Physiology and Biomedical Engineering at Mayo Clinic. He is a registered professional engineer. He has published over 300 papers and holds 8 patents. He is a Fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, American Society of Biomechanics, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Orthopedic Research Society, and International Society of Biomechanics. Dr. Kaufman currently serves on the Medical Advisory Board for the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association. He is leading an effort to develop a national Limb Loss and Preservation Registry.

Lesleigh Sisson

Lesleigh Sisson CFo, CFm

Lesleigh Sisson, the founder of O&P Insight, has been part of the orthotics and prosthetics profession since 1992. She started O&P Insight because she cares deeply about three things: helping people thrive in their professional lives, advancing the profession for patients & practitioners and leaving a legacy of lives impacted for the better. While she has always had a love of teaching and helping others, it was working in administrative and clinical support roles when Lesleigh recognized the desire to assist dedicated professionals working toward this common goal: providing excellent patient care while achieving the best possible health for the business. Lesleigh helps independent O&P practices to not only survive but also to thrive in today’s challenging and ever-changing healthcare environment with its demands for efficient work flow, revenue cycle solutions and successful compliance.

Mike Sotak

Michael A. Sotak

Mike is currently President and CEO at PEL, LLC, the leading independent O&P distributor providing solutions to independent practitioners in the US.  Prior to joining PEL ten years ago, he was a senior executive and corporate officer with extensive domestic and international experience in manufacturing, distribution, service, and retail. He has more than 35 years of experience in the medical industry including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and orthotics and prosthetics. Michael 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.

Nicole Ver Kuilen

Nicole Ver Kuilen

Nicole Ver Kuilen lost her left leg to osteosarcoma at age 10 and has made it her life’s goal to raise the standard of care for all amputees. As a prosthesis user for over two decades, she knows firsthand how orthotic and prosthetic care transforms lives. It’s this experience that initially propelled her into the world of O&P, leading a grassroots effort to raise awareness on the lack of access to appropriate prosthetic and orthotic care necessary to support physical activity among people with disabilities, a campaign she called “Forrest Stump” after completing a 1,500-mile ultra-triathlon from Seattle to San Diego on a prosthesis built only for walking. Since then, she has taken her commitment to improving the quality of life for people with limb loss and limb difference nationally as the inaugural NAAOP health policy and advocacy fellow, and globally, through her work in Latin American countries with the Range of Motion Project. Nicole now serves as the Manager of Public Engagement with the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) where she is helping to spearhead a new state-based policy initiative, So Kids Can Move, working to expand access to prostheses and orthoses utilized for physical activity as medically necessary healthcare. Prior to O&P, Nicole pursued a career in sustainability and is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business with a bachelors of business administration. When she's not attempting to move mountains, she enjoys hiking, biking, and skiing them with her fiancé, which is one of the many reasons she loves calling the PNW her home. 


Submit Your Nomination

Fill out the form below to submit your nomination for the 2024 Woman O&P Woman of the Year! The nomination period will close July 19.

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