Hi, I’m Callam and I am currently working in the Northern Europe region of Specsavers, heading up the Data & Business Intelligence team.
What was your background before joining Specsavers?
Specsavers was my first (and is still my only) full-time employer! I joined as part of a placement year programme in my third year of my university course and jumped straight back at the opportunity to re-join after finishing my last university exam (my last exam was on a Friday, and I started back on the Monday!). So in terms of prior background before Specsavers, I have none.
Tell me a little bit about your journey at Specsavers?
I’ve had quite a varied route leading up to where I am today which is really common within Specsavers, it is an environment where you are truly pushed to be the best version of yourself. My first role as mentioned was a placement year programme in my third year of university, where I was part of the Finance Shared Service Centre team. During this time, I was able to grow outside of my role, specifically helping the Sports & Social Committee deliver events for my colleagues. I then returned after finishing my university degree to another position within the FSSC, before moving into the UK Commercial Finance team shortly after. This was my first taste of applying what I had been learning to real life situations which was great, and made even better when a secondment opportunity arose within the Northern Europe region. I jumped at the opportunity to try something completely new and was supported by Specsavers all the way. My first role was within the finance team over in the Northern Europe Support Office, but that developed over the years to focus more on business intelligence and performance management than pure Finance. My interest in this field grew both inside and outside of work and I was supported by Specsavers on beginning an online MBA with Data Analytics to further my knowledge. This has led to a role more focused in that world of Data & Business Intelligence, where I am today. An element that I am really enjoying right now in that space is the support provided by Specsavers for me to own something important and have trust placed in myself that I am going to deliver something great.
How did Specsavers help and support your development?
Specsavers has supported my in many ways over my time here. The main one was opportunity, and supporting me to grab those opportunities that have been presented to me over the years, pushing me to be the best version of myself. From a more tangible perspective, when I was in more of a finance role, I was supported through ACCA qualifications (just like Krushil Shah). However, I realised that accounting and finance was not for me and there was no quarrels when I ended that pursuit and focused more on data. In fact the opposite as Specsavers funded me to complete an online MBA with Data Analytics. These have not only been supported by my line managers at the time or the learning and development teams, but also by wider stakeholders around the business.
What gives you pride in your role?
Now that my Specsavers journey has given me the opportunity to manage a team, I get pride from applying the same principles that have made me successful to my team with regards to support for development. I am a strong advocate in personal development and supporting individuals be the best version of themselves, so if I can play even a small part in that journey for someone else, that is fantastic.
What have you learnt during your time at Specsavers?
I have learnt to ask. I hear stories of friends and family in other organisations that are too afraid to rock the status quo with challenging questions, or they don’t think it is their place to say something. Specsavers is constantly evolving due to people asking and challenging assumptions, which has created a healthy environment where you don’t feel silly asking a question and you feel like your voice will always be listened to.
What would you say to encourage someone thinking about applying?
If you want to discover what your boundaries really could be, then apply. Specsavers is the land of opportunity and I have seen so many people in functions and departments so different than when they started, and that is testament to them pushing their own boundaries, which has been facilitated by Specsavers.
Why do you love working at Specsavers?
I believe most people would say the family culture, which is absolutely true! But I will just be more specific and say the lack of bureaucracy within the organisation. That in itself makes it feel like a family culture, but I believe it is important to highlight the bureaucracy bit and how there is incredibly strong, honest and humble communications across all layers and functions within the organisation.
What one word would you use to describe the Specsavers culture?
Finally, tell us a little bit about yourself:
I continue to play football, but it has more turned into an excuse to meet friends at the pub in recent years, rather than the football itself. I’ve also gotten into football coaching and was coaching in the third tier of women’s football in England until I moved home last year. I’ve more recently got into golf as I can keep up with the pace more than football as I get older! Also, working on renovating a recently purchased 19th century house in the North West of England. Most people would class my television taste as ‘poor’, I love the sort of TV that melts your brain (see Geordie Shore, Love Island, Celebs Go Dating). But my all time number one is the US version of The Office.
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