AOSA names Foster as new executive directorApril 8, 2013
The American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) has named Robert Foster as executive director. Foster brings to the AOSA more than two decades of experience serving optometry and a background in not-for-profit management and consulting. Most recently, Foster served the AOA as associate director of publishing/social media.
The AOSA represents more than 6,000 students attending the 23 schools and colleges of optometry throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
“I could not be more excited for the future of the AOSA and profession at large,” said AOSA President James Deom. “Bob comes to the AOSA family with an already deep passion for the profession of optometry and a keen interest in helping students realize their full potential through involvement in organized optometry. I do believe that Bob will help take the AOSA into the future by helping increase students’ awareness of the importance of getting actively involved early and staying involved upon graduation.”
The AOA will work closely with the AOSA to support its members as well as help them prepare for entering the profession.
“The appointment of Bob Foster as executive director will further strengthen the relationship between our two organizations,” noted Barry J. Barresi, O.D., Ph.D., executive director of the AOA and CEO of AOAExcel™. “His knowledge of the profession will be a valuable asset to AOSA and broaden our existing collaborations for the good of the optometric profession.”
Foster’s involvement with optometry began in 1992, when he started at the AOA as editor of AOA News, following two years at St. Louis-based public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard and six years at McDonnell Aircraft Company.
Since 2000, he has been active in St. Louis not-for-profit organizations, founding the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation and serving as volunteer chair of the 300-member organization from 2000 to 2006. He has also provided grant writing and strategic communications services to Trailnet, a 1,200 member not-for-profit organization focused on healthy, active living in the St. Louis region.
A past board member for St. Louis Bicycle Works and the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, Foster now serves on the Missouri State Parks Foundation Board and is a member of the American Society of Association Executives.
Foster’s awards include being named as an AOA All-Star in 2010 and distinguished service award from the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation in 2010. Foster graduated cum laude from Central Methodist College in 1982 and holds certification from the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences. He and his wife, Robin, have two adult sons, Timothy and Michael. His hobbies include cycling and fly-fishing.
“More than 90 percent of optometry students belong to the AOSA, which speaks volumes about the organization’s reputation and value to optometry students,” Foster said. “I have long admired the AOSA’s record of advocacy success and membership engagement. AOSA’s leadership has built an enviable track record, and I look forward to building on this success with student leaders.”