Meet Darren Connolly from our store in Navan, Ireland

Posted on April 13, 2017
Author: Sam Reed

What was your background before joining Specsavers in Ireland?
My journey with Specsavers started as a part-time optical assistant working weekends in my first year of College. As I was studying Optometry, I wanted the perfect place to gain valuable experience and really give me an idea of what the future might look like working as an Optometrist.

In a nutshell, what do you do?
In short, I am responsible for the running of the Specsavers Navan store and supporting our fantastic team. As an Optometrist Director I also test full time, which means supporting our Optom team is a big part of my role. Strong relationships with the management team is essential for my position too, especially as day to day I’m often in the test room. Planning the development of the business also keeps me busy, we’re always looking ahead and have a keen interest in the local community too.

What does your typical day look like?
After ensuring the store and team are ready for the day ahead, a typical day will see me testing for the day and looking after our valued patients. As the day comes to a close I’ll tie in with the team to see how the day went.

What makes you most proud of your time at Specsavers so far?
What makes me most proud of my time at Specsavers Navan so far is leading my team to achieve platinum employer status and to have been short-listed in the top three stores in the UK and Ireland at the Specsavers awards for excellence in November 2016 in the overall performance category. Our store also won best retail business 2016 at the Meath business and tourism awards, which was a fantastic achievement.

How have you developed?
I have learnt about every aspect within the optics business by doing every role in the store starting as an Optical Assistant and Lab Technician.  I completed my Pre-Reg Optometry year and started in Specsavers as a newly qualified Optometrist in 2012. I progressed to become Principal Optometrist while ensuring I moved around as many different stores within the group of sister stores to Navan to gain more experience. I completed the ILM 2 / ILM 3 courses and then went on to do my Pathway programme and finally became an Ophthalmic partner at Specsavers Navan in February 2016. 

What do you love about your job? What is a challenge?
What I love most about my job is working with the team and creating a “buzz“ around the store . I love helping them to believe they have the ability to make a difference even though they may not see it for themselves and watching them grow and come up with new and fresh ideas to help improve the customer experience. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is working with an individual within the team and seeing them develop over time to a point where they are the very best at what they do.

Describe the culture of Specsavers in Ireland in three words
Teamwork / Passion / Community

What advice would you give someone looking to join Specsavers?
To quote another well-known brand “Just do it”. It is a fantastic place to work and provides an extremely rewarding career path that most other companies just can’t compete with. It really is a place where if you are ambitious and willing to put in the work (while having a bit of “craic” along the way) there is no end to what you can be. The Specsavers family is constantly growing and becoming bigger and better so my advice to anyone looking to join Specsavers now is very simple, and to quote another well-known brand, don't in years to come look back and think “should've gone to Specsavers”, make the move now. You won’t regret it.