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This time it's personal ...

Published 26/01/2016

Q. What's the best piece of business or life advice you've ever been given?

A. Honesty is the best policy - advice handed down by my mother and as applicable in life as in business. From the outset of my career I decided I would ask, rather than pretend I understand.

Q. What advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business?

A. Go for it - give your best. Don't be held back by self-doubt - take on the additional challenge, go the extra mile.

Q. What was your best business decision?

A. My move to NI Water five years ago - as daunting as it was, I've had the opportunity to shape and lead the company delivering one of Northern Ireland's most essential services.

Q. If you weren't doing this, what would be your other career?

A. I have a passion for numbers, maths, data and analytics - identifying trends and root causes. We're really starting to get into this in NI Water - using data to target our customer engagement, response and investment. In another life I could see myself as an analyst or actuary.

Q. What are your hobbies/interests?

A. I love getting out and about - a walk in a forest park or locally. But with three girls, free time revolves around parties, shopping, school project support and general go-to person.

Q. What is your favourite sport and team?

A. The only sport I can countenance on TV is tennis and it's been over 20 years since I had sufficient free time to enable myself to get immersed in a tournament.

Q. And have you ever played any sport?

A. I've come to really appreciate the satisfaction of getting out for a run before work. I'm a solitary runner and really enjoy running on the country roads in Glenavy.

Q. What was your last holiday and where are you going next?

A. We camped at Lake Garda in Italy last summer and loved the family-friendly, laid-back Italian hospitality. Next will be Donegal. The landscape is both breath-taking and soothing to the soul.

Q. If you enjoy reading, can you recommend a book?

A. My natural sense of order, of wanting to get to the root cause draws me towards the detective/murder mystery genre - although the past couple of months have been spent getting through the Game of Thrones series. I've almost finished book five.

Q. How would you describe your early life?

A. The eldest of four children, I grew up in Cookstown. Memories are of family get-togethers - parents in lively debate and cousins playing in the background. I've always had a strong work ethic and look back fondly on my days working with my uncles, aunts and grandparents in their draper's shop.

Q. How would you assess your time at NI Water?

A. As an odyssey. I love what we do, never fail to be impressed by the knowledge and dedication of my colleagues and am proud to see how we support our communities. We've delivered improvements in service and reductions in operating costs. There have been some 'character building' moments but I'm sure I'm a stronger person for having experienced them.

Belfast Telegraph

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