60 Seconds With

“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it” – 60 seconds with Niamh Costello, chief executive of CREW

By Business & Finance
23 March 2021
Pictured: Niamh Costello, chief executive of CREW

Niamh Costello is chief executive of CREW, Creative Enterprise West, a brand-new collaborative initiative which supports the creative digital enterprise sector in the west of Ireland. Key partners in this dynamic CREW initiative are Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), the Western Development Commission (WDC) and Galway Film Centre (GFC). Niamh Costello is the former chief executive of Galway Technology Centre, where she spent 7 successful years.    

What was your first job?

I grew up on a farm surrounded by extended family so there were lots of unpaid jobs from an early age. My first ‘real job’ was as waitress in ‘Rosie’s Coffee Shop’ in my hometown of Cavan. I was interested in hospitality from a very young age, and I went on to do a BA in Hospitality Management at GMIT, spending the early part of my career as a manager with Jury’s Doyle Hotels, Millennium Hotels in the UK, and Ritz Carlton Hotels in Australia.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

On a professional level, helping to establish a vibrant, innovative start-up ecosystem in Galway through my work with Galway Technology Centre, Galway City Innovation District and Galway Chamber.

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

Work – Life – Balance

To me that is the true definition of success, be happy in work, in life – the challenge to reach that is ongoing!

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

Listen, be kind, focus on what matters. I was also advised early in my career to focus on relationships and to build trust and respect people. That is something that I live by every day.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

I take great pride in seeing young companies get established and grow. I try to lead with enthusiasm, empathy and example and drive innovation every day. Seeing companies establish, meet milestones, helping them to solve problems and seeing their successes motivates us and is very rewarding,

How do you relax?

Family, the sea, food and travel. Despite living on the coast for 15 years, I am not a swimmer, but since lockdown number 1 I have been dipping almost every day – it is a great ‘reset’! Yes, I am one of the ‘dryrobe brigade’, one of our local fishermen calls us a ‘new tribe of nuns’!

What’s your motto?

Problems are for solving – there is always a solution. In the words of George Bernard Shaw: “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it”

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

To see a thriving eco-system of startups and growing companies in our region, here in the west, delivering value, being paid a fair price for what they do, having a choice to build a life here. To play a part with CREW (Creative Enterprise West) in delivering a centre of excellence for the Creative Digital sector – the opportunity is there. To have the west of Ireland recognised internationally as a great place to start and grow a business in this sector. To see future generations build a successful career and life here by choice.