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The STORM team have extensive industry experience and have worked tirelessly to build STORM. Their expertise has been augmented with our expert panel allowing us to make wholistic change across different businesses.
So rest assured no matter what area of your business requires support we have just the person to guide you.
Rob Hogan is an optometrist with over 35 years experience in a wide variety of roles including research, training, professional services within independent practice, hospitals and the multiple sector. He graduated in optometry from the University of Aston and completed his PhD from the same institution. Rob has a diverse portfolio of experience to help business owners to work on, not just in, their business to lead and develop their team in achieving the nirvana-like balance of clinical excellence and commercial success.
His business iCare Consulting Limited provides strategic and management direction to a wide range of organisations, some within the optical sector and others in the healthcare arena. Rob works with optometrists to utilise and develop their wider range of skills, connecting effectively with ophthalmologists, to provide a vertically-integrated, ophthalmologist-led and optometrist-delivered, range of community eye care services.
Within the optometry profession, Rob has served two full terms on the General Optical Council and has been the president, treasurer and now a trustee/board member of the College of Optometrists. He is also chairman of the Directorate of Optometric Training and Education (DOCET) and is a founding board member and trustee of the European Academy of Optometry. Rob is a qualified Football Association coach, and through his son, has developed a keen interest in cricket and is working towards his qualification as an England and Wales Cricket Board Umpire.
Mark Draper is an optometrist with expertise in business and marketing. Having graduated in optometry from the University of New South Wales, Australia, he worked in independent practice for eight years before moving to the UK.
In 2003, he completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Imperial College Business School, London, and authored the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM) best practice handbook ’50 ways to improve your contact lens business’.
He was appointed to a Professional Affairs role for a contact lens manufacturer, leading several initiatives to grow the contact lens market as well as creating a popular Management & Business Academy programme. Mark had the opportunity to move to a global marketing role, followed by two years in management and sales in the pharmaceutical division of the same company. In 2015, he has returned to the contact lens industry in a UK marketing role for a leading manufacturer. Mark enjoys swimming, travelling and spending time with his two children. Having played rugby himself, he now coaches his son’s team.
Sarah Morgan is an optometrist and staff development consultant. She has worked in a variety of independent and multiple practices, which led to her passion for training for all members of the practice team. With expertise in effective communication, she has trained hundreds of staff in her tailored interactive seminars for front-line staff, dispensing opticians, optometrists and colleagues from industry.
Sarah began her consultancy in the industry in 1994, and has a wide portfolio of successful projects working with individual practices and groups. Her work with professional organisations, optical media and manufacturers extends into Europe. She is currently working on the next edition of her sell-out book ‘The Complete Optometric Assistant’.
At the University of Manchester she gained her Masters of Philosophy for her research in daily disposable contact lenses, and continues to be involved in undergraduate teaching and holds the post of Vision Sciences Fellow. She has lectured extensively in Europe, North America, South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. Sarah is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and is a Fellow, past Council member and PR officer of the British Contact Lens Association. For fun, she enjoys performing both musically and in stand-up and improvisational comedy. Her YouTube video, The Presbyopia Song, unites the wonderful world of music, comedy and optometry.
Imran Hakim started his own business at the age of 16. He continued his business enterprises whilst studying optometry at the University of Manchester. Soon after qualifying as an optometrist, Imran successfully ran a joint venture store with Vision Express which he later sold and opened his first independent practices. After successfully developing his own optical practices, he acquired and developed additional locations (either as sole owner or in partnership). This has culminated in the Hakim Group – a successful group of owner-managed independent practices.
In the business world, he became nationally know for his iTeddy product, renowned for being one of the most successful investments on the BBC Television series Dragons’ Den. He partnered with Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis achieving worldwide success with the iTeddy multi-award winning brand which included Toy Inventor of the Year, Young Emerging Talent, World Toy Innovation, Start-up Business of the Year and the Institute of Directors’ Northwest Young Director of the Year.
Imran has extensive first-hand experience in a wide range of business sectors, controlling a diverse portfolio of companies with a key focus in the optical industry. He has won many business awards including North West Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Fusion Entrepreneur of the Year and most recently a Mosaic Award for Science and Technology from HRH The Prince of Wales. When Imran is not working on his latest venture, he enjoys watching football (especially Manchester United), playing football, and talking about football. He is also a die-hard snowboarder and spends a good chunk of time on the slopes surfing the white stuff!
