Engage People speaks to Anne Keogh, recent ACCA President and current COO and CFO of Pharmapod LTD about mentors, motivations and mantras.
How did you get into your current career path? Was this what you always wanted to do?
Currently, I am COO and CFO with Pharmapod LTD, a software company that champions patient safety across the pharmacy sector. But when I first left school I was unsure of what path to follow. I took on a few smaller jobs at first, and then eventually became PA to Michael Smurfit. Under his direction, I decided to complete a C.Dip in Finance and Accounting. This began my connection with the ACCA and changed my life radically.
Over the years, I have had many varied roles across many companies: an accountant at Adare Plc, MD of 42 Hostels at An Óige, MD at Needahotel.com, before working at The Well Water, to name a few! But my presidency of the ACCA in 2014 and 2015 was truly one of the highlights of my career.
And your mentors?
‘Every day is a school day’ – that’s what I like to say. I’m lucky to have learned from various mentors, but I’ve had three main mentors to date. I’m very grateful to everyone of them.
I’d like to think I’ve taken their advice to heart. One told me to always have my ducks lined up. I’d like to think I’m extremely prepared now, so I can be agile when things take a turn in a different direction.
One key lesson was to never say ‘it can’t be done’. Working for Michael Smurfit really taught me that. There is always an alternative. You need to come up with solutions to problems.
Another was that while you can’t have everything, you can have a lot. So you need to decide what you want lots of! I learned to trust my gut and while you’re at work to give your all. And most importantly, to be nice to yourself and those around you.
Well, my main rule is that there are no rules! However, it’s important to stop and smell the roses every so often. One of my previous mentors, Peter E. Lynch gave me that advice and I think it’s great.
What about technology?
Of course, my working life is driven by my phone. But I’m proud to say that no single piece of technology is truly indispensable. It’s very important to take a step back, to allow yourself to leave everything behind. You need to focus on your own thoughts and the things in life that really matter like family and friends.
In conversation with Paul McClatchie, Engage People