60 seconds with: Stephen O’Boyle, Head of Professional Services at BSI

Finance, Interviews | Tue 28 Aug | Author – Business & Finance
Stephen O’Boyle, Head of Professional Services at BSI

Stephen O’Boyle, Head of Professional Services at BSI , takes on the Business & Finance 60-second interview challenge.


Q. What was your first job?

My first real job was testing modem drivers for localized versions of Windows 95 at Microsoft. I will always remember being a bit naive in the interview, and some of my answers were probably a little too honest, the HR and the business manager had conflicting views on whether to hire me but the business manager won out. I worked there for the next three years progressing from a contractor to a permanent employee before graduating to lead of the software testing team.

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

Without a shadow of a doubt, it would be helping to grow Espion into what it has become today – a Centre of Excellence for the Cybersecurity and Information Resilience division of BSI. (BSI acquired Espion in 2016). It has been my greatest achievement to date and I’m very proud of the talented team that I’ve seen grow in tandem with the company and look forward to its continued growth in the future.

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

Achievement, balance, and family.

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

It’s a well-known one and a good piece of advice – that there is no ‘I’ in team.

My first manager from Microsoft (you know who you are) set the tone for my approach to work and my management style and allowed me to put this piece of advice into practice. It was a busy time when I worked there as the Internet Explorer browser was about to be launched globally. I learnt that no matter how unachievable something seems at first, that if you are willing to do whatever it takes, and that if you work together, anything can be done.

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

For me it’s to set clear objectives with our team at BSI and to simply stay focused and work together to achieve those objectives – that’s our motivation! I’d also never ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself which can sometimes get me into trouble as I’ve quite high expectations of myself! In terms of staff engagement, every quarter we sit down as a team in an offsite location and review what’s working and what’s not, and analyse next steps. This keeps morale high and maintains commitment and focus for the team.

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

While I’m influenced by many different people across different industries, Richard Branson would be the frontrunner for me. He manages a variety of business ventures and yet everything he does remains steadfastly customer centric and I admire his focus in this respect.

Q. How do you relax?

I relax in two ways: I’ve always been passionate about the industry I’m in and I find nothing more relaxing than to keep up to date with the latest cybersecurity and privacy news (sad I know but true!). I also play 5 a side soccer and it’s the only thing I leave work on time for. I’ve also taken up running recently and ran my first 5k thanks to our internal BSI workplace health and wellness initiative

Q. What’s your motto?

To be honest I don’t really have a motto but what I do believe is that if you know what you need to achieve and work hard at it, alongside your team, and you are always learning from your mistakes, then the world is your oyster and anything can be achieved!

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

Our Cybersecurity and Information Resilience division at BSI is growing successfully which is a reflection of all the hard work done by our team. In the future I hope that this continues and that we become the go-to global partner for organisations looking to secure their information requirements.

It’s a well-known one and a good piece of advice – that there is no ‘I’ in team.