Executive Vice President election


Meet ARVO's Executive Vice President-elect (EVP)


Mark Petrash - 2021 EVP candidate

J. Mark Petrash, PhD, FARVO

I am honored to be included on the ballot for the position of Executive Vice President of ARVO. I have been an ARVO member for over 40 years and see ARVO as the organization that has my back. I got my first job interview through a conversation at my poster at the annual meeting when I was a postdoc, and I want to see similar doors of opportunity open for all of our young members. My contacts at ARVO have been the foundations of collaborations and friendships I have had over the years. It is easy to state that ARVO has had more impact on my career than any other professional organization.

Over the years I have sought ways to give back to the organization that has been so beneficial to me. I served as the LE delegate to the Board of Trustees (2006-2011), and then as president of the board during 2010-2011. I also served on the ARVO Foundation Board of Governors during 2013-2019, including three years as chair (2015-2018). I think my experience serving and leading both boards will be essential as ARVO faces financial and organizational challenges we are likely to encounter as we recover from the COVID pandemic. As a result of my involvement with ARVO leadership, I am aware of the important working relationships between the Board of Trustees and ARVO Foundation Board of Governors, the ARVO executive and support staff, and member volunteers and committee heads.

My management style is to be quick to engage when problems or opportunities arise. My approach is to learn important facts surrounding the issue, talk to people who are knowledgeable and reliable sources of unbiased information, listen to people who come forward with problems or suggestions, then engage with stakeholders to find a consensus solution. I like to delegate responsibility to people who are competent and have them vested in solving the problem.

Currently I am vice chair for research in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. I also serve as the Associate Director of the Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine. As a leader, I embrace diversity and equity and live this out through hiring decisions, faculty advancement, and policy decision making.

My vision for ARVO is to help it maintain and even grow in importance as a resource to the global eye research community. I see ARVO growing its already strong educational programs. I also see opportunities to elevate the awareness of ARVO members to the important role of the ARVO Foundation and its mission to work in tandem with the Board of Trustees to support research and educational opportunities for ARVO members.

Thank you for the giving me the opportunity to serve ARVO as its next Executive Vice President. It would be an honor to serve the organization that has done so much to expand my career horizons.

The Executive Vice President (EVP) nominations period is currently closed.

The EVP is elected every five years by the membership-at-large. A member of the Board of Trustees, the EVP serves as chief executive and administrative officer — the primary point of contact between the Board and ARVO staff for all operational activities. The EVP also serves as chair of the ARVO Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) and ex officio of all other committees of ARVO (except the Finance Committee). The average estimated time commitment is 1 to 1½ days a week (approximately 50 to 75 days per year). The EVP receives support from ARVO staff in order to achieve objectives. An annual honorarium of $45,000 is provided.


At minimum, the ideal candidate should be an ARVO member, have strong leadership skills, experience managing budgets, previous ARVO service and a desire to lead and guide the direction of ARVO's future.

Selection Process

The ARVO EVP Nominating Committee will present a slate of candidates to the ARVO Board of Trustees in October 2020, with the online election following in spring 2021. The EVP-elect will be announced at the May 2021 General Business Meeting. The official term begins at the 2022 Annual Meeting.

How to apply - application period closed May 2020

Email a letter of interest and a current CV by the nomination deadline to Stephen Willie, Senior Manager, Executive & Committee Operations.

About the ARVO Executive Vice President position

The current EVP of ARVO is Justine R. Smith, FRANZCO, PhD, FARVO.

ARVO’s EVP is elected by the ARVO voting membership every five years. As defined in ARVO’s bylaws, section 7, article 12, the EVP “…is a member of the Board of TrusteesThe EVP serves as the primary point of contact between the Board and ARVO staff for all operational activities, and the Executive Director shall report directly to the EVP for these activities. The EVP serves as Chair of the ARVO Annual Meeting Program Committee; shall be a member ex officio of all committees of ARVO (except the Finance Committee); and shall have all other powers, duties, responsibilities and authority that the Board of Trustees may determine.”

EVP key responsibilities

Chair, AMPC and Annual Meeting activities:

  • Provides scientific oversight of the submission, review, acceptance and rejection of abstracts for sessioning the Annual Meeting
  • Reviews and participates in AMPC sessioning training calls
  • Makes SIG assignment and reviews and considers appeals
  • Finalizes AMPC meeting agenda and runs a two-day meeting in the spring at the Annual Meeting and a one-day meeting in the fall in the Washington, DC area
  • Serves as scientific point of contact for members addressing questions or concerns such as with semantic tagging
  • Attends a variety of ARVO leadership related meetings such as with external collaborators, current or potential partners, future ARVO International organizers, etc.
  • Attends ARVO Foundation and AEVR/NAEVR Board meetings and ARVO committee meetings as deemed necessary
  • Participates in ARVO Advocacy Day, in conjunction with the AMPC meeting

Board liaison to executive director/scientific advisor to staff:

  • Visits ARVO staff office three times a year on average, which does not include pre-meeting to Fall Board meeting with executive director and President
  • Serves as board signer on checking accounts as back-up
  • Oversees the executive director selection process, including retaining an executive recruitment firm, ensuring compliance with policies and procedures and providing additional guidance to staff in the absence of an executive director or interim executive director
  • Serves as ex officio to all ARVO committees, a member of the ARVO Foundation Board and AEVR/NAEVR Board
  • Conducts monthly update calls with ARVO executive director and calls with staff as needed
  • Provides an annual review of executive director performance


  • Elected by the membership, the EVP will have the scientific background required to oversee the activities of the AMPC.
  • The EVP will be responsive to questions or concerns from the members as contacted throughout the year regarding science matters.
  • Estimating the time required to dedicate to this position is challenging to assess as every year is unique. The average amount of time spent without an executive director search ranges from 50-75 days per year. With an executive search, the time ranges from 90-120 days per year.

Please email any questions to ARVO Senior Manager, Executive & Committee Operations Stephen Willie.