Emma-Claire Kavanagh is one of the founding members of BIE Executive and is responsible for leading BIE’s HR Practice. We chatted to Emma-Claire about why it’s so important to be authentic, her greatest source of job satisfaction and her love of the ocean.

Why were you selected to be on the board?

I came straight into BIE as a board member following a management buy-out when I, and four other members, bought the business out of the group. It was an exciting opportunity, and we formed a new company together and grew BIE to what it is today.

What key pieces of advice would you give to people looking to become a partner or board member?

Don’t rush things. I think it’s important for people to focus on building their networks and become experts in what they do. Whilst external relationships are important, it’s also hugely beneficial to develop strong internal relationships. Build a network of people who will support you through your career.

Develop your own opinions, diversity of thought, creativity and ideas, as all of these will be noticed. If you focus on these behaviours, you will get promoted and do well, and there’s no reason why you won’t be a board member at some point in the future.

It’s easy to think that success is solely based on performance. But honestly, it’s more important to step away from your desk, think holistically and be involved in things that aren’t just about your world.

What is your greatest source of job satisfaction?

I get the most satisfaction from seeing others around me growing professionally, thriving and progressing in their careers. it’s about succession - the next generation doing well, enjoying what they’re doing, the success that follows, and less about me and my career. I thrive on seeing others succeed.

What is the secret to your career success?

I’ve always focused on relationships and valuing everybody around me equally, whether they are clients, candidates or colleagues. I get to know people well and always put relationships first. It’s as simple as that!

What have you learnt along the way?

To be authentic. Understand who you are and how you like to operate, then seek an environment with other like-minded people. If you’re trying to be someone you’re not, it’s exhausting, and you won’t enjoy what you’re doing. Authenticity is the most important thing – and it breeds success and happiness.

How would you sum up the BIE culture?

It’s a collaborative, team-playing environment that’s still very competitive and focused on success, but not to the detriment of core behaviours. Our culture is hugely supportive and consequently, is very driven, with our values at the heart of everything.

Name one thing on your bucket list.

I love scuba diving and I’m keen to do deeper dives so I can explore wrecks in the sea and also learn drift diving. So, improving my diving skills in general!

What fictional world or place would you like to visit? Why?

Lord of the Rings – I adore the scenery. A trip to the wilderness in New Zealand, where the movies were filmed, would be amazing!

What is your first thought when you wake up and your last thought at night?

I wake up quickly and my first thought is that I hope the weather is going to be good, the sun is shining and that it’s going to be a positive day.

Before I go sleep, I wonder, how many hours of sleep can I get so I wake up feeling optimistic and energised!

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