“Surround yourself with the best people.” 60 Seconds With: Susan Kirby, CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival

60 Seconds With | Tue 19 Mar | Author – Business & Finance

Susan Kirby, CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival takes on the Business & Finance 60-second interview challenge.

Q. What was your first job?

My parents ran a coach company and were travel agents so I have always worked in our own family business. I remember counting money and doing books with my Mum and cleaning buses with my Dad – simple pleasures. My work ethic from my parents stood out to me, be on time, deliver what was promised and the importance of good customer service.

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

Professionally I am so proud of the growth and success of the National Festival in the last number of years. I always describe the festival as the sum of its parts, in that so many talented, committed agencies, artists and audiences work together with my amazing team to create the festival. It returns over 73 million to the Irish economy and is an unprecedented national civic celebration, I am enormously proud and privileged to lead it with the help of a visionary Board of Directors.  On a personal note,  my family, they are the thing I am most proud of and my priority.

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

Thriving, positive impact.

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

Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

I once heard an anecdote about a well-known sports coach responding to a similar question and it resonates with me – to  paraphrase, I work on the basis that we all arrive extremely motivated, my job is to keep people motivated, and I am lucky to say I have the most incredibly talented and driven team. Respect for diversity of opinion and style, clear communication and acknowledgement of our achievements are my tools to keep both myself and team motivated.    

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

Bill Gates, I would be fascinated to understand how a philanthropist of his wealth makes social impact investment decisions.   

Q. How do you relax?

I walk every day, it is my chance to unwind, I also really enjoy painting, ideally with good music in the background. Spending time with family and friends is also really important to me – it is an injection of positive energy.

Q. What’s your motto?

Surround yourself with the best people, not quite a motto but my modus operandi.

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

We have really ambitious plans to grow the festival and increase our positive impact economically, socially and culturally. We aspire to define what a National Civic Celebration can be globally and are really excited by delivering that prospect.

My work ethic from my parents stood out to me, be on time, deliver what was promised and the importance of good customer service.