Maria McAllister graduated in 2009 from the University of Ulster with a BSc in optometry and completed her pre-reg year at Specsavers Montrose. She then moved to Duncan and Todd Opticians, starting as a resident optometrist in Dundee City and progressing to practice manager. In 2015, she was promoted to professional services business development manager for the group and was appointed retail director in 2017. During this time, she completed a BA in business management, the IP course at Glasgow Caledonian University, and has attained a PGCert in psychotherapy and counselling. Maria has held management and senior management roles within the optical sector for over nine years. Within her role as retail director, she was responsible for, and had strategic oversight of, professional services, hearing care and retail departments. She has a wealth of knowledge in mergers and acquisitions, strategic planning, and forecasting, raising clinical standards, and change management - and has a proven track record of producing consistent outstanding results in both clinical and financial KPIs. Her primary interest is in people and what makes them feel fulfilled and engaged in their work. It is this that drove her to study her BA in business management and, most recently, an MSc in counselling and psychotherapy (in progress). It is through these studies she has deepened her knowledge and understanding of how best to support people in their work in primary optical care, inclusive of all positions within the practice. Maria is now the clinical engagement manager for Scotland and the North division for Specsavers.