Business wisdom from the desk of DOLORES GEANEY, Head of Compliance, INVESTEC …
A business graduate of UCD, Galway native Dolores Geaney began her career in finance at a bank where she was an internal auditor. She moved into compliance when increased regulatory requirements and expectations made it a discipline in its own right, first as a Senior Compliance Manager at a large stockbroking firm. Following a number of moves, she is currently Head of Compliance at Investec, a leading specialist bank and wealth and investment management firm, where she has been for ten years.
DESCRIBE YOUR ROLE: I have a wide variety of responsibilities and, as part of the Executive Management Team in Ireland, have a regulatory, governance and strategic role.
YOUR COMPANY’S BUSINESS PRIORITIES FOR 2016? To do the very best we can for our clients. We believe in offering a quality service and a long term relationship. What is good for our client is good for us.
HIGHLIGHTS AND CHALLENGES DURING YOUR TENURE? The sea change in regulation and the complexity of that regulation, particularly over the last number of years, is challenging. Understanding and managing the regulatory requirements and maintaining excellent standards in compliance keeps you constantly reevaluating. Having an excellent team is essential.
DID ANYTHING IN YOUR EARLY LIFE EXPERIENCE INFLUENCE YOUR JOURNEY TO YOUR CURRENT ROLE? Yes. One of six children, I grew up on a farm, but my parents bought a hotel when I was eight years old. We all worked hard, learning to make decisions, take responsibility and work as part of a team. My mother taught me a lot. She was the first female bus conductor in the UK. She has tremendous leadership skills and wisdom that I still aspire to.
AN ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF? My family. I am blessed with two fantastic children who keep me grounded, and a very supportive husband.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH DIFFICULT SITUATIONS? Face on – problems will not go away until you understand what it is you are dealing with and present a solution. Also, consult with your colleagues and team, who can often provide the insights and support required to achieve successful conclusions to difficult issues.
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT? Now that the children are a little older, I am actually quite a good sleeper when, after all the jobs are done, I eventually get to bed.
WHAT IS THE ONE CHARACTERISTIC YOU BELIEVE A BUSINESS LEADER SHOULD POSSESS? The ability to listen and learn. I learn something new every day.
WHAT IS THE MOST USEFUL WAY TO ENGAGE WITH CLIENTS? I value face to face contact when one can convey and express feelings and opinions much more effectively. If that is not possible, then at least a telephone conversation.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO GET READY IN THE MORNING? About 20 minutes. But this excludes the children’s breakfast, lunch boxes and the usual last-minute tasks involved in getting out the door.
DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE FOR WORK: I love clothes that look good but are comfortable to wear so quality fabrics that are easy to move in and don’t crease are key. I like designers like Paul Smith, Pinko and Max Mara and always shop in Ireland in boutiques such as Khan in Blackrock, and at Brown Thomas.
ADVICE YOU MIGHT GIVE TO WOMEN WHO ASPIRE TO BE IN LEADERSHIP ROLES? It does actually take hard work, it doesn’t happen overnight. Be open to learning from those you admire and who are better than you. Decide on what success looks like for you, it is different for everyone.
THE WAY I DO BUSINESS
1. STRONG POINTS I have a very strong work ethic and I value my team immensely.
2. WEAKNESSES Buying shoes, clothes and handbags. I have no desire to overcome this weakness.
3. WORK/LIFE BALANCE Decide on your priorities and be happy with them.
4. LOOKING THE BUSINESS I love quality fabrics and tailored dresses, trousers, shirts and jackets.
5. PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE It is a widely known fact that women are the last to consider their own pensions. The Investec Wealth and Investment team have helped me understand what I need for my retirement and what I need to do to get there.
Image by Al Higgins
This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this, don’t miss our March issue, out Saturday March 5.
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