Thirty at Thirty – Stories to Celebrate Thirty Years of Vision Express – With Mandy Bent
With 18 years of service at Vision Express, Mandy says she loves her job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. We asked her about working at our flagship store on Oxford Street and her passions outside of work.
Can you tell us about your role?
There’s a lot involved as I support the management team in several areas of running the store. It involves a mixture of compliance tasks and people management; we’re a big store with more than 70 colleagues so there’s lots of rotas and holidays to organise. I also conduct inductions for new starters to give them an overview of the store before they get started in their department.
The fact that I like to be organised helps in this role, but I also have to be flexible because new tasks are always popping up!
How would you describe the staff culture at Oxford Street?
The diversity here makes it simply an exceptional place to work, it’s so exciting and every day is an adventure here at Oxford Street! We have so many nationalities, so we get the chance to celebrate lots of different festivals – it’s a lot of fun. We like to make sure that colleagues don’t just feel like a number; it doesn’t matter about how many hours they work, they all contribute to the success of our store and we like to recognise that. I think the little things can make a really big difference to the work place.
What’s an important skill to have in this type of role?
When you’re working with such a big team I’ve found that you must learn to listen to others. It’s important because you don’t always know someone’s story and what they’re going through.
How has Vision Express evolved over the years?
I’ve seen lots of good changes over the years but the one that stands out is the development of the training that’s offered at Vision Express. No matter what level you’re at or what your career aspirations are, there’s really something for everyone which means you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
What advice would you give to a new starter?
Take the opportunities that are there and be open minded. If it’s what you want, just go for it. There’s also a wealth of knowledge in our store and so many colleagues have a lot of experience so take the opportunity to learn from the people you work with too.
Where does your strong work ethic come from?
For me it’s from my mum and dad – they came here in the 60s and worked really hard to set a great example for their children and I’ve passed that on to my own children and grandson. With that work ethic you must treat others how you would want to be treated. Even if someone speaks to you in a disrespectful way, it doesn’t mean you need to respond in the same way.
How do you keep a work life balance?
I keep very busy outside of work! I like to spend time with my wonderful partner, children and grandson and I’m also an event planner which I love doing! I’m very athletic too and like to work out – we even have a regular family workout session on Sunday before I start work. I find that keeping active in my spare time helps me to focus when I’m at work, I believe you can have the best of both worlds.