O&P Woman of the Year

OPGA is Proud to Announce its 5th Annual O&P Woman of the Year Award Winner, Ashlie White!

Ashlie WhiteAshlie White, Director of Health Policy and Strategic Alliances with American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association 

Ashlie White, MA, is the Director of Health Policy and Strategic Alliances for the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association. Prior to joining AOPA, she served as the Director of Operations for Beacon Prosthetics and Orthotics. She served eight years as the Director of Government Affairs for the North Carolina Orthotics and Prosthetics Trade Association (NCOPTA), and four years on the board of Directors for the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP). Ms. White is currently enrolled in the graduate Public Health Leadership Program at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and Master’s Degree in Digital Communication and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Open to all women in the profession, the O&P Woman of the Year Award is presented to someone who has made significant contributions to her patients, community, business, and the O&P profession throughout her career. Congratulations, Ashlie!

Click here to watch the virtual ceremony, originally recorded on Tuesday, September 21 at 12 p.m. CT!

WATCH THE VIRTUAL CEREMONYMeet the FinalistsAward Details and Selection ProcessPAST WINNERSSELECTION COMMITTEE

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Todd Eagen

Finalists

Meet the finalists for the fifth annual O&P Woman of the Year Award!

Kelly GiesKelly Gies, CFO/COO and General Manager with Cornerstone Prosthetics & Orthotics, Founder of KG Simple Solutions 

Kelly Gies is an expansive and solution-oriented critical thinker, with a track record as an architect of learning and growth, which is showcased by the way she has led the multiple organizations she is a part of. She has twenty years of experience in the prosthetic and orthotic industry, and during that time she has pioneered processes and procedures that P&O companies can use in order to become more efficient and profitable. Kelly is passionate about seeing companies be transformed by streamlining processes, improving communication, and getting individuals the resources and tools they need in order to be successful.   

Kelly is the COO and the CFO at Cornerstone Prosthetics & Orthotics, where she has worked for the past twenty years. Kelly is also the founder of KG Simple Solutions and Proclaim Billing Services. At KG Simple Solutions, Kelly provides consulting services to O&P organizations around billing, accounts receivable management, process flow analysis, WIP management, metrics, OPIE, Nymbl, and Office 365. At Proclaim Billing Services, Kelly works to take care of the billing for O&P organizations and provides guidance on how companies can streamline their billing processes. 

Kelly is a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest. She has a bachelor’s degree in business and a minor in human resources from Washington State University “Go Cougs”. She also obtained her master’s degree in project management from City University. Outside of work, Kelly finds joy in spending time with her husband, three children, and dog Riggs. When they are not at the soccer or baseball fields, Kelly’s family loves the outdoors, camping, and especially being on the water. 


Megan SmithMegan Smith, Director of Education and Research, Certified Orthotist with Surestep (Dienen LLC)

Megan received a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 2008 and then went on to receive her Certificate in Orthotics from Northwestern. She is currently obtaining her master’s degree in Learning Design and Technology from Purdue University. 

She is the Director of Education and Research for Surestep. Her research focuses on pediatric development, orthotic solutions, new technology, and gait analysis. She is responsible for designing and creating educational experiences for Surestep customers, referrals, and parents. Megan has spoken at several national conventions, including AOPA, APPTAC, and ACPOC. She also presents to and educates orthotists and physical therapists across the country about pediatric development, gait deviations, and orthotic solutions. 

Some of her favorite accomplishments include working closely with patients, their families and care team to determine the best solution for each individual child. She also enjoys making connections between the scientific literature and the clinical setting. This allows her to help healthcare professionals discover the “so what” in each paper and make clinically significant changes for their patients.


Heidi McGladeHeidi McGlade, Director of Administration with NovaCare Prosthetics & Orthotics

Heidi has a diverse operational background that spans nearly 30 years in the prosthetic and orthotic (P&O) industry. She is currently the Director of Administration with the NovaCare P&O division of Select Medical. Her core focus is overseeing the non‐clinical operations for the entire division, which includes the management of the Centralized Billing Office (CBO). The CBO is responsible for the billing, collections, and compliance activities for all NovaCare locations.

Heidi’s career started in a small family‐owned P&O company in Philadelphia allowing her to see all facets of patient care, including the on‐site fabrication of all prosthesis. After that initial company was acquired by a larger P&O company, she was asked to lead administration of a start‐up (Prosthetic Orthotic Solutions International‐ POSI) which was ultimately incorporated into Select Medical through acquisitions.

Through various acquisitions, Select Medical had a diverse set of P&O operations that had to be consolidated under one administrative leader. Heidi took the reins in 2007 as the Director and began the standardization processes. A key operational imperative was to transition all billing/cash receipts/collection activities into a CBO. This later necessitated the need for an EMR platform in 2020. Heidi led the consolidation of multiple databases and development of selection criteria for the software. The real work began with developing a conversion plan and coordinating the actual implementation of the entire division. The final part of the implementation was remote training during Covid – what an experience! 

Heidi’s passion continues to be focused on operational excellence to ensure the success of the NovaCare P&O division.

Award Details and Selection Process

OPGA is organizing the Woman of the Year award campaign, and a selection committee made up of O&P professionals was tasked to select the winner. The award was presented on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. Click here to watch the recording!

"We hope to not only highlight existing leaders, but also inspire action and mentorship to grow the O&P architects of tomorrow," says Todd Eagen.

Past Winners

Kathleen DeLawrence, 2020 Lisa Guichet, 2019 Karen Edwards, 2018 JoAnne Kansas, 2017

Selection Committee

Dr Kenton KaufmanKenton 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, 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 265 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, and International Society of Biomechanics. Dr. Kaufman currently serves on the Medical Advisory Board of Prosthetics 2020 for the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association. He is leading an effort to develop a national Limb Loss and Preservation Registry.


Karen EdwardsKaren Edwards

Karen Edwards is the founder and Director of the Ossur Women’s Leadership Initiative, as well as a Sr. Area Manager for Prosthetics for Ossur 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, AZ.


Mike SotakMichael A. Sotak

Michael 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. 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.

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


Nicole Ver KuilenNicole Ver Kuilen

Nicole 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. She is the founder of the nonprofit advocacy organization, Forrest Stump, with the mission to promote equitable access to physical activity for individuals with disabilities. In 2021, she joined the nonprofit, the Range of Motion Project (ROMP), as Associate Director of Development, bringing her extensive experience in nonprofit leadership and focus on advocacy, sport and recreation to help broaden ROMP’s mobility mission: to provide high quality prosthetic care in underserved populations. Prior to ROMP and Forrest Stump, Nicole pursued a career in sustainability, working for Clean Energy Coalition, a nonprofit consulting firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan and serving as Assistant Director for the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability $40-million Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign. Nicole graduated from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business with a bachelors in business administration with a focus on strategy and marketing. In her free time, Nicole enjoys racing triathlon, hiking in the PNW, and serving as a peer mentor to other amputees around the globe.