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'Four years working in New Zealand was a phenomenal opportunity for learning ...'



Caroline enjoyed her time in Auckland

Caroline enjoyed her time in Auckland

Caroline enjoyed her time in Auckland

Q&A: Caroline Keenan, director ASM

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

A: My paternal grandmother Mary, an incredibly strong and intelligent lady, always said "do the best you can, be the best you can, and grab with both hands every opportunity as it comes along"!

Also I recall one of my mentors regularly referring to learning to dance in the rain and not waiting for the storm to pass - which I did not quite appreciate then but understand very much now.

Q: What piece of advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business?

A: Use your networks, call in the favours and ask for help early, but most importantly keep believing in yourself and keep persevering.

My younger sister Annie is an amazing chef and has just recently set up her own catering business Dree Hill Catering, which I am very proud of, and I will certainly be telling her all of that, not to mention being her chief taster!

Q: What was your best business decision?

A: Taking up the offer of an international two-year secondment to Auckland in New Zealand, which I extended to four years - it was a phenomenal learning opportunity I would recommend to anyone!

Q: If you weren't doing this job, what would be your career?

A: That is an easy one! Still very involved in the business world but as an engineer, most likely in a manufacturing environment - perhaps with my own company.

Q: What was your last holiday? Where are you going next?

A: The children and I enjoyed a great week in Dubai over the Christmas period.

It was an incredible experience, from beautiful beaches, indoor ski slopes to camel rides in the desert, not to mention the mega shopping malls and fabulous restaurants.

Still negotiating at home where next for the summer holidays - whether it is New Zealand to catch up with friends from my time living there or the West Coast of the US.

Q: What are your hobbies/interests?

A: Travel, as you may have noticed! The children keep me busy but when I have some "me" time I really enjoy socialising with friends and trying new restaurants, wines, live music, theatre, reading, walking and the odd Pilates class.

Over the past couple of years I have attended a number of mindfulness and meditation classes which I find have really helped to manage the busy lifestyle of work, home and single parent to three demanding young people.

Q: What is your favourite sport and team?

A: My favourite sport is rugby, but which team is difficult with a New Zealand passport I am torn between the All Blacks and Ireland - I guess it depends on who is winning on the day! My late father Thomas was a lifelong Manchester United supporter and it was such a pleasure to take him a few years ago to Old Trafford to see his beloved team play.

Q: And have you ever played any sports?

A: A while ago now I played quite a bit of sports - camogie, netball, tennis and running. Maybe when I manage to get the time again I will try some new ones!

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

A: I love crime novels, such as Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter, James Patterson but also really enjoy biographies and autobiographies - I loved reading Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom.

Q: How would you assess your time in business with your company ASM?

A: Thoroughly enjoyable with the opportunity to be truly entrepreneurial in developing and growing the business providing a holistic one-stop-shop offering of services to our client base. Our future growth plans are incredibly exciting - the opportunities for the firm and our people are immense.

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