Dame Mary Lesley Perkins is the British entrepreneur best-known for co-founding the British retail opticians chain, Specsavers. The Cardiff University graduate trained as an optometrist before setting up her first business in Brighton, which sold for £2 million in 1980. Specsavers has since become the largest privately-owned opticians in the world since it was launched in Guernsey in 1984.
With over 900 stores across the United Kingdom and Europe, Mary Perkins has created a true business success story with Specsavers, leading to her reception of numerous awards and accolades. Perkins was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business from the University of Plymouth in 2012, and was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.
Mary Perkins currently sits as the founding patron of Modern Music, a not-for-profit social enterprise which encourages the next generations of female business leaders and entrepreneurs. In October 2017, Dame Mary was honoured with an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK Lifetime Achievement Award for her continued contribution to entrepreneurship and the economy.