Women in Science day - An interview with our Clinical Development Coach

09 February
Today our own clinical development coach, Charlotte Cook, is helping us celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science! Read our short interview with Charlotte below to learn more about how she built her way up to her current role and about some of the things that she experienced along the way.

Please tell us more about your educational background?
"After leaving school, I was offered a scholarship to attend Atlantic College in Wales and complete my international baccalaureate. It was a tough but brilliant experience that broadened my horizons and got me thinking about possible future career paths.

I then took a gap year and flew to Ecuador where I taught English grammar. This was another brilliant experience, and I was able to develop my Spanish language skills whilst I was there.  

I was always interested in the medical side of things from a young age, however, optometry was not the only career path that I considered. I also considered medicine and veterinary science. The turning point for me was when after I became dependent on glasses, I was introduced to contact lenses and found that they genuinely improved my life!

I studied optometry at The University of Manchester. It was great to have the support of my lecturers at this time and to complete my pre-reg year within the university. I was also able to visit the Manchester eye hospital which was brilliant!"

(Charlotte was the only student in her class to complete their pre-reg year within the university!)
Can you tell us about your career in Optometry so far?
"I got my first job as an optometrist at an independent practice and I also worked at Moorfields eye Hospital for 5 years. This was a very different environment to the high street practice and enabled me to broaden my knowledge even further. 

I eventually became a partner at the practice, but still felt like I had more to give which is when I was promoted to ‘clinical development coach’. I have a brilliant job that allows me to continue testing eye care clients but also to coach other optometrists; I get to have the best of both worlds!"

What do you enjoy most about your job?  
"Everything! I love to see clients and know that you are helping to better their lives. I love that I can build trusting relationships with my eye care clients over a long period of time. I have seen young children grow into adults whilst I have been working, which is a bit scary! I also love being able to support the wider team... I’m a people’s person, and this role allows me to combine everything that I enjoy doing."

What advice would you give to young women who are interested in optometry?
"Go for it! It’s challenging but there are so many opportunities once you have opened the door. You can really make it what you want it to be. I also think it’s quite a flexible career path and its brilliant for women who may want to start a family like I did."

Thank you for reading our short interview with Charlotte.