Michelle Cremona aspired to excel not only in a clinical environment but as a leader as well. She explains how she achieved both these goals with the support of Specsavers, becoming a franchise owner within five years of graduating.

Graduating from university was an exciting and daunting time, so careful consideration was given to where my skills as a newly qualified optometrist could grow and be nurtured in the workforce. The Specsavers Graduate Program seemed like the right option for the start of my journey.

As a young, freshly qualified optometrist, support was my utmost priority. The program ensured an optometrist mentor in-store with you, which was appealing and reassuring. The Graduate Program provided an induction, scheduled catch-ups, networking events and a support network in-store and at the Specsavers Support Office. Having this support meant the transition from university student to an independent, confident optometrist was smooth and definitely not daunting. No other job offer could promise me the support and guidance the Specsavers Graduate Program could.

Another reason that drew me to Specsavers was knowing I would be working for a company that valued people and put the customer first. I did not want to feel pressured to practise in a way I did not feel comfortable with, and I have never felt any pressure at Specsavers.

Knowing Specsavers is a large company supported by brand power, I would see a high volume of patients with a variety of cases, letting me refine my skills quickly and put to use what I had learnt at university.

The Graduate Program did not disappoint. What was promised was delivered, and I witnessed the Specsavers vision practised and upheld consistently.

Journey into leadership
I have always liked to challenge myself and I wanted to become not just a better optometrist, but a better leader who could one day successfully run a store. Specsavers’ career ladder meant that I could do this through the Pathway Program.

Through Pathway I challenged myself to become a better leader, a better colleague and to become more confident in myself. I was given insight into who I am as a person, how I operate in the workforce, and how to empower myself to become the best leader I can be.

I learned so much, and the content was delivered in a fun, nurturing and supportive environment. It was made clear that there was someone there to help you at every step of the Pathway journey. Pathway made me challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone from being just the optometrist and into the leader I want to be.

With the skills and knowledge which Pathway equipped me with to become a better leader, I felt truly ready to look at the next phase of my career journey – which was becoming a Specsavers franchisee.

I am now proud to be the franchisee of Specsavers Sylvania. The support during my transition in becoming a store director was made easy and exciting, with no fears. I was given ample support and continue to receive it, ensuring I can perform my role effectively and continue to grow into the leader I want to be, and one that my team respects.

It has been a five-year journey from graduate to franchise owner. If you asked me when I graduated if I would become a franchisee within five years, I wouldn’t have thought it possible. I wouldn’t have thought it achievable to learn skills that would leave me equipped to run my own store, but through my journey at Specsavers, it has been proven that it is more than achievable and a definite reality with the right support and training.

I am proud to work for Specsavers. I try to uphold the Specsavers vision and values which I have seen throughout my journey from graduate to franchise owner, and am excited to see where my journey as franchisee takes me.

For more information on the Specsavers Graduate Program, email anz.professionaldevelopment@specsavers.com

For more information on the Pathway Program, visit pathwayanz.com