Tell us a bit about you and your career journey to MHC – what inspired you to get into this career?
I am originally from Maynooth and I studied law in NUI Galway. I loved every minute of my four years in living in Galway, and I even went to lectures occasionally. After spending some time travelling the world, I returned to Ireland and sat and passed my FE1s. After what seemed like an endless search for a solicitor’s apprenticeship I came across an advert for a legal assistant job in MHC and Paula Phelan, the then Director of the Company Secretarial team in MHC convinced me that a career as a chartered secretary would be perfect for me. Although it was not something I knew a huge amount about at the time, she turned out to be right. I have been in MHC since 2006 and it is the first and only law firm I have worked for. I trained as a chartered secretary in MHC. Over the years I have gained great experience working some brilliant colleagues to progress to my current role and I have recently become a Fellow of the ICSA.
What was your first job?
As a 15 year old I worked in our local supermarket which taught me more people skills than any other job I have had. It involved dealing with the full spectrum of society from fabulous old ladies who thank you for carrying their shopping to the car to people irate because the ice-cream you made is not perfect to 16 year olds highly insulted that you would not accept their fake IDs to buy alcohol. There was only one attempted armed robbery in my time but even the potential for it does make daily life in MHC seem a bit predictable!
Talk us through a typical day for you during the COVID-19 pandemic…
I have swapped my former hour and a half morning commute for half an hour extra sleep, half an hour walk or run and half an hour battling to get my two kids ready for school in the morning. I generally start work at some stage between 8 and 8.30 and initially catch-up on emails and get my head around a “to do” list. We often have a team or department call or training at 9/9.30 and after that, much like being in the office, it can be anything from board meetings, calls with colleagues, drafting due diligence reports or client Zoom calls. I aim to escape the house at lunchtime for some fresh air, even for a brief walk or to walk to the local shop. I sometimes struggle with a definite finishing time but the kids returning to endless evening activities soon should force me to log off around 6/6.30ish most evenings.
What books have you read during lockdown?
I have a fairly diverse interest in books. In between Roald Dahl and David Walliams for the kids story time, my lockdown books have included Hillary Mantel’s “The Mirror and the Light”, Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan’s “Champagne Football” and Richard Osman’s “Thursday Murder Club” while also finishing Tim Shipman’s “All Out War” which I started a couple of years pre-lockdown and never got around to finishing. As a book lover, I always felt like I missed out on a Hogwarts obsession as a child so I am thrilled with my eight year old’s recent descent into the world of Harry Potter books as I now have a good excuse to catch up on what 8 year old me missed out on!
What sports/hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy?
I am a sports fanatic and the majority of my best life memories involve being at or participating in some kind of sport. I love GAA and I am a big Liverpool fan - Croke Park and Anfield are two of my favourite places in the world (admittedly being a Kildare GAA fan and Liverpool fan have both had their challenges over the years!). As I have gotten older and more injury prone, running has taken over from team sports as my favourite pastime and I have run four marathons (despite swearing “never again” after each one). I regularly drag the family along to our local parkrun on Saturday mornings with the promise of post-run cakes in our local café (before Covid-19 ruined all our fun!).
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
One thing most people don’t know about you?
I am quite clumsy have broken an arm 5 times in primary school - one with more than a little help from my sister but mostly self-inflicted.