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Deirdre O'Connor

In Focus - Deirdre O’Connor, managing director at Goldman Sachs

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Deirdre O'Connor

Occupation: Managing director in the Asset Management Division at Goldman Sachs. Originally from Cobh, Co. Cork, she moved to New York 18 years ago. She currently lives in Manhattan with her husband Feargall and three children.

When and why did you move to New York?

“I graduated from the Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) in Ireland in the early 1990s, and after working in Ireland for two years in a depressed economy I thought I would go to New York to work for one year, 18 years ago. I had just qualified as a chartered management accountant.

“My aunt, Mary O'Connor invited me to stay with her until I got established. In 1991 I applied for the Morrison green card upon my aunt’s recommendation and was thrilled to have been successful.”

What is the biggest difference you have noticed traveling over and back to Ireland throughout the years?

“I left in the early 1990s and only got small snapshots of Ireland a couple of times a year since then. I was very happy to see the steady growth in Irish self-confidence levels. That self-belief temporarily became a little over enlarged along with the associated property/wealth focus towards the end of the Celtic Tiger years, but now that the dust has somewhat settled the self-confidence has settled at healthier levels than when I left.

“Nostalgia may be a factor here, but I am grateful to see the great aspects of the Irish character coming back into focus in particular given that my Irish values have been very helpful in establishing myself in New York.”

What is your advice to new arrivals?

“I have the pleasure of meeting many new Irish arrivals and can empathize as I remember clearly being in their shoes, arriving in a new big city with little more than high but vague career aspirations!

“The best advice is to work to expand their local network as best they can (your network is your net worth). Be confident in themselves, market themselves at least as well as the New York locals, and be prepared to speak confidently and concisely to every point on your resume.”

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