Laura O’Connell is Brand and Communities Manager at innocent Drinks Ireland. She has a background in media, PR and experiential marketing and got most of her branding experience launching her own brand of organic beauty products in Ireland.
Under what conditions do you get your best work done?
When I’m talking. There’s only so much sitting and staring at a screen I can do. Being collaborative is by far and away the best way to generate ideas. It’s also good to get your thoughts out there, if they sound stupid out loud, then you can just scrap them. At innocent, there is such a massive pool of incredible talent both in Ireland and Europe. There’s a great sharing culture here, so I have the opportunity to learn and work alongside some of Europe’s finest marketing folk and creatives.
What is the one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
I sometimes see people being too concerned with ‘being a leader’. I don’t think ego has a place in leadership. In fact, I should imagine ego is the first thing to go in leadership.
Have you ever been professionally stuck? How did you become unstuck?
At 28, I found myself fairly at a loss for direction. I had just closed the doors on my business, creating and distributing an organic beauty brand. I started working as a waitress and focusing all of my spare time on thinking about what exactly I enjoyed, what I loved, and what I was great at. I ended up in branding and marketing. I wasn’t’ afraid to ask influential people in the industry to help me, to give me advice and to take a chance on me. So, ultimately, I stopped what I was doing wrong, identified what would make it better and asked for help. I think a lot of people are allergic to asking for help.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Go to bed early, you fool.
If you had to name three characteristics of great leaders what would they be?
I’ve been managed by a lot of people. And leaders will get the best out of me if they’re honest, natural and positive.