Trick or Treat for Temple Street comes to The Panel

Throughout the year the team at The Paneis delighted to support a number of charities in a variety of creative ways, Halloween is no different!

To celebrate the upcoming Halloween holiday the team therefore put on their creative baking hats in aid of the Temple Street Children’s Hospital in a SPOOKY BAKE OFF! Representatives from every division came together to create their most ghostly/ghastly creations. These were then auctioned off to raise money for Temple Street.

The winners were:

Showstopper Bake: Victoria – Financial Services (Pumpkin Cheesecake) 
Creative Bake: Aoife – Accountancy (Crazy Cupcakes) 
Frightful Bake: Shauna – Legal & HR (Ghostly Brownies)

We would like to thank everyone who took part … that’s teamwork for you!



Anne Keys of The Panel interviewed in The Sunday Business Post

On Sunday 23rd October 2016, our Managing Partner Anne Keys was featured in a special “Aviation, Leasing & Finance” supplement in The Sunday Business Post. In the interview, Anne talks about the opportunities within the aviation and leasing industry post-Brexit and how Ireland has emerged as a central hub for the industry.

To view the article in full click here or on the link in the “Resource” section to the right hand side of the screen.


The Panel introduces Economist Jim Power at breakfast talk

On Thursday 20th October 2016, The Panel was delighted to invite participants to their breakfast talk featuring guest speaker Jim Power, Economist.

With over a hundred attendees from a wide variety of industries the main function room in The Marker Hotel was a full house and the atmosphere was great, with plenty of networking taking place both before and after the event.

The event was hosted by our Banking & Treasury Partner, Alan Bluett who introduced the event and our guest speaker on the day, as well as managing the Questions & Answers at the end of the talk.

Jim Power spoke about the Global Challenges and Opportunities for Ireland. This included a closer look at:

  • World economy in general
  • Budget 2017
  • The positives of employment statistics for 2016
  • Taxation trends
  • The impact of Brexit for the Irish economy
  • Britain post-Brexit vote
  • The importance of quality labour force

The Panel would like to thank everyone that attended and to Jim Power for offering such an interesting and insightful talk.

About Jim Power

Jim Power is a graduate of University College, Dublin with a BA in Economics & Politics, and a Master of Economic Science Degree.  During a career within the financial services industry, he has worked as Treasury Economist at AIB Group and Chief Economist at Bank of Ireland Group Treasury and Friends First Group. In October 2000 he testified before a UK House of Lords Committee on Economic & Monetary Affairs on Ireland’s experience in EMU. He argued with prescience that the Irish political elite would not be capable of managing a small open economy in a monetary union and suggested that Britain would be ill-advised to join the Single Currency. He has taught Financial Management to under-graduates in Dublin City University; Economics on the Local Government MBA at Dublin City University and Business Economics on the Executive MBA and the Full Time MBA at the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, University College Dublin. In September 2014, he will teach Business Economics on the Full Time MSc Management at the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, University College Dublin.

He writes regular columns in both The Examiner and The Sunday Business Post online edition and contributes to numerous other newspapers and magazines on an occasional basis. He is also a frequent contributor to radio and TV on a variety of different shows.

He is a board member of Agri-Aware, the food awareness body and is Chairperson of Love Irish Food.

He is editor of Friends First regular ‘Economic Outlook’, which has become established as one of Ireland’s leading commentaries on the Irish economy. 

His first book ‘Picking up the Pieces’ was published by Blackhall Publishing in November 2009. 


The Panel attends the Annual Look the Business/GLOSS event 2016

On Wednesday October 19th The Gloss Magazine held their annual fashion networking extravaganza at the RDS Dublin.

MC and host for the event was broadcaster and TV presenter Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain.

Lucy Kellaway, Journalist, The Irish Times

The special guest speaker at this year’s event was The Financial Times journalist, Lucy Kellaway. Witty and insightful as always, Lucy told tales of her own ‘work wear’ fashion mistakes over the years. She was delighted to have been invited to Dublin to speak at the event and she seemed to go down very well with the audience.

Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone

Second speaker of the night was the inspirational Anne O’Leary, CEO Vodafone. She spoke of a digitally enabled Ireland full of new possibilities and how wearable tech and smart couture will be a part of future fashion trends. She was delighted to introduce the specifically commissioned Vodafone “Gigabit dress”.

