Raising a glass to the perfect job

In this week's My Career in Women on Wednesday (WoW!) we feature Kate Barry, Brand Manager with Barry and Fitzwilliam
Raising a glass to the perfect job
Kate Barry of Barry & Fitzwilliam

Name: Kate Barry.

Age: 27.

Lives: Douglas.

Job title: Brand Manager with Barry and Fitzwilliam.

Salary bracket: €35,000 to €45,000.

Education background: Studied Food Marketing and Entrepreneurship in University College Cork.

Hobbies: Playing hockey, training in the gym, travelling, be it in Ireland or abroad.

Describe your job in five words: Fun, fast, busy, travel, people.

Describe yourself in five words: Happy, enthusiastic, energetic, busy, kind.

Personality needed for this kind of work? Bubbly and outgoing.

How long are you doing this job? Since May, 2015.

How did you get this job? I always had a desire to join the family company, but wanted to gain experience elsewhere and bring something new and different to the table, as once I joined I would be there for the long haul.

When I was in first year at UCC, I was offered a six-month placement with Cully & Sully as a sales representative based in Dublin, where I was dealing with managers of the retail stores, discussing planograms, doing food quality checks, market research, in-store sampling — I loved it! It was daunting at first but an incredible experience.

After I graduated I took a job based in London with Accolade Wines, where I worked with the UK and Australian teams as the PR & Events Executive, which later became the role of PR & Marketing Executive. It was with Accolade that my interest in wine started to develop and I became involved in the vineyards and in the winery, where I saw the process of the bottling and packaging. I returned to Cork after taking some time to travel while on the other side of the world and started with B&F in May 2015. Since then, it has been a whirlwind.

Do you need particular qualifications or experience? Yes, you need a qualification in business/marketing and experience in the drinks industry.

Describe a day at work: Well, every day can be so different, depending on whether I am in the Cork office or Dublin office or if I am out of the country travelling. In general, I always have a to-do list that usually begins with getting the most urgent things done or refreshing my memory of the ‘to-dos’ from the day before. I liaise with the sales team frequently to get an update on the different brands and check in on what is happening with on-trade (bars and restaurants). I organise promotional and marketing activities across the brands. I work closely with the commercial director so am in the loop with what is happening in the off-trade (retail stores like Supervalu, Dunnes, O’Briens off-licence, etc). I work with the brand owners and receive updates of what is happening with the brands around the world.

How many hours do you work a week? This depends — I aim to work about 40 hours a week but this excludes bringing our suppliers and brand owners out for dinner and drinks when they come to visit the Irish market. I really strive to keep a work/life balance and not let my work consume me.

What do you wear to work? The dress code is smart casual and at the moment I like the look of a blouse, skirt, tights and flats, with my winter jacket. Flats are essential as at any given time I could be running around the warehouse in a highlighter jacket to check on an order, so there is no way could I wear high heels for a typical day in B&F.

Is your industry male or female dominated? The industry is very male-dominated, even the sales team in B&F is made up of mostly men. I would love to change this as, I’m sure you know, girls are better at multi-tasking and this is a major part of my job, being able to juggle a few things at once.

Does this affect you in any particular way? Not particularly, I always want to prove myself and do my job to the best of my ability, so it doesn’t matter to me if I work in a team full of men or women. However, I do like a bit of balance.

Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10: No, I would not really describe it as stressful. I enjoy being busy. At times I feel like I have a lot to juggle, but I just prioritise and focus on what is most urgent. I get a great buzz out of my work. Time management is key, which thankfully is one of my strong points, so perhaps I would mark it as a 5, in the middle.

Do you work with others or on your own? I work with others; we have a sales and marketing team of about 20 and I am working with different people every day. I wouldn’t like to work on my own, I’d find it lonely. I enjoy discussing ideas with other people and asking others for their thoughts and opinions.

When do you plan to retire or give up working? Oh, that is a VERY hard question. I never really want to retire from a family company, I would always be keen to keep a foot or toe in the door. That is way down the line for me anyway as I am only 27 so I have lots to do before I hit 90!

Best bits: The highlights since I returned to Cork have been setting up my own company Wines Of The World, being awarded Cork Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016 at the Cork Business Awards and launching a new bottle beer to the Irish Market — New Yorker Larger. The drinks industry is constantly evolving and I love seeing what is new. Last year it was CollaGin, with collagen contained in the gin – genius! As the gin trend is hopping in Ireland, this gives an amazing point of difference.

Worst bits: Ooh, that is a hard one that I have to think about. I guess living out of a suitcase at times and having to go out for dinner and drinks when all you really want to do is sit in front of the TV in fluffy PJs, but in the end I always enjoy it, so it’s really not that bad.

Advice to those who want your job? No advice, as I’m sorry to say I’m not going anywhere!

Any other comments? If people are interested in trying some of our latest additions to the portfolio, New Yorker Beer is available to buy in Reardans bar on a night out, but for a night in it’s available in selected SuperValu and Centra stores, Dunnes Stores and Carry Out off licences. Skinny Prosecco is available at the River Lee Hotel (great with afternoon tea) and in Brown Thomas and selected SuperValu stores, as well as selected Carry Out off licences. CollaGin is available to buy online from molloys.ie and in selected independent off-licences.

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