'There is more formality with UK business arrangements’
Niamh Furey: I never expected that I would once again be living in the UK.
Hailing from Baldoyle in Dublin, Niamh Furey went to London initially for college. Having competed her undergraduate degree, she returned to Ireland to undertake a masters degree in nutrition and dietetics at the University of Ulster.
“University life in London was great, so vibrant, lively and cosmopolitan,” she recalls. “It is a fantastic place to enjoy student life.”
Upon graduation, Furey worked for a short period of time as a dietician in Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital, before moving to the commercial sector as a nutritionist.
“I then undertook a graduateship in marketing in Dublin in 2000 via the Marketing Institute of Ireland, and worked in various scientific, sales, marketing and management roles within the nutrition industry before joining healthcare group Fresenius Kabi Ireland in 2005.”
Working initially as marketing manager for Ireland, she became sales and marketing manager in 2009 before taking on a dual Ireland and international role in 2013, a promotion that involved her relocating back to the UK.
“In 2014, just a couple of months after the birth of my second child, I was promoted to the role of sales and marketing director for Fresenius Kabi UK before becoming managing director for the UK company in January 2017.”
Fresenius Kabi specialises in medicines and technologies for infusion, transfusion and clinical nutrition.
Having studied in London previously, Furey’s move to the UK in 2013 wasn’t so unfamiliar.
“I’m now based full time in the UK Fresenius Kabi head office and am working and living in Cheshire with my husband and two children. Harry started school in September 2015, so I feel we are now well settled into UK life. I’m still very much a ‘home-bird’, so I can be back in Dublin every few weeks to visit family and friends.”
Furey has found business culture to be more formal in the UK.
“In Ireland, much business is done based on relationships, people you have worked with previously and you know you can trust and depend on again. In the UK, whilst relationships are still important, things are on a bigger scale, so there is a higher degree of formality attached to business arrangements.”
She feels business decisions take longer, so progress to change can be slower.
“My advice to anyone thinking of moving to the UK is ‘why not?’ Life is too short not to try new challenges and experiences. When I returned to Dublin after studying and training in London, I never expected that I would once again be living in the UK, but I haven’t looked back.
Best of both
“I feel I have the best of both lives, a very challenging, motivating and exciting work, family and social life in Cheshire and frequent quality family time back in Dublin, only a 40 minute flight away.”
Many opportunities exist in the UK and, according to Furey, it is a very welcoming place.
“It will always be a place that is easy for Irish people to settle,” she says. “From my perspective, I guess the main opportunity is career progression. Options are broader and career progression can be faster for that reason, if that is what you want.”
Furey’s networking has predominantly been work related and through industry groups but she has developed a great local support and social network in her home life too.
Living in Cheshire is much more like living in Ireland than London according to Furey. “Life has a ‘small village’ feel about it and we enjoy a sense of family and community.”
She feels very lucky to live close to the Peak District and surrounded by lots of fantastic park life. “Our surroundings lend themselves to an outdoor lifestyle. My husband is originally from London, so we still get to enjoy lots of family time there and I love it.”
Previously published in The Irish Times.
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