This was followed by an impressive fashion show and a very special 10th birthday cocktail celebrating THE GLOSS MAGAZINE.

The event was further more a great opportunity to network.

Representing The Panel at this event were Anne Keys (Managing Partner), Sarah Kelly (Partner), Louise O’Leary (Senior Recruitment Manager) and Grace Leonard (Recruitment Consultant). Thank you to all of our guests who joined us on the night.

Anne Keys, Grace Leonard and Louise O’Leary from The Panel [image via]
The Panel table [Image source: GLOSS Magazine]

Lucy Kellaway, Journalist, The Irish Times
Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone




In the last few years companies have become aware of the value and importance of information technology, business intelligence, data management, data analytics & data integration as well as the value of Data as an Enterprise Asset. The management of this data has become more visible and crucial.
To this end many companies have realised that they must better define strategic priorities for management and delivery of data throughout the enterprise. They must identify new business opportunities through the analysis of data, and significantly improve revenue generation through more effective use of enterprise data. 
In an ideal world, one person should be focused on the quality, management, governance and the availability of data. It is about treating data as a strategic asset. But most organisations do not give data the same kind of attention as other corporate assets.

As companies now understand the importance of data and the enterprise-wide governance and utilisation of data as an “asset” – thus was born the position of the Chief Data Officer – CDO. Fundamentally, the CDO is tasked with being the voice of data and generally representing data as a strategic business asset at the executive table.

The CDO is typically a member of the executive management team managing their companies’ enterprise-wide data administration and data mining functions. 

The Role – Managing DATA as a Strategic Business ASSET

The marketplace is now getting a better understanding and now has a clear vision of 

  • Data managed as an asset 
  • Data-driven decision-making 

The Chief Data Officer now holds the position of being primarily responsible for implementing that vision

In essence, managing data as an asset means improving links between the databases; making information/data easier to find on-line, making it easier for analysts and decision makers to quickly access and transform data into the new formats and knowledge. It means lowering the cost of consuming and using data because we keep having more data to manage.

CDOs typical responsibilities include:

  • Data stewardship, or being the chief owner of all enterprise data.
  • Data aggregation, or being responsible for “building bridges between business units and creating an enterprise focus for the data”.
  • Communicate data schemas and eliminate any semantic differences among enterprise data.

The CDO should develop capabilities to measure and predict risk and influence enterprise risk appetite at the executive table. The CDO should also be watching the top-line revenue numbers as well as the bottom line.

Once you treat data as a strategic asset then you enable the CDO to generate more revenue or lower costs through the use of data


According to Gartner research, 4.4 million IT jobs will be created to support big data within the next two years.

Some stats about CDOs:

  • There are over 200 chief data officers serving in large enterprises today. That’s more than double the number from 2012.
  • Banking, Government and Insurance are the top 3 industries for Chief Data Officers – in that order. However we are now seeing other industries rising.

GUEST BLOG: What makes a great manager?

We often hear the question, what makes a great leader?, less often, what makes a great manager? Great leaders are important, they can have a very positive impact on the company they work for, cementing a vision and providing the inspiration to go out and conquer the organisational goals. We often forget that great managers are the ones who are busy getting things done, managers are responsible for planning who does the work when, for engaging with the team, influencing, motivating and monitoring performance. 

Managers often get a raw deal, failing to get the glory they perhaps deserve and let’s face it management is a tough job, responsible for rallying the troops to ensure that the goals are achieved in order to fulfil the vision.

In order to master this mammoth task, it’s not enough to be a good manager, you really need to focus on becoming a great one. Here are three things you should focus on to ensure you do the best job you can do. Communication, Motivation and Authenticity.

1. Communication

We all know how to communicate, but effective communication is very different. Effective communication involves ensuring clarity in all types of communication. Ensuring that employees are clear about their roles and responsibility and what their part is to ensure the organisational goals are reached. 

A great manager speaks clearly and succinctly. He/She doesn’t waste time by speaking eloquently and elaborately. She gets to the point quickly ensuring that what she has said has been understood. She never avoids conflict, as conflict is a healthy part of good team communications. It is important to deal with conflict or discontent head on to avoid the bad feeling that can come if the conflict festers.

