By Rhiannon Riches
Paul McCarthy is one of the first six optometrists to become a ProVision Alumni member.
ProVision has created an Alumni membership category for optometrists who have exited from ownership of a ProVision practice and are transitioning to retirement.
Paul is joined by Peter Cunningham in Victoria, Greg Rowe in Queensland, Mark Parsons in South Australia, and Liz Wason and Rodney Hodge in Western Australia as the first Alumni members.
The idea for an Alumni membership category germinated when ProVision was developing its service approach to succession planning. ProVision CEO Steven Johnston said that during the development process they identified a major gap in their membership offering.
‘We had failed to embrace the power of long-standing members who may have sold their business but continue to practise,’ he said. ‘There was a great opportunity to keep them connected to the wider ProVision network so that they could share their expertise with younger practitioners and provide quality locum service to existing member practices.’
Paul McCarthy was one such member. Paul joined ProVision in 2006 and sold his practice in 2016. When he sold his practice, he also resigned as a member of ProVision.
‘After 31 years as an independent practice owner in Drummoyne, I decided to transition out of private practice and on to a number of other projects,’ he said. ‘I guess that’s a lot of experience walking out the door.
‘Last year, my wife Louise and I went to SRC in Melbourne and we called in to ProVision’s office to touch base. ProVision is like a big family. You get to know everyone. We met with Steven and having sold the practice, we outlined our plan to do locum work,’ Paul said.
‘Steven Johnston came to me earlier this year with an offer to become an Alumni member. With no membership fee required, it was essentially an agreement that I would be willing to mentor young optometrists.’
Alumni membership allows Paul to continue to attend ProVision’s biennial national conference, participate in member meetings and education programs, and receive ProVision communications.
He is halfway through the therapeutics course at the University of New South Wales and continuing to practise as a locum.
‘I have a passion for independent optometry,’ he said. ‘Now I’m no longer running my own practice full-time, I can donate my time to helping others. Once we gain momentum and get the ball rolling with the Alumni membership, I’ll be able to pass on a great deal of knowledge,’ he said.
‘There’s a real place for independent optometry out there. When I bought an existing practice three years out of university, I had to learn on the job. The practice was in a fairly embryonic state and I had to build it up from a low base. As corporate optometry started to gain traction in Australia, I needed extra support, and ProVision had the know-how.
‘I embraced the whole gamut of what ProVision offered and without a doubt it was worthwhile and beneficial for my practice, whether it be their marketing material, HR resources, education and business seminars, or strategies to deal with various facets of optometry,’ Paul said.
Visit ProVision’s website for more information about Alumni membership.