Gavin Rebello is a forward-thinking optometrist who has thrived in the independent sector for over 20 years. As a partner of Patrick & Menzies Opticians, which comprises three successful village and market town practices, he has grown the business by not only creating and developing innovative niche areas, but also by offering multi-award winning customer service and building a strong, focussed and motivated team. He has a passion for helping enthusiastic people reach their potential and recently sold his share of Patrick & Menzies to one such member of the P&M team. Looking for a change in lifestyle, he has recently bought Holland Opticians in Malvern and enjoys his morning walk to work. He runs ‘See Success’, a mastermind group of entrepreneurial practice owners, he founded in 2012. These experiences have given him an integral understanding of the everyday challenges faced by independents as well as the end goal – a successful and amicable exit, with the business left in capable hands.
His commitment to enhancing the independent optometry sector led to him serving two years as Chairman for the Sight Care board. Gavin has an optimistic, non-hamster wheel approach to life, which coupled with his strategic thinking, was recognised when he was awarded businessman of the year in 2010 for his region, north Essex. Gavin is also an engaging speaker, and has presented thought provoking talks on achieving optimal work/life balance, sales & marketing and customer service at several conferences and workshops internationally, within optics and outside of it, and all based on his real life experience.
He is a qualified teacher in both Scaravelli and Dru yoga styles and also Chi Kung. With a commitment to perpetual development, learning and growth, he is also currently undertaking a qualification in mindfulness from the University of Massachusetts. His training outside of optics has taught him that to be successful, it is critical we never lose focus on why we are doing what we are doing.
David Samuel is a qualified Dispensing Optician and Contact lens Optician. He has a degree in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Master of Business Administration from Reading University. David is Managing Director of Eyesite Practices Limited, an independent group based in the South of England. Eyesite was the first optical group to achieve Investors in People and is recognised as a leading independent, continually pushing the boundaries in terms of customer service and staff engagement.
In addition to his managing director role, David coaches, presents and speaks on a wide range of business subjects, challenging independent practitioners to examine their own businesses to improve and enhance their practice performance, reputation and value.
David is past Director and Chairman of the Sight Care Services business support organisation, current chairman of the fundraising committee for Vision Aid Overseas, and is a council member of the British Contact Lens Association. David enjoys golf, badminton, running, 5-a-side, theatre, travelling and cooking.
Stacey graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2011 with a BA (Hons) Degree in English Literature & Language. As well as having a great passion for written word, she takes a particular interest in marketing and the psychology that drives consumers to make purchases.
Stacey has four years experience working in marketing within the optical sector. She has studied the way in which patients think and developed a number of skills to help optometrists not only attract new clients, but encourage them to spend more on each visit too.
Stacey is able to advise on a number of areas regarding marketing, including recall letters, social media content and the effectiveness of websites. She is able to look at optical businesses from a patient’s point of view and as a result, help make small changes that could have a dramatic positive impact on bottom line figures.
Outside of work Stacey likes to spend time reading and writing, cooking and relaxing with her Siamese cat. She can also be found gardening from time to time, but only when the weather is nice.
Ijaz graduated from Imperial College London with a First Class Honours BSc (Hons) degree in Mathematics. Ijaz then entered the world of investment Banking as a trader before realising his passion was all things business and retail.
Since then Ijaz has launched businesses aimed at helping independent business owners push back against big players and online threats. From revolutionary customer experience technology and hardware to groundbreaking customer engagement software, Ijaz has a keen focus on helping independent businesses differentiate themselves in a market where those who fail to adapt and grow will continue to lose market share.
Outside of business, Ijaz is an avid fitness freak who enjoys boxing and reading – two extremely complimentary pastimes indeed!
Chris Lowe is a Director of Shopper Anonymous and an expert in customer service. His business means that he supports change and development in a wide range of organisations and sectors from universities, to opticians, to law firms!
Chris has vast experience working with independent opticians to improve their customer service and influencing skills. He identifies best practice from all sectors so that the most impressive and more unique customer journeys can be built for the optical sector. His goal is to support his clients to differentiate them from their competition so that they stand out in their locality.
Chris spends a significant amount of time delivering training in customer service and selling skills. His previous role as National Sales Manager (Associate Director) for Shire Pharmaceuticals, a FTSE 50 company, allows him to identify the key issues in organisations. There is nothing he likes more than helping improve performance for his clients.
Dan Sodergren is an award-winning ex-agency owner, digital marketing insider and entrepreneurial evangelist. He is a dynamic, social and mobile marketing specialist and works primarily with high growth start-up businesses that want to disrupt not only the market place, but themselves too.
In most instances, Dan trains companies and organisations with workshops and talks for the likes of O2, School for Startups and PeoplePlus, as well as various universities and start-up organisations.
