60 seconds with: Lisa Smith

Business, Interviews | Thu 20 Jul | Author – Business & Finance 60 seconds with: Lisa Smith

Founder of EngageSmith, Lisa Smith, takes the Business & Finance 60-second interview.


Q. What was your first job?

My first job was as an intern in AIB, Tallaght. I was on the floor of the branch helping customers with their lodgements; I then progressed to helping customers on the phone. I loved that part of the job as I had the opportunity to interact with people.

In terms of a career my first job was with internet security company, Blue Coat Systems. I was responsible for developing new business and renewals in the UK initially and then EMEA. It was in this job that I realised that millennials had a different way of working from Gen X or Baby Boomers, but companies weren’t aware of this. This was the first time I saw the potential problems that this could cause and started to think about the solution I could provide.

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

Despite winning two senior club All-Ireland Football medals with Ballyboden and receiving an award from Michael Dell, setting up my own business has definitely been my biggest achievement to date.

Running my own business is hard work but it’s satisfying to see the value we bring to organisations that are struggling to attract, engage and retain millennial staff. For example, I see organisations that have big problems in terms of their staff attrition rate.

However, when they take the steps to become millennial-friendly as a result of our training programmes, problems like these change drastically. This is something I’m very proud of.

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

One of my football coaches took me aside when I was about 16 years old and told me to “Believe in myself, because I had something special”. This has helped me through the challenging times of setting up EngageSmith.

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

There are many fantastic business people out there doing great work. I’ve never thought about wanting to be in anyone else’s shoes as I’m very focused on creating my own footprint.

However, I admire the huge number of Irish entrepreneurs who see a gap in the market and just go for it by setting up their own business. 

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

Seeing the difference our training programmes make to companies really motivates me. Working with clients to create happier work environments where employees are engaged, motivated and productive is very rewarding.

Our programmes make a tangible difference to a company’s atmosphere, its ability to attract and engage not only millennial staff, but also all generations. Following the training programme companies usually notice a significantly drop in the attrition rates.

Getting the feedback on the positive impact our programmes and training makes is fulfilling. It reinforces to me that we’re on the right track in what we’re doing as I can see the proof that it works.

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

Pride, truth and humility.

Q. How do you relax?

As a mother with a young daughter and running my own business means it can be hard to carve out time. However, no matter how busy and hectic the day is I make sure I find a few minutes for myself, even if this is a quiet cup of tea.

I find this routine very important as it allows me to focus on the things I need to accomplish that day.

Q. What’s your motto?

Treat others as you want to be treated. It’s an old motto but a good one. I firmly believe that treating people as you would like to be treated is something to live by.

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

I want to educate organisations on the importance and the benefits of becoming a millennial-friendly workplace.

Millennials are a huge part of the workforce: 50% of the workforce in Ireland are millennials, by 2025 three quarters of Irish workers will be millennials.

Given these statistics it’s vital that companies ensure they’re millennial friendly so that they to attract, engage and retain millennials by successfully assimilating them into the workforce, thereby improving the return on people investment.

I want to educate organisations on the importance and the benefits of becoming a millennial-friendly workplace