Member Spotlight: Elaine English

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This month's member spotlight is on Tipperary native, Elaine English.

Elaine works as Service Delivery Manager for Brandon Global IT. Brandon delivers enterprise-level IT planning, security and support to businesses of all sizes. Elaine has held a number of positions in IT over the years, ranging from technical engineer, project manager and technical consultant. She moved to New York two years ago to assist in the setup Brandon’s US office and now manages a team of technical engineers across New York, Dublin, Galway and London.

Tell us about why you decided to pursue a career in the IT industry?

The IT industry is an ever-changing environment – it’s rewarding being faced with new challenges and ability to learn something new every day. I have always been a keen problem solver, and the IT industry has certainly kept me on my toes. More importantly, I see value in work that we do, partnering with businesses to help streamline their IT environment, allowing them to focus on what they do best – running their business. Over the years at Brandon, I have been fortunate enough to work with a team of people who share the same passion and commitment, which makes for an invigorating work environment.

How has the IIBN helped your career and network, personally and professionally?

As a member of the IIBN, I was privileged to be part of the inaugural Leadership & Executive Acceleration Program (LEAP) last year. This was a high impact development program for women. During the program, I attended networking events, professional workshops and listened to a wide range of exceptional speakers. Not only have I gained valuable experience, I have also made some good friends along the way.

What other networks are you member of in NYC?

In my spare time, I train with the New York/New Jersey Liberty Gaels Camogie team. I joined the team when I moved to New York as a way to meet new people.  For someone who hadn’t played competitively since I was a teenager, being part of this team has been a huge motivational influence.
We have just come back from San Francisco where over two thousand GAA players took part in the North American Finals. It’s great to see this commitment to Irish sport abroad.

What does success mean to you?

My parents started a family haulage business over 40 years ago. Growing up in that business, we were instilled with an unwavering work ethic which has stood to me throughout my life. So, success for me means being part of an organization where I have an integral part in developing a lasting business. Brandon Global IT has provided me with that opportunity, especially since I moved to New York to help set up Brandon’s first US office. We have made great strides over the last few years and have set some challenging goals. I can only see us going from strength to strength.

What advice would you offer your 21-year-old self?

 Work outside of your comfort zone, it’s the only way to grow. Making small changes can lead to achieving big goals.

Do you any insider tips for someone who’s recently moved to NYC?

Get out and network, whether it be business events or meetups, it’s the best way to start building up lasting relationships. This city has so much to offer, so if you are here for 6 months, a year or even longer, keep exploring it and you will never be bored.
 

Member Spotlight: Brian O'Reilly

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Brian is Director of Global Sales Strategy & Programs at AdRoll, an advertising and marketing technology company. Brian started his career in management consulting, spending 5 years working with Accenture in London before returning to Dublin to spend just under 2 years with EY in a similar capacity. Brian moved over to the start-up technology space in 2013 as AdRoll's 1st European employee, scaling the team in Dublin to over 100 people in less than 18 months. Brian moved to NYC in 2016 to take on a global role with AdRoll leading a global sales strategy and programs team based across AdRoll's New York, San Francisco, Dublin, London, Sydney and Tokyo offices. A passionate reader, Brian is also a co-founder of a technology start-up with a vision of creating engaging reading experiences for children via personalization (see: Rascal Reads). A Cavan native, Brian studied Digital Media Engineering at Dublin City University and is currently a Columbia University and London Business School executive MBA candidate (Global EMBA).

Interesting Fact: Brian previously played drums in a band that had a top 30 hit in Ireland and toured, playing several large music festivals including Glastonbury! 

Member Spotlight: Nicole Sullivan - Partner, White & Williams LLP

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Nicole represents national and international clients in litigation, mediation and arbitration of complex commercial and business disputes. Nicole advises clients on pre-litigation and early resolution of actions as well as e-discovery issues. She assists foreign and domestic companies with opening and operating their businesses in the United States. Nicole routinely acts as outside general counsel for these entities assisting with transactional, intellectual property, contracts, employment and other related legal issues. Her practice also includes multi-jurisdictional trust and estate litigation.

