Maninder Gudray has always had her sights set on a career in optics – and in just over the ten years since she started on that journey, she’s now not only a qualified optometrist but also one of the partner’s at Oxford’s largest opticians, Specsavers.

Setting her sights from an early age

From an early age Maninder wanted to be an optician, and so focussed her studies at school before going on and studying optometry at Anglia Ruskin University.  

Alongside her studies Maninder was keen to get out into the ‘real’ world and gain experience so she applied for an optical assistant role at Specsavers in Stratford upon Avon.  She ended up staying with the store for four years – working around her studies and completing her pre-registration placement at the store during 2011.

In 2013 she moved to a fellow Specsavers store – this time in Chelmsley Wood, where she began to build on her management and business skills.

‘I loved being able to combine my optics skills with the coaching and development of others and began to take a keener interest in the running of the business too,’ commented Maninder.  

This led to Maninder realising that she’d like to become a Specsavers joint venture partner and so she undertook the relevant training to help her on that pathway. 

Partnership role

In March 2019 the opportunity came up for Maninder, now 29, to become a joint venture partner at Specsavers in Oxford, joining store directors Abby Jobson and Greg Harding. It was a dream come true, she says.

‘My story may not be unique, but it does demonstrate that with the right aptitude, desire and support you can achieve your career goals,’ added Maninder.

‘From a 14 year-old school pupil to now managing and running a business that has 35 staff and serves the eyecare needs of more than 300 customers a week is a big step.  

‘I’ve been hugely fortunate to have had supportive leaders help me on my journey and it’s been massively rewarding. I’m now looking forward to working with Greg and Abby, enhancing our services and continuing to grow our store and develop our team, while maintaining our commitment to offering the very best in optical care.’

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