Cloud software engineer
As a mother of two teenagers, I want to role model more than anything that life is one long adventure, where you get to work hard and pursue the things that are important to you, and to never stop learning. I certainly began a very different chapter of life in my 30’s and it’s been a wonderful change of trajectory.
I grew up in Meath, the youngest of four in a busy family where my parents owned a hotel and some pubs. So, from my teens I’ve grown up around and worked in the service industry. I always had the ambition of owning my own pub by the age of thirty, and the day I opened The Lantern in Galway 12 years ago was a real milestone for me. I’d studied business at college after school but soon knew it wasn’t for me. I’m good behind the counter and working with people, and the pub was the kind of place and sense of community where everyone knew your name. We had the crazy corner and everyone enjoyed the craic. It was a really hectic time though as my children were only four and two and my partner worked as a courier during the day, and I worked the pub in the evenings, so it was hard work. Sadly, the pub trade died and we had to close after three years in 2012. It broke me. It was like losing a limb and was really tough. But I had to think with my head not my heart, and we made the decision to get out while we were still solvent.
I’d been in the service industry since I was 16 and I felt I needed a new path.
I’ve always had a very logical mindset and was always taking things apart and making things work, so I decided to enroll in a springboard course in Computer and Electoral Engineering. The idea of the course was to upscale each participant enough with the skills required for industry and provide a work placement module with the anticipation that you can gain full time employment on completion. After a few weeks I resigned to the fact that I was going to investigate the requirements for commencing the full-time level 7 course.
I knew immediately it was my passion and couldn’t wait to get started on the full degree. GMIT (now known as Atlantic Technology University) were amazing and so accommodating of the fact I was a parent. In my 4th year I did an internship in Intel on the Silicon Team. I loved it and found the team was amazing. I remember on my first day, the Senior Engineer walked past and said “You’re new! Let’s go for a cup of tea” and I just loved that mindset. After my final year I was offered a job in Intel. Even before COVID, I was able to work two days at home and three days in work. I live in Galway but the drive to Shannon is actually faster than getting into the centre of Galway.
I’m now doing my masters with Intel in Leadership, Innovation and Technology and after most of my career being unpredictable, I’m really enjoying the sense of stability, yet I know there is so much potential for progression in the company. Every team has completely different workstream, uses different tools and is like working for a different company.
It was such a wonderful moment to have my kids at my graduation and for them to see me work hard and pursue my dreams. Both are very sporty and we are literally on the road all the time with matches and I have my laptop in the car while they’re training so I can study.
I’ve always loved sports and have played a lot of GAA and volleyball. Now I’m at a GAA pitch every night of the week and am very involved in my community.
That’s why I love the work on the Intern committee at Intel. I know how important my internship was and now I get to look after interns to make sure they get the most from their experience. Even on my team, I like everyone to have their camera on during meetings and stay connected. During lockdown we did some fun team exercises like Zoom painting classes and it was brilliant to keep connections going and have a complete laugh with each other. We also made dinner together online and had a cocktail masterclass (where my pub days came into action). After being engaged for 15 years, my partner Aaron and I finally decided to get married last year. When we started planning for the wedding, we thought like the rest of the world that COVID was only going to last a few weeks, but we got so lucky and had the wedding in a window between lockdowns. Because we’d made those connections with the team online, I even had members of my team attend who I’d never met in person before.
It means a lot that my children have seen me graduate and now get married. I hope I’m showing them they can do anything at any time in their lives. They have been on site a few times and they think I go to work and play on a playstation!
I’m a huge advocate for women in STEM and we used to go to the schools during Engineering Week and I love the way my daughter doesn’t see any bias in terms of what she can do or achieve in her life.
I miss the pub days sometimes, but I love what I’m doing now. I’ve a great team in Shannon and such an amazing network. There’s not a single person I couldn’t message and connect with, no matter what the levels and in many ways it reminds me of that pub community, and the sporting community, being in an environment where everyone knows your name.