"I was immediately drawn in by the opportunity to combine a career in healthcare with sales and working with people," Inas explains.
She saw optometry as a career with personal growth potential. Most importantly, it offered direct job opportunities after completing education.
Her first encounter with Louis Nielsen (Specsavers’ brand name in Denmark) came early in her studies. Back then, she did an internship at Louis Nielsen at City Vest in Aarhus. Born in Denmark to Palestinian parents, Inas’ Arabic language skills quickly proved to be beneficial for both her and the store. One day, the store owner was tending to a customer who could only speak Arabic. Suddenly, the inexperienced but hardworking intern found herself stepping in as an interpreter. With many Arabic-speaking customers in the area, Inas’ skills proved to be very helpful. So, she was immediately offered a job as an untrained sales assistant. After completing her education, she continued to work as an optician there.
"I really enjoy the nerdy and clinical aspects of the work," says Inas.
She’s even experienced how her thoroughness might have helped save a life. One day, a customer came in with a problem: She couldn't see anything when she turned her eye. Inas performed a screening of the woman's visual field. Doing so, she noticed something that could be a tumour on the optic nerve. As an optician, she’s not allowed to diagnose on her own. Instead, she used Specsavers’ second-opinion system and immediately contacted the store's affiliated ophthalmologist, who would later confirm Inas’ suspicion.
"The customer came back to thank me afterwards. It’s very touching when you can make a difference in people's lives like that."
Experiences like this add spice to daily life in the store, where two days are rarely alike. One of the things Inas appreciates most about her job and career at Louis Nielsen is the ever-present opportunity for personal development and for gaining new knowledge.
"You're constantly presented with opportunities to learn and grow. As soon as you start getting a bit bored, you get an offer to learn something new. If you want it, you can have it. Development never stops," says Inas.
A couple of years ago, she got the opportunity to move to Copenhagen. She quickly rose to the position of chief optometrist under store owner Haider Alzahawes' leadership. Inas has even bigger aspirations. Her next step is to own her own store under Louis Nielsen’s green banner. Preferably before the end of 2024. So, Inas is currently participating in Specsavers’ internal ‘Partner in Development’ programme. This programme prepares promising candidates for a future as store owners. However, she already feels well-prepared by her mentors in the store at Østerbro.
"They can send me all the way to China if need be,” Inas says jokingly. “I'd still be ready tomorrow. But my dream scenario would be a store in Aarhus."
There’s a good reason for that. In Lebanon, Inas’ parents both experienced the horrors of the civil war and met each other in a refugee camp. Although none of them got away unharmed, they did make their way to Denmark and managed to build a new life. Today, they’re retired and live in Aarhus in a house that Inas bought for them. For Inas, owning a store around Aarhus would mean that she could provide her parents with even greater care.
"Family is of great importance to me. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why I'm so happy to work at Louis Nielsen. There's a strong sense of camaraderie, and I've had some great mentors along the way. It's like being part of a big family."