Welcome to the first in my series of ‘How I Got Here’!
We all have those aspirational people in our life who are the ones whose careers we admire, and we wonder what experiences and decisions led them to where they are today. Each month I’ll be featuring someone from my network who is a leader or specialist in their own space and ask them to share their career journey and tips to inspire others.
This month I’m sitting down with Alison Jackson from Specsavers. Ali is one of those women who proactively nurtures her networks and relationships and provides support and encouragement with a dose of reality in all her conversations. I was grateful she made the time to have a chat to me to discuss her career and explain ‘How I Got Here’.
What is your current role and how does it fulfil you?
I’m currently a Professional Services Consultant with Specsavers specialising in their Audiology services. I work in a clinical team, where I help to maintain high clinical standards whilst identifying areas in audiology where our clinical services can be expanded. My role is very much about influencing and helping others understand the ‘why’.
For me one of my core values is to make a difference, and in this current role I can do that through helping clinicians fulfilling their potential. I also feel like I’m in a company where I’m valued and heard and am part of developing and delivering upon Specsavers mission of providing healthcare to all Australians.
What career decisions and experience led you to where you are today?
I’ve always really wanted to help people and be involved in an industry which had a lot of growth, and audiology has that as an industry. I had come from a health background in pharmacy then had ten years of clinical experience in both diagnostic and rehabilitative audiology, whilst completing my Master of Audiological Studies. I am working towards completing my MBA from Melbourne Business School and am a graduate in the Advanced Leadership Program from Women and Leadership Australia. My career has evolved and I feel like I’m at home, which is helping people in healthcare and being part of a team that is making a big, meaningful difference.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone wanting to end up where you have?
I always undervalued networking and didn’t see it as something that was important or meaningful and wasn’t aware of the value of it until I had to transition my career. It’s not just about having networks, but also having a group of professional women around you that could grow and shape you. I literally approached women in my extended networks and asked if I could take them out for a coffee and pick their brain. I was extremely grateful, humbled and overwhelmed by the experience. The value I received was that I got to speak to women, ask their advice and share my concerns. I had severe imposter syndrome so hearing other women’s stories and experiences helped greatly. Having a cheer squad of women whose only agenda was to see me do well was amazing!
My other biggest learning has been that anytime a challenge comes along – just say yes – and I’ve embraced that.