VP of Product Marketing, FCR Media
Jade has helped shape and support the digital transformation of Irish businesses for over 15 years, building and implementing programmes for giants such as Dublin Airport, TV3 and Guinness through to small companies and sole traders that are critical to today’s commercial ecosystem and employment in Ireland. She offers a wealth of experience drawn from working as a web developer, user experience designer, professional athlete, entrepreneur and co-founder of a technology startup. She regularly mentors and speaks at SME and Startup programmes. Today, she is bringing SME oriented digital products to market on behalf of FCR Media.
As Irish businesses continue to digitalise and brands go local, FCR Media provides a range of solutions to SMEs such as eCommerce & Website Platforms, VR Tours, Social & Search Advertising, Business Listings, WiFi Marketing and Location Knowledge Management including goldenpages.ie and snapsync.ie.
Jade told us, “Our customers’ needs are changing all the time as society continues to adopt and demand better online experiences when locating and engaging with a business. Our goal is to help any local business harness these digital changes in their market to engage and deliver more customers either online or with direct footfall.”
Q. Jade, tell me where are you right now in the pandemic? Where do you live? Where are you located?
Right now, I’m in a place called Achill Island. So it is on the West Coast of Ireland. Ireland is already a small place, Achill Island is an even smaller place, 2.5 thousand people. And to give you a kind of concept of size and the population – density here is 17.3 people per square kilometer. Put that in the context of Paris. Paris has 20,000 people per square kilometer. So there’s a little difference.
Q. Have you been there the whole time since the pandemic started?
Yeah, we bought a house here, we’d been renting for the last five years but we bought a house just before Christmas and yeah you know I guess pandemic has been a crazy change for me and it’s a change for good. Actually, it’s given us the opportunity to move from, OK, so, my life 18 months ago was living between here and Dublin, which is four hours away, the capital of Ireland, and living between Holland and living in Germany just not too far from Dusseldorf so, we were between four locations, because between myself and my partner, we were all the time moving around, and in the pandemic, we said, OK, where do we want to be worse? Where is safest? Where meets our needs the most, what feeds our soul with the ability to work remotely?
Q. So, once you moved there, is there anything new you have done since the pandemic? Is there anything you’ve done every day since the pandemic, something different that you haven’t done before?
You know, one of the reasons we moved here was to be able to, you know, I’m crazy about sports. So to be able to surf more and get beyond the ocean more, to be able to hike more. But Ireland has had a very restrictive lockdown. So we’ve been limited by this, which means all of that world-class surfing and sailing are only just out of my reach. Even though I’m here, I haven’t actually been able to enjoy these sports so, paradoxically I’ve moved closer to the ocean but I’ve been in the ocean less.
But, you know, I guess it’s been really good because it’s been about exploring what’s right under your nose and going up those little roads, and those little lanes that, even though we’ve been here for five years, we’ve never actually seen before.
I think that’s, I think it’s a, it’s, it’s a journey of about reducing…reducing your life. And I’m actually realizing that everything you need is local.
Q. So if you’re an avid sportsperson, can you tell us what kind of sports you like?
I’m so crazy about triathlons. So that’s sea swimming and running, and bike obviously. But I’m also a surfer, and a kite surfer. And now a windsurfer, which is a version of theft of the same. And so between that, and hiking, I think I probably have about 8 or 10 primary sports.
Q. Surfing, that’s really interesting. Have you always been sort of sailing or did you start as a child?
Yeah, I was really fortunate to be born into a sailing family and the ocean has just been the constant in my life. It’s been where I live, if you like.
So that’s always kind of been the number one thing if you like. I had a career as a professional Kite Surfer for a good couple of years. I think in 2017, I was ranked third in the world for Kite surfing just before it went to become an Olympic sport and but, obviously, now, I’m much more concentrated on FCR Media and career, and manage now just to catch waves in my free time.
Q. You’re the Vice President of Product Marketing at FCR Media. But, you know, you weren’t born into that position, so if you kind of go back, when you were a teenager or young person, what was one of the first jobs you had?
Gosh, that’s a long time ago. Yeah, you know, it gets kind of, it’s kind of Interesting. I think the very first job I had was, I had a newspaper round when I was tiny, when, I say tiny, like, maybe 10 or 11 years of age. And when I think back to that, it’s kind of amazing that you could allow your 11-year-old out to wander the streets by themselves, to deliver papers to people’s doors, you know, back in the eighties, that was the world we lived in. It’s a shame that’s kind of lost.
Or I don’t know if it was less dangerous, maybe we were just oblivious to the danger, but it’s incredible that that’s the way it was. But, my, I guess, my first proper job was back at the birth of personal computing, there was the Amstrad 64 and the Spectrum 32, I think, spectrum, a handful of those computers – and my job was demonstrating them, was 12 or 13 years of age. And there was this belief back then, that if a kid could do it, it was easy. And now, we know that that’s actually completely wrong. If kids can do it, don’t go near it.
Q. If you had another career, if you weren’t at FCR Media, what would be a profession that you’d want to do?
Yeah. You know, I think, as I said, water has been the constant in my life and if I could have been a professional sailor, almost had that opportunity. But I made a different decision at a critical point in my life. And, and if there’s any sort of, one thing that I missed, it would have been that that would have been incredible.
Like, the America’s Cup is on at the moment, which is probably the pinnacle of the sailing sport. And looking at that and to have a role in any one of those boats, or short crews on the sailing team would just be absolutely dreamworld.
Q. You’re on your island and in Ireland. And, and, you know, when people think about Ireland, they think about Irish pubs and Irish food. Do you have a special comfort food that you like to eat?
You know, I’m not, that I’ve had a bad relationship with food, but I’m a terrible cook. I blame that I spent a long time in the restaurant industry and I think that just maybe for me, it just ruined me in food. In my formative years, when I should have been cooking, food was handed out to me, and I just never really bothered and never really thought that I would ever have to cook – this was great, And then you have one day off, and what do you do adopt, like you’re not going to stock a kitchen, so you just go and you can get out. So, so yeah, I love food.
I guess my deserted island food would be spaghetti bolognese. That’s probably about the only thing I can cook.
Q. Now if you were going to have spaghetti bolognese and you’re going to have dinner with somebody, you know, in history or today who would you have dinner with, who would that be?
Right now, I think probably the biggest thing that I miss out on all of this craziness in the world is just that feeling of sitting down with my friends, like a big gaggle of a table, of people. And just like the crack and the fun, and the sharing of stories and all of the mini conversations going on in the room. And you’re picking into this, I’m picking into that and just that shared experience. So yeah, you know, you could have, you can have Richard Branson or you could have Gandhi or you could have anybody in the world and say you can have dinner with them. But I think I’d actually pick my best mates. Just sit around a table and break bread with the people I love, I’d give anything for that right now.
Q. So we are missing each other at Siinda. We haven’t seen each other in a year now. Hopefully, everything will be better and we’ll be able to see each other in Berlin. But for now, if you had one message to send to your partners and our colleagues, what would that be?
Yeah, no I think all I can say is just to wish everybody the absolute best and hope for the best and courage in what we’re all doing for ourselves at the pandemic. And we are at a place where there’s no playbook and we battled intuition and did what we thought was right primarily to support our customers in a responsible way and the way that we would like to be treated ourselves. And I think I’m talking a lot to other Siinda members that we all kind of did sort of fairly similar moves.
But now as we come back out of pandemic and face whatever economic shifts there are going to be or any change is going to be. Look, again, there’s no playbook for this, it’s about your intuition. Speak to your people. Be honest to yourself and be honest to your merchants, do the best you can and, and so, look, I just think, good luck for the road.