Tuesday 19 February 2019

'A successful career doesn't have to be all suits and ties' - Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon COO Catherine Roycroft

A scene from Cartoon Saloon’s animated feature ‘The Breadwinner’, which has been nominated for a Golden Globe
A scene from Cartoon Saloon’s animated feature ‘The Breadwinner’, which has been nominated for a Golden Globe
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Taking the wrong career fork in the road isn't always the worst choice to make, as it can mean that the dream job - when it comes along - is that much easier to identify.

Cartoon Saloon's Chief Operating Officer (COO) Catherine Roycroft's path to her current role was "windy and multifaceted", originating in hospitality management after graduating with a Business and Human Resources (HR) degree.

After an initial role in Operations and HR in Jurys and a few years working in Washington DC as a food and beverages manager, Catherine wanted to move back home and into HR, where she believed her future career lay.

"I knew the administration side was where I was lacking so I got a job in the Kilkenny Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in 2005. It was my first break into the creative industry and I loved it; the mania of working towards a deadline that was immovable, learning how vast my multiskills were.

"The atmosphere was electric and the culture was incredible; it was there that I realised that an established career didn't have to be all suits and ties," she told Independent.ie.

Some 16 counties, from Cavan to Cork, hosted events to celebrate National Women’s Enterprise Day (NWED) on Thursday.

Catherine Roycroft from Cartoon Saloon
Catherine Roycroft from Cartoon Saloon

Catherine spoke at the event at Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown, Kilkenny, and was joined by actress Deirdre O’Kane and Guinness World Record Holder and visually impaired athlete, Dr. Sinead Kane.

She wanted to share her success story of working for strong entrepreneurial women, namely Mary Murphy at stop.watch media and co-founder of Cartoon Saloon Nora Twomey.

"When Nora couldn't attend the NWED, I was asked. I'm not normally the forward facing person but this is my chance to share my story. I'm definitely a very enterprising woman and I want to tell other ambitious women not to give up, to create your own opportunities."

The move into animation itself was another rocky path. After working at stop.watch media, Catherine said she took the "wrong fork in the road" returning to the hospitality industry at the Ritz Carlton.

"I don't regret it, you learn from those those moves, you learn what you don't want. It also shows the importance of establishing relationships, they're so important, both internally and externally," said Catherine.

"Someone I worked with at the Kilkenny Cat Laughs put me in the direction of Cartoon Saloon and now I'm ingrained in the building and the culture."

Cartoon Saloon has received Oscar nominations for three animated films, 'Secret of Kells', 'The Breadwinner' and 'Song of the Sea', a 2014 production based on Irish folklore.

With a constantly growing team of more than 130 employees, the Kilkenny-based animation studio Cartoon Saloon is currently in early pre-production of a number of projects including two new TV Series, Dorg van Dango and Viking Skool,  and Tomm Moore’s third feature “Wolfwalkers”, which is due to start production later this year.

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