60 Seconds With

“For me, success is working in a role that you love,” — Lisa Molloy, of The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

By Business & Finance
18 October 2022
Pictured: Lisa Molloy, CEO, The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Lisa Molloy is the CEO of The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP). The IACP was established in 1981 to maintain and develop professional standards of excellence in the areas of counselling and psychotherapy.

What was your first job?

My first job was as a library assistant with Dublin City Council at the age of 18. I loved my experience in the library service and it was a great place to work. I had wonderfully supportive colleagues and being in a public facing role helped to bring me out of my shell. Best of all I had direct access to so many amazing books. I stayed in the library service for almost 3 years before moving to the more mainstream administrative career pathway. Once I made this move, I progressed to many different roles and sectors, from local authority, to health, to education and finally back to health, where my heart lies.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

My family has a long and proud tradition of working within the civil service and wider public sector. So, it was no big surprise that I would enter the “family business”. My father worked as a senior civil servant, and he was very passionate about his work and proud of his contributions to society. His influence instilled a desire in me to work in the public interest. I found that although I worked across several sectors that I kept gravitating back to health and specifically to governance roles. When I took on the role of Head of Corporate Governance, Communications and Secretary to Council with the Medical Council it introduced me to the world of health regulation. This role was a great fit for me as it enabled me to contribute to the delivery of high quality and safe health services to the public, by appropriately qualified professionals. When the opportunity arose to lead the largest representative body of counsellors and psychotherapists in the country it was a natural move, and it has proved to be the best career decision I have made.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

For me, it is the fact that I have managed to educate myself to a Master’s degree level while working full-time. Over the course of my career, I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Management with the Institute of Public Administration, my Master’s degree in Executive Leadership with Ulster University and more recently a Post-Graduate Certificate in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership with University College Dublin. 

Career-wise, would you do anything differently?

I am very happy in my current role as Chief Executive of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) and the journey for me is as important as the destination, so the answer would be no. Every step that I have taken on my career path has influenced where I am now, and I wouldn’t want to change that.

In one sentence, how would you define success?

For me, success is working in a role that you love, this can take some time to find but the search can be as rewarding as the result.

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

Words of wisdom from my father – never put all your eggs in one basket. When it comes to decision making always try to take the long view and the wide view, and in that way the organisation stands the best chance of long-term success. 

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

I work with a very passionate and committed team, not only our staff, but also our board of directors and more than 150 volunteer members. What motivates me is what also motivates the staff and volunteers of the IACP and that is a sense of purpose. When you have a shared vision and mission you can, as a leader, very effectively harness that passion and all pull together towards the same goal.

How do you handle adversity?

I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes so I can understand where they are coming from. Understanding the perspective of the other side is half the battle. The next steps are then to acknowledge that, put forward your own position and then hopefully you can work together to come up with a mutually acceptable solution. 

How do you relax?

I try to spend as much time as I can with my family, and I love entertaining at home for family and friends. I also try to exercise when I can, and I have recently taken up badminton. The main reason I chose badminton is that it is an indoor sport, so the bad weather gives me no excuse not to go. 

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

My aspirations for the IACP and myself are that we continue to promote and advance the profession of Counselling and Psychotherapy. We will achieve this through the continued emphasis on the promotion and provision of high-quality education, training, research, and professional development, by raising awareness of the value and benefits of Counselling and Psychotherapy and by supporting members to work to the highest possible standards, for the benefit and the protection of individuals seeking therapy. The ultimate aim or aspiration is to persuade the Government to create universal access to counselling and psychotherapy so that everyone can get the help they need, when they need it.


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