Join us throughout July as we celebrate the #InternationalIrish. This month IrishCentral pays tribute to the Irish who are breaking the mold, smashing glass ceilings, and emerging as the next generation of global thinkers and leaders.
Today, we chat with Sarah Lucey, a Cork native who now works in Miami, Florida, as Director of Talent with LIV Nightclub, Story Nightclub, Komomdo Miami and Swan Miami.
The daughter of an Irish butcher, Lucey is now heralded as the Queen of Nightclubs with a lifestyle many may envy but one that has also come through a ton of hard work.
She speaks to us about her high points and low points so far:
How did you start out in your career?
It began with a Masters in Smurfit Business School in UCD. One day, a motivational speaker came in to chat with us and we had to split the piece of paper down the middle and on the one side, list strengths and on the other side, passions.
We cross-referenced and I figured out I wanted to sell something I loved but more so, to sell something people wanted to buy. Not like health insurance or funeral packages, I wanted to sell fun.
What spurred your decision to move to the US?
I was working in Ibiza and loved it. I’ll always love that island and learned so much there but it’s seasonal, whereas Vegas and Miami are a constant flow of partygoers. You can’t get bigger than those two cities globally!
What do you believe was the secret to your success?
Once it fades, you’re in trouble.
Relationships, hobbies, family, friends, they all have to take a backseat, especially in the beginning. It needs to be your sole focus if you want to make it but that goes for any career or passion.
Do you consider being Irish as part of your brand?
The industry is small. When DJs or celebs are chatting and someone asks ‘Do you know Dave who works at Pacha? You know British Dave?’ And everyone will say ‘oh ya, I know British Dave.’
I think that started happening to me and Irish Sarah stuck but as far as Irish culture, I’m not sure.
People always ask does the Irish accent make you stand out but in all honesty, no. Miami has such a diverse range of cultures, I don’t stand out here as being a foreigner.
I suppose the butcher's daughter is more of a talking point and growing up at greyhound tracks. Americans wouldn’t have that here so that always comes up at dinners.
Who are the Irish people you admire the most, one from history and one from today?
I admire Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary; Irish businessmen JP McManus and Dermot Desmond; founder of Irish food chain Supermacs, Pat McDonagh; businesswoman and former model Pippa O’Connor; SoSueMe’s Suzanne Jackson; Bono, and Conor McGregor.
They are all strong, persistent business people I admire and respect.
A past person would be Ben Dunne, he was a real pioneer. He started the first Dunnes Stores in Cork in 1944.
What has been your worst day on the job that you’d rather forget and did you learn anything from it?
The day Avicci died was tough as I had been on that journey with him. I’m not quite sure what I learned as I’m still quite numb about it, to be honest.
What has been the hardest thing about living in the US as an Irish person?
The Irish themselves like to have a persona of jokers and not taking life too seriously, which is great, and so the rest of the world sees us as jokers but we can be great business people, too.
I think we have to start believing in ourselves a little more, so others can too.
How does a normal day start out for you?
I open my eyes to emails, texts, WhatsApps, Instagram messages, TMZ leaks, and press articles that usually tend to be outrageous.
When you’re dealing with a lot of celebs in a weekend, their travel itineraries change constantly and any personal drama they are dealing with comes with them, as do their hospitality requests. It’s always amusing but never what one would call normal.
What has been the most exciting day in your career?
Ever day is nuts.
I wish I could tell you the amount of stuff that goes on behind the scenes but I would probably lose my job.
When you’re bringing a DJ/celeb out to a packed club knowing everything that could possibly go wrong beforehand could probably be defined as exciting. Nothing ever goes to plan.
If you could be anything else in the world, what would it be and why?
It would be a real dream to work for the likes of Michael O’Leary, JP McManus, Dermot Desmond, or Pat McDonagh. I definitely want to move home sooner rather than later.
Using five words, describe what is needed by somebody starting out in your industry?
- Emotional Intelligence (a bit of cop on),
- Low ego - Celebs and my boss always come first.
What is your favorite Irish brand?
Lucey’s Butchers Home Made sausages and spiced beef (of course), Kerrygold and Proper Whiskey.
Once you get off the plane in Ireland, what is the first thing you look forward to doing the most?
Hanging with my Mam and Dad as they are my best friends and great craic. And then walking the fields by myself or with the dogs. The silence in the country walking the country roads in the summer picking blackberries.
And the chipper.
What is your favorite place in Ireland?
I love Ireland full stop. It’s a great little country. Galway, Kerry, Cork, and Co Clare warm by heart and anywhere near the sea.
This July IrishCentral pays tribute to the International Irish who are breaking the mold, smashing glass ceilings, and emerging as the next generation of global thinkers and leaders. You can follow IrishCentral’s International Irish throughout by using the hashtag #InternationalIrish or by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.