The topics Dan trains in are varied and typically cover digital gamification, geo location, augmented reality, social media excellence, customer engagement and more traditional marketing techniques such as PPC (Pay Per Click) and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
Dan trains individuals and organisations both online and offline, with face-to-face consultations and webinars, videos and podcasts. His love of technology keeps him cutting edge in most, if not all, of his marketing disciplines and as a result, he is a go-to person on digital marketing and social media technology for national radio shows. He’s also seen occasionally on the BBC!
Paul Matthews is an expert in informal learning, enabling capability, performance improvement, learning transfer and ‘on-boarding.’ He makes ideas come alive with stories, practical tools and tips that everyone can understand and as a result, has had two bestselling books and makes speaking appearances worldwide.
Paul is a regular speaker at HR and Learning and Development events and exhibitions covering a wide range of topics including: harnessing the power of informal learning, capability to work, workplace performance, learning transfer and how learning and development can be effective in these tough times. He is also invited to speak on management and leadership, and how they impact on capability and performance at work.
Paul excels in reducing complex theory down to simple concepts and then articulating these in a way that everyone can understand and more importantly, use to get better results from individuals and their organisations.
Emma is the Managing Director and Senior HR Consultant at Gateway HR. With experience in both the public and private sector and an MA in HRM, Emma’s knowledge and ability to take action is formidable.
For the past 4 years Emma has worked closely with a number of independent opticians, gaining a real insight into the industry and the problems that arise from within. Having dealt with a number of issues (the majority of which are evident in lots of practices), there aren’t many avenues of optical HR Emma hasn’t conquered.
Away from Gateway HR, Emma has lectured in HR at both the University of Northampton and the CIPD at Masters Degree level for the past 8 years. Nothing gives her more pleasure than observing her students’ progress with some reaching the dizzying heights of HR Directors at large organisations.
Emma is a very engaging event speaker and recently presented at the National CIPD conference in Manchester.
Pauline heads up the Corporate & Restructuring team at Forbes Solicitors and handles a wide range of corporate and commercial work right from business start ups through to acting for businesses that are expanding either organically or acquisitively.
Pauline is actively involved in strategic decisions for a number of large clients concerning their growth and exit plans. A key area for Pauline is advising and acting for clients on the correct structures available to them. Specifically the areas where she has vast experience include; formation, joint ventures, contractual matters, equity fundraisings and investments, re-organisations and restructurings, exit strategy, mergers and acquisitions.
Pauline has clients in several sectors including high street health, manufacturing and engineering, the leisure sector and the pharmaceutical industry.
Carl Allen has a unique expertise in acquiring strong, established and profitable businesses. Carl has worked on many transactions, which includes over 250 acquisitions and 100 private investments.
In a 24-year career, Carl has analysed thousands of businesses, big and small, in 17 different countries and across nearly every business sector, including technology, Optometry, pharmaceuticals, transport and logistics, engineering, manufacturing, aerospace, consumer goods and services, business services, retail, professional services, finance, packaging, and corporate clothing.
Carl has a solid reputation as an investor and corporate dealmaker, having worked for Bank of America, Hewlett-Packard, Forrester, and Gartner. He has advised some of the world’s largest corporations on investments, acquisitions, disposals, and restructuring, Carl has also assisted hundreds of business owners in raising both equity and debt finance.
Louise is a counsellor and EFT practitioner who specialises in work with adults who are stressed, anxious or feeling overwhelmed. She set up her talking therapies business, Newcastle Counselling, where she runs counselling sessions in person and over the internet.
Louise qualified as a dentist in 2001 but went back to university to study Psychology, where she gained Distinction and Counselling, where she received a Commendation. She also has an Accredited Certified EFT qualification.
Louise and her husband set up their own optometry business from scratch in 2002 at the same time as starting their family. So, sheunderstands well the challengesof running a business whilst balancing home-life and staff needs.
A lot of Louise’s work involves getting alongside people who are stressed or struggling to maintain good mental health in the workplace; both employees and employers. She helps them to explore their difficulties and find ways to understand and overcome them, putting in place strategies that will help for the future. A particular passion is in helping people find out who they are and the value that they have, building self-confidence and gaining more pleasure and balance in life.
Whilstmostpeople have heard of counselling, less have heard about EFT. EFT has been described as acupuncture for the emotions, where instead of needles, you tap with your fingers. Louise can show you how to use the ‘basic recipe’ to soothe emotions and break down unhelpful beliefs and work with you during sessions at the roots of the difficulties.
Louise does not believe in a “one-size fits all approach,” and finds that different people benefit most from different approaches at different times, so is always learning and developing her approach.