60 Seconds With

“Consider things from multiple perspectives before responding” – 60 seconds with Kevin Keegan, Partner, Boyden Ireland/UK

By Business & Finance
13 December 2023
Headshot of Kevin Keegan, smiling, in professional navy suit, and a nature background
Pictured: Kevin Keegan, Partner, Boyden Ireland/UK

Kevin Keegan is a Partner at Boyden Ireland/ UK: Co Founder and Director Hammerlake Studios. He features in our 60 seconds with series.

What was your first job?

My father was a retailer, so I started working in the family business at the age of eight.  Although, I think I ate more than I sold… At twelve, I had my first non-family job at a wholesaler.  I worked my way through college and my first professional job was as a trainee occupational  psychologist at 24.  

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

This is my third career in adjacent fields. First as an Occupational Psychologist, Second as an  HR professional and Chief People Officer and now, as an Executive Search and Leadership  Consulting at Boyden. They fulfil the same passion for people and business. I fundamentally  believe that you cannot develop your business without finding and developing the right people.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date ?

I had the privilege of chairing the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Ireland, working with a team  that delivered over 1000 wishes to children with life-threatening diseases. When I took over as  Chair, it was the financial crisis, and the charity was struggling. I’m really proud of the work we  did and to have played a small part in comforting the children and families through difficult  times was a great honour.  

I’m extremely proud of the team at Boyden. Since establishing an office here with Maurice  Carr, the business has grown hugely by focusing on real relationships with people and  understanding our clients’ businesses. Boyden is an incredible global business. To live up to the  brand in Ireland was a big responsibility and I’d like to think that we are doing that.

Career-wise, would you do anything differently?

That’s an interesting question, yes and no! I’m quite hard on myself. However, without both  good and bad experiences, I wouldn’t have gained the insight I needed to make me a good  head-hunter and leadership consultant.  

In one sentence, how would you define success?

I think that success is about being able to apply your talents to something you care about and  using that to be able to make a difference, both professionally and personally.  

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

Stand back and consider things from multiple perspectives before responding. I learned that  from my mentor, Paddy Teahon. 

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

Passion, perspective, planning, and progress. Passion, connecting your work to something that is important to you and your team. Perspective, making sure that the bigger picture is always  held in mind. Planning, making a plan to make sure you know where you’re going. And finally, progress, always measuring against a starting point and your milestones.

How do you handle adversity ?

I try to live a fulfilled life in multiple areas, so that when I’m having a challenging time at work,  I have boundaries and try not to let those problems bleed outside of work. So, one of the ways  I deal with adversity is by disconnecting and coming back with a fresh perspective.  

How do you relax?

I’m recently married, and we have a 36kg boxer puppy who makes sure that I relax, or that he  relaxes anyway… I enjoy going to the gym and I have a group of friends who I regularly go work out with. I spend a lot of time with my wife and the two of us love to travel together. When I  find the time, I love nothing more than a good book, although, I enjoy a guilty pleasure. Netflix  does the trick.  Finally, being involved in things that aren’t about me or my career but benefit others. For me, that was Make-A-Wish which I mentioned and now I chair a school’s board of governors.  

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

I think there is a unique opportunity in the Irish executive search and leadership consulting  market to really understand a client’s business to connect with both the candidates and clients  as people and as professionals. The Boyden culture is about deep understanding, building  relationships and service. Our ambition is to grow the business, leveraging our distinct ability  to connect, cultivate and curate leadership and capability – we do that in a very personal way.   


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