Business Wisdom: Ann-Marie MacKay

From the desk of ANN-MARIE MACKAY, the Director of Product and Customer Growth at Sky Ireland


Describe your role?

Broadly speaking, I own the trading number for Sky Ireland, responsible for demand generation for all our products. Having a background in consumer insights equips me not just for recommending the product development strategy to recruit and retain customers, but to execute it. Sky Ireland employs more than 800 people in Ireland across contact centre, retail and online sales.

The company’s priorities for 2015?

We want to continue to innovate in terms of product-offerings and to continue to produce high-quality content. More than two-thirds of Sky’s content spend is homegrown on programmes like Fortitude and we are the fastest growing source of investment for programmes produced in Ireland including Moone Boy and Penny Dreadful.

Your business goals? 

My own priorities involve two things: making more time to network to connect with my peers, and to continue to ensure my team has the talent and motivation to deliver. In both cases, I think it is important to continually make things better and not to get stuck. Being in the entertainment industry, it’s vital to appreciate the lighter side of life.

What keeps you awake at night? 

Very little apart from my two children who are three and seven. I have learned
to compartmentalise, focusing completely on work or home and minimising the crossover. If something bothers me I get up, make notes, go back to sleep and deal with it next day.

 How you handle difficult situations? 

I like to think I’m pretty pragmatic. In general, my approach to any difficult situation is to listen, understand and then focus on moving forward and getting to a solution. I think in business putting difficult situations in perspective is very important. And not sweating the small stuff.

Some adjectives people you have worked with might use to describe you? 

Energetic, passionate and competitive. I am the eldest of four so the latter seems innate – I have always felt the need to compete well and turn a will to win into actions.

Useful ways to engage clients or suppliers? 

Most of my meetings will be with agencies who are working with us to execute our communications and advertising strategies. I prefer informal engagements, like coffee or lunch; it suits our company sector and style to have frequent catch-ups to build
positive relationships.

Work/life balance? 

I travel a minimum of once a fortnight so always have breakfast with my kids before I drop them to school or crèche and get home before they go to bed. Time with family and friends tends to revolve around kids and  food: dinners and barbecues at home, picnics in the park or finding somewhere different to eat that we haven’t been to before. I’m not the best cook but I love having people around – I believe good company makes the food taste better!

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? 

About 20 minutes. With two children I don’t get much time to myself – it’s all about getting out the door on time which involves a back and forth game of getting myself ready, waking everyone up and chasing the kids around the house to get dressed. Mornings are a lot of fun in my house.


From the July/August 2015 issue of THE GLOSS Magazine.


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