Sunday 19 January 2020

Each day is a new start

Appointed General Manager of The Kerryman Group in 2019, Tralee woman Siobhán Murphy also marked another milestone in 2019 as she celebrated 40 years with the newspaper, writes Stephen Fernane

A lifetime making deadlines is how one might describe Siobhán Murphy's time at The Kerryman newspaper. Since 1979 Siobhán has put The Kerryman front and centre of her day to day work and she recently celebrated the milestone with family and work colleagues.

Siobhán's earliest memories of the life that would become hers is sitting at the kitchen table as a child helping her father with his sales and advertising work. The late Seán Colgan was The Kerryman's Advertising Manager and he would be proud of the fact his daughter has added her own story to The Kerryman.

"Growing up I always assumed everyone was working in The Kerryman," she says. "Several people where I lived in St Brendan's Park worked there and I knew so many of them. At 16 I was probably one of the youngest working there. I think everything I did in those early years was a challenge but it was a steep learning curve and that probably stood to me."

Siobhán describes herself as someone who works hard without ever missing an opportunity to learn new things. Her timeline started in the printing room serving as a 'bindery aid'. She flew the flag for women in business long before it became popular and progressed to 'newspaper circulation', dealing with newsagents around the county. In 2009 she became Sales & Marketing Manager - a role she stayed in until February 2019 before being appointed General Manager.

"It wasn't until the weeks after becoming General Manager when the cards, text messages and letters of good wishes starting arriving that I realised this is something big. Not just the appointment, but the honour of being the first female manager of the paper since 1904," she says.

"Every job I had I recall putting systems in place and organising things. No matter what role I had it was always busy and challenging. In the early years I had to find my own feet as there was no one working ahead of me to learn from or guide me. I always kept my father's words in my head whenever I faced new challenges: 'what are you afraid of?' he would say. This made me break down what I needed to do."

To describe Siobhán's 40 years at The Kerryman as 'a job' is to miss half the story. It's personal and she laughs when thinking back to a time when she, her husband PJ, their three children - and even their children's friends! - hand-delivered copies of The Kerryman into letter-boxes throughout the Tralee area to help promote the town's new Tralee edition.

"What I've achieved in my 40 years could never have been done without the support of my family. Their patience and support has been a huge help to me."

Siobhán has seen a fair share of change in 40 years, including moving the printing press out of Tralee. However, change produces progress in Siobhán's eyes.

"Much of the change has been very positive. It took a hell of a lot of work to get a paper out in those days but modern technology has helped enormously. What I love most about the people who work in The Kerryman is how each of them take pride in what they do. In continuing to produce three successful editions every week is something I'm proud of and we remain the leading selling regional newspaper in Ireland."

Lastly, how does it feel to reach this milestone?

"I feel very honoured. This might be my 40th year working in The Kerryman, but each day is still the start of something different."