This week in our MHC Life series, we speak to Financial Services Senior Associate Muireann Hernon. Muireann tells us about her first job, some of her favourite lockdown reads and her love of Connemara.
Tell us a bit about you and your career journey to MHC – what inspired you to get into this career?
I had an interest in a legal career since I was a teenager, although I probably expected something a bit more glamourous at that age. I studied Corporate Law in NUIG so I had the benefit of studying a combination of law and commerce modules. After my second year, I spent a summer working as an intern for a judge in Boston which I really enjoyed. However, I started to understand at that stage the reality of working in law – long hours and a lot of paper work! I had the opportunity to sit in on some interesting cases although a lot of my time was spent drafting summary judgements. Following my traineeship with a small commercial firm and a brief stint in-house I joined the Financial Services department in MHC in 2014.
What was your first job?
My first job was working as a waitress in a restaurant at home in Galway during the Galway Races. It was a bit of a baptism of fire but I lived to tell the tale! I worked part-time in restaurants and bars through most of college. It was hard work but great fun. It teaches you a lot about high pressure environments and dealing with a wide variety of people and their personalities.
Talk us through a typical day for you during the COVID-19 pandemic
My day usually starts around 7am with a coffee and a brisk walk to wake me up. I’m typically at the desk by 8am. That would have been a rare occurrence pre-COVID but is one benefit of working from home! We log on to our team Zoom meeting shortly after 9am to check in on what we each have going on that day and co-ordinate any tasks or calls. After that, I continue with my to-do list for the day and any scheduled calls or Zoom meetings. I try to use lunchtime for an online gym or yoga class or a walk a few days a week. In the evening, I usually break around 7.30pm for some fresh air and to start preparing dinner. After that, I usually settle into the current Netflix obsession or a book, or if needed, back on to the laptop to close out any remaining tasks from the day.
What books have you read during lockdown?
Some friends and I started a book club during lockdown which has been so enjoyable. We’ve had a few interesting reads such as “Leonard and Hungry Paul” by Ronán Hession and “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid. It’s my turn this month and I have picked “All We Shall Know” by Donal Ryan. It’s an enthralling read. Ryan describes Irish people so well that you can relate to so many of the characters and get really drawn into the story.
One of my favourites is “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”. It’s a good reminder that when life is challenging, or you are trying to figure something out, the skills and experience you will gain from it will ultimately stand to you in the end.
What's your idea of a perfect holiday/favourite place you've ever visited?
My most memorable holiday was probably a trip I took to San Francisco a few years ago. We spent a few days hiking in Yosemite which was an incredible experience. However, my favourite place will always be Connemara. Any chance I get I love to go for a hike in the mountains, sail around the Connemara coast or go for a very quick and cold swim at one of the gorgeous beaches. There’s nothing like that Atlantic air!