The Specsavers Partnership Blog will explore the different aspects of being a Specsavers Joint Venture Partner (JVP) – from training to become a partner, through to the ongoing support you receive once you own a store. This month, Jenny Kim, Optometry Partner at Specsavers Baldivis in Western Australia, describes her experience at the Partnership Seminar held on 2 March 2019 at the ICC in Sydney, which brings together Specsavers partners from across Australia and New Zealand to celebrate their shared success as well as to look at what lies ahead in the organisation’s future. 

The theme of this year’s Partnership Seminar was ‘#STRONGER’. Since the last Seminar in 2017, we now have OCT in every Specsavers store across New Zealand and will have it in every store in Australia by the end of 2019. We are providing the best quality eye care by performing OCT scans on every customer at no additional cost. We have also broadened our scope and have now integrated Audiology into the Specsavers optical environment, applying our Specsavers vision and values to provide professional and best value hearing care to our customers.

During the Seminar, Specsavers global CEO John Perkins spoke about how we are becoming ever stronger the more we work together, and although the market is becoming increasingly competitive, our partnership has grown #STRONGER, with everyone working relentlessly to ensure Specsavers is not only the best place for high quality, great value eye care, but also a ‘Great Place to Work’.

Optometry Director Peter Larsen spoke about the success of the OCT rollout and, when combined with the use of our e-referral platform Oculo, the impact that every one of us has had in the diagnosis of glaucoma and the prevention of blindness in Australia and New Zealand. I found this truly inspirational and empowering, especially as my own store was going through a lot of changes as a result of our recent OCT installation at the time.

(L-R) Jenny Kim with Clare Zen (Dispensing Partner, Specsavers Success, WA) and Linden Sawyers (Retail Partner, Specsavers Baldivis, WA) at the Awards for Excellence Dinner

After a jam-packed day of great talks and freebies at the expo, we all got together back at the ICC Sydney Grand Ballroom, looking glamorous for the Awards for Excellence Dinner. The night started off with drums and dancing as we walked into the ballroom and were greeted by the night’s amazing hosts, Hamish & Andy. They were absolutely hilarious, and their sarcastic sense of humour had my Retail Partner, Linden, and I asking each other whether they were being serious or just joking. Our store was one of the nominees for the Excellence in Team Culture Award, and although we didn’t win, we were honoured to be considered as one of the four top finalists.

It wouldn’t have been an Awards Dinner if it didn’t involve a fundraising prize draw full of amazing prizes. It was a proud moment for me as a Specsavers partner when the partners jointly raised a record-breaking amount of $127,500 for Vision Australia, Blind Foundation New Zealand and Better Hearing Australia.

Just when we thought the entertainment was over (including a short performance by the ‘Specsavers Abba Tribute Band’, featuring a number of Specsavers executives and a great triangle solo by Retail Director Dominic Savill), the world’s best known Abba tribute band, Bjorn Again, took over and kept the crowd dancing all through the night.

Linden and I love attending the Partnership Seminar. We enjoy our time out of the store – this year, with the added bonus of having a vast array of dining and shopping choices in Sydney – but most importantly, we love catching up with our fellow partners and getting to meet inspirational and engaged leaders.

Linden and I were on the Specsavers Pathway partnership development program together six years ago before becoming business partners. Catching up with the other partners who had been in the same cohort meant a lot to us, as it allowed us to reflect on our respective journeys as leaders and appreciate that we cannot simply rest on our laurels.

This year, I was also excited to see that more of my Kiwi friends from university had become optometry partners at Specsavers. Catching up with other partners at the Partnership Seminar is not only great fun but also rewarding, as you can learn a lot from each other and bounce ideas before executing them in-store. I was up until 2am chatting with a friend who is currently a partner in New Zealand.

Linden and I are already looking forward to the next Partnership Seminar.

More in the Specsavers Partnership Blog series
JVP inspired and empowered at the Partnership Seminar
Leading self and leading change with Pathway Module One
Leading teams with Pathway Module Two
Leading commercially and coaching with Pathway Module Three
Leading great customer experiences with Pathway Module Four