Reece Hughes – Key Account & Professional Services Manager
Please describe your role at Contamac:
I work in the sales team at Contamac, as one of our account managers. It is my role to help ensure the day to day needs of our customers are met, whilst also managing longer-term projects and collaborations.
Our sales team is extremely diverse – on any pre-pandemic day (and hopefully again soon!), there could be nine different languages spoken in the office! My contribution to this list is… English! Therefore, I primarily serve our English speaking customers around the world.
With the help of our Russian Representative, Irina Norton, I also manage our activities in Russia… luckily Irina’s Russian is much better than mine!
Alongside this, I also oversee our professional services activities. This mainly involves working with Martin Conway to ensure our customers benefit from the wide range of professional resources available. Traditionally this would involve organising lots of seminars, lectures and training sessions for Universities and practitioners. However, the last 12 months have seen the need to adapt everything online, which has been an interesting experience!
What is your professional history?
I joined Contamac straight from graduating University in 2017. I studied Business & Management at the University of Portsmouth, and have recently returned to study for a Masters part-time.
Within a short period of joining Contamac, I quickly realised the need for a more structured background in contact lenses, which led me to study the IACLE Contact Lens Course. I am also an active member of the BCLA and regularly attend their educational webinars and conferences.
This has given me a much better clinical understanding of the needs of patients, practitioners, and consequently, our customers. Through all of this, I have gained a new level of respect for the work practitioners do, prescribing and fitting the life-changing contact lenses that our industry provides.
What do you enjoy most about working at Contamac and our industry?
There are two key points for me here:
- The people
- “Every day is a school day”
Contamac, and our industry, has got to be one of the best platforms to learn! Whether it’s in the lab with Gareth or with Martin in his consultation room, I don’t think there has been a day where I haven’t learnt something new. Being a very inquisitive person myself, I’m very passionate about Contamac’s approach to providing education to the industry. A perfect example of this is through the YouTube series ‘Contacts with Conway’. What started as a small idea to share some insights from Martin’s expertise and experience, has transformed into a brand of its own with over 20,000 views in 2020. I’m looking forward to seeing this platform evolve and to learn more along the way.
I’m very thankful to be in a position where I truly enjoy the job that I do. There are many reasons for this, but something very important is the people around me. This includes both my colleagues at Contamac (“Conta-mates”) and also the friends I have made within the industry. I love the diverse nature of our industry, and that I have had the privilege of meeting so many people from different cultures and backgrounds. It has been an unusual 12 months, where travel has been very restricted, but I look forward to the day where we can all meet again in person. Zoom, Teams and other online tools have been great at bridging the communication gap created by Covid-19, but nothing will ever replace the importance of face to face communication. I look forward to seeing everyone as soon as it is safe to do so!
As part of the new generation working in the industry, how do you see it evolving over the next 10 years?
I can see the continued focus on myopia control/management. It’s now widely acknowledged that rates of myopia around the world are rapidly increasing, with no signs of this changing. With the increased risk of ocular pathologies in high myopes, as well as the general day to day social and economic burdens, there’s a clear need for attention in this market segment. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen dramatic growth in research in this area, as well as in the products now approved for use. I think this will continue over the next ten years until our world of myopia control/management becomes household terminology.
If you were shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
I’d take my golf clubs (does this count as 1 item?) and a box of golf balls. I’m sure I’d have plenty of time to make a pretty impressive course! I might even manage to lower my handicap after a while as well. I would just have to make sure I don’t lose too many balls…
If anyone else happens to be shipwrecked nearby… pop over for a round!