30 at 30 – Jay’s Story
With over 15 years of experience as a joint venture partner, Jay Ghadiali was appointed as director of Professional Services in May 2017. With the aim of further developing the ‘Vision. Taken Seriously.’ philosophy and optical expertise, Jay says it’s important for him to continue serving customers as a practicing Optometrist.
What’s Professional Services all about?
Professional Services are traditionally known as the regulation department, where we ensure all clinicians work to set guidelines. Optometrists are qualified eye health professionals, so we work in a very regulated environment. When a customer comes to Vision Express, it is our duty to make sure they get equal levels of professionalism and quality throughout the eye exam, no matter which store they’re in. We work closely with clinicians to ensure they are supported through training and further developing their knowledge.
As both director of Professional Services and a JV partner, why do you continue to practice optometry?
I don’t have a choice; my customers won’t let me go! But on a serious note, I believe being a clinical lead in optometry gives me credibility to talk to colleagues about it, I need to be part of the team working in my store. Optometrists can speak to me knowing that I can relate to them and at a leadership level, I can bring a clinical perspective when we make big decisions.
Why did you join Vision Express as a Joint Venture partner?
I wanted the best for my customers and I believed in the Vision Express’ brand, the company came across as experts in their field. I had worked as a locum for the company, so I knew it was a good place to work. The JV model was also very appealing because I could combine being an entrepreneur in my own business with support from a professional brand that I believed in. I knew very little about marketing, finance and HR so working with the company gave me the opportunity to learn about those areas whilst being a partner – the support I’ve received has been fantastic.
In your opinion what skills are important for an optometrist to have?
As with any career you must know the basics as a foundation before you progress, but two things that stand out to me is passion and communication.
You need the passion to progress and provide the best service possible and communication skills to be able to speak with different customers and colleagues. In my opinion, the best stores are created when clinicians communicate well with each other – I see great examples of this all the time across Vision Express.
What piece of advice would you give to a new starter?
Be passionate about what you’re doing, take every opportunity you can and be grateful for the journey. We all start from somewhere and the leaders in our business worked very hard to get where they are. You can’t just expect things are going to happen for you, you need to have a drive and ambition whilst working as one team.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I’m lucky to have been given some great advice over the years but two have stood out to me. My dad always told me if I wanted something in life, go and get it because no one else will give it to you.
The second, is never to think of your life based on what’s happening tomorrow or in 3 months from now, think of your longer-term goals. I started looking at my life in 5-10-year cycles and its helped me become more content with life because I don’t judge it on what’s happening right now, I focus on where I want to be in the long term. It’s a good way to get through challenges.
Can you name one highlight of your career?
The most recent highlight is my appointment as director of Professional Services. It was an honour to be asked and when I told colleagues in my stores, they were so encouraging and happy for me. It’s been hard work to juggle my work responsibilities and family life, but I enjoy it and I’m proud of how the department has developed. We’re really focused on clinical excellence and our brand philosophy of ‘Vision. Taken Seriously.’
You never stop working! How do you balance everything?
It gets really challenging sometimes but honestly, I don’t think about it too often, I keep going and I’m grateful to be in the position I am today. I have an amazing wife and family and I’ve got so many great people in my teams who support me. I know I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own, it’s with the support from these good people that makes it worth it.