Why did you choose to focus on commercial litigation as opposed to another practice area? 

Since I was young girl, I wanted to be a trial attorney.  I had a sign on my door that said, “Attorney at Law” and I loved watching Perry Mason and Matlock with my parents.  I also remember being inspired when Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  I never imagined being anything other than a litigator and can say it has served me well over the years.  I am even more blessed in the last few years as my practice has expanded beyond litigation and I work with many companies as their outside general counsel advising them on their North American operations.

It must be exciting to work with startups! What advice would you give to companies looking to break into the US market for the first time?

I love working with foreign companies entering the U.S. market.  It is so rewarding advising and assisting entrepreneurs make their vision a reality.  The key piece of advice I give to all my clients is have proper business and legal advisors in place sooner than later.  It is important to make sure that your business complies with U.S. regulations as well as the individual laws in each of the states where you will be conducting business.  A lot of companies do not want to invest the money in these advisors early on, which is usually a mistake.  One company we represented set up their U.S. operations through LegalZoom and it took us a year and a large legal bill to unwind their corporate structure and set it up properly.  Had they had the proper legal counsel at the start, it would have been a small fraction in legal fees.  

How has the IIBN helped your career and network, personally or professionally? 

The IIBN has been a fantastic organization and it has been a very fulfilling partnership over the last three years.  Through the IIBN, we have been able to make so many connections with the Irish diaspora in the States and UK as well as some amazing Irish companies and professionals in Ireland.  Professionally, we have built a strong client base through the IIBN and personally, I have met many people who I now consider my friends.  I truly feel blessed to have partnered with the IIBN and look forward to many more fruitful years together.  

What has been your most challenging professional experience? 

I have found it challenging working in firms where there has been an eat what you kill mentality creating an unnecessary environment of competition among peers.  I have always believed that the more successful one is, the more successful we all will be and we should focus on boosting each other up instead of tearing each other down. I have been lucky though to have had many wonderful mentors who have both advised me on how to walk through that minefield and have protected me. Thankfully, the firm I recently partnered with is much more in line with my values and mindset and I am excited about all the collaboration with my new colleagues.  

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

During my free time, I love to spend time with my husband and four kids, watching them grow and flourish.  I am also very close to my extended family and love spending time with them whether it's playing cards or board games.  In addition, I am an avid crossfitter and runner.  I love to do road races of all distances and obstacle course races like Spartans.    

Has a case ever affected you on deeper level where it ended up changing your views/outlook? 
Early in my career, we represented a young man who had allegedly violated an order of protection. In fact, he had not violated the order of protection as he was allowed to be on the University’s property as he was student.  Because his attorney did not properly advocate for him, he was found guilty and spent six months on Riker's Island where he was repeatedly abused physically and sexually.  We assisted him in suing his attorney for malpractice, which is not something we like to do but was necessary in this case to right a terrible wrong.  This case taught me the importance of checking all the boxes, doing your homework, focusing on the details and making sure that every client, no matter what the issues are, receives your best 100% of the time. 

How do you define success and what advice would you give to a young professional on “making it in New York”?

Success is an amorphous term with no all-encompassing definition. What success means is a very individualized concept.  For me, success means being happy more days than I am not happy doing what I do.  Advice I would give to a young professional looking to make it in New York is to network and create genuine connections with as many people as you can both in and outside your industry.   

IIBN DELEGATION CONCLUDES SUCCESSFUL IRELAND TRADE MISSION

IIBN DELEGATION CONCLUDES SUCCESSFUL IRELAND TRADE MISSION

Sean Gaffey, Board Member of the Irish International Business Network (IIBN) in New York City, led a trade mission to Dublin, Belfast, and Derry-Londonderry last week with a group of private-sector delegates aimed at building relationships, trade, and investment the U.S. and Ireland.

Recent Events: Inspirefest NY Salon & LEAP Launch

Recent Events: Inspirefest NY Salon & LEAP Launch

After sell-out Munich, Paris and London salons, Europe's leading sci-tech event, Inspirefest, partnered with the IIBN and White & Williams LLP to host their first U.S event April 27th, in New York City. This was a collaboration involving IIBN's hyper-connected network,  and as Irish Central highlights a network that celebrates Irish Women and inspiring ideas.

