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One year in the role, Oonagh O'Reilly reflects on 2018

Posted 18th Dec, 2018

Oonagh O'Reilly

Oonagh O'Reilly Director of Sales and Marketing

It has been just over one year since Oonagh O’Reilly was appointed as the Director of Sales and Marketing for ICC Belfast, Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall. Below, Oonagh reflects on a busy year of growth and change since joining the venues.

Oonagh O'Reilly, Sales & Marketing Director, ICC Belfast
Oonagh O'Reilly, Director of Sales & Marketing, ICC Belfast, Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall has overseen a lot of change and growth in her first year in the job. Photo by Simon Callaghan Photography
“This time last year when I had just started, how I felt can be best described as drinking from a hose…and at times it was more like a power hose.”

Our business, and consequently my role, has two distinct elements that represent our unique brand offerings. The Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall are iconic live entertainment brands that are targeted towards local entertainment consumers who are predominantly based in Northern Ireland. ICC Belfast encompasses the conferencing brand and is a business to business model that targets local, national and international event organisers. Above all, my goal across both markets is to help win and deliver memorable and unique live event experiences. Being new to the entertainment and events industry, I had and still have a lot to learn. Time has absolutely flown by since November 2017 and it’s been a real roller-coaster ride, summed up by the seven key lessons that I’ve learnt along the way.

My goal across both markets is to help win and deliver memorable and unique live event experiences.

Seven key lessons

  • Whilst it’s tempting in a new post to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in based on your gut feelings, taking time to research and gain insight into your new industry and company is invaluable and will pay off in the long term
  •  Network and learn from other people in your industry so that you don’t find yourself trying to reinvent the wheel. If you can glean insight from an industry leader and/or your customers, take their advice on board and use it to set your own direction
  • Use the research and insight you gather in your first weeks as the basis for your decision making and if you fail, fail fast. Learn from your mistakes and continually refine and repeat your successes
  • Recruit driven individuals who have a true passion for their field of work and give your team the space to learn and make decisions autonomously.
  • Data, analytics and results are an affirmation that you’re doing the right thing. Seeing positive trends in revenue and profit graphs is reassuring. Being recognised by our peers at the APBCO Excellence Awards was also a real feather in our cap.
  • Driving change that’s happening at an incredible speed is not easy. It’s important to take time out to celebrate the successes along the way, to look back and reflect so that your journey has a positive impact on as many people around you as possible.
  • Working as part of a joined up leadership team is very empowering. In order to help individuals and teams in other departments overcome issues and grow, we must first understand them. Of course, a good boss is hard to beat too!

Looking ahead to 2019

I am excited for the prospects that 2019 brings. My focus for the new-year is to continue to empower our greatest ambassadors; our employees, to drive growth within the entertainment and conferencing sectors. In doing this we can deliver true economic impact for the City of Belfast and Northern Ireland that everyone will be able to benefit from long beyond 2019.

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