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2018 Speakers

Once again iDay will host a great line-up of speakers, including Andy Clark as our Keynote. Full details of all this years speakers will be released as they are confirmed.

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Please take a moment to have a look at our speakers:

Andy Clark is an optometrist and accomplished public speaker. He was the very first keynote speaker at Independents Day and makes a welcome return again this year. 

He and his team at Practice Building are all optical professionals who have also studied business and applied their knowledge to create secure highly profitable practices. Having worked with hundreds of practice owners the Practice Building team are very familiar with the challenges that they face and how they are best resolved.

Andy and his team are passionate about sharing their expertise and have carefully developed their skills as trainers and coaches and Andy is a winner of the 2008 UK National Training Award and the 2012 Optician Awards Education Award.

His goal for Practice Building is that independent opticians know the sense of achievement and freedom that building their own secure, profitable, respected practices can bring.

Retail Designer and owner of RED (Retail Experience Design), Dean Waugh has been delivering successful store environments and branding solutions for over 20 years. During his career, Dean has enjoyed working across a diverse range of clients and projects; from global brands to boutique and independent stores. He’s even bagged a few awards along the way! 

Now, Dean channels his passion for leading edge creative and considered design through his agency RED; an industry leading design agency that specialize in providing engaging health, wellbeing and retail environments. The optical market is a core industry for RED, and this is why... 

The optical retail revolution 

Over recent decades, optical has seen a retail revolution. Industry experts and retailers alike, all agree that change first began back in the 80’s – with the move from dispensing in a medical environment to selling in a retail environment. The sale of frames soon followed, and brought a need for product focal points. Following this Designer brands also realised the opportunity and potential, so this created a need to differentiate and promote various products. Yet, the most recent impact and arguably the biggest driver for change is the consumer! There is an expectation for a considered, enhanced and positive experience that focuses on putting the patient/customer first at each stage of the eye care journey.

The revolution over recent years has opened a whole new wold for the optical market – a world driven by environment creativity, design, brand and most importantly the customer/patient. For RED, this new world has brought the opportunity for creativity – it’s been and still is, an exciting journey to be part of and influence.

Your retail space 

Without a doubt, effective retail design can have a tangible and far-reaching impact. It can increase footfall and sales, provide differentiation from competitors and ensure customers/patients are provided with an experience aligned to your business or company ethos.

The impact of technology and digital influence continues to change retail and consumer behaviour, so the need for stores to offer richer experience for consumers is more important than ever before. This applies to both the mainstream and optical retail market. 

Customers look for retail environments to offer a bespoke and personal feel, so your brand and identity is crucial. It will allow you to connect with potential and existing customers and provide the patient experience they’re looking for. Considerations should focus on touch points in the retail space, shopfront signage, window displays, fixtures and fitting and general flow – all will need to work together to create a successful retail journey. 

Gerard Fernandes is an optometrist director of Lynne Fernandes Optometrists, and a Glaucoma Specialist Optometrist at Bristol Eye Hospital.

After training at Aston University and Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Gerard and his wife Lynne took over a small established optometry practice in Bristol with the aim of setting themselves as clinical experts and enjoying life as optometrists. 18 years later, Lynne Fernandes Optometrists is a nationally recognised 3 site independent group with 7 optometrists, 6 Dispensing Opticians included in a team of 25.

Gerard’s passion is guiding his optometrist colleagues to develop their clinical areas of interest into fee based profit making services. In independent optometry Gerard believes this has to go hand in hand with best practice retailing.


Lindsey Small has worked within the optical industry for the last 20 years. She gained optical insight and expertise by initially working within a practice environment for Dollond and Aitchison, where she was recruited for their Management Dispensing Opticians program.  Having been approached to help role out their Styleyes initiative, she soon found a passion for training and development.

This took Lindsey to Specsavers where she became a Regional Training Manager, responsible for a wide range of training initiatives from Optical Assistant Dispensing to the role out and training for new store start-ups.

In 2000 Lindsey was promoted to the national position of Relationship Manager, where she developed and ran management and director training workshops, undertook Training Needs Analysis to advise stores on training and operational solution, recruited and trained both in-store and group training staff, worked with a team to plan, develop and deliver store staff seminars, delivered and trained at National Directors seminars and was part of the team developing the ‘Career Development Path’ initiative. She found delivering at speciality overseas workshops for senior staff and directors, involving a personal development focus, hugely rewarding.

Having moved abroad Lindsey started her own training and development company. Here she wrote, and when she returned, trained bespoke courses for both optical and other industries.

She has also realised a long standing aim of becoming an accredited counsellor and psychotherapist. She brings her insight in this area alongside her occupational psychology knowledge into her work through an insight into what motivates and holds individuals back from achieving their work ideals.

Lindsey is passionate about well-targeted, thought through training and development. Strongly believing that for training initiatives to work they must raise the levels of self-efficacy in individuals and the team. Only then will training be motivational, with the resulting positive change of behaviour and improved business performance.  She prides herself on her detail focussed approach, which she believes drives out training initiatives that are not only worthwhile but enjoyable for all.

Mark Holloway is an independent optometrist based near Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Upon graduating University in 1998 - not in Optometry but Biology - he ‘fell’ into a career in sales & marketing initially with British Steel, moving into ‘Fast Moving Consumer Goods’ as a senior national account manager dealing with Sainsburys.

After 10 years in similar roles he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and returned to study, graduating from the University of Bradford with a First Class Honours degree in Optometry in 2011. On completion of his Pre-Reg, Mark took over the family business Thomas & Holloway Opticians. Since then he has grown the business year on year, mixing clinical advancement and ‘added value services’ with improved retail.

As well as running successful family practices, Mark has also spent time supervising University clinics at Bradford and completing further study himself successfully completing the College of Optometrists Professional Certificates in Medical Retina and Glaucoma.   

Michelle graduated in Optometry from Cardiff University in 1993 and went to Nottingham to complete her pre-reg in the eye department in Queen’s Medical Centre. Michelle specialised in low vision aid, children’s clinics and corneal research. She was awarded research prizes in the UK and USA for her studies in corneal graft surgery.

She opened Park Vision in May 2008 because she felt there was a need for an eye clinic that could offer a bespoke service for any visual need. Her interests in School Vision, Sports Vision, frame styling and Dry Eye have become a focus for the practice.

Michelle is passionate about sport, having competed in swimming and running to County standard and achieved England status in Women’s Basketball.  This keen interest in sport led to her achieving, with distinction, her SportsVision Diploma in 2008. Sports Vision athletes she has worked with include: Nottingham Rugby, GB Skeleton, England VolleyBall, Northampton Cricket, Harlequins Rugby, GB Speed skating, England Ladies Cricket, GB Carriage Drivers.Michelle was awarded Sports Vision Optometrist of the Year at the Sports Vision Conference 2018.

Michelle is a firm believer that everyone should feel and look great in their glasses whatever their budget. She regularly attends MIDO and  trained with style consultants on colour and shape and been on training courses on frame style.

Ryan is CEO and owner of Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care, a family business built on care, personal service and quality. They have 34 stores in South East including 8 franchise,3 joint ventures, and they will celebrate 90 years in 2018. 

Ryan launched their audiology business in 2006, and in that time have conducted over 30,000 hearing assessments. 

Since 2011 Ryan has embarked on a transformational journey with the entire business, creating a culture of growth and constant improvement, investing in people, technology, store environment and customer experience. 

Growth focused, Ryan also believes passionately in the future of the independent sector where his new business The Hearing Care Partnership aims to help by connecting independent optometry with best-in-market audiology.