Dr. Miriam Debly is an optometrist and clinic partner of Nova Scotia based, Family Vision. She’s been practicing optometry since 1991, providing quality eye care to her patients and community. All five Family Vision clinics are now partners of FYidoctors and we are very pleased to welcome their talented staff to our team! Read our interview with Dr. Debly below to hear about her career journey and what led her to FYidoctors.
I was in science at UNB and was looking to enter some type of health field. I had a friend who had applied to optometry and she told me about it. Next thing I knew I was heading to Waterloo!
I graduated in 1991 from University of Waterloo and I joined Michael Oulahen, who is a Family Vision partner, as an associate. Within a year we purchased another practice and we opened a second location. Then we purchased a third location and another partner, Jody Killoran, joined us. We then purchased a fourth location! Finally, 5 years ago, we opened a brand-new location in Bedford, Nova Scotia. The entrepreneurial part was just as exciting as the health aspect because we were able to expand our business.
We reached a level where we were a mid-size, approaching big, business and the management of it all was starting to interfere with everybody’s life-work balance. So it was either stay stagnant or grow to the next level and FYi was the perfect fit. Their ethics of practice, patient treatment and their ability to help us out with expanding our diagnostic ability within mid-business was very appealing. We were also at the point of deciding whether to expand or just continue where we were.
We were pleasantly surprised when we announced it to our staff. The general consensus was very positive, we felt they were on board with the whole idea and concept of FYi. We emphasized that FYi’s practice was very similar to ours because it’s an optometry run practice. They felt positive about it and we hope going forward this will transmit to our patients the same way.
I think the other factor that I personally got from our staff was the expansion timing aligning during COVID. It really enhanced their job security. In this time of unemployment and bankruptcies and all these other things, FYi is a very stable, large company and their future work was really reinforced.
Our name was Family Vision for a reason, we wanted to be more community based, unlike in the larger cities. However, buying local here is important to us and to our patients. It means a lot for them to know that Family Vision/FYidoctors is the provider of their products and services.
I think it resonates with a lot of optometrists to have a plan for the future. We were a very large clinic, and our ability to have associates buy in was dwindling over time. New graduates or associates don’t really have the financial backing and some of them don’t even have the motivation to purchase clinics anymore. For us, it was a way to continue practicing.
I don’t think any of us are old enough to totally retire! I might cut back a bit! I have the ability to cut back and have a better work-life balance, as well knowing I have somewhere to work when I want to or need to. We can focus on the fact that FYi does have the ability to recruit optometrists for us, especially on the East Coast again. All of that was part of job security and financial security.
We’re super excited. The biggest thing is the comfort level that we’ve had with the group, personally as well as a corporate group—they’ve been nothing but positive and accommodating, especially in this unprecedented time. I think we would have been more nervous as a smaller company and all along they’ve been setting our minds at ease, which again is transparent to us as partners, to our staff, which in turn I hope is going to be communicated down the road to our patients.
To book an appointment at a Family Vision, Partners of FYidoctors clinic, visit our website.