Saturday 1 October 2016

'I knew at a young age I didn't have a head for figures - so I left accountancy to the experts'

Eithne Fitzpatrick Scott-Lennon CEO and owner of Fitzpatrick castle hotel

Eithne Fitzpatrick Scott-Lennon

Published 30/08/2015 | 02:30

Hotelier Eithne Fitzpatrick Scott-Lennon
Hotelier Eithne Fitzpatrick Scott-Lennon

'Follow your strengths, know your weaknesses, they say. Well, I always knew my strengths were in sales and marketing. That said, as I grew up in the industry I was lucky enough to be immersed in all aspects of the business.

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"I acknowledged at a very young age that I didn't have a head for figures so left the accountancy to the experts.

"The kitchen was too hot for me - though I do have a passion for good-quality food and take great interest in menu planning with our head chef. Making sure the margins are right while making sure the food is the best it can be is a real team effort. The key is to realise where your weaknesses are and build your team around that.

"We were the first hotel to really form a working relationship with a large American airline - TWA. It was a strategic partnership that was very beneficial to us. It meant I travelled the length and breadth of the US and Canada promoting our hotels in conjunction with TWA. We couldn't have done this alone, which is why I value collaborative relationships in business.

"The work/life balance is important. I worked throughout my maternity leaves, though I always curtailed my leave slightly, as I was happiest balancing my time between the business and my boys. I realised I just loved the life of business and the hustle and bustle of hospitality.

"My husband worked opposite hours to me, ensuring the boys had a balanced upbringing - and we had wonderful nannies over the years too. It's easy to let your business take over, but a good balance is definitely important.

"The upheaval that came with the death of my father, having to buy out my siblings from the business and the recession was something that nobody could have prepared me for. However, knowing that I was able to get through these difficulties has made me stronger and I take the insights I gained from those setbacks with me.

"All business people know that tough decisions need to be made from time to time. During the last few years this was something I had to do more than once. It never gets easier but you learn as you go.

"Dealing with various people over the last 13 years, there is no doubt that I have gained more wisdom, had to make tough decisions and learned some tough lessons. The banking collapse really threatened us. It was stressful for everyone - but we survived and are now beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel."

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