Business wisdom from the desk of … MANDY O’SULLIVAN, Director, Investec Corporate Finance
A graduate of UCC and UCD, Mandy O’Sullivan qualified as a chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen in 2000. She then moved to London to join Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein’s investment banking division. She spent a year in the technology sector team and then two years in the European transaction group working on cross-border mergers and acquisitions. She returned to Ireland in 2004, joining NCB Stockbrokers’ corporate finance division. They were acquired by Investec in 2012.
Investec is a specialist bank and asset manager providing a
diverse range of financial products and services to a niche client base in Ireland, the UK, South Africa and Australia and certain other territories.
Describe your role:
As a director in corporate finance in Investec Dublin, I am responsible for advising clients on our full range of corporate finance services including mergers and acquisitions, disposals, fundraisings, strategic advisory and valuations, as well as working with my corporate broking and equity capital markets colleagues on public market activity including IPOs. I also interact with my colleagues in the other divisions of Investec Dublin as well as my investment banking colleagues in our international offices.
Your business priorities for 2017?
Our objective is to continue to deliver a bespoke relationship-based service to the Irish market, whether you are a private client or an early stage, SME or large corporation. Thankfully, we have the ability, both domestically and through our international network, to meet those varying needs. Investec is committed to expanding its presence in Ireland and we are very excited about 2017.
Highlights and challenges during your tenure?
Deal completion is always satisfying no matter how many times you do it, particularly if there has been a long gestation period. I led the sale of Start Mortgages to Lone Star which was awarded Financial Services Deal of the Year in 2015 – it was a nice accolade for all involved. In our business, there are always external challenges which we have to work through with our clients, whether they are internationally or domestically driven, but that is what makes my job so interesting.
Did anything in your family background influence your journey to your current role?
Both my parents instilled a very strong work ethic, integrity and a sense of pride and responsibility in what I did from an early stage. My parents had busy professional careers – my mother was a lecturer and always worked while we were kids, so I also had a very strong role model.
The accomplishment you are most proud of?
I am very proud to have four beautiful, happy and healthy children and a successful career. I am extremely lucky to have a very supportive husband, mother and childminder (who are all part of my logistics team!)
How you approach difficult situations?
I stay calm, listen and break the problem down into component parts while separating the subjective and dealing with the facts as objectively as possible.
How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
Personally, 20 minutes – getting the three older kids out the door is the problem.
What keeps you awake at night?
Right now, it’s a toss-up between my ten-month-old and my six-year-old!
A characteristic you believe a business leader should possess?
I think emotional intelligence is a very important component of a business leader’s skillset. A leader who is self-aware and able to connect with their team will command their respect and commitment as they seek to drive performance.
What is the most useful way to engage clients?
A breakfast or a lunch is useful for a general catch-up, however, if real engagement is
required on a specific matter, a proper roundtable business meeting during the working day is most effective.
Advice to women who aspire to be in leadership roles?
Have a strong team around you, both professionally and at home, don’t be afraid to ask for
help and have confidence and belief in your ability.
THE WAY I DO BUSINESS
1. Work/life balance: When I am not at work, I prioritise my family and friends. Weekends are very important family time. If I have work to do at the weekend, I will do it when the kids are in bed rather than impact their day.
2. Strengths? I have strong project management skills, which helps with multi-tasking, I’m a team player and I always try to do my best for the client.
3. Weaknesses? I am always thinking or analysing something and I’m bad at switching my email off. At the moment, I’m trying to avoid checking it for two hours when I get home.
4. Looking the business: I don’t have time to think too much about what I’m wearing in the morning so I prefer separates like dresses, shirts, trousers and skirts. I have recently started shopping online but I still prefer to find a good boutique that knows my style.
5. Planning for the future: As I am balancing a busy work and personal life, it is often financial matters that get neglected. I have peace of mind in knowing that my personal finances are being handled by the experts in Investec’s wealth and investment division who look after my savings, pension and life assurance.
This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this, don’t miss our February issue, out Thursday, February 2.
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