I've been lucky in my career - Investec has provided me the opportunity to be part of a growth story here in the Irish market. The business I joined in my 20s was a newcomer to the market, and today we are a significant player in the market, both in terms of treasury and corporate finance and in wealth and investment. None of that happens without strategic planning and goal-setting.
Luck and hard work do play a part in everyone's life, but I do believe that you can influence your outcomes by setting personal goals and thinking strategically about where you want to end up and what it will take you to get there. I have a financial plan for my own future, and I'm not leaving it up to the lottery win! If I was advising myself, I would say to start my pension earlier.
In business it's important to realise that you can achieve a lot more as part of a team. Working on your own is important sometimes, but the sooner you recognise that you are stronger working together, the quicker things will happen. We have a very good team in Investec and there is a lot of energy in our staff, and we achieve a lot as a team.
Everyone needs to identify where there is gaps in their knowledge and in their skills and work to fill those gaps. I have been very proactive in undertaking further education - I attended the Charted Director Programme at the Institute of Directors, and I also sat the Certified Bank Directors programme.
Once you have built your skill set, it's important to put yourself forward to take that extra responsibility, and to try and put what you have learnt into practice. It's human nature to not want to be outside your comfort zone.
Women in business should never underestimate their capabilities. Women often see a job-spec and identify the areas they don't have, while an equally qualified man looks at the same job-spec and identifies the areas he does have.
Qualifications don't guarantee you success in life, and it's something that young people leaving third-level education should bear in mind. Many of the successful Irish businesses we work with in the export market started from very small beginnings and for many of them an excellent product and good customer focus is far more important to their success than academic qualifications.
Sunday Indo Business