Anna Power, 23, is a law and business graduate of Trinity College Dublin. Originally from Co. Kildare, she works at Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, in New York.
Why did you come to New York?
“I’m from a country village near Naas in Co. Kildare. I didn’t actually set out to apply for work in New York. I did a grad program where the company interviews everyone generally and then puts them in the locations they think fit best. I never thought for a second that I’d be placed over here!”
What sector are you currently working at here in New York. Was it difficult to break into?
“I work in food and drink for Bord Bia, helping Irish companies to export their products into the U.S., Canada and Mexico. I was luckier than most young Irish people, as the grad program I applied through sorted my placement for me.”
What’s a typical workday like?
“The work is really varied. It could be anything from writing research reports/presentations, to linking Irish suppliers with U.S. buyers, or going out to shops in Manhattan collecting information on existing products for Irish firms that want to break in here. I answer a lot of queries about getting food and drink into the U.S., the importation rules, what the market is like over here, etc. I also complete the office finances each month, which is probably the bit I find hardest!
“The hours also vary. If we have a big event like a day of buyer/supplier meetings or a trade show coming up we can expect to work long evenings. Mostly though the hours are fairly typical of a working day, roughly 9-6.”
What would you say to those Americans who accuse the Irish of stealing their jobs?
“I’ve always found Americans to be very welcoming to Irish people. Because America is so ethnically diverse I think that they are well used to the idea of non-nationals working here.
“As the majority of Irish people here seem to work in either Irish bars, Irish government/other agencies, construction, or are here for a limited time on an intern visa, I don’t think displacement of U.S. jobs is too much of an issue.”
What has been the most challenging and rewarding experience so far in your journey to New York?
“The hardest part was leaving everyone and everything at home and having to start a new life and job in a big strange city.
The most rewarding part was meeting great new friends, adjusting to the New York pace of life, and realizing I sort of don’t want to leave!”