As well as being a good verbal communicator she should also be a good listener. When asked most of us would say we are a good listener. But the reality is we are far too eager to get our voice heard, to say our piece, ensure our important contribution doesn’t go unheard. So few of us really listen.  Active listening means being alert when you are listening, it requires you to listen with your eyes as well as your ears. To see what is not being said which is sometimes as important as what is being said.  To listen when you feel like speaking is the skill of a great manager.

2. Motivation

To motivate is another great skill in the managers toolbox. They need to encourage their team to keep moving towards the goals. The role of the manager is to recognise each individual strengths and capitalise on those strengths. This is not an easy job and takes time but the sooner a manager understands their team and what makes them tick, the sooner she can make the most of them. According to Dan Pink author of Drive, the Extraordinary Truth about What Motivates People, People are motivated by Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. 

  • Autonomy; most people like to be self-directed, not be told what they need to do every day. When you give people more control over how and when they do their work the results are generally very positive.
  • Mastery;  People also have an urge to get better at things, the sense of challenge is inherent in all of us. We will work to self-improve. 
  • Purpose; We all yearn to have purpose in our lives, companies who link profit to purpose can help to maintain employee engagement.

If you can offer your team a way to feel these basic human needs you will tap into a source of motivation like no other. But what about the money? It has long been known that money is not a motivator but of course this applies only when a person’s basic needs are met. It’s important to pay people enough so that the money conversation is off the table, only then will you see the real motivators work.

3. Authenticity

One of the chief skills employees rate as being essential for good managers is that of trust. Being truthful and transparent with your employees will help to build a relationship of trust, when you are open and they see you for who you are you will foster more engagement and loyalty. Team members need to be held accountable and see that you also hold yourself accountable for what you do.

Many managers live by a philosophy of Do as I say not as I do, where authentic leaders walk their talk they don’t expect anyone to do what they are  not prepared to do. Be yourself, open up, be honest, fair and transparent and your team will love you for it.

Start by ensuring these three traits are present every day and you will be well on your way to becoming a great manager.

If you would like to create great managers in your company, speak to the team at EQuita who create customised management development programmes for great companies who want to educate, engage and retain their talent.


Margaret Considine is CEO of EQuita Consulting. 

‪EQuita Consulting are global experts in delivering Executive Education, Strategic Consulting and Workplace solutions. With specialist expertise in Commercial Negotiation, Mediation, Conflict & Dispute Resolution, Bullying & Harassment Investigations and Personal Productivity. ‬‬

t: +353 (0)1 293 4741 | e: [email protected]   | |



GUEST BLOG: Whistleblowing case in the Labour Court

Judgment has issued in what is being reported as the first successful claim under the Protected Disclosures Act, 2014 at the Labour Court.  The employee was awarded €17,500 compensation for being penalised by the employer, a nursing home. 

The employee had made complaints about alleged mistreatment of patients to the relevant regulator, HIQA, and the employer.  When the employer looked into these allegations, some of the employee’s work colleagues alleged that the employee was driven by malice.  As a result the employer started an investigation into the allegations of malice and suspended the employee on basic pay.  Some months later the suspension ended and the allegations of malice were found by the employer to be groundless.

The Labour Court found that the employee would not have been suspended “but for” her having made the allegations of mistreatment to the employer and HIQA.  In other words, the Labour Court found that the report to HIQA was a protected disclosure and that there to be a causal link between the making of the protected disclosure and the suspension on pay.

The judgment in this case will be relevant in terms of arguing the causal link between the making of a protected disclosure and any resulting penalisation.  However, it is also noteworthy that the employee received relatively substantial compensation for the type of penalisation found by the Labour Court.

Employers should be aware of the risks of whistleblowing claims and they should ensure that they have a clear policy published for staff on the procedure to be followed in making protected disclosures (whistleblowing).

About James

James Scanlon is Head of Employment Law at Maples and Calder’s Dublin office and was assisted by Sinéad Egan, Associate. Should you have any queries on this or any employment matter please contact James or your usual Maples contact.

t: +353 (0)1 619 2061 | e: [email protected] | |


GUEST BLOG: Which is more important when hiring? College Degrees or Career Experience

The past few years have seen a shift back to an “Employer Led” market. With the exception of just one or two sectors such as IT, the ball is very much in the employer court.

