At Alcon, we thrive on the spirit of entrepreneurship. It’s how we became a global leader in eye care and continuously bring next-gen innovations to market. But to help people see brilliantly, at first, sometimes things get foggy. Taking risks and innovating towards the unknown is core to developing world-class, life-changing solutions.
Carolina Kunnen embodies that very ethos.
Carolina studied at the Hogeschool Utrecht University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, where she grew up. Suffering from myopia herself, she knew optometry was her calling from a young age. “Optometry is so me! It’s like being Dutch and wearing wooden shoes! It’s a great fit,” says Carolina through her trademark laugh. "It allows me to combine my love of technical sciences with my passion for caring for others—that’s my sweet spot.”
At 24, that same passion propelled Carolina to a new home more than 3,000 miles away: Ghana. With a small donation, she collaborated with the University of Cape Coast to establish the Optical Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that provides comprehensive eye examinations to Ghanaian children, which she leads to this day.
In 2017, Carolina joined Alcon following her Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales and the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Australia and an academic research stint at the University of Houston. She leads the global clinical strategy were she designs clinical trials for early product development. Additionally, Carolina plays an integral role in the launch of Alcon’s cutting-edge vision care solutions.
But, one of Carolina’s proudest accomplishments to date has been partnering with Principal Design Engineer, David Borja Ph.D., to launch the Clinical Strategy and Innovation (CSI) Vlog. The video series recreates a sense of pre-pandemic office life and demos the latest-and-greatest vision care tech at Alcon’s offices. These viral, “day-in-the-life”-style videos—shot on an iPhone and edited by Carolina and David —range in topics from showcasing the innovative clinical diagnostic technology at Alcon to demystifying lens fabrication, bloopers and all.
The reaction from colleagues has been nothing short of fanatic, says Carolina. Seven videos have been published since February, and the latest installment, “Caro’s Camper Van series,” sees her in conversation with colleagues about hot topics at Alcon and is shot from inside her Renault Master DCI120 camper van.
In her vlogs, innovation abounds. But, as Carolina puts it, innovation isn’t just tech. It starts anywhere.
“You don't always need fancy equipment to innovate. You could start with a piece of paper (or an iPhone!) and your imagination. That’s the cool thing about Alcon. We get the opportunity to run with our ideas. That's where the true innovation starts!”