Talent Summit 2018

We were delighted to attend the Talent Summit 2018 at the Convention Centre yesterday, Thursday, 22nd February. 

This annual HR & Leadership conference is one of the largest in Europe and with over 20+ speakers from a variety of industries. This year Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a hot topic and attendees were introduced to ‘Stevie the Robot’ who was developed by the Trinity College Engineering Department.

The event also saw some highly interactive keynote speakers such as Dance Psychologist Dr Peter Lovatt, who had everyone up on their feet, to the highly entertaining, impressive and affable Sir. Ken Robinson.

The Panel would like to congratulate the organisers, Sigmar Recruitment on a successful day.

Attending the event from The Panel was Sarah Kelly (Partner) and Shauna Fox (Senior Recruitment Consultant).


The Panel – FAE Careers Evening 2018 – Thursday 22nd February

The Panel looks forward to attending the annual FAE Careers Evening this Thursday, 22nd February.

The careers evening is aimed at newly qualified chartered accountants and offers a number of talks by industry experts/leaders and gives them the opportunity to learn more about the industry that they are entering into.

The event is free, but attendees needs to sign up to be able to attend.

Speakers include:

Joseph E.K. Head of Finance of Touchtech Payments Ltd.

Sinead Nic Niallaigh of GOAL.

Patrick Moore, Group Management Accountant at The Children’s Hospital Group.

Ciara Tallon, Career Coach and Recruitment Specialist, Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Richie Goggin (Senior Recruitment Manager, Financial Services) and Laura Stronge (Senior Recruitment Consultant, Accountancy) will be attending on the night and will be discussing opportunities available to recently qualified chartered accountants in Industry & Financial Services.

The Panel will have a prize draw on the night and there are two €200 One4All vouchers up for grabs. So come and say hello and don’t forget to put your name in for the draw.

Event location: Chartered Accountants House, 47-49, Pearse Street, Dublin 2


7 Summits – Aconcagua, Argentina, South America: The Climb!

The Aconcagua expedition was a success but unfortunately with only one summit of Mount Bonete at 5,095 meters, as I didn’t reach the summit of Aconcagua. I am very disappointed having worked so hard ahead of the expedition and was in no doubt and confident I’d summit. I was physically and mentally in shape and had at no stage doubted myself but there are never any guarantees on these peaks. However due to a number of factors beyond my control but for the right reasons I turned back just 400 meters below the summit. This was my first non-successful summit in my climbing career and something I’ll process, breakdown and examine over the coming weeks and months so as to not to encounter the same issues again.

Out of our group of nine climbers, one made summit on a day which only saw 10/12 people in total summit, far below a daily average of 20. 

During the previous week, expeditions retreated from the mountain due to weather, very low temperatures, 75kmph winds, physical and mental fatigue. Three people died of Edema on the mountain the same week (Edema is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in certain tissues within the body due to altitude) against an annual average of three! With that in mind, summit night was tense which is always the case. Some of our group were overwhelmed and turned back only meters from high camp at 6,000 meters, which was our summit start point, while others did not climb beyond that. 

The weather was perfect with clear skies and no real wind as we climbed. As we moved to the west side of the mountain the snow drifts and wind velocity and a chilling -35 degrees saw a few more turn back. We rested at 6,500 meters leaving the lead guide sending back two other climbers which escalated from an instruction to an argument. This was inexperience on both parts. My climbing colleagues were suffering and had slowed considerably and had forgotten the golden rule, ‘’the lead guide’s decision is final. There is no discussion’’. The lead guide has a responsibility. That responsibility is your life! And his decision should be respected without question.  

As my core temperature dropped, my energy levels also dropped and for the first time I began to feel very unwell – screaming headache and I felt ill – I tried to react by eating more and drinking more but the headaches continued and when the lead guide returned after his lengthy discussions I had decided at that stage, to turn back. He was so distracted and angered with the other climbers he never enquired what was wrong with me nor did he seem to care. His awareness of me and his focus had been totally distracted by the arguments with the two other climbers. However I was in touch with myself. I knew what I was doing. I was not distracted. I was so aware of how I was feeling and knowing the symptoms of Edema, for me it was the right decision. It was too dangerous for me to continue and in hindsight, which is always genius, climbing further with the guide who’d lost focus was another good reason to turn.

