“For a partnership to flourish, both sides have to benefit.” 60 Seconds With: Fiona Heffernan, Commercial Director – Mail, An Post

60 Seconds With | Tue 22 Jan | Author – Business & Finance
Fiona-Heffernan-Commercial-Director-An-Post
Pictured: Fiona Heffernan, Commercial Director – Mail, An Post

Fiona Heffernan, Commercial Director for Mail at An Post, takes on the Business & Finance 60-second interview challenge.


Q. What was your first job?

My first management job was with GE as a Marketing Manager, managing partner relationships with One Direct (An Post), Hibernian (Aviva) and the EBS and managing the cross-sell program. At just 25 years old it was an incredible start to my career. It thought me a lot in terms of deal-making and working together. Representing one company, the temptation is to simply ensure that your employer wins, but for a partnership to flourish, both sides have to benefit, otherwise it will inevitably be short-lived. Spending time in the US at the GE Management School opened my eyes to the huge opportunities and possibilities ahead.

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

My current role in An Post has really allowed me to develop career-wise and to hone the skills I need.  I have moved into a more commercially driven role, compared to my previous positions, and it has afforded me a certain degree of freedom to influence how we do business and to directly impact our business volumes, because I am responsible for core mail media growth and bringing next generation mail media products and services to market. 

In September 2016, AdMailer.ie we launched to the Irish market. Within its first few months, it was awarded ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Chambers Ireland, InBUSINESS awards in December 2016, and the Best Utility category at the 2017 Digital Media Awards, and in June 2017 AdMailer.ie won in both the Innovation and eCommerce categories at the World Post and Parcel Awards.

When I first started in this role, mail volumes (letters & cards) had seen year on year revenue and volume falls of 10% to 15%. We were able stem that fall with a number of modernising initiatives, and we are now expecting sales revenue growth this Christmas for the first time in 10 years, on the back of our new Christmas products, and our new 2018 Christmas Moments Stamp Collection. Christmas can make or break mail revenue, so any change is hugely risky –but the introduction of new designs and products, changing Christmas to modular pricing and

changing formats has really paid off. These changes are resonating well with Irish households in the run up to Christmas. We’re probably the first country in Europe to reverse a mail volume trend.

I would consider this a huge achievement arising on the back of lots of hard work on the part of myself and my team.

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

Risk and reward.

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

It’s up to you to flex your style in order to get the best output from the people you work with.

Q. How do you motivate yourself?

I have a high energy team, I am so lucky to have such a great team of people around me. Collectively, we are motivated by empowerment and shared success.

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

I’d love to be an angel investor, mentoring small start-ups with ideas, money and energy – I just need about €10m in equity to kick-start that new role!

Q. How do you relax?

Hmmm – that’s the 2019 New Year’s resolution.

Q. What’s your motto?

Always do the right thing with integrity.

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

One year into my new role, looking back on our collective successes in 2018, I am absolutely confident that there is enormous scope to evolve mail services leading to revenue growth. 

My aspiration is that that we will build on the foundations for growth which have been laid, that we will deliver customer-centric products and services, and that we will continue our journey of commercial success.

Representing one company, the temptation is to simply ensure that your employer wins, but for a partnership to flourish, both sides have to benefit, otherwise it will inevitably be short-lived.