'I had a carefree and fun-packed childhood'
Q&A: Lynsey Cunningham
Q: What piece of advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business?
A: You don't need to go it alone - there is so much support to help you get started. From councils, enterprise agencies, business support organisations and, of course, the Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator.
Q: What was your best business decision?
A: Moving the Belfast hub into the heart of our headquarters. It was a big investment, but it was the right one. The new space is purpose-designed and entrepreneurs are even more connected into our colleagues and therefore our customers, suppliers and stakeholders. They also bring a real vibrancy into the building and with the number of events hosted in the hub, it brings a diverse and dynamic audience into the building.
Q: If you weren't doing this job, what would be your alternative career?
A: I'm in awe of the entrepreneurs I get to work with and I would love to run my own business. I have an idea so it's really about taking the plunge some day.
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Q: What was your last holiday? Where are you going next?
A: Our last holiday was to the Arran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. It was relaxing, no distractions, good craic and the beauty was breathtaking. We're looking at somewhere a bit more far-flung for our next holiday like Thailand or Singapore. I au paired and studied in Spain and my husband and I love adventures and experiencing different cultures.
Q: What are your hobbies/interests?
A: Living by the coast - I love walking. My mum and I, along with friends, have completed three Moonwalks - a 26.2 mile challenge that starts at midnight in Edinburgh. We've also raised over £10,000 for breast cancer in the process.
Q: Do you have any role models?
A: I believe you forge your own path. That being said, I am inspired by people in certain situations. My dad was a role model for the importance of hard work and ambition, my mum instilled in me the importance of family and friends. Ellvena Graham, Jane Howard and Alison Rose are inspirations as successful female bankers, while my team and the entrepreneurs I work with live and breathe determination, passion and a love for what they do.
Q: How would you describe your early life?
A: My childhood was carefree and fun-packed - my brother in I took part in every club or activity going. We are very family-focused and, to this day, along with my 90-year-old grandad, meet for dinner weekly. We are involved in our local church (my dad is a lay preacher) and in various voluntary organisations.
Q: Have you any economic predictions?
A: Brexit and the political impasse lead to uncertainty. Having worked with hundreds of business owners in my career today, I never fail to be impressed by their resilience and in the midst of uncertainty, it is fair to say most businesses are 'getting on with it'.
Q: How would you assess your time in business with Ulster Bank?
A: I've worked for in Ulster bank for 10 years and its been so varied. It's been a place of opportunity. My current and previous roles didn't exist before I was appointed.
There's value placed in hard work, knowledge and credibility. I've had the pleasure of working with entrepreneurs who are just starting out right up to plcs - that's given me insight into the many facets of starting, scaling and succeeding in business.