60 seconds with: Alma O’Brien, Baker Tilly Hughes Blake

Business, Interviews | Tue 26 Dec | Author – Business & Finance
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Alma O’Brien, Partner/Head of Tax, Baker Tilly Hughes Blake

Alma O’Brien, Partner/Head of Tax, Baker Tilly Hughes Blake, takes on the Business & Finance 60-second interview challenge.


Q. What was your first job?

My first job was a summer job when I was 15 – I worked as a chambermaid in a hotel in Limerick.

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

From a career perspective, one of the highlights was being appointed Partner and Head of Tax at Baker Tilly Hughes Blake. When I started in the firm in 2009 Ireland was in the midst of a financial crisis and I was the only tax advisor in the firm– we are now a tax team of 13.

However, from a personal viewpoint, I am most proud of my three children – after a long day at work, they remind you of the real priorities in life.

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

Health, wealth and happiness.

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

When things didn’t work out the way I had wanted, my mother would say to me, “What is for you won’t pass you”. I still use this advice as it allows you to see a negative situation in a positive light – it gives encouragement to keep on trying as there will be something better and more suitable out there for you.

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

Celebrate the wins and successes as a team.

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

Mary Robinson – as the first female President of Ireland and a catalytic United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs Robinson has demonstrated the power of charismatic leadership to engender change beyond the formal authority of a position.

Having grown up with Mary Robinson as President, I would love to step into her shoes and see what she how she perceives modern Ireland and the recent changes in the EU.

Q. How do you relax?

Heading off with our dogs for a long walk.

Q. What’s your motto?

Fortune favours the brave.

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

At Baker Tilly Hughes Blake, we are looking to grow significantly over the next few years. To do that, we want to be regarded as not just accountants or tax advisors but as trusted business advisors to our clients. The key to that is our people – we are very lucky to have such a great team working with us.

When things didn’t work out the way I had wanted, my mother would say to me, “What is for you won’t pass you”. I still use this advice as it allows you to see a negative situation in a positive light – it gives encouragement to keep on trying as there will be something better and more suitable out there for you.

Baker Tilly Hughes Blake is the Republic of Ireland representative of Baker Tilly International, one of the world’s leading networks of independently-owned and managed accountancy and business advisory firms.