Passion, drive, collaboration: 60 Seconds with Paddy O’Connell, Managing Director, Berkley 

Business | Tue 7 Aug | Author – Business & Finance
Berkley
Paddy O’Connell,Managing Director, Berkley

Paddy O’Connell, Managing Director, Berkley  on keeping a cool business head, growing a team and developing new solution offerings for clients. 


Q. What was your first job?

When I was around 12-13 years of age my Uncle started on commercial potato production, so I was always busy around harvest time. It was good fun, working with friends and family with the added bonus of getting a bit of pocket money as well!

Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

After fourteen years working with Berkley I took the opportunity of buying the company back from the UK parent in June of last year. Having invested so much over the years I am excited to have the opportunity to drive further success and in the last twelve months we have grown the team by 60%, established an international hub in Cork and developed new solution offerings for our clients.

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

Passion, drive and collaboration.

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

My father always advised to never close a door behind you. It has stood me well through the years. Recruitment can be a very rewarding but at times a frustrating career. Notwithstanding the challenges that sometimes arise when dealing with people it’s always best to stay calm and courteous. Chances are you will be working with them again!

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

I have never had an issue with motivating myself. A successful recruiter needs to be self-motivated and resilient, with an ability to dust oneself down when the cards are not stacking up and start again. I am genuinely passionate for the business and I firmly believe in being clear with the team on how we are performing and how it aligns with our short and long term strategies. This approach motivates the team to work well as a collective and all are invested to drive further success for the business.

Q. If you stepped into the shoes of one business person for one day, who would it be and why?

Laszlo Bock. I read his book outlining his time with Google as SVP of People Operations where he was responsible for managing the attraction, development and retention of staff during a time of phenomenal growth in the company. I found the book fascinating and I’m sure a day spent gaining insights would prove invaluable as we scale our own organisation.

Q. How do you relax?

Cycling provides great head space and I go out early on a Sunday morning spin with friends. Since the start of the year I have taken up running and we have a running club in the office that gets two lunchtime runs in a week. The most enjoyable though is taking the kayaks out with the kids during the summer weekends in West Cork

Q. What’s your motto?

Let’s drive it on!

Q. What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

The last twelve months since the acquisition have been manic but in the mid-term we are fully focussed on scaling the business, providing resource solutions in the technology, life science and engineering sectors, to clients across Ireland, UK and Europe. After that we’ll see!

Berkley was founded in 1995 in Dublin before expanding to Cork in 2000. Since its formation the company has placed close to 10,000 people in jobs in Ireland and Europe. From its international headquarters in Cork, the company has ambitious plans to grow the business up to €50m turnover within three years and double their contractor base within that period as well.

My father always advised to never close a door behind you. It has stood me well through the years.