60 Seconds With

“I understand that there will be bumps along the way” – 60 Seconds with Maria Quinlan, Head of LifeSight in Ireland

By Business & Finance
20 September 2023
Pictured: Maria Quinlan, Head of LifeSight in Ireland.

Maria Quinlan is Head of LifeSight in Ireland. LifeSight is WTW Ireland’s defined contribution pension solution. 

What was your first job?

I have always enjoyed being active and when I was in secondary school I worked as a swimming teacher locally in Mallow. Then when I left college, my first job was with WTW as a student actuary in our retirement team and I have been lucky to forge a career over the past twenty-five years with the company.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

Maths and business-related topics have always been a keen interest, so I naturally progressed from school to actuarial and financial studies. Working as an actuary has enabled me to blend my fondness for the technical aspects of maths and financial systems, with a client-facing role where I work as part of a diverse team. With LifeSight we work with a broad range of clients across several sectors, so the mix of technical and consulting skills required makes it very interesting.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

The recent and ongoing success of LifeSight, WTW’s Master Trust has been a real highlight. We have €2bn in assets committed to our master trust and I am looking forward to its continued growth and working with a diverse range of organisations in the future.

Career wise, would you do anything differently?

Overall, I have been very fortunate and had the opportunity to grow my career in a progressive way. If, however I was to do anything differently, I would probably look to broaden my base of expertise and experience at an earlier stage which can be hard, particularly when you are in a technical role.

In one sentence, how would you define success?

For me, success is about striving for the right balance, whether that be trying to successfully balance work and home, or the ongoing needs of our clients.

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

I have worked with some very knowledgeable people throughout my career, but one piece of advice that has stayed with me is that you can’t win every battle. Focus on the ultimate outcome you are trying to achieve.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

I have found that the most proactive and motivated teams are those that understand the overall objective and feel empowered in their work. As such, I look to motivate myself and the team by encouraging two-way conversations, staying close to people, having some fun and giving them the opportunity to grow their experience and interests in the business.

How do you handle adversity?

Based on my own experience, I understand that there will be bumps along the way as we look to achieve our objectives. I look to be optimistic and if there are challenges, I focus on solutions and getting back on track to achieve our overall goals.

How do you relax?

I have a busy life outside the office with an active family at home. I enjoy spending as much time as possible with them. I have retained an interest in health and fitness, and I consistently attend 6am group personal training classes which are an important outlet for me to unwind.

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

There is a very strong demand in Ireland for LifeSight which has been driven by growing interest among employers to find the most effective options to meet new regulations. Employers now also need to prepare for new auto-enrolment requirements due to be in place in 2024. As master trusts become the dominant pension approach for employers in Ireland, we hope to continue our growth, develop our team, and broaden our base of clients.


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