Interview Series - Aoife Duggan

Jun 30, 2020

Interview with Aoife Duggan, Financial Controller Trimble Rail

Having studied Commerce in UCD and a Masters of Accounting in Smurfit School of Business, I qualified with KPMG in 2010. I worked as Audit Manager for a number of years in KPMG’s Consumer and Industrial Markets department.  Following that I joined Kerry Group in Co. Kerry, forming part of the group reporting team. I later held various roles within Commercial Finance, Treasury and Insurance in the US head office in Wisconsin. I recently returned to Ireland with my family and moved into the Technology Industry, where I joined Trimble as a Financial Controller.

Tell us a little bit about your current company in three sentences or less

Trimble Technologies Ireland is a software company specialising in leading solutions for passenger and freight trains – delivering engineering maintenance management and real-time remote diagnostic monitoring, among other services.

In 2014 the Company was acquired by Trimble Inc, a US listed company with annual revenues of c.$3bn and has formed part of the Geospatial Division’s Rail sector since.

What is the toughest decision you have had to make in your career to date?

Making the tough decision to leave a company earlier than I had anticipated and instead entirely change industry. In order to determine the best decision for me, when the environment and role was not suitable, meant reassessing what I wanted from a role/company/industry and relying on trusted advisors and mentors in the process.

What is the best piece of career advice you have been given?

Recently Louise Phelan, an incredibly successful business leader gave me one great piece of advice - to always be “Suitably Memorable” – so whether it is in a work meeting, on a zoom call or at a networking event.

It can be as simple as what you contribute to a discussion, a question you ask, how you introduce yourself, what you wear etc. – but always aim to be “Suitably Memorable”. I think it is great advice and makes you conscious of being present in the moment.

Who do you admire most and why?

I really admire Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister – even prior to her successful handling of the Covid-19 crisis. She stands out as an exceptional leader and a great role model - she was the youngest PM ever, sworn in at just 37 years old and became the first world leader to take maternity leave whilst in office.

Under her leadership, New Zealand’s ability to successfully minimise the number of deaths and cases to just 22 and 1,176 respectively, is incredibly impressive.

Her decisive and early responses were key to the country’s success – aided by her clear communication to New Zealand citizens. Today her actions are in such stark contrast to other countries, and illustrates lessons that can also be transferred to the business world.

Tell us something people might not know about you

Last year I joined Make-A-Wish Ireland as a volunteer and have really enjoyed getting involved in all aspects of the role. For anyone not familiar with Make-A-Wish, the charity grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Interestingly the charity receives no government funding. The energy among the staff and volunteers is really inspiring and it is so rewarding to see wishes being granted.

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