See your career at Specsavers: From finance to IT, meet Oana Evans

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Hi I’m Oana Evans and I work in Technology as Head of Technology – Business Management.

What was your background before joining Specsavers?
I’m ACCA qualified and most of my career has been in finance though my very first job was as a Purser (Receptionist) on Royal Caribbean traveling around North and South America for about five years. After that adventure and in 2004 when it was time to take life of bit more seriously, I moved to the UK (I’m of Romanian origin). I worked my way up through various roles in finance for a couple of SMEs whilst studying until 2012 when I joined Airbus Space Systems as Project Controller managing financial performance for the projects building commercial satellites (the ones that provide the internet and broadcasting for everyday life). Initially the role was just UK based and within a couple of years I had taken on responsibility for controlling budgets for the UK, France, Germany and Spain sites with the majority of the role based in Toulouse, France. I was fortunate enough to travel and stay a lot in Toulouse and made many friendships that helped me experience the French lifestyle (not quite Emily in Paris in terms of glamour but certainly when it came to food and wine).

With a young daughter, though I co parent it had become increasingly difficult to manage the demanding job, the travel and family life so I looked online and came across a Specsavers role on Linkedin.

Tell me a little bit about your journey at Specsavers?
The role was for a Financial Controller in Specsavers Technology for the transformation programme known as CXP (Customer Experience Programme). The programme had a buzz about it, involving colleagues from technology, across all parts of the business and external partners. It was a great way to learn about Specsavers but also to be part of building something new. I joined Specsavers in January 2019 and immediately felt at home and until the pandemic I had the most enjoyable time in my career, learning, growing and being proud to work for a business with a meaningful and wonderful purpose.

Unfortunately, when the pandemic hit the project was put on hold, so I made the decision to leave the business as the scope of my role changed and I did not feel like it provided me with enough breadth and challenge. I took a role as Finance Director for an SME, who’s owners I worked with earlier in my career.

Whilst I enjoyed my new role, I had some questions around my career path and whether I would continue in finance and what other type of role I would want and whether I have the transferable skills.

June 2021, I came across another role with Specsavers, as Head of Technology – Business Management working closely with the CIO implementing and operating the governance structure to enable the function to deliver quality with transparency and at pace. It was this role that made me take the leap out of finance, I saw areas where I would easily apply past experience and areas where I knew that I could learn and grow.

How did Specsavers help and support your development?
Coming back to Specsavers and to Technology in particular felt really easy and to some extent like I never left. I spent a lot of time talking to various colleagues in Technology, engaging at all levels to learn and understand how I can make my role as effective as possible and create value. Adrian and the Technology Leadership team have been very supportive, all knowing that I am swimming in new waters, and all have provided feedback wherever possible. I have worked quite closely with Vicky Read, who I knew from CXP days and who was also in a new role in Technology, her help and guidance have been really key to building the confidence I have today.

What gives you pride in your role?
I like to think my role adds value, that through my work I can support my colleagues in the technology function to deliver with transparency and at pace, to improve our colleagues and customers experience.

What have you learnt during your time at Specsavers?
How to create presentations 😊 Seriously, to always think about the why (why we do this/why we make that decision) and keep that at the front of my mind and when it doesn’t stand true anymore to challenge it and start again.

What would you say to encourage someone thinking about applying?
I think we now live in a world where we make smarter choices, where we consider what impact we can make and what purpose we want to serve, we might decide to eat less meat, be carbon efficient, reduce waste. Working at Specsavers is exactly that a smart choice, it is a business with great core values and behaviours which are not just a nice set of words and pictures for a poster, these are practiced throughout and at every level of the organisation. In addition, we improve people’s lives, what better satisfaction than to work for a business that does good and for so many people.

Why do you love working at Specsavers?
I think that I am privileged to work at Specsavers, and I love it because it gives me great job satisfaction and a work/life balance to spend quality time with my young daughter.

What one word would you use to describe the Specsavers culture?

Finally, tell us a little bit about yourself: 
I am always into a new hobby, be that colouring by numbers, learning the piano, sewing my daughter’s curtains and cushions, knitting hats for friends or baby outfits.

I love nature and being outdoors with my daughter and our pup, we love walking by the sea or muddy fields and forests. We also love exploring holidays and last summer spent a lot of time in Wales hiking (including Snowdonia). I love cycling too and only learnt to do it in 2020 lockdown (finally at 40!).

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