From Optical Advisor to Partner | Meet Stefano, Retail Director at Specsavers Towcester

My career story began in 1998 when I left school to pursue my passion for business studies. Instead of heading to university, I decided to gain some work experience and landed a summer job as an optical advisor. It was during this time that I discovered my interest in the optical industry – withing six months, I became an assistant manager and enrolled in the Ophthalmic Dispensing Course at Anglia Ruskin.

After three years of studying and working, I aspired to become a dispensing optician. This is when my journey with Specsavers started in my hometown of Bletchley in 2001. I had the privilege of being the first pre-reg dispensing optician for Matt Stuart and Bhavesh Kotecha, who provided tremendous support. Working with them felt like being part of a family. Specsavers sponsored me to complete the course at ABDO college, and in 2007, I proudly qualified as a dispensing optician.

Stefano and his Co-Director outside the Towcester store

I continued working at the Bletchley and Leighton Buzzard branches, where I served as a dispensing optician and an in-store trainer for both stores. In 2016, seeking a new challenge and a more clinical role, I enrolled in the Contact Lens Course at City and Islington College in London. I completed the course in 2018, and one of my proudest achievements was being one of three individuals in the UK to pass all sections on the first attempt.

In 2019, I decided to embrace a new opportunity and moved to a larger store in Daventry working with Satvinder Soomal and Daljit Purewal with its dedicated contact lens department. I managed the department and relocated to the area a few months later. Over the course of three years, I enjoyed working at the Daventry store, but in the third year, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, impacting contact lens services for a period of time. It was during this challenging period that I realized my dream of becoming a Specsavers partner.

In early 2022, I joined a brand-new Specsavers branch in Weston Favell, Northampton, under the leadership of Mitesh Bhudia, Jude Edwards, and Mukesh Patel. It was an exciting opportunity to contribute to the growth of a new store. In March 2023, successfully completed the Pathway program. The following month, in April, I became the retail director of Specsavers Towcester, partnering with Daljit Purewal.

I am thoroughly enjoying my new role as a director, as it feels natural to me. Despite having been with Specsavers for nearly two decades, I am still learning every day. Specsavers has always supported my development through their training programs and supportive directors. I take great pride in being able to support others in their growth and help create a positive work environment. Moreover, I can make a difference in my local community by providing eye healthcare and supporting local charities and fundraising initiatives.

If anyone were to ask me about joining Specsavers, I would wholeheartedly encourage them to do so, as it offers the best network for success and personal development, provided you are willing to learn new skills. If I can achieve what I have, anyone can.

If I were to describe Specsavers’ culture in one word, it would be “family.” Outside of work, I cherish spending time with my wife and two young boys, as well as following football, which is a personal passion of mine.

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