60 Seconds With

“Always stay curious” – 60 seconds with Kathy Boles, Head of Sales & Communications, DPD Ireland

By Business & Finance
05 December 2023
Image of Kathy Boles standing near a mirror, smiling and captured with her reflection
Pictured: Kathy Boles, Head of Sales & Communications, DPD Ireland

Kathy Boles is Head of Sales & Communications, DPD Ireland, a role she has performed since May 2022. Prior to taking up her position with DPD, she was Head of Sales and Marketing at Arthur Mallon Foods. She features in our 60 seconds with series.

What was your first job?

I joined AC Nielsen Market Research as an Account Executive when I graduated. It was a brilliant introduction to business and taught me a huge amount about FMCG and myself. 

At 21 years of age I had a wonderful selection of Blue Chip customers and I had to get really used to presenting and explaining data to groups of much more experienced teams. To this day I think back on those early years and feel so fortunate to have had such a great start.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated. Unemployment was almost 20% and droves of young people were emigrating from Ireland to work elsewhere. I have always been fascinated with human behaviour and AC Nielsen offered me a great chance to learn about consumer behaviour and the impact of sales, marketing and innovation on brand performance. Getting exposure to the successes and challenges of so many leading brands was both interesting and informative.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date ?

After 33 years in the FMCG, taking up my role as Head of Sales & Communications in DPD Ireland is my proudest achievement. Firstly, this role has given me the opportunity to work with an incredible, diverse and talented group of people. DPD Ireland prides itself on having a family style culture and this creates a really positive and supportive working environment.

Our people are encouraged to be themselves and are really supported to develop their skills to make the most of all the opportunities within the company. As the leading parcel delivery service in Ireland, the pace is fast and we are always embracing new technology to ensure that our customers and their customers get the best service in the country. Sustainability is very important to the business and we are on target to have reduced our total emissions by 40% this year, and as part of this are on track to deliver 25% of all our parcels by electric vehicle by December.

Career-wise, would you do anything differently?

I wouldn’t change anything. The richest learning often comes from the most difficult challenges and this is especially true in a work environment. I believe that you should give 100% to everything that you take on and that everybody should be treated with respect and equality. When I think back over my career it is the colleagues and friends I’ve made that give me most joy. 

In one sentence, how would you define success?

Success for me personally is striving to make a positive difference to the people in both my personal and my work life.

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

Always stay curious, ask questions, don’t assume and never underestimate the value of really listening.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

I love my job and I get huge enjoyment from the people I work with in DPD Ireland. I jump on the spinning bike early most mornings and that’s a brilliant energy kick-starter mentally and physically. We are all unique and find our motivation in different ways so taking time to understand each individual team member is very important. Hybrid and remote working offers great flexibility but it can also cause isolation and loneliness. Now more than ever people need to feel they have a sense of purpose and inclusion in their work. Feeling part of a team as well as being given the opportunity to develop individually are key engagement and motivational drivers. 

How do you handle adversity ?

Adversity is part of life and learning to be calm and non-judgemental is key to good outcomes. Being honest and compassionate is really important and listening to all the perspectives; there are always two sides.

How do you relax?

I love walking, cycling, reading, cooking and music. I am not good at doing nothing! I have just taken up yoga having been a cynic for decades and I am converted completely. The sense of deep relaxation after a busy day is priceless. 

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

For DPD Ireland to continue to be an employer of choice and a fantastic place to work for all of our 2000 colleagues across Ireland. As the leader in parcel delivery it is incumbent on us to keep finding the best technology and innovation to drive the best possible service for our customers.


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