So how have employers responded to this favourable environment?  What if anything has really changed? One thing for certain is that employee reward expectations have changed and employers are generally keeping a tight control on company finances.

Having said that, an interesting development has emerged led by Ernst and Young in the UK. In 2015, they decided to abandon the college degree for UK applicants applying to join the company. This was shortly followed by the UK branch of publisher Penguin Random House. So a) is this a new trend for employers and b) is it really a wise decision?

Part of the justification for this change rests with the fact that there is now such an abundance of smart, talented people in the labour market who have never graduated from college. An additional promoter of this change is Laszlo Bock, the former Head of HR at Google and author of the bestseller Work Rules!. In a 2013 interview with The New York Times, he revealed that the proportion of Google employees without any college education had increased through the past number of years.

Bock said that “after two or three years, your ability to perform is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different and that fundamentally you are a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently.”

So if you accept this recruitment approach and cease looking at college degrees as a key differentiator when hiring, what other areas should you be looking at when hiring?

For starters, we need to look at recruiting differently and the first focus area that merits employer attention is problem solving. Virtually every role has a problem solving dimension to it. That’s why good problem solvers make great employees. In both your application and interview processes, ask candidates to tell you about obstacles they’ve overcome and specific problems they’ve solved. This information can provide two valuable insights into new hires. First, you see how they respond to real life issues. Second, you see what types of challenges are important to the candidates.

Secondly, we should look at positivity. If a candidate can only find negative things to say about former employers, it’s only a matter of time before he/she feels the same way about your company, no matter how great it is.

A third area worth exploring is learning. What have candidates learned from their life/career experiences to date? What mistakes have they made and what have they learned from these experiences.

A further focus area worth exploring is the candidate’s career experiences as this can provide employers with candidates who are generally more flexible, can switch roles more easily and are frequently more resilient and adaptable.

Finally, two other areas also worth exploring are a) emotional intelligence as this will tell employers how they interact with others and b) employee referrals are helpful in that employees will generally only recommend candidates who are strong performers as it could potentially reflect badly on them is they underperform.

Whether your company opts for a degree led or career experience approach in terms of recruitment, it is widely accepted that the best employers today are the ones who are constantly reviewing/amending their recruitment tools to ensure that they hire the best candidates. 

About Niall Glynn

Niall Glynn & Associates Limited was established in 2010 to provide Business Solutions and HR Advice to companies and Senior Executives. 

Our approach is to work closely with Senior Executives in a confidential way and coach them to both prepare and overcome any barriers in terms of achieving their future career goals / ambitions.  

We also help SMEs improve their business performance by successfully implementing tailored Core HR Processes and Business Performance Improvement Models. 

t: +353 (0)1 276 6598 | e: [email protected] | |


GUEST BLOG: What is Your Plan for Growth?

We tend to think of finding growth opportunities through an innovation in a product or service. As success builds, you can typically build revenue through geographic growth or by penetrating adjacent markets with a minor tweak to a core offering. However, sometimes even this is not enough. There is another dimension to innovation that can be equally as important; Business Model Innovation.

What is a Business Model and Why Should it be Innovated?

If I had asked you 10 years ago whether you would pay €80 per kilo for your coffee, what would have been your answer? Well, that’s the cost of coffee with Nespresso. And Nespresso has deployed a tried and trusted business model that we refer to as the Razor & Blade business model. This model was first pioneered by Gillette who, to this day, sell you a razor at a very low cost but then charge a premium for the blades once they have you locked into their system! Nestle adapted this model to the coffee business and created a hugely successful new business in the process. What few people know is that the ‘new’ product has been in existence for over 30 years. But the success that we know today only arose when Nespresso implemented its unique business model about 15 years ago.

55 Models – 90% of the Best Businesses
At Nuevo we apply the BMI Lab methodology to Business Model Innovation. We have identified 55 Business Models that account for 90% of the world’s most successful companies. 

What is your Business Model and how can you analyse it?

There are four central dimensions that you should consider:


Who:    Who is your target customer segment?
What:   What do you offer to your customer?
How:    How is the value proposition created?
Why:    Why is it profitable?