Attendees also celebrated the launch of the 2017 Leadership & Executive Acceleration Program (LEAP)™, a professional development and leadership program designed for Irish and Irish-American women living in the Greater New York/Tri-State area. LEAP was also excited to announce its expansion into Ireland this year. Our very own senior board member, Maura Kelly, led a panel discussion with Susan O'Brien, and LEAP participants Roisin Mullins, Intuition Publishing Ltd, and Julie Currid, Initiafy.

Check out key insights from the night as told our IIBN members and be sure to check out the IIBN's new YouTube channel which features video footage from the night.

Highlights Video

Insights from the Night

Recent Event: Global Mindset - A Transatlantic Coversation between Dublin & New York

Recent Event: Global Mindset - A Transatlantic Coversation between Dublin & New York

According to the Financial Times a global mindset is “one that combines an openness to and awareness of diversity across cultures and markets with a propensity and ability to see common patterns across countries and markets”. The IIBN’s breakfast on Friday May 5th with an interactive transatlantic conversation between a panel of prominent business leaders at White and Williams LLP in New York and Accenture’s Innovation Hub in Dublin certainly epitomized this definition.

In New York the panel of distinguished guests that were led by captivating moderator, Mark Redmond CEO of American Ireland Chamber of Commerce, comprised of:

  • Susan Danger, CEO of AmCham EU
  • Brian Moloney, CEO and founder of Silvergroves Advisors
  • Mary McEvoy, Director of Global Procurement at PepsiCo
  • Nicole Sullivan, Partner at White and Williams LLC

In Dublin Miriam O’Keeffe, Program Director at American Ireland Chamber of Commerce facilitated the engaging conversation with:

  • Niamh Haughey, FDI Relationship Manager at HSBC
  • Michael Whitney, Global Corporate Real Estate lead at Accenture

Our panelists drew on similar experiences in describing the development of their global mindset, which typically took the course of working or living in a foreign country and overcoming the initial challenges that they faced. From the exquisite White and Williams offices overlooking Times Square each of our New York panelists outlined the importance of the global mindset in their respective businesses:

Nicole Sullivan underlined the importance of a leading law firm to operate with a ‘global mindset’ as her practice includes multi-jurisdictional trust and estate litigation. Ms. Sullivan citied examples of advising foreign companies investing in the US on American business practices, and likewise US companies investing in Europe or South America on the cultural differences that they need to consider

Susan Danger, an English woman, living in Brussels, at the head of the American Chamber of Commerce Europe, referred to the benefit of growing up in the multi cultural environs of London and then the pursuit of global travel after University. The Brexit question is at the forefront of Susan’s agenda representing US business in Europe, and it was her opinion that to a degree the vote to leave the EU represented a lack of education on international trade and misinformation on globalization. For example, one manufacturing company’s raw product crosses the channel between Newcastle in the North East of England and the Netherlands approximately forty times before a consumer purchases the finished product.

Mary McEvoy defined a global mindset as “having an interest in people, being curious, and not being afraid to get out of your comfort zone”. Mary manages a virtual team in nine countries across the globe and as a real advocate of diversity she believes that great innovation comes from embracing a multicultural workforce.

"A Global Mindset starts with an interest in people" - Mary McEvoy

 

Brian Moloney provided a unique perspective of advising clients of various sizes on pre and post mergers and acquisitions (M&A) across the globe. Brian reflected that globalization affects companies of all sizes therefore a global mindset is not just a concern for Fortune 500 companies. In a M&A deal there is significant investment in the assessing the financial and operational synergies offered by a deal, however, if the cultural and diversity elements are not carefully considered the expected return from the deal will not be realized.

With the present rise of populism across Europe and North America are panel expressed the need for accountability for both corporations and individuals on education and embracing the conversation on diversity and globalization.

We are truly appreciative to our entire panel for sharing their insightful perspectives and contributing to the richness of the discussion. A special thank you to the event sponsor Tom Butler and Nicole Sullivan of White and Williams LLP and to Mark Redmond and all the team at the American Ireland Chamber of Commerce. 

