I wear the badge of “DCU graduate” with pride and it has opened many doors for me throughout my career. DCU has evolved to a scale that was unimaginable back when I graduated in 1990 and it continues to have ambition far beyond this. In particular I am proud of DCU’s laser focus on being “The University of Enterprise” which is both inspiring and reassuring at the same time because that is exactly what DCU is.
When I graduated in 1990, we had around 15% unemployment and the competition to get an entry-level job on the “milk rounds” was fierce. However, DCU always had a reputation of working closely with industry so its undergraduate programs were closely aligned with the needs of the market. DCU was also unique at the time in Dublin with its INTRA programme, which meant that we had CVs before we were set loose on the job market. Consequently, like most of my DCU fellow grads, most of us landed good graduate roles. DCU had us well prepared.
I initially joined Enterprise Ireland and shortly afterwards moved to CPC Foods (now Unilever) as brand manager. In 1993 I left Ireland for Germany and Austria and worked in international advertising across both emerging and established markets as diverse as India, South Africa, France, Sweden, Brazil, Russia and UK. The roles were (mostly) fantastic and I developed a persevering curiosity about consumer insight and behavior and how brands can transform businesses by understanding this really well.
No matter where I was, that DCU connection opened doors and connected me firmly with the alma mater. More than that, I found out that the name DCU stood for something more than the courses it ran. To my mind it stands for being in tune and aligned to business, being engaged, being entrepreneurial, striving for change, doing things better, and shaping the future.
These great values are now better and more formally articulated in DCU’s core pillars “Translate, Transform, Engage and Enterprise”.
I am now back in Ireland and CEO of Communicorp which owns 22 radio stations across Europe including Today FM, Newstalk, 98FM, Spin 1038, as well as digital advertising agency, ICAN.
I can tell you that understanding our audience is the most critical building block to engaging our audience. Understanding the audience means knowing what matters to them, what’s on their minds, what issues are they facing, and when it matters most. If you know this, a talented and skilled presenter has a better chance of making a connection with an audience, and a better chance of getting to the heart of those issues, and in the end, hopefully helping make positive change in our lives.
I reconnected with the University a few years ago when the Alumni council got in touch. I was particularly inspired by the work done on defining the university as “The University of Enterprise” as I think this is exactly what it is, and we can all be proud of that.
There is a major drive on now to build a DCU community so that more past students like me can stay connected and be involved with the university. Getting involved means we can all be part of DCU’s future and be part of achieving its ambition. I am delighted to be part of it and it is very easy to do.
My invitation to you is to do the same: re-connect with DCU, get engaged with DCU, and be part of its future.