Growing up at Leixlip next to Intel, I knew working for a global company would bring many opportunities. In the 6th year of 1999, I was the only girl to take a new computer course, an extra-curricular extracurricular program donated by Intel to my school, Coliste Chiaren.
When I saw a recruitment ad in the newspaper in 2004 that said a new company called eBay was being established in Blanchardstown, I was immediately interested.
At the time I was working on the phone at the EBS Building Society’s contact center in Dublin, working primarily in mortgages.
eBay interviews included role playing and team building; Was new to me but it went well and I landed the role of a customer service agent dealing with buyers and sellers.
In the 17 years since, I’ve played various specialist roles on eBay and haven’t always been on the upswing, sometimes it’s been sideways, but being open to trying new things has served me well.
When I left school, I was working part-time in hospitality and retail and was always in a position of responsibility so I applied for a business diploma at Ballyfermot College of Education. I had a good tutor and had experience working in an auctioneer and an accountancy firm.
The course was practical and it stood out to me. I wanted to do a more formal course so did a certificate in human resources in industrial relations at NCI which included employment law and organizational behavior.
I then saw an ad for an EBS job in the paper and then two years later when I wasn’t sure what would happen next I saw an eBay ad that shaped my career.
When I joined eBay I went back at night to do a BA in HR at the National College of Ireland, graduating in 2007. It was a real gimmick since it was pre-kids, but I wanted it behind me and could apply what I was studying at work.
Tuesdays and Thursdays were very long days going to the city center after work,
finding your voice
After a few years I realized that in a fast-paced, demanding workplace, all is not going to be perfect. In the beginning I would have tried to do everything right, but being involved in so many projects I learned to empower the people around me.
I remember a really strong team leader saying to me once, you can have all your data but you need your opinion too. If you think something should be done differently, say so.
I left eBay to travel to Australia and Asia when I was still in my twenties and then took a role in leading teams at various operations at the Bank of Scotland until they closed their Irish operations and when I found a suitable job on eBay so I went back.
I am what we call eBay ‘A Boomerang’ and I am happy to be back.
I am responsible for service delivery for all of my customers in the UK and Ireland. I make sure the right people are in the right place, the right mix of work with the right skills.
I don’t find goals stressful, Sometimes a project can go on for six months or even a year. We need to see where we are. It has happened many times that I haven’t hit a target but it’s okay to say that nothing good happened, that’s why we think it happened and here’s our plan.
We have two boys. Fion is 11 years old and Kaomahin is eight and we recently got a puppy so my mornings are busy.
I check-in with my team after the kids drop off school. Is there anything we need to focus on, how are our initiatives and projects going?
I work closely with London. Earlier, we used to organize a lot of events to meet buyers and sellers but now we meet virtually, and it works.
There are a lot of admins throughout the day and when North American people wake up I have a meeting with them. In the afternoon I am on call with my European team in Germany.
I am lucky to have a great childminder who lives nearby. Sometimes boys come to me when I call but no one blinks.
If I start late, I start late and sometimes it will be an earlier start. I have a supportive partner and a good set-up. Not everyone likes this way of working but it works for me.
To make sure I take a break, I put it on my calendar. My office is up so I make my lunch, eat it downstairs and go for a walk around the block.
I spend so much time in front of the computer that on weekends I enjoy going for walks with family and the dog.
On Saturdays I coach Simonstown Gayle. I’m not extremely sporty but I love it, it’s a mental break and it’s great to see kids grow and learn. I have taken a few GAA coaching courses and have found that I can apply what I have learned to work.
We are all working from home at the moment but before the pandemic 30 percent of our employees in Ireland were already working from home.
In 2017 I was responsible for eBay@Home which let employees work remotely. Ireland was the first eBay marketplace to launch it.
When we were trying to play these roles we had to convince people that it was a fair job. We did a roadshow with Ida in Sligo and Cavan and parents came in to say it was a good option for their kids, but they wanted to check if it was real. That notion is different now.
GAA is great for bringing people together and another reason I’m passionate about eBay@home is because it allows people to live in their own communities.
When we moved to remote working I had to think about how to get everyone involved. We were the first to go remote and stay connected using collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, and Google and Teams.
What has been interesting to me is realizing how many people who were previously introverted at personal events are over-speaking. My team is very diverse, and working remotely has made it possible to make different connections and inclusivity is much more prevalent.
In fact it will be March when we return. I like to work from home but I like to be in front of people so this will be a hybrid for me.
One of our big eBay values is trust in people and we trust employees to know best where they do their best work.
We are taking a pragmatic approach; They can decide.