I returned to high camp at 6,000 meters feeling a little better but very tired. I slept for 30 minutes, eat and drank again, and discussed with the 2nd lead guide what had happened. He agreed with my decision and questioned the lead guide’s attitude and protection of his climbers. I remain convinced I made the right decision and do not blame the lead guide but just circumstances on the morning which were beyond my control.

To be honest I am very proud of myself having taken such a decision just below summit despite my focus and determination to summit. I was asked only a few days ago, ‘’How do you deal with such disappointment’’? I replied, ‘’I played golf for many years. Golf is an abbreviation for disappointment’’.

My plans to climb Aconcagua again next year are already in motion. My preparation will be as ever meticulous with a few minor adjustments but my determination and focus will never waiver.

Aconcagua my dear friend, I’m coming back. 

Take Care and Keep Your Dreams Alive!


The 8 hour walk to Plaza de Mulas (Base Camp)
First camp – Confluencia
The pyramid and Aconcagua summit
Plaza de Mulas

Plaza de Mulas
Mount Bonete summit at 5,095. Chile and Santiago in the background.
Mount Bonete 
Camp 2 – Nido de Conadores
Nido de Conadores
Aconcagua shadow
Feeling unwell, the not so glamours look (Image courtesy of Quazi Shahriar Rahman)
Last view of Aconcagua

Derek, is supporting the mental health charity, GROW, raising mental health awareness. If you’d like to donate please click the link: Donate to Derek Mahon 7 Summit Challenge Charitable Fund.


The Panel attends the 3rd FT and IDA Ireland European Financial Forum

Yesterday, 31st January executives from leading financial services, regulatory bodies and government officials gathered in Dublin Castle for the European Financial Forum 2018 (#EFF2018).

Key topics discussed were the Irish economy, Brexit, the future of financial services in Europe and technological & regulatory developments.

“The Panel” was delighted to attend and we would like to compliment and thank the IDA and the Financial Times for organising a great event.


In his opening address Taoiseach Leo Varadkar shared 5 of his key goals for the future;

1)      Public finances 
2)      10 year capital investment plan – with a focus on high spend on infrastructure 
3)      Improved living standards (pay growth) 
4)      Achieving full employment 
5)      Committed to the EU / doubling global footprint

Bank Evolution: Ten Years On

Colm Kelleher, President of Morgan Stanley discussed bank evolution over the last 10 years, noting a positive momentum on regulation in the U.S and citing cyber security as a major challenge for the Banking sector.

Insurance Keynote Speech

Mike McGavick, CEO of XL Catlin group discussed storms and natural disasters saying that there is an abundance of capital in the Insurance sector with enough to cover payments from storms. 

He said that in the case of a storm usually 30% of economic loss is covered by Insurance.

McGavick also stated that Cyber Insurance is a work in progress. He noted that setting liability theory, creating safe havens and developing a back stop resolution is essential.

Special Address and Interview – Real Assets: Investing in a Changing World

Jim Barry, MD, BlackRock Real Assets discussed the increased investment in real assets, the future of sustainable infrastructure, energy and real estate within Europe.

Panel Discussion – The Future of Europe’s Capital Markets Ecosystem

Marc Chowrimootoo, MD, GoldmanSachs spoke of the huge amount of progress surrounding Liquidity in capital markets.

He also spoke on risk in credit markets and MiFiD II.

Craig Coben, Head of Equity Capital Markets, Bank of America Merrill Lynch discussed the impact of the financial crisis and how European banks were uninvestable for the last decade. Stating that there is lots of catching up to be done.

Panel Discussion – Diversity in Financial Services

Attendees were treated to an engaging discussion surrounding diversity where speakers such as Ciaran Kelleher, MD, Citibank Europe spoke of the need to nurture the millennial workforce, and how sustainable work relationships starts with human decency. 

Jess McNicholas, MD, StateStreet spoke of the importance of enforcing diversity and inclusion as a part of the business strategy – “if the company are not doing it, it is time to challenge this decision”. The panel also spoke of competitive advantages and the need to move past box-ticking and the war for talent. 

Representing “The Panel” was Alan Bluett (Partner, Banking & Treasury), Richie Goggin (Senior Recruitment Manager, Financial Services) and Conor O’Reilly (Senior Consultant, Funds & Investment Management).

Conor O’Reilly (Senior Consultant) and Richie Goggin (Senior Recruitment Manager)

Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar 
Colm Kelleher, President, Morgan Stanley
Panel Discussion – Diversity in Financial Services