Meet Jo Macbeth - Global Head of Leadership and Talent

Posted in Support Office on April 25, 2017
Author: Sam Reed

Tell us a little about yourself
I joined Specsavers in November 2016. I had spent the previous seven months travelling around the world, realising my ambition to see Australia and New Zealand and I was also able to spend some time in Asia and Hawaii. My favourite place? Too many to mention, but
I think it has to be Sydney and South Island, New Zealand. Wow what incredible views!

When I’m not working, I love nothing more than kicking off my heels and slipping into a pair of running shoes or walking boots. More often than not, you’ll find me running, cycling or walking in the great outdoors or in Windsor Great Park. In 2015, I solo walked the ‘Coast to Coast’ in the UK from one side of the country to the other.

I live in Windsor which gives me the best of both worlds - proximity to London to enjoy the pleasures of our vibrant capital city, with the contrast of a historical, contemporary town with a beautiful river and endless parkland.

Where were you working prior to joining Specsavers?
I began my career at Nortel Networks on their graduate programme focusing on sales and marketing roles. From there, I joined O2 which was only one year old at the time and already taking the mobile market by storm.

I spent 13 years working at O2 in a variety of roles and parts of the business. I started my career in sales and marketing, before moving into customer experience. Then in 2008, I began my ‘second career’ in HR where I worked in various specialist and generalist roles including employee experience and engagement, HR operations, business partnering and talent and leadership.

Tell us what your job entails specifically.
It’s a new role which is one of the things I love about it. Essentially my role is about making sure that Specsavers has the right people in place ready to lead the business, as well as enabling all of our leaders to excel every day.

What attracted you to Specsavers?
When I was thinking about what kind of role I wanted to do next and for what type of company, I knew that a great culture in which I could thrive and create change, with great people in the Retail or Healthcare industries were all part of the answer. The other important part for me was to work for a leader who I truly believed in, would help me grow, thrive and trust me to make decisions.

When I got the opportunity to work for the quirky, quick-witted Specsavers brand, I met a huge number and variety of the people through the recruitment process and got to know my line manager a bit, I knew Specsavers offered me all of this. 

Ultimately, I joined Specsavers because of the people I met and the huge opportunity to help take a remarkable business into the next chapter of its life story.

How did you find the recruitment/onboarding process with us?
The recruitment process was probably one of the reasons I chose Specsavers. It was really fast and I was super impressed with how quickly interview dates were organised and decisions were made. From the first point of contact to receiving an offer was only about 34 days...unheard of!

I was also able to meet lots of people during the process too; not just those people who were going to interview me, but people who would be in my team and my peers. I even got to spend a whole day in Guernsey, it was like I worked there. And I felt very comfortable spending time around the office.

What I liked about all of this was how open my hiring manager was, she was totally up for me meeting as many people as I could. Normally, you only get to meet a handful of people in a process. I also liked the sense the speed of decision making gave me and what that might mean for how easy it could prove to be to get stuff done.

Is there anything in particular you are enjoying?
I loved working in store during my store induction and I’ve also really enjoyed learning more about various parts of the business through talking to people in our Leading Commercially Dragon’s Den. Everyone had to propose a business idea for one of our Regional Managing Directors and others to consider its potential for financial backing. In summary, I love getting closer to the business!

In your first few months, how would you describe the culture at Specsavers?
Caring, considerate, people-focused and practical.