Throughout history, there have been many outstanding women whose achievements continue to impress and amaze us today. For example, in the field of science, Madame Marie Curie was the first woman Nobel Prize winner and the only person to be awarded a Nobel Prize in two scientific fields. From China, Tu Youyou is a Nobel laureate who discovered artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin, used to treat malaria, a breakthrough in twentieth-century tropical medicine, saving millions of lives around the globe. Businesswomen such as Angela Ahrendts, a former fashion executive who helped revitalize Apple, Inc., and Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), are recognized as two of the world’s most influential business leaders.
Now, more than ever, women are at the forefront of developments in optics and photonics research and business. One of those leaders is Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of Optica (formerly the Optical Society and the Optical Society of America.) As the executive in charge of an organization devoted to promoting the generation, application, archiving, and dissemination of knowledge in optics and photonics worldwide, Ms. Rogan has successfully expanded the depth and breadth of Optica’s technical and global reach. Her education and expertise are in industry, finance, and strategy. She utilizes these skills in partnership with a large and technically diverse group of Ph.D. volunteers and staff specialists. Combining the efforts of these many talented people with a unity of purpose has proven to be a highly effective approach for Rogan and the association she has led for nearly two decades.
Ms. Rogan is a strong advocate for women. For instance, the association’s “Faces of Optica” campaign features a wide range of accomplished women in research and applications. And she was an enthusiastic participant in the “Rose in Science,” which celebrates the extraordinary accomplishments of women scientists.
Light Special Correspondents interviewed Elizabeth Rogan about Optica’s legacy, culture, and personal experiences as its CEO in this issue. She also discussed the reasons behind the recent rebranding of the organization and the bonds of friendship the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Optica have built over the years.
Please join us for an in-depth look at why this century-plus-year-old organization has a fresh new vision for the future.
Biography: Elizabeth (Liz) Rogan was appointed Optica Chief Executive Officer in 2002. Previously, she served as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer.
Under Rogan’s guidance, the society’s reserves have grown to US$160M, annual budget has grown to US$50M, with 150 staff members. In 2002, she launched the Optica Foundation, a charitable entity that serves those in their student and early career phase of their professional growth. Her legacy covers the expansion of the society’s global community to include more than 432,000 scientists, engineers and business leaders from 93% of all countries.
In 2019, Rogan was named an Optica Fellow for outstanding long-term management of the Society and leadership across the optics and photonics community, guiding extensive growth in programs, member engagement, diversity, inclusivity and public policy. She was among the first class of Foreign Fellows of the Chinese Optical Society (COS).
Rogan is a CPA, an alumnus of the University of Connecticut, U.S. and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business Executive Education Program.