Why did you choose a career in Calypso with FD?

After graduating with a law degree in QUB I studied and progressed to becoming a solicitor. After several years of living in England studying and working as an apprentice solicitor I decided that the world of law was not for me and undertook a post graduate business conversion at the Michael Smurfit school at UCD Dublin. Following this I spent two years working in Paddy Power’s Risk department and a further five years working as a fund accountant in a Swiss Fund institution in Dublin’s IFSC. It was then in 2012 the opportunity came to join the First Derivatives team and specifically the calypso practice. This really appealed to me as it gave me the opportunity to join an exciting dynamic fast growing practice. Since joining the calypso team I haven’t looked back as FD have always constantly invested in me by providing the correct mentorship, guidance and support when needed particularly from my direct managers and also the opportunity to work with an outstanding team in our HQ office.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Although it took a bit of getting use to at the start I enjoy the fact that my role is diverse and I can’t predict what I will be working on from day to day. As mentioned above I assist Donal in running the overall calypso practice and therefore the nature of my role is not just restricted to dealing with the client and my own project teams but also entails me working with and dealing with almost all areas of the company from Business Development/sales team, legal teams, finance, management accounts, senior management through to HR and the recruitment teams. This gives me a real exposure to all facets of the business and helps me understand the scale of the operation that First Derivatives has become in recent times.

A part of my job which I really enjoy is working with and mentoring the junior members of the team within the calypso practice. I take an active involvement in their development right from their induction at FD, delivering their initial calypso training through to our graduate resources working on client projects – both near-shore and on-site – and helping to manage/shape their progression within FD. Generally the calypso team has a road-map for our graduates & once they have conducted the training in HQ we like our team members to spend some time on a live project in Newry before they are on-boarded to client facing projects on site. Once on-site I like to stay in touch regularly with members of the team ensuring that the calypso management are providing them with as much support as possible and to ensure that where possible we are managing their expectations around career progression through regular meetings and off course the annual review process.

What does your current working day look like?

Currently I have direct responsibility for the delivery of three projects. Therefore my typical day usually starts with team meetings where the agenda is not only managing any issues that have arisen from the previous day but also around driving the milestones against our overall plan ensuring the team is hitting their deadlines. These daily meetings are especially important as all my projects are Fixed Price engagements therefore its vital that my project teams are hitting the required milestones within our timelines to ensure we are both on time and in budget. As my clients are all currently US based my afternoon can become quite busy/hectic with daily project meetings, status updates & governance calls. As mentioned above I also spend a sizeable chunk of my time each day working on non-project tasks to assist in the overall running of the calypso practice. This workload can be quite diverse & vary from day to day involving working on contracts; recruitment and interviews, account management, drafting proposals and estimates for clients, HR issues, calypso training, project resourcing and peer reviews. Outside of my own direct calypso project deliverables I also would work closely with the other calypso leads on all of our live projects to ensure that there are no major issues/red flags around project deliverables and resourcing.