All of the above titles and more describe Matt Jensen, the Chief Executive Officer of Vance Thompson Vision.
Jensen received his undergraduate degrees in religion and psychology from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, before pursuing his master’s degree from the University of Sioux Falls. After spending a few years working for an advertising agency, Jensen decided that he wanted to spend time at a place that was truly dedicated to helping people, and Vance Thompson Vision was delighted when Jensen joined the team in 2004.
Jensen’s focus is not only on the experience for the patients of Vance Thompson Vision, but for his employees as well. “It’s just really nice to work for a place who’s really dedicated to improving people’s lives, not just how they see, but also how they see their future,” says Jensen.
In describing Jensen, Dr. John Berdahl, MD, says, “He cares as much about a wonderful patient experience as the doctors care about wonderful patient outcomes.”
The eyes are such an important and vulnerable part of the human body and getting LASIK or cataract surgery can be a patient’s first step in changing his or her life. Jensen says, “the best doctors on earth combined with the world's most advanced technology being used on the most precious sense humans have, their sight, coupled with the best team honor, makes way for the most enjoyable professional setting I've ever been a part of.”
The People of VTV
Jensen was the 14th employee to join the Vance Thompson Vision team, and now there are 74 employees. He says, “We’ve really grown a lot in the last 10 years, and I’m really grateful to the team members who’ve really dedicated their lives to helping others see their best.”
One of Jensen’s favorite quotes from Walt Disney is, “You can design and create and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it takes people to make the dream a reality.”
Dr. Jason Schmit, OD, also recognizes that the patient’s experience is centered around more than just years of experience and advanced technology. “Experience and technology can set us apart, but they can be duplicated. The people here and the effort taken to make the patient’s experience different, better, unexpected--that is what separates us from other providers. Our patients see this. Matt works hard to make sure that we continue to strive for excellence.”
Everyone at Vance Thompson Vision talks about their “why” based off of Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “Why Great Leaders Inspire Action.” Jensen says, “The reason I get up every morning is to make the experience better for all involved. I learned early on that every good leader needs a fullback. I want to serve those who've trusted me and to be a steward for the blessings that have been given to me. Strive to make your day meaningful!” Dr. Justin Schweitzer, OD, says that Jensen “has a one of a kind innovative mind and is a true leader.”
Jensen shares a common favorite aspect of the building: the lights at night. “While I enjoy the atrium, the fact that the surgery center was the first on the planet designed around femtosecond laser technology, and how well the LASIK center and Artisan 57 work together, the lights at night are the thing that continues to be a surprise to the community.”
Have you seen the Vance Thompson Vision special lights for holidays or community events? The Facebook contest illustrating school colors in the lights between rival colleges, like Augustana vs. USF, last year? Jensen loves the customization possible by showcasing different elements at nighttime. Jensen says the lights are “a nice way to wink at the community and let them know that we pay attention to them.” If you are ever passing the building on I-229 at night, be prepared for magical lights. Not that you should ever be driving with your eyes closed, but Jensen enjoys the Dr. Suess quote: “You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”
Matt's Growing Up
Jensen grew up on a farm just outside of Pierre, SD, and moved to Sioux Falls in the middle of high school. He met his wife Beth in high school and they now live right outside of the Sioux Falls city limits with their three daughters (8, 7, and 5) as well as chickens, a dog, and a bunch of cats. “I can honestly say that I am proud of the work we do, and proud to do it alongside the family that God has blessed me with. My three little girls understand that it takes a lot of work to run a business like we do.”
Jensen notes that “Life is sweet and really, really simple. The biggest challenge we have in life is holding every thought captive and trying to freeze every moment in our minds.” Jensen enjoys the memories and treasures the words from C.S. Lewis: “Someday you’ll be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”