“I would encourage people to persevere at every stage of their career” – 60 Seconds with Sharon Barrett from Kroll – Business & Finance
Pictured: Shannon Barrett, Kroll’s managing director and restructuring
Sharon Barrett has become managing director of Kroll, a financial and risk advisory firm. In less than 9 years at Kroll, he has worked hard in his role, specializing in financial services and restructuring.
Kroll is based in New York City. However, it has offices all over the world and provides business consulting to 33 countries, including Ireland, and has seen significant growth in its almost 100 years of operation.
What was your first job?
Servant Enniscrone, Co. In a local hotel in Sligo. I was terrible, but I learned a lot about good customer service.
What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?
I’ve always liked maths and economics, so I knew from an early age that I wanted to do something in the world of finance, although I didn’t necessarily envision a career in restructuring!
When I graduated from university, I joined AIB as part of its graduate program, where my the role meant that I was involved in the financing of large scale construction projects and lending to various licensees and other companies.
In 2011, I joined the restructuring team of Farrell Grant Sparks (later acquired by Kroll), and my experience in dealing with financing projects was invaluable to my new role. I really like the variety of work that restructuring offers, because no two days are the same. Although it can be a very difficult job, it is rewarding to have an expert approach to a difficult situation to ensure the best possible outcome.
What would you consider your greatest achievement so far?
Playing at half-time in the 1990 All Ireland Hurling Final between Cork and Galway at Croke Park! Professionally, my promotion to Managing Director of Kroll’s Irish restructuring team is what I would consider my greatest achievement to date. But more than anything, the birth of my little boy Tom in 2018 was life-changing in the best way.
Career-wise, would you do something else?
There have been many ups and downs in my career. However, I’m not sure I would have done much otherwise. Every twist and turn has led me to where I am today, and I’m grateful to be here. I think that’s why I would encourage people at every stage of their career to persevere and take challenges as a way to improve. the experience
In one sentence, how would you define success?
Accomplishing a goal and being happy with how you achieved it.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Do what you say you will. Simple and invaluable advice learned at a young age from great parents.
How do you motivate yourself and your employees?
It it depends on the project and most importantly it depends on the team member. Everyone has different motivations. For me, solving a problem and achieving a solution to a problem motivates me. Also, I think most people (myself included) appreciate honest praise for a job well done. Of course, the big deals should be celebrated, but it’s important to recognize the small victories because, more often than not, they’re the things that keep everything going.
How do you handle adversity?
Usually the head. I’ll take time to think through options, but I like to act quickly and decisively, otherwise you you inevitably spend time worrying about the issue, which does no one any good.
In dire times, I find that a phone call or face-to-face conversation is absolutely key to trying to resolve matters, as the nuances of human interaction are often lost in email or written correspondence.
How do you relax?
Personally, being able to get away from work is key for me to be able to relax, so I find it absolutely essential to disconnect from work life. Modern technology is wonderful, but it means we’re available 24 hours a day, which isn’t sustainable or healthy all the time.
To keep my balance I turn off my emails on weekends or when I’m on annual leave, because otherwise I know I’ll be responding, which defeats the purpose of free time.
I also read a physical book every night, and try to get the freshest sea/mountain air.
What are your plans for the future of the business?
Kroll has offices in 33 countries, and our teams are working with some incredible companies, both here in Ireland and overseas. It would be my intention to continue to grow these opportunities both nationally and internationally. Due to our extensive global service offering, we can usually source an expert in any sector from our staff base, so we are ideally placed to provide cross-jurisdictional advice to our clients around the world. I am very ambitious in this respect and I hope to grow the Kroll business in the market in Ireland and abroad.
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