60 seconds with: “I believe in having a clearly-defined mission” – Derek Bell, RPC of Ireland

By Business & Finance
15 May 2018
Derek Bell, Retirement Planning Council of Ireland, retirement
Derek Bell, COO, Retirement Planning Council of Ireland

Derek Bell, COO, Retirement Planning Council of Ireland has plans to make retirement more desirable.

Q. What was your first job?

My first job was as an order clerk with ICI (Ireland) Ltd. processing orders for industrial chemicals. It was quite a shock after my student years but I was given responsibility quickly and it was a wonderful foundation in business which taught me that business is all about people. The right people with the right attitude working together can move mountains!

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

In business, reinventing myself several times – I have worked successfully in a variety of roles in multinational, indigenous and not-for-profit organisations as well as running my own business for 18 years – no wonder I have grey hair! Perhaps my greatest achievement is yet to come; certainly there is plenty to aim for with the Retirement Planning Council of Ireland.

On a personal basis, fathering and successfully parenting three (now adult) children.

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

Enthusiasm, energy and resilience.

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

In my formative years my grandfather insisted that, “There is no such word as ‘can’t’!” – it has shaped so much of my thinking and actions since.

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

I believe in having a clearly-defined mission and goals, engagement, communication and a constant desire to do better. Leading by example is key;

I will never ask anyone to do something that I am not prepared to do myself.

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

If he was alive today, Sir John Harvey Jones, a definite people person, a clear communicator and a visionary leader.

Of today’s business people, Ms Margaret Heffernan of Dunnes Stores. She has been at the helm of the organisation through good times and bad and has managed succession successfully, too.

Q. How do you relax?

I enjoy most sports, though much more as a supporter than a player these days! My large garden takes up most of my spare time.

Q. What’s your motto?

My motto is a quotation from Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

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

I would like the Retirement Planning Council of Ireland to be recognised, both nationally and internationally, as the destination of choice for all matters pertaining to retirement. This means thought leadership, research and resources for all who have an interest in the subject. The word ‘retirement’ has many negative connotations and the struggle is on to find a suitable replacement given the extended working life and life expectancy of today’s population. Statistically, a child born in 2018 has a life expectancy of over 100 years. The length of time people will spend in ‘retirement’ is likely to be almost as long as they have spent in work! Quite a challenge and one that requires a plan!

I believe in having a clearly-defined mission and goals, engagement, communication and a constant desire to do better.

The Retirement Planning Council of Ireland provides support, information and guidance to people planning for retirement. Having worked with organisations and individuals across Ireland for almost 40 years, it offers practical courses and seminars that talk through the financial and lifestyle changes retirement can bring and help people prepare for the time ahead.