Out of practice and into industry
CooperVision’s head of professional services for the UK and Ireland, Krupa Patel, shares her career journey into industry
15 February 2020
01 Prior to joining professional services in 2011, I had worked at Boots Opticians my entire career since my pre-reg. On qualification, I became a full-time optometrist and progressed to practice management, before taking on a regional clinical support role.
I realised quite early on in my career that I wanted to explore the different opportunities that optometry had to offer. Through my regional clinical support role, I found out that I was really interested in supporting professional colleagues in their training and development, while I also enjoyed the clinical side of optometry.
I was never actually specifically looking for roles within industry, but I went to a conference and it was through networking in the exhibition space that I got talking to someone from the professional services team at a contact lens supplier. During the conversation, they gave me a sense of what the role of working in professional services involved. It was very different from what I thought it would be; providing a good balance of clinical and commercial. That conversation was really pivotal as it’s when I realised that there is so much more than meets the eye to professional services. It got me thinking about my next move and, in a bit of a leap of faith, shortly afterwards I moved into industry.
I realised quite early on in my career that I wanted to explore the different opportunities that optometry had to offer
02 My first position in industry was in a UK and Ireland professional services team.
It covered a geographical area that was significantly larger than what I had been used to previously and initially focused on the internal training and development of my colleagues, such as those working across sales, marketing and customer services. The role helped me increase my clinical confidence and knowledge of the contact lens sector.
The position also involved representing the company at conferences and external events. There was a need to present on key topics. Some talks were product-related and others were clinical and CET lectures. It was really mixed. The variety of the role was something that appealed to me.
While I’d delivered presentations in a former role, it had always been to people I worked with and familiar colleagues. Therefore, to have to develop, write and deliver a CET presentation to hundreds of people in a conference theatre was something that I had never done before. I learnt early on that I was quite comfortable being in my discomfort zone, and with supportive colleagues around me, I quickly developed the confidence to do it.
03 I moved to CooperVision around five years after I first joined the contact lens industry and this sector.
At CooperVision, my role involves managing the professional services team. It enables me to develop my leadership skills and manage a group of professional colleagues, providing a mixture of clinical and commercial elements. It is also a national role, covering the UK and Ireland. I have five direct reports, and the team is due to expand shortly.
I am passionate about the contact lens industry and I see myself here for quite a while
04 There have been lots of highlights for me since joining CooperVision, but I think product launches top the list every time. Introducing MiSight 1 day as a myopia management solution in a category that is very new in the UK is something that was incredibly exciting.
My team was responsible for the soft launch of MiSight 1 day into the UK and Ireland. We started off working with a small number of practitioners because it was a huge test and learn opportunity – we hadn’t done anything like it before. Prior to the launch, MiSight 1 day had only been available in test markets and a couple of very small introductory markets, so we didn’t have huge learnings. It was a great opportunity to get involved, learn from the experts using the lens in clinic and see how it was making a difference to patients.
05 There are so many options available to me, which is what’s great about CooperVision.
As a global company, CooperVision has a dedicated UK and Ireland team and I get to work really closely with marketing as well as sales colleagues. The company’s European headquarters are based in the UK, which presents so many opportunities. For me, I would like to continue progressing in my role; there is still a lot more that I would like to do and achieve, and I have a brilliant team around me to work together on that. I am passionate about the contact lens industry and I see myself here for quite a while. I like to think that the options are endless.
- As told to Emily McCormick.
Image credit: Chris Bianchi