Founder Specsavers Optical Group

Dame Mary founded Specsavers in 1984 with husband Doug and has since grown the business to become the largest privately-owned optical company in the world.

Born in Bristol, Dame Mary qualified as an optometrist after attending Cardiff University, where she met Doug.  Together they bought out Mary’s father’s optical business when he retired and gradually built up their family-friendly opticians in the West Country and Wales, selling up and moving to Guernsey in 1981 where the joint venture concept of Specsavers was born. The rest is history!

Dame Mary was honoured by the Queen for her services to business and the community in 2007. The same year she was named the most outstanding woman in business at the National Business Awards.  She was also the first recipient of the First Women Lifetime Achievement award, in 2010.

Dame Mary supports numerous charities and is patron of EveryWoman, anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Hearing Dogs an ambassador for Vision Aid Overseas, Sightsavers and Action Aid, an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University and the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and an Honorary Chartered Director of the Institute of Directors.  She is also a Liveryman of Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers and Freeman of the City of London.



Brad joined the Specsavers family in 1992, opening the Solihull store in 1993 and the Shirley store in 2008.  Over this time I have known him to be passionate about social responsibility and community spirit in ways that have frequently manifested themselves in business, through his involvement in membership organisations inside the profession and socially, and in encouraging business and community to work in partnership.

As well locally, Brad has worked and represented Specsavers in professional membership organisations, and so I believe he has a great understanding of how such organisations operate.

In this book Brad sets out in his unique style the elements that make clubs work, guiding the reader through the maze and modern day conundrum of how to recruit and retain members successfully – and in doing so it delivers exactly what it says it will.

The content, I believe, will be useful to any club where their membership is falling, which seems to be quite common these days.

Brad gives us an insight into his upbringing, in a family holiday hotel, that makes it easy to understand where his passion for “belonging” and how “people” and “customers” have become part of his DNA.  Whether they be members of a club, a professional body, a team, clients, patients, or retail customers, it is obvious Brad cares about the members in our communities.

This book is written in a style that makes it easy to read, and being centred on a main story made up of a number of anecdotes, stories and metaphors that allows the reader to explore their own reality and how the principles can be employed in their clubs or teams makes this a uniquely simple yet very effective volume.

I can think of clubs and societies that I am associated with that could benefit from the content.


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