I was all set for a life in middle England until my parents decided to up-sticks and move back to their native Ireland when I was 13. At a time when most people were emigrating, we arrived in the middle of the Gaeltacht with broad Surrey accents and a lot to learn about rural Irish life. It was, as they say, the making of me and I’ve never looked back.
I studied English and Philosophy at UCG and stayed on to complete a Masters degree in Philosophy. During the final year of my Masters, I packed up my treasured vinyl collection and traded in the relentless rain of Co Galway for the sun of Tenerife. I had been working on community and college radio since I was 14 and wanted to see if I could get a job DJing my way around the Spanish Islands whilst I finished my thesis. For an entire summer, I was the voice of drive-time on Oasis 101FM, Tenerife’s biggest commercial radio station. This led to a regular spot DJing in Bobby’s and Busby’s – not exactly Pacha, but it paid the bills. Writing my thesis in the sun by day, spinning the wheels of steel by night.
Idyllic though it was, my tutor was keen for me to hand in my thesis so the dream came to an end. And as the student loans began to accrue, I thought I should probably crack on and get a job.
My media career started at Newsquest where I learned the craft of selling at ‘The York Evening Press’. But my heart was lost to radio and I decided to move to London and try to break in to commercial radio trading. I joined Mediacom soon after and was part of the team that helped build the UK’s first billion pound agency. When it was time to take the next step on the ladder, I was appointed to the role of Head of Agency Sales at Virgin Radio. This was my first senior sales management job and I really enjoyed the demands of building a high performing sales team.
Maternity leave afforded me the space and time needed to re-train and I gained an ICF accreditation as a business coach in 2007. I joined Pressure Point in 2008 and was invited back to Mediacom to be part of the Enhance coaching team. I spent a very happy two years working to improve the performance of a range of personalities from across the Mediacom business. Whilst working with Mediacom, I was asked to write a training program for an old friend who had just launched Spotify, a little-known music service. I worked with the UK team to refine their sales, negotiation and presenting techniques as they built their credibility with UK agencies. What started as a one-off training program for the UK escalated into a global program due to the impact and success of my work. As Spotify continued its aggressive scaling plans it wasn’t long before I was invited to join the business full time. In July 2011 I became the Global Head of Sales Enablement and was responsible for the curriculum and delivery of training programs within the global sales and marketing function. Working with sales teams in this way was invaluable as a way of learning what motivates sales people and what organisations need to do to build excellence in media sales.
More recently, I launched ‘Znaptag’ – the UK’s leading in-image advertising specialists. Joining as the Commercial Director, this role marked the start of my transition back in to commercial media leadership and I really enjoyed being challenged by the dynamism and passion of a start-up. I was responsible for all aspects of launching and building the Znaptag business in the UK – from finding offices to hiring personnel, from writing trade press releases to devising the sales strategy for the business. It was a definite case of ‘roll up your sleeves’ and muck in, which made it all the more satisfying.
I have always taken great pride in developing the people I’ve worked with – whether as their manager or as their friend. My role as Relationship Director at The Lighthouse Company gives me great scope to combine my media expertise and connections with a genuine enthusiasm for accelerating people’s prospects in the workplace. As a coach, I love dialogue with others and have an interest in asking thought-provoking questions. As a media practitioner, I know exactly what makes a TLC personal client and I am keen to bring the best talent to our high profile business searches.
When I’m not working, I am mothering. I live in a house of boys so my leisure time is a constant life lesson in picking socks up off the floor and not kicking footballs through windows. And when I’m not mothering, I’m me-ing. I live for skiing and have a fine circle of friends whose company I enjoy whenever the opportunity presents itself. It takes me about two seconds to fall asleep every night and I don’t wake up till the alarm goes off!