Business Wisdom

From the Desk of …
Ruth Curran, Managing Partner, MERC Partners

THE CV
Ruth Curran is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Certified Accountants and has a Masters in Business from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from NUIG. Prior to joining MERC Partners in 1999, Curran held a number of commercial and financial roles in private practice and subsequently worked for Consolidated Press Holdings, one of the Asia-Pacific’s largest organisations.

Describe your role:
I have broad responsibilities and handle a wide variety of activities, strategically focusing on the direction of the organisation whilst managing the day-to-day business with my partners. Our business is built on client service and relationship management. As such, I spend a significant percentage of my time developing client relations and working through C-level searches and board appointments. This is also amplified by my duties as Vice-Chair of IIC Partners. MERC Partners is the Irish member of IIC Partners, one of the world’s Top 10 executive search organisations.  I have served on its Board since 2011 and was elected Vice Chair in 2013.

Adjectives people you have worked with might use to describe you?
High-impact, results driven, insightful, commercial, engaging, fun-loving and determined.

Your company’s business priorities for 2015?
In our recent annual Executive Expectations survey, 42 per cent of respondents rated leadership skills as those that are most lacking in organisations. Leadership is the number one talent issue facing businesses across the globe. This provides MERC Partners with a real opportunity to continue to work hand in glove with organisations to define what good leadership looks like, help them with their leadership talent pipeline and close any talent gaps in their organisational design. In addition, we apply the rigour of best search disciplines to our Non-Executive Director and Chair practice and help influence the make-up and dynamic of boardrooms.

What keeps you awake at night?
I’m a mum of four young children, so these days, it’s my 21-month-old daughter! I am emotionally invested in my work. As the landscape in which we operate is always shifting, I am constantly thinking of how best I can serve the business as Managing Partner, as well as understanding at the deepest level how best our firm can serve business leaders.

An accomplishment you are most proud of?
The opportunity, at 32, to become a partner in the well-regarded sizeable Irish business that is MERC Partners, and the chance to engage in all aspects of managing the business; from operations management, sales and marketing to finance.

How you handled a difficult situation?
Our clients appreciate the value we provide, not least when it is of critical importance for a client to quickly attract talent for particular roles. This can be challenging when the nature of the search is global and an element of market mapping is required or indeed when we know many C-level candidates will have notice periods beyond three months. We are fortunate to be in a position to leverage our global network via IIC Partners to work with us to deliver the search. Equally, if we feel a client has an immediate and short-term need, we can call on our relationship with IndEx Partners, the interim executive side of our business. Clients are usually delighted to know they have several options at their fingertips.

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
I am fairly efficient in the morning! The main concern is getting out the door intact!

Pastimes outside of the office?
I have always been a regular swimmer but recently I have taken up TRX suspension training, which I enjoy immensely. It is definitely time well spent for an all-over workout!

Favourite things to do with family and friends?
I am from Galway originally, so there’s nothing I enjoy more than going back to Galway to socialise with family and friends. A good long walk on the prom and breathing in the sea air is rejuvenating.

 

My Working Life:
The Way I Do Business

1.LOOKING THE BUSINESS My style would be classic and smart; I favour Irish design and appreciate clean lines, well-cut dresses with an element of shade or colour. 2.KEEPING UP TO DATE As part of our continuous improvement culture in MERC, both myself and the team attend leadership programmes in the US such as Harvard and Cornell. 3.STAYING CONNECTED Our attendance at industry sector events is an integral component in developing lasting relationships with prospective clients. It not only enriches our understanding of their businesses and the environment in which they operate, it also ensures we remain relevant and up to speed with any developments which could have implications for their business infrastructure, leadership consulting and talent needs. 4.PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE I think it’s important for all of us to safeguard our future. I invest heavily in my pension.

This story appears in the March issue of The Gloss. Find more features like this in next issue, out Thursday April 2