I joined Roughan & O'Donovan (ROD) as a receptionist in December 1998. It was an exciting time because the company was growing fast. In my first 18 months, our team increased in size from 33 to 85, and we moved from Foxrock into what is now our head office in Sandyford.
It was here in Arena House that I really came into my own – managing the switchboard, meeting and greeting, attending tenant meetings, arranging travel and hotel bookings, undertaking health and safety duties and organising team events.
Fast forward 20 years, and with over 200 people now working with us, one of the biggest changes I have seen is in the number of female staff members at ROD. Where once I was one of five females, I am now one of 44 - 10 of whom work in administration and support and 34 of whom are technical.
We have also become more diverse in terms of the nationalities within our team. I now boast of having colleagues from Italy, Spain, Poland, Brazil, China. South Africa, New Zealand, India and France, to name just a few. As a home bird myself, I am very much in awe of my colleagues’ ability to pack up their lives and move to Ireland or the UK to join our team.
Two years ago, we opened our second Dublin office in Northwood, Santry, and then in June of last year we opened our first UK office in Otley, just outside Leeds. The work involved in setting up the new offices was far greater than I had expected, but the experience of dealing with different management companies and landlords, organising safety statements, managing fit outs etc., was a good learning opportunity for me.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of my role is organising fundraising events for different charities each year. From jersey days and cake sales, beach clean-ups to charity football matches, everyone gets involved and the amount of money we raise always amazes me.
I am a member of our social committee, and we organise surf weekends, bowling evenings, GAA match days, and summer mountain walks – activities that are appreciated by all the team, particularly those from overseas. My favourite event has to be our annual horse racing night in Leopardstown. Our Managing Director, Harry Meighan, runs a competition over two races and, together with a colleague, I mark each entry sheet and arrange prizes for those who score the highest number of points between the two races. It is great fun!
One of my stand-out moments over the past 20 years was being nominated for ‘Receptionist of the Year’ in 2007. It was a huge honour, and although I didn’t win the award itself, I did make it into the top 10, which was almost as good as winning.
ROD is like a big, expanding family to me. I can’t help but feel like a proud mother when I see our young graduates maturing into highly skilled engineers, managing projects and sharing their knowledge with those coming behind them. And, when our print room staff progress to leading teams of technicians, I am even more thrilled!
I have loved the past 21 years at ROD, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 20 years bring. One thing is certain – it won’t be dull!