Another Mindset Shift interview back by popular demand is Tim McCarthy’s interview with Orlaith Blaney, the Chief Communications Marketing Officer at Ervia, Ireland’s national gas and water infrastructure service provider. Orlaith has over 23 years CEO and C-Suite Executive experience leading businesses and teams in both the public and private sector.
During this interview, Orlaith shares some of the great lessons she has learned throughout her career and from those around her. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Lesson 1: If you don’t show care towards your customers, they won’t care about you
Orlaith’s dad was a publican, so she spent a lot of time working in the pub growing up. It was here that her dad taught her the importance of the customer. He told her to ‘always look after the customer and they will come back’. This has stuck with Orlaith throughout her career.
Lesson 2: Just because you aren’t great at one thing, doesn’t mean you can’t excel in another
Orlaith grew up in a household with 5 brothers who all excelled in sport. Orlaith wasn’t as successful in sports, in fact she hated hockey. However, she didn’t let this get her down. Orlaith explains how she focused on her own lane and her own strengths, her passion for working with customers and building relationships. This then led to her having an extremely successful career.
Lesson 3: The importance of embracing feedback from others
Throughout her career, Orlaith has kept every bit of feedback she has ever received from a colleague in one big folder. Orlaith is a big advocate for playing to your strengths but throughout her career she has also learned to be aware of her weaknesses and how she can improve them. Orlaith tells Tim that it’s about understanding what you get your energy from and finding the right balance.
Lesson 4: You can’t just hire people like you
At the age of 32, Orlaith became the CEO of McCann. With this new leadership role came its challenges. Orlaith says that she came to the realisation that she can’t just hire people who are similar to her. She realised she had to hire people with different strengths and different personalities if she wanted the business to succeed.
Lesson 5: Learning to speak up and be courageous
Orlaith was the first female managing director of an international network agency in Ireland. She explains that being female in this position was challenging at times and that this challenge ignited her passion for equity in work. Orlaith learned that she had to be courageous and speak up, even when she felt outnumbered or out of place.
Lesson 6: Keep communication as simple as possible
Orlaith is a big believer in the simpler the language, the better. Not everyone will understand certain jargon or phrases. It’s so important that when communicating with anyone, be it a colleague or friend that we communicate in a manner that is easy to understand and listen to.