60 Seconds With

“Transport is the moving force of every community, and should serve that community responsibly” – 60 seconds with Fiona Brady of FREE NOW

By Business & Finance
25 January 2022
Fiona Brady
Pictured: Fiona Brady, Head of Operations and Public Affairs at FREE NOW Ireland

Fiona Brady is Head of Operations and Public Affairs at FREE NOW Ireland.

What was your first job? 

As with many teenagers my first job was working in a pub, taking orders and collecting glasses. However, I would say my professional career really began when I joined Dublin Bus as part of their HR team after leaving university.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field? 

My career evolved, rather than having a set path or goal. Working for a public transport provider was a fantastic developmental experience. Apart from HR and industrial relations, I had the opportunity to learn all aspects of the business through the graduate program, and eventually pivoted into operations. Working in a bus depot was a completely different challenge, and where I started to recognise the importance of transport to the wider community and its societal and environmental impacts. From there, I moved to CarTrawler as I was really impressed with their culture and ethos and then I progressed to the multi-mobility app FREE NOW where I have been ever since. Wheels seem to be a common trend! 

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date? 

In my current role as Head of Operations and Public Affairs for FREE NOW, I’m really fortunate and proud to be a designated champion of sustainable mobility on behalf of the company – progressing our electric and multi-modal agendas and working towards ambitious targets. Transport is the moving force of every community, and should serve that community responsibly. We need to invest in the technology and infrastructure to make that happen. From different vehicle types, to the energy that fuels it. And it’s a long-term investment. At FREE NOW, we are committed to facilitating sustainable transport across the country. We are working towards 50 per cent of journeys in fully electric vehicles by 2025 and to be the first mobility platform in Europe to reach net zero emissions by 2030. 

Career wise, would you do anything differently?

There is always an opportunity to reflect on past experience, looking at what went well and what could have gone differently. Regardless of the situation there is alway a learning that brings us to where we are today. The trick is to take those learnings with you and focus on the future. But in terms of the sector I work in, it’s one I’m delighted to have found my feet in. 

In one sentence, how would you define success?

Freedom of choice.

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

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” The best laid plans will not succeed without everyone rowing in the same direction. And I’m pretty sure my colleagues are sick of me saying “if something looks or feels wrong, it most likely is. Trust your gut.” Both have served me well when it comes to strategy and decision making.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff? 

By always keeping the overall strategy top of mind and linking it back to the actions that we take. As a team we have open dialogue, trust, a collaborative attitude and never taking yourself too seriously is important too. It’s also important that we all understand and share our vision – that gives real meaning and motivation to our day-to-day work. Together we are working towards changing perceptions and habits surrounding transport. The future of transport is sustainable, multi-modal and electric, and we are all excited to help shape that future. 

How do you handle adversity? 

By reflecting on why it occurred and focusing on improvement for the future. 

How do you relax?

When I have the time, I love to stay active with a gym session, hike or stand-up paddle boarding in the sea. And of course, spending time with my wife and our baby daughter. 

What are your aspirations for the future of the business? 

FREE NOW Ireland is in a position to make important contributions to sustainable transport in Ireland, from growing the number of EV (electric vehicle) taxis available and introducing new modes of transport for communities in our app like eScooters. There is a place for the private car in many situations, however through EV transition, modal shift and the use of data and technology, we can present passengers through a multi-modal platform, with greater choice in how they travel, socialise and work. I’m excited to help drive that sustainable agenda.