Guaranteed Irish is a not-for-profit business membership organization that has been representing businesses in Ireland since 1974.
We chatted with Guaranteed Irish CEO Brid O'Connell about how she gets is all done, her work philosophy, and how she achieves that elusive work-life balance.
Q: What does your day-to-day look like as CEO of Guaranteed Irish?
I know it sounds like a cliché, but no two days are the same which is what makes it so engaging. I could be in a radio station at 6.30 am talking about members' success stories or announcing news on an upcoming event. If its an office day, I always like to get in early to write or plan first thing in the morning – its when I have a clear head. I love to get a ‘run’ at something early in the morning- that’s a productive day. I dedicate one day a week to PR and media, another day to sales and lobbying and a lot of time is spent on membership activities including events. We try to schedule our events, roadshows and roundtable discussions very early in the morning- so those days I and my colleagues are up very early.
Q: How do you fare on the work-life balance scale?
I must confess I used to be much better in work-life balance. Family time is very important, so I try to spend as much free time as I can at home. I run and like to keep fit. I have to exercise every day. It energizes me. I have a great board of Directors and a committed team of colleagues – who really work as a team- and that is the game changer. Together, we are really making inroads in terms of Getting the Guaranteed Irish brand out there again. It's one of Ireland's most enduring, recognizable and authentic symbols and it helps Irish consumers identify products and services that are all together a better choice for the life of their communities and Ireland.
Guaranteed Irish is an inclusive values-based brand that is supported by businesses across multiple sectors to connect consumers with businesses who care about life in Ireland.
As the national symbol for ‘Trust and Provenance’, businesses and consumers alike have a love affair with the iconic Irish brand. It’s a great brand to be involved with.
Q: What was the best piece of career advice you ever received?
Turn up early and prepared for every occasion, be kind and work hard. It has never failed me.
Q: What life lessons have you learned through work?
There is no replacement for hard work. All wins come through hard work and availing of opportunities. No such thing as luck – you make your own luck. When someone makes success happen, be happy for them, don’t begrudge them. It's not attractive.
Q: What are your thoughts on mentorship?
I do a lot of it quietly because I enjoy it with startups and particularly young women. I think it is a valuable skill and a gift to those who need it. But the mentor must fit the client – so many people think they are mentor material – but they are not. It's like having a genius teacher- they are not always good communicators of the subject. Many of our larger members mentor small start-up companies discreetly- it’s a great way to network as well as learn.
Q: In today’s ‘always-on’ culture, what would you consider your offline saviors for de-stressing?
Running, any kind of exercise and family time (with no phones at the dinner table). I love a bit of retail therapy – I always try to support Irish designers, especially for my work wardrobe. I think Irish designers are terrific and don’t get enough support here. I also love current affairs- I watch the Oireachtas on TV –enough said!
Q: Do you have a motto or quote that you try to live by every day?
If at first you don’t succeed…try and try again.
I am a glass half full person – so every day is a good day for me as long as I and my family have our health. The rest is all a bonus.