Deirdre Twomey is the Head of Bank of Ireland in Kerry, she has worked in Bank of Ireland for over 19 years and has worked in every area of branch banking in her career. Prior to her role in Kerry, Deirdre covered Limerick city as an area manager until her move back to Kerry making her the first women in charge of the Kerry team.
A graduate of UCD with a QFA and Professional Banker qualification she leads a team of over 60 people in the county
Under what conditions do you get your best work done?
I’m at my best when I’m under pressure, not the intense kind that doesn’t allow you to breathe but the kind that keeps you on your toes and always moving forward, especially when we need to find solutions to problems, there is ‘’always a way’’! I strongly believe in that theory and while some days you can’t see the answer it will always find its way you to you once you don’t narrow your search and get external help from colleagues/peers.
Have you had a mentor and if so how did this person impact you?
I’ve had major influences in my career, two people, in particular, stand out for me and both of them had very different styles in management but at their core was a very deep understanding of people and how to keep them engaged. They had huge amounts of positive energy and used this to their advantage always looking for the way to get the job done rather than all the issues on why the job couldn’t be done.
What is the one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
I understand that for some roles you might need to be deep in the detail but in order to really lead you need to have a wider view of your role and sometimes you can get caught up in the numbers, spreadsheets and templates when really you need to step away from this and look up to see where you’re headed and what you can do on a higher level to get there…..so keep pulling yourself back from the mire that can be the numbers/detail and get your head up!!
Have you ever been professionally stuck? How did you become unstuck?
Absolutely, not just once or twice but I find myself every 3 to 4 years looking for the next job to challenge me. I like to keep moving forward and that little bit of ‘’fear of the unknown’’ really pushes me to progress, this can be demanding on yourself as you can want changes within your career but they may not be there at the right time or they may be there but not in the right location. Patience really comes into play here and believing that the right role will come along eventually if you keep doing the right things. Another quality is resilience, you need to be prepared to take knocks, you will not always be the right person for the role and you can’t always take this personally. I also needed to acknowledge that for me locality was a big influence in my career, I had opportunities in Dublin but they were not the right time or location and while at the time I was frustrated it was the payoff I was willing to take to stay in Kerry.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Growing up in an environment that was very male-dominated I thought I would need to become someone else or change in some way to fit in better. Over the years I’ve realised that you have to, number one, find out who you are and number two stick to that…… You can never be someone else, you need to be authentic to who you are and that belief in yourself will naturally build over time. Your sense of self makes for a very confident and clear presence that is behind all your actions and thoughts so you never need to second guess yourself or wonder are you doing the right thing.
If you had to name three characteristics of great leaders what would they be?
Empathy – Energy – Honesty