Interview Series - Roisin Bedford
My education and early training followed a well-trodden route: studying Business and French at Trinity, completing the Accountancy Masters at the Smurfit School and onwards to PwC where I spent five formative years. From there I spent a short spell in the internal audit function in CRH plc, followed by various roles across a six-year period within Group Finance at Ardagh Group. Today I work as the Revenue Finance Director at ICON plc.
Tell us a little bit about your current company in three sentences or less
Icon plc is a contract research organization, that provides outsourced development and commercialisation services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and government and public health organisations worldwide. The ICON mission is to help clients accelerate the development of drugs and devices that save lives and improve quality of life, which is more relevant than ever today, as we face the challenge posed by COVID-19.
What is the toughest decision you have had to make in your career to date?
The toughest decisions for me have always involved moving roles or organisations. This is to be expected of course, as there will always be an element of risk involved. For me, knowing there is a challenge in the role and an opportunity for professional development makes these decisions much less difficult.
What the best piece of career advice you have been given (or would give)?
‘You will never progress upwards if you are indispensable in your current role’. This struck a cord and gave me a real focus on building strong, confident and capable teams. This has a dual benefit, in that it empowers the team while at the same time ensuring succession; then should an opportunity arise to move roles or take on new challenges the organisation will not suffer.
If you could step into the shoes of any business person today, who would it be and why? Or who do you admire most and why?
It would have to be the indomitable racehorse trainer Jessica Harrington. Horse racing is a big business in which she has managed success and longevity – more than holding her own in a male dominated world. Even more admirable, is that she has combined her passion and talent with a successful business: the ultimate success in my opinion.
Tell us something people might not know about you
Most people that work with me will know this (as I talk about it a lot!), but once once I log off from work you will likely find me riding my horse (and generally covered in dirt) in the hills of Wicklow: the best way to switch off from the office.