#AmCham4Balance

Recent Event: Bank of Ireland StartLab NYC Launch

The IIBN was proud to support the launch of Bank of Ireland’s StartLab NYC at the Irish Consulate, on Wednesday March 15th. The technology incubator space is designed to support scaling Irish technology companies entering the US market, with office space, mentorship and access to the Bank of Ireland Innovation team. Three innovative Irish tech startups — Deposify, Pulsate and Axonista — have joined the StartLab NYC and an application process for the remaining four places is now open.

Despite Storm Stella’s snowfall, a fired up crowd of high calibre executives and Irish business leaders came to the morning event which was hosted by Barbara Jones, Consul General. The Minister of State for Diaspora, Joe McHugh launched the event and was accompanied by Tony Dunne, US County Manager, Bank of Ireland. This was followed by a ‘fireside chat’ with Bank of Ireland’s own Entrepreneur in Residence, Gene Murphy, who did a Q&A with Axonista CEO, Claire McHugh and Pulsate CEO, Patrick Leddy

Recent Event: Keynote with Jerry Kennelly - An Entrepreneur by Desgin

IIBN Keynote with Jerry Kennelly - An Entrepreneur by Design


As told by Maura Kelly, media and marketing executive and IIBN board member – serial technology entrepreneur, Jerry Kennelly is a game changer. As the founder and CEO of Tweak.com, he had a burning desire to make it easier for businesses to access great design and print. Speaking to the IIBN members at last month’s keynote event, hosted by the American Irish Historical Society, the Kerry native talked about life as an entrepreneur and what it really takes to build a global business.

Design and Build
As only fitting for a photojournalist and design company founder, it’s the images that get your attention when Jerry Kennelly talks about his journey. He starts with black and white visuals of innocent looking boys idling by a window; another shows a gaggle of boys sitting obediently in class while nuns hover over. “We were unassuming models – natural subjects for our father who, with our mother ran a photography business,” explains Kennelly. As the images turn to color, he fast forwards a few decades and we witness the subject become the photographer and see his photos on the cover of TIME and Newsweek magazine. By the 1990’s to the mid 2000’s, magazines and global companies are using images from Kennelly’s royalty free library, Stockbyte. Getty Images notices and in 2006 paid him $135 million for the company. Two years later Kennelly turns his eye to disrupting the world of design and print with Tweak.com. After many technical ups and downs, he built and launched an online platform to give small businesses access to Madison Avenue style design at a fair price. His clients range from a hairdresser in Germany to a lawyer in Brazil who can now design their own marketing materials. “Design for All” is a popular company motto. 

To read the complete article go to The Huffington Post

Member Spotlight: Diane Mooney - Future Leaders Board Chair

Diane serves as a Program Manager for Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) based in New York where she works on strategic insurtech opportunities across North America. A Fortune 200 global professional services firm, MMC advises multinational clients on risk, strategy, and people.

Diane first joined Marsh in 2013 whilst living in London, where she planned and coordinated key strategic and operational initiatives within the Specialty Practices, reporting directly to the COO. An opportunity then presented itself in 2014 to move to New York to work for their Corporate Strategy team which she gladly accepted, having wanted to work in the US from a young age. Here she developed global experience improving and managing strategic initiatives across the global organization. She recently changed role and is now working as Program Manager where she looks to optimizes Marsh’s Insurtech investments upon acquisition.

Prior to working at Marsh & McLennan Companies, Diane worked at First Derivatives as a capital markets consultant. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a MA in Business & Economics. She joined the IIBN when she first moved to New York and is acting as Chair of the IIBN Future Leaders Board in 2017.

She grew up on a farm in Co. Wexford where she was the youngest of five children which set the scene for a strong work ethic and passion for Irish produce. Nothing delights her more to see the likes of Wexford cheddar and Kerrygold butter displayed on the supermarket shelves here in New York.