As a general guideline, Business Model Innovation differs from product or process innovation insofar as it affects at least two of these four dimensions.

The biggest challenge to Managers who want to tackle Business Model Innovation are:

  1. Thinking outside of one’s own dominant industry logic
  2. The difficulty in thinking in terms of business models rather product or service innovation
  3. A lack of systematic tools and processes

Your starting point should always be built on a deep understanding of the customer. It is important to understand that real success can only be achieved by creating a reinforcing business model  – i.e. getting the Who, What, How and Why all working together to capture substantial value for your company. By definition, new opportunities take companies out of their comfort zone and into areas where they have little experience. Navigating this alone can be difficult and often results in higher cost, greater risk and longer time to market. The good news is that there are tried and tested approaches to developing these opportunities that avoid the common pitfalls and that don’t require the establishment of expensive internal innovation departments. The key is not to outsource to some “black box” but to harness the best of your internal capabilities in a creative collaboration with trusted external advisors.


What is your business model? When is the last time that you reviewed it? Is it delivering long term sustainable competitive advantage? Have you a planning & review process that incorporates Business Model Innovation? If not then I would refer you to the following statement from a recent Harvard Business Review online piece “Ultimately, all businesses are transitional — we just can’t predict precisely when or how. Businesses focused on optimizing what has worked for years at the expense of the future will create ever-greater risk for their owners, employees, and customers.

About David O’Leary

David O’Leary, Partner, BMI Lab, has been helping businesses develop unique value propositions to grow revenue for over 20 years. BMI Lab is a consultancy that helps businesses unlock powerful new growth through innovation and digital strategy. We use leading edge tools such as Design Thinking, Business Model Innovation and Hidden Needs Analysis, to cost-effectively create and deliver new value for your customers while establishing innovative business models that capture sustainable value for your company. 

David has worked with many successful brands & companies over the years including; EY, Bank of Ireland, Aon, United Nations, RTÉ, Bulmers & Jameson. 

David’s focus has always been to deliver sustainable growth grounded in innovative thinking. He believes that he understands the ups and downs of both large organisations and start-ups based on his own experiences as Founder & CEO with companies such as Ripple Platform – an EI HPSU Technology Start-up – and 8020 – a leading digital marketing agency.

t: +353 (0)87 203 8148  | e: [email protected] | |


SPOTLIGHT: John Finnegan from IT Solutions

John Finnegan tells us why IT Solutions (one of Ireland’s leading providers of Digital Engagement and Customer Experience Solutions) have had a great year and their plans for the future.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: John Finnegan, Business Development Director, IT Solutions.

Company formed in:


Elevator pitch:

IT Solutions is Ireland’s leading provider of Digital Engagement, and Customer Experience solutions.

We enable consumers to communicate with brands via messaging (web chat, SMS, Facebook Messenger, Live & In App Chat etc) creating a happier more engaged customer, at a significantly lower cost than traditional channels, such as phone.

Who would benefit from your service/product?

Brands who have invested heavily in their digital assets such as web portals, domains, apps etc, but are still making their customer switch channels and contact them via their predominantly telephone based call centre.   

Biggest achievement in the last 12 months:

Our biggest achievement in the last 12 months has been rolling out LivePersons new messaging platform to a major mobile carrier as well as deploying the solution in one of the top retail banks in the world. 

Plans for the next 12 months:

Our focus will be on growing our UK & Irish customer base and broadening our offering with our existing customers through innovative use cases.  

Biggest challenge to your business:

Our biggest challenge is keeping up with the speed of innovation of our partners and communicating these to the marketplace.

Best advice you can give other business owners:

If your customers are fundamentally changing their behaviour in their personal lives, then fully expect these same customers to want to buy from brands that reflect this in their business lives.   

If I was Minister for Finance, the first thing I’d do is:

Let the world know Ireland is a great place to start a business, not just relocate. I’d put tangible supports in place like space, financial supports, mentoring and linkages to corporates/open innovation partners, so these start-ups can become the next wave of scale ups from Ireland. 

Reasons to be cheerful:

I’m a regular all year swimmer in the 40 foot and it’s still nearly 14.5 Celsius in the water at the moment!!!

t: +353 (0)1 671 8344 | m: +353 (0)87 222 0137  | e: [email protected]  | |