Irina Norton – Business Consultant – Representative, Russia



Please describe your role at Contamac:

I look after our customers in Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and other neighbouring countries and assist Contamac in promoting their products and image in these territories.

On a daily basis, I respond to requests and questions from our customers which I discuss with the team at Contamac to ensure they get the best service. At every level, whether it is the dispatch department, reception, sales, our labs or the management, every request is treated with professionalism, efficiency and the high attention it deserves. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than a happy customer.

What is your professional history?

I graduated from Moscow State University as a Geologist-Hydrogeologist. However, after my graduation, I chose to work in a commercial world and worked for Recruitment and Real Estate agencies in Moscow. I worked as a real estate agent, recruiter’s assistant, office manager and business developer.

After moving to the UK I have been working as a public service legal interpreter providing my services in the Criminal Justice System. In 2011 I graduated from London Metropolitan University as a conference interpreter which allowed me to enhance my skills as a simultaneous interpreter. I started working with Contamac in 2012. My knowledge of English and Russian languages and skills acquired while working as an interpreter helped to embrace the tasks required in developing Contamac’s business in Russia and neighbouring countries. My scientific background and experience in the commercial world contributed towards my adaptation in a highly technological environment.

What do you enjoy most about working at Contamac and our industry?

Firstly, I love the people I am privileged to be working alongside. I see my colleagues at Contamac as part of my extended family. Coming to work means learning something new every day and recharging with positive energy. I have a scientific background but knew very little about the industry when I first started at Contamac. My knowledge has broadened in many directions since then, starting with travel arrangements, the science behind biocompatible materials to how what we do ultimately leads to better vision for people around the world. I am forever grateful to Martin Conway, our professional consultant, who fitted my daughter with lenses, which practically changed her life.

Our clients are also extremely interesting people, most of whom have become good friends of mine which is why customers’ visits normally turn into friends’ reunions, where we exchange ideas, concerns and future plans in a positive, friendly environment. The aim of the industry as a whole is serving an honourable desire to help people, enhancing their lives by giving them a better vision in a direct and figurative sense. This is what drives everyone, including myself, and makes the work very rewarding.

Can you tell us about some of the projects you have been working on with the Russian market?

I am always working on multiple projects with the Russian market, from events and exhibitions to seminars and publishing. Over the past 4 years, we have attended several conferences and events in Russia such as MIOF, “Refractive Reading” and “Vision Day”, which has provided great opportunities for us to give talks and seminars about our materials and new developments. Martin Conway – Contamac’s professional consultant – assists in holding seminars to the doctors at various clinics and labs. We have also published several articles in Russian industry magazines over the past three years.  

The latest project I got involved in was Contamac’s participation in the publication of “Clinical Guide for Scleral Lens Success” written by Melissa Barnett and Daddi Fadel. Olga Selina, an ophthalmologist from Moscow Helmholtz Research Institute of Eye Diseases, helped translate the guide. Gulnara Andriyenko, an ophthalmologist from Academy of Optical Eye Care and Optometry and I provided the proofreading.

It was a pleasure meeting Daddi in person during her visit to Moscow at the International Symposium “Refractive Reading” last November and then speaking to Melissa on the phone soon after. It was particularly very helpful that Daddi could personally meet those who translated her and Melissa’s work. It enabled us to discuss the work and marketing plans in Russia. I am delighted to introduce the Russian version of the Clinical Guide for Scleral Lens Success and will welcome any comments and feedback.

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?

A satellite phone fully charged and a machete.

A satellite phone so that I can call the rescue team and machete to be able to chop branches of the trees to make a shelter.