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This week in our MHC Life series, we speak to Education Partner, Catherine Kelly. Catherine talks us through her first job, a typical day working from home and her secret talent.

Tell us a bit about you and your career journey to MHC – what inspired you to get into this career?

I wasn't sure what I wanted to study when I finished school. However as a Galway girl through and through who passed NUIG every day, I knew I wanted to study there. I did a BA in English and Italian in NUIG. During my BA, I did an Erasmus year in the University of Trento in Italy and so began my love affair with Italy. I got accepted to do an MA in Italian in UCD but I decided instead to do an LLB in NUIG because I had always been interested in law. In second year I was lucky enough to get another chance to study in Italy, this time at the University of Siena. I then did a traineeship in Galway and Mayo and that's when my love of litigation started. When I qualified I moved to Dublin and worked in a general practice specialising in litigation and employment law and then moved to a top 5 firm to practice employment law. I joined the Employment Law & Benefits department in MHC in 2010, acting in particular for educational institutes.

What was your first job?

I worked as a waitress in the Atlanta Hotel, Galway. It's now closed but it was the favourite haunt of lots of people involved with the Arts in Galway.

Talk us through a typical day for you during the COVID-19 pandemic…

My day starts with a strong coffee and a check on the home-schooling timetable for the day. I am lucky that my husband is also working from home so we divide up the duties depending on the type of day we have scheduled. During lockdown the Education team has presented a series of webinars to our clients so it's very important that my 9 year old doesn't arrive in with her homework journal in the middle of them! We have a team zoom call at 10 am which I always look forward to as it's a nice opportunity to keep in contact with my colleagues. I really value the chance to get their opinion on certain cases I'm working on and I'm lucky to have such experienced and supportive colleagues. I may have a remote hearing in the High Court, WRC or Labour Court but if not then I have zoom calls with clients and email advices to deal with. I usually try to get out for a walk in the evening with my older daughter. Our department is doing a step challenge at the moment and my team is coming last so I might need to improve on that a bit!

What's your idea of a perfect holiday/favourite place you've ever visited?

The White Strand in Renvyle, Connemara or Inishbofin. I know I'm biased but there is nowhere like the west of Ireland (even in sideways rain!).

People who inspire me……

My daughters, Grace (13) and Róisín (9).

One thing most people don't know about you?

I'm a trained soprano. I sang in solo singing competitions during my teenage years but stopped when I started university. My father is a tenor and my eldest daughter now sings so it runs in the family.

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