  1. Why did you join the IIBN?

Since I emigrated from Ireland in 2011, I’ve found it very important to keep close connections with my home country and the Irish diaspora, both on a personal and professional level. There’s a wealth of great Irish networks here in New York but I found the IIBN the best fit for me given the welcoming presence at their events and the impressive membership base showcasing the cream of Ireland from top industry leaders to trailblazing grads. It truly is a diverse, inclusive Irish community with great things happening! I’d highly recommend participating in IIBN’s Irish Executive Mentoring Program (IEMP) for all of you budding young professionals. I took part in the program when I first joined the IIBN in 2015 and was placed with a wonderful mentor, Nicole O’Sullivan, an attorney at LeClair Ryan, who really helped me rethink my career strategy.

  1. Describe a day in the life of a Program Manager at Marsh & McLennan Companies

A normal day is hard to articulate because by definition a Program Manager role can be very varied. Due to the unique scope of projects, the daily priorities and requirements of the role can vary significantly. Nonetheless, there are of course some constants when not travelling for work, with a typical day starting in my one bed apartment in Manhattan. Living in Hell’s Kitchen, I’m lucky to avoid the subway and walk to work, normally arriving at the office around 8:00am. A cup of coffee is always high on my agenda and acts as a perfect companion for my first delve into emails. Depending on how many projects are in progress and their status, a large part of my day is spent in meetings and on calls with our other offices with a diverse range of stakeholders across the business. Just as the range of stakeholders can be diverse, so can the subject matter and purpose of the meetings. I could find myself discussing technology implementations in one meeting and presenting new sales strategies in the next.

Personally speaking, cross-functional engagement is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my role as it certainly provides exposure to the broader business, including the C-Suite, Finance, IT, Legal, as well as third party vendors. Outside of meetings, my time is spent drafting PowerPoint presentations, writing project schedules, and doing data analysis. During the day it’s not unusual for the occasional curve ball to arrive in the form of a project issue in some shape or form. Although I consider myself to be structured and methodical in nature, I enjoy these unexpected challenges, it helps keep things fresh.

  1. What has been your most challenging professional experience?

Working at Marsh, I've had the opportunity to lead the integration of two company acquisitions, both in the Insurtech space. The experience was fantastic but it was complete mayhem at times. Few organizational changes are as dramatic and stressful as an acquisition. The moment people at a company are notified that they have been acquired, all hell typically breaks loose and emotions immediately start rising. From these experiences I learned a great deal about the fundamentals of navigating the drama and tension within an acquired company and delivering a successful integration.

  1. What would you like to do professionally in 2017?

I’m interested in exploring opportunities where I can assist Irish businesses looking to establish themselves and grow in New York and around the U.S. I’m also looking forward to leading the Future Leaders Board this year; we’ve got some great ideas flowing so now it’s time to put them into action!

  1. What business leader do you most admire and why?

I have a lot of respect for any woman who has been able to break into the upper echelons of the corporate world, but Sheryl Sandberg and Angela Ahrendts are two particularly strong examples of the success women can achieve in business. Sandberg was able to rise through the ranks of a male-dominated industry, which takes a lot of dedication, in addition to a very tough skin. Ahrendts is a shining example of someone who started from the bottom of the ladder and worked her way to the very top, a truly commendable feat. I also admire that fact that they have not let her career get in the way of raising a family. Women can have both, but like any successful multitasking endeavor, it requires a lot of hard work, pure grit and determination.

  1. What does success mean to you?

Somewhere along the line, I started to believe that money equals success. As I progress through my career and work my way up the corporate ladder I’ve come to learn that true success lies much deeper than monetary goals. Instead, figure out what you want to do, find ways to do it, and earn money to help you do it. You’re much more likely to find yourself in a career you’re passionate about and you know that they say; follow your passion and never work a day in your life.

  1. What advice would you offer your 21-year- old self?

Take a leap of faith in yourself as you’ve got nothing to lose but everything to gain. Don’t be afraid of failure, embrace it. If you fail, you’ll become smarter. If you succeed, you’ll gain even more self-confidence and the emotional and financial rewards. You’ll never know the limit of how much you can achieve until you take a leap of faith in yourself and try. I’m a naturally risk adverse person so taking a leap of faith in my own abilities is something I find difficult but I’m a firm believer that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Just don’t let yourself stand in your own way!