AOP Council elections

Francesca Marchetti: “It has opened up a whole new world of optometry for me”

OT  speaks to AOP Councillor for the West Midlands, Francesca Marchetti, as she steps down from Council in this year’s elections

After nine years representing the West Midlands on the AOP Council, and a further two on the AOP Board, locum optometrist, Francesca Marchetti, will be standing down, with her position up for election this year.

Read our AOP explainer on… AOP Council elections to find out more about being a Councillor


Ahead of AOP Council nominations opening on 15 February, with a number of regional seats being available for election and four appointed positions being available for application, OT sat down with Marchetti to talk about her experiences on Council.

Marchetti joined Council in 2010, filling the regional representative seat for the West Midlands.

Having spent time serving on another optical organisation’s Council, she decided to stand after an optometrist peer who was already on Council gave her the confidence to put herself forward.

Speaking about her time on Council, Marchetti is proud to feel that she has played a role in the future of the profession. “The way my profession is moving, and all of the positive things that are moving within the profession, I feel that I’ve contributed to that,” she shared.

Marchetti emphasised that being a Councillor has also helped her develop personally, her with opportunities that she “could have only dreamed of,” including representing the profession in the Houses of Parliament, on the One Show, and on BBC Breakfast sofas.

“It has opened up a whole new world of optometry for me, rather than just being in clinic,” she told OT.

Marchetti noted that the Council and those within it are all friendly and welcoming: “I feel that I have made life-long friends, and those people I would have never of met, our paths would never have crossed, if I had not been on AOP Council.”

Speaking about stepping down from AOP Council and Board as her tenure comes to an end, Marchetti told OT: “I really feel that my job is done. I have given it my all. I have gone in gung-ho and enjoyed every single minute of it. I’ve never regretted a meeting or thought I can’t be bothered doing this; I’ve really embraced it all.”

Being a Councillor

Sharing how she has balanced her role as an optometrist in practice with the role of an AOP Councillor, Marchetti described: “It’s not an everyday thing… but yes, the emails come in and you do have to take them seriously and you do have to respond to them.”

Marchetti ensures that she is able to attend the four Council meetings and fulfil her committee roles by forward planning, which she says is easy as the diary is shared a year in advance. “You have to read the papers before the meetings and take it seriously,” she said.

A key role of being an AOP Councillor that Marchetti has enjoyed over the years is also “getting out there” locally and letting people know she is an AOP Council member. This, she highlighted, helps her understand issues and topics of concern and success in her area, as well as helps her raise the profile of the AOP.

To read more on Council elections and find out how to put yourself forward, visit the AOP website.