Belfast Telegraph

'My parents taught me the merits of hard work'

Harry’s last holiday was to Krakow
Harry’s last holiday was to Krakow

Q&A: Harry McDaid

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

A: I'm not convinced there is a single piece of transformative advice - the best advice is usually multi-faceted. If I had to narrow it down, though, I'd say live your life in instalments.

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

A: Differentiate yourself to the point where you are making a difference and be resilient.

Q: What was your best business decision?

A: Best decision I made was to join the Bank of Ireland at the age of 17. As an organisation it was a fantastic meritocracy which opened up great opportunities to develop and progress.

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

A: I think I would have been a hairdresser. It would have been an expression of my latent, but deep-rooted creativity.

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

A: Last trip was to Krakow. Next holiday will be to Portugal.

Q: What are your hobbies/interests?

A: I enjoy walking, but the one thing I do every day is the Irish Times cryptic crossword. I find it intellectually therapeutic.

Q: What is your favourite sport and team?

A: Football and Aston Villa.

Q: And have you ever played any sports?

A: Yes, I played junior football to a relatively high level, played a lot of squash and would have been found in the gym about three times a week.

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

A: The only book I would read twice is Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada. It's a true story of a young couple living in Berlin during the Second World War and their determination to defy the Nazi regime. It's brilliant.

Q: How would you describe your early life?

A: My parents were both incredibly hard working as they provided for their family at a time when money was generally scarce. I have immense admiration for what they did. It was character building, instilling in me an awareness of the merit of hard work. That ethos is still with me.

Q: Have you any economic predictions?

A: Ultimately things will be good again, but in the meantime the bias is towards downside risk rather than upside potential.

Q: How would you assess your time with UCIT?

A: It's been hugely different from my previous business experience. It's shown me the benefits of collaboration. There's also a very high feel good factor when we see the positive social impact of the projects UCIT supports.

Q: How do you sum up working in the lending/finance sector?

A: When lending money make sure you understand the borrower's business; concentrate on the qu ality, sustainability and adequacy of earnings. Look for a sensible second exit and you won't go far wrong.

Belfast Telegraph