In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Peadar Kearney optometrist and recently appointed store director of Specsavers in Strabane. He also plays football and hurling for multi-trophy winning Slaughtneil
What was your first job?
My first real working experience was as a shop assistant in a local Supervalu store when I was in sixth form at school. It helped me learn the importance of customer service and managing my time. After qualifying as an optometrist I joined the Omagh Specsavers store in 2010 working with store directors Donna Harbison and Emma Finn. I was appointed a senior optometrist and later moved across to the Strabane store when Donna and Emma opened there in November 2017. I’m thrilled to have recently been appointed as a partner of the Strabane store.
What qualifications do you have?
I loved maths and science at school and studied them to A Level stage. I decided I wanted to use these subjects and settled on becoming an optometrist and completed my degree at Ulster University in Coleraine graduating in July 2009. Specsavers encourage us to further develop our clinical knowledge and I have also gained a Professional Certificate in Glaucoma through Ulster University.
What do you attribute your success to?
Being passionate and enjoying your job coupled with hard work, determination and having a vision to succeed are vital. Like sport, the more preparation and hours of training you put in, the more likely you are to be successful and win the business equivalent of a match.
How would you describe yourself to someone who has never met you?
I’m easy going, sociable, patient and have good communications skills which are all very important when looking after customers. I’m also a good team player and want to succeed – I get that from being part of Slaughtneil GAA from a young age. I would also be known for having quite a dry sense of humour.
Who do you look up to in business?
I look up to anyone who has built up a successful business from small and humble beginnings. I have huge respect for my partners Donna and Emma, and I have gained so much knowledge and experience from both of them.
How do you get the most out of people who work for you?
I like to keep things positive and treat everyone with respect. When it comes to making decisions, I include the team in our discussions before arriving at an agreement. I find this helps with everyone taking ownership and it means everyone is included in our successes. Practical experience working with people is paramount, but it’s also great to have that supported by staff development programmes and we’re thrilled to have achieved Platinum Employer status. It’s an externally validated accreditation scheme which recognises outstanding people management standards.
What website or app could not do without?
WhatsApp – I wouldn’t know if I was coming or going without it.
What car do you drive?
I have a Lexus IS300 – the best car I’ve ever owned.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I love to travel and explore. In 2014 myself and my wife went to New Zealand and one day we trekked the Tongariro Crossing in North Island. It’s almost 20km and reaches altitudes of almost 2000m. We experienced all four seasons in one day, and even though we were poorly prepared for the elements, we survived, and it hasn’t put us off exploring.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
I’ve played hurling and football with Slaughtneil since I was very young and I’m still as passionate about playing now. We’ve been very fortunate to have been successful recently, but prior to this we had many lean years. During those tough times we had to pick ourselves up from defeat and challenge ourselves to improve to get to where we are now. I’ve learned so much from sport and I see so many of our sporting challenges translate across to business.