60 seconds with: Niamh O’Driscoll

Business, Interviews | Tue 9 May | Author – Business & Finance Niamh O'Driscoll Fastnet

Managing partner at Fastnet – The Talent Group, Niamh O’Driscoll, takes the Business & Finance 60-second challenge.


Q. What was your first job?

I started part-time with Murphy’s School Supplies as a retail sales assistant when I was still in school and continued for some of college.

The queues used to be down the whole of Washington Street in Cork back then! Now we have options, which include online, so there doesn’t tend to be such a last minute rush before schools go back.

I think everyone should work in retail and hospitality at the early career stage – essential apprenticeship for understanding the customer and developing a work ethic that never leaves you.

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

Founding Fastnet and growing it to be the market leader it is today.

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

My aunt Eibhlín was principal of a secondary school – Coláiste an Phiarsaigh – and a great inspiration to me (no prizes for guessing how I got the job in Murphy’s School Supplies!).

Her mantra was ‘Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí.. I strongly believe in praise and a pat on the back for a job well done and always celebrating success.

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

Michael O’Leary. Our styles would be very different (clearly his is very effective), but who wouldn’t want to see how this guy operates out of sheer curiosity!

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

Happiness. This means different things for different people but is the Holy Grail as far as I am concerned.

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

Our culture at Fastnet is very collaborative, creative and somewhat familial.

Regular communication is critical for motivation and connection. I am lucky to have surrounded myself with exceptional people who are self-motivated and make me look good!

Q. How do you relax?

I love gardening, interior design, tennis, good food and spending time with my family and friends.

Q. What’s your motto?

Hire for attitude

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

We founded Fastnet almost 18 years ago, and we adopted an approach of ‘Not just placers….partners’. We are very fortunate that 80% of our business is repeat business, and we have developed strong partnerships with clients over time.

Our approach and services have always evolved intuitively based on understanding our clients’ challenges and opportunities.

Sourcing and attracting top talent continues to be a priority, but how that talent is deployed has become key.

In response to the growing need for a strategic end-to-end approach to talent management, we rebranded to Fastnet – The Talent Group last year, and launched a new Talent and Transformation division in Q1 this year.

I am looking forward to continuing to partner with clients to source and attract the very best talent, but now with a deeper capability to focus on their talent management people strategies for the full employment life cycle.

The future for our business is very exciting!