Episode 51

What is a CEO: Chief Executive or Chief Experience, or both?

by Ophthalmology Business Academy | November 8, 2023

Dr. Melendez is such a cool and enthusiastic person! He’s got this unique way of leading his successful practice, and he’s all about spreading the good vibes. He’s got some killer tips to up your leadership game, improve the practice culture, and make your employees happier than ever. And guess what? It’s all with one goal in mind: giving top-notch care to your patients.

So, If you’re seeking ways to elevate your practice and keep your patients smiling, you must hear what Dr. Melendez has to say!


  • 00:01:17 – A Little more about Dr. Melendez
  • 00:03:34 – What is his philosophy in leadership/ being a leader at ophthalmology practice
    • His philosophy on leadership emphasizes the importance of putting others first and making decisions with data.
    • The mission is to prioritize staff experience while still putting patients first, recognizing that happy staff leads to better patient care.
  • 00:09:42  – What is the last song he listened to in his OR playlist
  • 00:10:39  – What is his leadership Style: personality profiling and workplace culture
    • Situational leadership: an outgoing and fun-loving person who enjoys practice and bringing in snacks to create a fun environment but also dials down his outgoingness on surgery days to be more serious and focused.
    • Emphasizes the importance of preparation and vetting before approaching the CEO with decisions.
  • 00:15:14 – Book written by Dr. Melendez, “Focus on the Passion” 
  • 00:24:46 – The Story behind his bow tie 
  • 00:27:22 – Influential figures who helped him to come to the position where he is now
  • 00:29:21 – Advice to younger ophthalmologist
    • Focus on people, not just surgical skills, to be an amazing physician.

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Cataract & Refractive Surgeon
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Ophthalmology Business Minute
Founder of the Juliette Eye Institute

Dr. Melendez was born in New Mexico with over 10 generations from Placitas, NM. He grew up in California and met his wife while visiting family in New Mexico and decided to be with her and attended the University of New Mexico (UNM) where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and conducted extensive research where he was accepted to the prestigious Howard Hughes Research Program and published a paper that was featured on the cover of the journal, Developmental Biology.

After graduation, he attended graduate school where he earned a Master’s degree in Biochemistry where he pursued his passion for teaching and research. He attended UNM School of Medicine where he received the Khatali award given to 5 medical students who excelled in academics, research, and/or community service.

He was fortunate enough to train at the Cleveland Clinic during medical school conducting vision research on cataract surgery where he completed the project at his medical school and presented it and won first place for the best oral presentation at the Western Research Conference in Carmel, CA in 2000.

He was accepted to his first choice ophthalmology residency at The University of Texas Health Sciences Center where he continued his cataract research and presented several times at scientific meetings.

He was chosen as the Chief Resident in his senior year and was voted resident eye surgeon of the year. He also started the first Ophthalmology Chief Resident Leadership Conference for chief residents across the country.

Immediately after training, he became a member of AAO’s Young Ophthalmologist Committee for 6 years and then served as Chair for 3 years where he played an integral part in mentoring young eye surgeons in the areas of business and leadership development.

He also served as Editor-in-Chief of the ONE Network, an online education site for ophthalmologists across the globe. He then later became the Secretary for Online Education for AAO where he oversaw the ONE Network and EyeWiki.org. He also created the 1-minute video series for AAO designed to help busy surgeons learn key surgical techniques.

During the first 15 years of practice, Dr. Melendez learned how to perform LASIK surgery in 2005 and became very adept and efficient at performing high volume cataract surgery where he performed numerous types of cataracts and became one of the highest volume surgeons in the United States and began incorporating the newest types of lens implants to help patients see at their very best. He has performed over 15,000 cataract and refractive surgeries and values the relationships he developed and continues to foster with each patient.

Dr. Melendez started a foundation to help find a cure for retina diseases, in particular, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) in which his mother was diagnosed with when he was a young boy.

He always wanted to find a cure for her eye disease and as a result, he started a foundation called The Juliette RP Vision Foundation (JulietteFoundation.org) in 2008 named after his mother where they provide scholarships to visually-impaired college students and grants to young scientists conducting retina research, most recently to The Johns Hopkins University and The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

To continue this legacy of helping others see better, Dr. Melendez started The Juliette Eye Institute who’s mission statement is Patients First. He has been told that he has a great bedside manner where he cares for his patients and desires that each person has a personalized care plan for both their eye condition and eye surgery.

He specializes in cataract and refractive surgeries to help patients see their best. He wanted to create an eye practice where he could spend more time with the patient where he can better understand them and their vision needs. Dr. Melendez started The Juliette Eye Institute to offer world-class care in New Mexico.

Connect with Dr. Melendez, 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/robmelendezmd

Website: www.julietteeye.com


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