How do you define success?

Success will come if you work hard with integrity, perseverance, study, learn and love what you do. Ultimately, success to me is about learning and growing new skills. I believe you should never stop developing and challenging yourself regardless of the role or the level you have achieved.

“Consultancy is a people business and success is determined by the ability to nurture, motivate and develop people to bring their ‘best selves’ to each project and client."

What has been the best advice you have received to date relating to your career?

My Dad always gave great advice. I used to be very motivated by promotions and ensuring I was ahead of the group or on track and never behind! I was very impatient to achieve. He used to always say ‘Water finds its own level’ which I can see now is probably true. Most people I worked with, that worked hard and with integrity made great progress in their careers – we just didn’t all do it on the same time schedule or on the express train and in hindsight that’s ok.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” - Oscar Wilde

What advice would you give other women starting out in their career?

Wise words from Oscar Wilde who seemed to know that the secret of success in the workplace is to play to your own unique strengths.
Be very aware of your own inner voice and ensure it is helpful, empathic, and positive to enable you write your own story around challenging goals and dreams. Think of the advice you would give to your own best friend and then apply it to your own career and life. Remember ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right’. - Henry Ford

How do you achieve balance between your work and personal life?

Work life Balance is a very important life challenge and the answer is different for everyone. I work part time to help achieve this balance. For me, I want to be able to spend time with my kids when they are small but I also want interesting and challenging work. Luckily, I have achieved both in Valentia. It requires flexibility and trust to make it work but I feel very supported in my role. I also coach camogie and promote women in sports in my local club.

What do you enjoy most about working in Financial Services?

I think Financial Services is a very exciting place to be. There is so much change and innovation on the horizon in terms of digital currencies, new payment products, the use of AI, data and analytics to reach and understand customers, regulations and the battleground of new entrants to the market and how that will transform banking. It really has something for everyone.

What makes a great leader?

A great leader is someone who is authentic, enthusiastic and motivational. Communication is the art of leadership. Great leaders engage others to believe in their potential, contribution, and value to the business. They work with integrity, doing the right things; they are clear and passionate about their goals and objectives which builds buy in and momentum with others to achieve them. They have a positive growth mindset and appreciate the skills and value others bring to the business and they work hard to acknowledge, reward and enable those around them to succeed. Leadership is not a role or a title. It is inspiring and engaging others around a central goal to challenge themselves to achieve more.

What inspired you to pursue the career path that you are on?

At the start of my career, I worked as a management consultant in the financial services sector. I was inspired by the people around me - their work-rate, knowledge and people skills. They worked with integrity and drive to find the right solutions for clients.
I was always drawn to the people side of the business and worked on a number of diversity and inclusion initiatives. It was clear to me that consultancy was a people business and success would be determined by the ability to nurture, motivate and develop people to bring their ‘best selves’ to each project and client.

What does a typical day for you look like?

I think that is the beauty of the consultancy business. There are few days that look the same. My role is about developing people and nurturing talent so that we have the best skilled, motivated, positive, and happy people available to work on our client’s challenges. To achieve this, I may be involved in headhunting talent, recruitment interviews, building the Valentia brand as an employer, reviewing the performance framework, defining and running the diversity and inclusion programmes, or reviewing and developing our training needs.

How do you continue to grow professionally?

I think one of the best ways to grow is to surround yourself with the best people. I’ve worked with some of the Valentia leadership for over 10 years now, in various capacities, and have learnt so much from them in terms of thinking of the bigger picture when searching for solutions, clearly articulating and understanding problems, listening to understand rather than respond, and taking the time to learn the ‘why’ behind every issue. I also try to up-skill and challenge myself through professional learning. Taking on and learning new skills is a skill in itself. During Covid I completed a higher diploma in Graphic Design mainly because it was new and different!

"Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right." - Henry Ford

Tell us about an accomplishment you are proud of?

I am proud of lots of things in my life. From a professional point of view, I’m proud of the work I’ve completed as I always give 100% to everything I sign up for. I came first in Ireland in my accountancy exams which was a great achievement. I always liked the Strategic Finance side of the profession. In my personal life, I’m proud of my three kids. They are kind, talented, resilient, happy, and full of life. They work hard and keep going when things don’t go their way. I like to think I’ve helped them to become the people they are but most of the time I just feel lucky to have them in my life.

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Tell us about a woman who has made a positive impact on your career?

There are many women that have made a positive impact on my career. I am fortunate to have worked with and learned directly from a number of great women leading the way in Financial Services that were both clients and internal management consultants. In general, whoever I’m working for or with, I always try and find their one key skill that powers their success, study it and master it, so that I am better in my role as a result of that person.

I have a group of friends of about 20 women that are based around Ireland and the UK. We are all in different career areas from consultancy, IT, medicine, staying at home mums, teaching, policing, and book writing. They are my go-to group for everything – support in my career, celebrations of successes in work and home life, beauty questions, holidays – you name it’s been discussed. It is very important to have a group of supportive women in your life who want the best for you.

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