Business Wisdom: Gina Quin

Connecting businesses and influencing a pro-business environment are key objectives for Dublin Chamber of Commerce CEO, GINA QUIN

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Describe your role?

I am CEO of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce leading a team of 23, providing services to 1,400 companies of all shapes and sizes in the Dublin City region.

Your career path?

Post-psychology degree at UCD, I focused on the business side of the subject in qualitative market research with Lansdowne Market Research, then in consultancy and business development with the Irish Trade Board, and running the commercial operations side of The Rehab Group. I did an MBA before taking up my role at Dublin Chamber. I am a recently qualified IOD chartered director.

Are there enough women on boards in Ireland?

We know that boards that represent diversity are more successful so we need to do more – it is encouraging that there have been three female presidents of the Chamber and about 30 per cent of the board is female.

Tell us one way technology has helped you fulfill your role?

Connections, connections, connections! My smartphone and my laptop and PC are my best networking tools, followed up by face-to-face contact of course.

A typical day?

Usually at 7.30am I am in the pool for a training session before hopping on a bus to the office in Clare Street. I typically spend about 75 per cent of my working day in the company of businesses, my Chamber team or key influencers who are driving successful businesses. Meetings dominate and then it’s time for follow up and planning. The Chamber hosts about 130 events annually, so I do find myself out a lot in the evenings.

How do you deal with work stress?

I thrive on it! Stress is part of work and life and I can’t imagine life without it. Maintaining mental and physical fitness is very important to me and I balance all my work stimulation with competitive sea swimming in summer – my husband goaded me into it and now I love it – and all-year-round pool training. The pinnacle is the Liffey swim – there is something very special about swimming through your own city.

Downtime?

Time with my three daughters (aged 19, 21 and 23) is precious. I rarely do “nothing” but I love watching sport.

Paper diary or electronic?

Electronic of course; coordinated across all devices and backed up!

Has the economic climate affected how you do business in a positive way?

Yes, there is a new energy and determination in Irish companies about getting through this current downturn. Networking and business development have become key to making that sale or closing the deal. Hot topics are competitiveness and the property tax.

Business thought for the day?

Never be afraid to ask.

People you admire in business?

Good communicators. William Hague, Steve Jobs, Sally Barker and Dara O’Briain.

What is on your desk?

PC, smartphone, landline, reports, magazines (I have a preference for the printed word), today’s papers, Post-it notes and a pint glass of water: hydration is the key to energy.

Best advice you got?

Always strive to communicate better. Public speaking, presentation skills and influencing skills need to be continually honed and developed. How we connect and influence as human beings is a crucial success factor.

What kind of clothes do you like to wear to work?

Suits, all shapes and colours – with pockets for my business cards!

What designers do you like?

Quin & Donnelly: Liz Quin is my sister – she has been a big influence and I would love to see them come back. I would like Irish retailers to be more prominent online, it would allow them to trade across borders, 24/7. I also love shopping on Grafton Street and Henry Street – the whole city experience: shops, food, buskers, culture and open public spaces are what I love.

Accessories?

Love them but don’t always have time to match them as well as I would like! I value my flat shoes: you can’t run down airport corridors in heels.

You encounter lots of different businesspeople across different sectors – is how they present/dress important?

If the person at the top is engaging, helpful and giving in terms of  interaction, all employees tend to reflect that. As for dress, I believe it’s better to be slightly overdressed but in Ireland, with the exception of the professional and financial services sectors, we have become more Americanised, more casual.

 

From the September 2012 issue of THE GLOSS Magazine.

 

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