60 Seconds With

“Try and have at least one laugh every day!” – 60 seconds with Deirdre Devitt, CEO of Novaerus at McGreals

By Business & Finance
19 October 2021

Pictured: Deirdre Devitt, CEO of Novarus at McGreals

Deirdre Devitt is the CEO of Novaerus at McGreals, distributors of Irish-made medical-grade Novaerus technology that disinfects the air and deactivates viruses and bacteria at DNA level. In her role Deirdre is responsible for the organisation’s sales and operational activities. Recent growth has focused on providing the technology to a wide variety of sectors and businesses including corporate, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, education, and hospitality. This is reflected by Deirdre’s experience and her commitment to people and their personal wellbeing.

What was your first job?

Working with my dad, Willie Devitt, in our family pub in Camden Street from a young age. It was once, “The Cusack Stand,” but known as “Devitts” these days. We lived upstairs and there were six of us kids so the opportunity to escape downstairs and spend time with my dad was one I grabbed with both hands – and I got paid! We had some great characters as customers, I had short hair so was mistaken for “a young fella” often! Working in the pub gave me confidence as it did to many younger staff as they find their feet earning a weekly wage to get themselves through college.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

Building strong relationships has always been important to me. If I can find a way, I will, I don’t generally take no for an answer – there is always someone you can pick up the phone to and make it happen – this is very much the Irish way, I guess. My role at Novaerus at McGreals allows me to bring people on a journey, providing them with a proven solution that’s Irish made. 

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

Aside from becoming a mom and my role as the first female Chair of The Licensed Vintners Association, it has been taking up my current position at such a pivotal time. At the outset of the pandemic, the McGreals Group Managing Director, Kilian McGreal, implemented Novaerus technology at their premises to support and protect their staff and customers. The efficiency of the device was recognised and now, as a result, they form part of our service in providing a crucial solution to protect people’s wellbeing in indoor spaces.

Career wise, would you do anything differently?

No. I went from financial services into the family business in 2006, whilst running my own consultancy company for a while too. What I learned in the pub trade has made me who I am, and you’ve got to be happy with yourself! It awarded me the opportunity to explore every single idea I ever had and bring them to fruition, building a business through the recession and diversifying all the time – best experience ever. I also worked with ALONE for 18 months which was invaluable as supporting older people is hugely important to me.

Joining Novaerus at McGreals has been a learning curve which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. We are a tight knit and passionate group, this coupled with support from the wider Novaerus team has enabled us to continue growing. I work with a variety of different sectors daily, from enterprise centres, professional services to hospitality, all of whom have needs for continued business operation and protecting people’s wellbeing. Being able to not only meet those needs but provide an Irish solution in the form of Novaerus has been immensely rewarding.

In one sentence, how would you define success? 

Never giving up, always finding a way, and walking away happy that you did it justice! 

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

Probably from my dad, who is as honest and fair as the day is long and instilled that in us all. I speak my mind, for good or for bad. 

How do you motivate yourself and your staff? 

Do your best, give credit where its due and try and have at least one laugh every day!

How do you handle adversity?

I am a fair person and take a balanced approach when faced with challenges. I prioritise keeping communication open, being transparent and see dealing with situations head on as being the best way to reach a resolution. 

How do you relax? 

I spend as much time as I can with family and friends.  Being able to meet people again and seeing them well has been really great – especially in Novaerus protected bars and restaurants around the country. 

What are your aspirations for the future of the business? 

We are at a pivotal point now where people are beginning to understand the importance of air quality indoors and as a company are committed to protecting people’s safety. Ultimately, I would like to see a Novaerus device installed in the majority of indoor settings nationwide and to support Novaerus to scale internationally. Quite simply, our indoor air should never be the same again – it should be better and keep people safer.