60 seconds with: Denise Fitzgerald, CEO, Temple Street Foundation

Business, Interviews | Tue 10 Oct | Author – Business & Finance denise fitzgerald temple street foundation
Denise Fitzgerald, CEO, Temple Street Foundation

Denise Fitzgerald, CEO, Temple Street Foundation, takes on the Business & Finance 60-second interview challenge.


Q. What was your first job?

My first job was in Wellworth’s supermarket in Armagh where I grew up. I was sixteen at the time and delighted with my modest £2.70 an hour. Starting at the bottom of the food chain and being part of such a big team taught me many valuable lessons that I’ve carried with me throughout my professional life – good customer service and relationship skills, the importance of time management and how to focus on a task and follow due process. I worked hard six days a week while studying and keeping up my camogie practise. I burnt the candle at both ends but looking back it was definitely worth it!

Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

On a personal note, I would have to say that my three children are my greatest achievement. And I obviously couldn’t do the job that I’m doing without the support of my husband – he’s my biggest champion. My family is and always will be my priority.

Professionally, I would have to say that I am extremely proud of everything that I have been able to achieve for Temple Street Hospital thanks to my team who always go above and beyond for the sick children in our care. Since 2005, we have achieved a 400% growth in fundraised income and this growth has allowed us to make an even bigger impact across the hospital funding life-saving equipment and groundbreaking research. We’ve also redeveloped many of our critical care areas including our Intensive Care Unit and Neonatal Wards and we are only months away from opening our new €5 million Neurology & Renal Outpatients Unit. This new unit, once open, will totally transform the care we provide to our little patients and their families.

But there is still so much more we need to do and that is why it is so important that we continue to raise funds in the months and years ahead and give every sick child that comes through our doors a fighting chance.

Q. In three words or less, how do you define success?

Dream, dare, deliver.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

You’ll never get different results if you keep doing the same thing. Constantly innovate, constantly evolve and don’t be afraid to take risks.

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

I am surrounded by motivation every single day. I only need to walk through a ward and chat to a parent to remind myself why what we do is so important. I am also fortunate to have a very strong and confident team with a great work ethic. I try to ensure that we always focus on the positive and encourage a creative and supportive working environment.

Q. If you could step into the shoes of one business person for the day, who would it be and why?

Declan Ryan, Co-Founder, Ryanair is a business person who I greatly admire. Having achieved huge success in his professional life, he then set his sights on social impact and co-founded the One Foundation, donating more than €40 million to worthy causes.

Q. How do you relax?

I relax by spending time with family and friends. Most weekends you’ll find me at the side of a pitch cheering on the kids. I also love to run and have completed/endured three long marathons – Berlin, Rome and New York!

Q. What’s your motto?

Trust your instinct. I really believe in trusting and listening to my gut instinct – it has served me well. When leaving Bank of Ireland for Temple Street, my gut instinct was that I would never regret doing the right thing and I was right. It is so much better than I could ever have imagined and I love what we do for sick kids.

Q. What are your aspirations for the future of your business?

Every single day, more sick children come through the doors needing urgent, potentially life-saving treatment. We are focused on ensuring that the job we do in Temple Street Foundation leads to the best possible outcomes for these children. That can only be achieved by pushing the boundaries of excellence in the foundation in the months and years ahead and continuing to bring transformational change to the hospital.

When leaving Bank of Ireland for Temple Street, my gut instinct was that I would never regret doing the right thing and I was right. It is so much better than I could ever have imagined and I love what we do for sick kids.