Live Local, Work Global. Gemma McCooey
By: Gemma McCooey
I commenced my employment with First Derivatives on June 12th 2017 as a Business Development Executive, working locally at FD’s headquarters in Newry. Within just 12 months I have had the opportunity to travel to London, Leeds & the beautiful Tallinn, Estonia, working alongside FD’s Senior Management. In such a short space of time, I have undoubtedly gained such incredible experience and I am excited to see what my next chapter has to bring!
To take you through my journey so far, initially I started a training program within FD, which included a deep dive into Kx Technology. I found the non-financial side of the business thoroughly interesting, as the company had just closed amazing deals with the likes of NASA, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, and the UK’s No.1 Betting and Gaming Company. Within the non-finance sector we work across all verticals including retail, manufacturing, telco, utilities and space. As a girl who loves a little bit of retail therapy at the weekend, I jumped at the opportunity to join Kx’s Retail Campaign, having my name attached to meetings involving some of the World’s most recognised cosmetic, clothing, manufacturing and multinational technology companies.
As a result of the retail campaign’s growing success, FD challenged us to run two retail events in both London and Leeds, whereby I had the opportunity to face clients and identify gaps in the market for Kx. Achieving a full house at both of these events and having the privilege to meet with Managing Directors, CIO, COO and CDO’s of some of the World’s largest grocery, clothing, cosmetic retailers and food manufacturers, made the experience simply phenomenal. With both events being a massive success to myself and my co-workers (see team pic below) and after all the hard work and time dedicated to this challenge, we decided to celebrate in style. We were so impressed with the fine dining restaurants that Leeds had to offer and would highly recommend a visit. While in London we had endless options available. After some tough decisions, we decided upon the highest 24/7 restaurant, which is perched within the clouds on the 40th floor, overlooking London’s incredible cityscape. The accommodation FD so kindly arranged for me during the visit was a stunning 5*hotel, located in the centre of London (Woaw!)
Most recently, my journey with the Kx family has involved a trip to Tallinn in Estonia over a period of 4 days, to attend “Latitude 59″, which is an Estonian flagship start-up & tech conference. This gave me yet another growing opportunity to diversify further into the many sectors that FD has to offer, i.e. “The Kx Technology Fund”. My objective was to seek entrepreneurs who wanted to build disruptive technology, and therefore needed access to business and financial support. To be honest, I felt like I was working on Dragons Den for a few days, which was a lot of fun. I had 27 meetings scheduled back to back, these meetings entailed the entrepreneur commencing with a start-up pitch leading onto them demonstrating their new technologies/ideas. Innovation is a crucial factor in the growth of our economy and it was so inspiring to hear the different ideas from across the world. Ideas such as cyber security, blockchain, life sciences, machine learning, FinTech, retail, artificial intelligence, and AgriTech to name just a few. A truly once in a lifetime experience that I had the honour to be selected for!
On a monthly basis our work crew is rewarded with a night out that has become known as “Thirsty Thursdays” which varies from a few drinks at some of Newry’s local bars or the occasional weekend trip to Belfast or Galway. Following the Kx Retail event in London, I was straight off an EasyJet flight, headed back to our HQ in Newry where I jumped straight in to a taxi to Galway with the FD Ladies for a fantastic weekend away… and what a weekend it turned out to be! From watching Ireland play in The Quay’s bar to singing and dancing on the street after Halo Nightclub.
Like every good weekend, there is always a story to tell…. on our way back home from Galway (15 very sore heads on board, might I add) the taxi bus that I had the pleasure of booking broke down on the side of the motorway. Yes! We were stranded for 9 hours on the M6, I can tell you there was some serious team bonding done that day! So in the future, the moral of the story is, do not take ownership of organising taxis and take the train folks!
Within just 12 months FD has provided me with such amazing experiences and career progression. My responsibilities are continuing to expand as I get more involved with Senior Management targeting some of the World’s largest Manufacturing organisations located mainly within the DACH and US regions. I work closely with other departments such as the Funds team, Kx Meetups and Marketing as a ‘Social Media Champion’ promoting the company throughout LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook which is always exciting! I am very lucky to have found a company that allows me to work locally and travel globally. Our business development team and management are so friendly and full of ambition. I’m truly looking forward to seeing what the future brings with FD. #MyFDFamily #LiveLocalWorkGlobal