We chat about getting Irish professionals on the map within the London business community and how LIBS was often a professional talking point.
I came to Reading, England in 2008 to complete a MSc in Real Estate. I found myself naturally attracted to London due to the exposure to the property market it provided and also thought it was be a fun place to live and work. I completed my APC with Jones Lang LaSalle, working within their Capital Markets team in the City.
Several years later I moved to Banbury to join my family business, a house building company. I started as the Development Director, responsible for driving new business, but went on to become the MD of that region. We currently build around 150 homes across the Midlands; it’s an exciting and challenging role.
Helping out Irish professionals
A few mutual friends were getting involved with LIBS and I was excited with the prospect of helping put Irish professionals ‘on the map’ within the London business community. I felt it would be an opportunity to develop my contact base, career and social network.
Our Chairman at the time, Darren Glynn, originally came up with the idea, based on a concept of a network he had established in Galway University. I remember his target was to get Willie Walsh as our speaker and we eventfully did get Willie after a few years! Darren was an optimistic and was convinced it would be a success and we went along with him, I am very glad that we did.
I was one of the founding directors. In the early days, the roles weren’t well defined, we all worked together very effectively as a team to put together great events and launch the society. This could involve planning events, seeking out speakers, securing venues, looking for sponsorship etc. As LIBS developed, I became more responsible for getting media coverage.
LIBS: often a professional talking point
It was good to have a success outside of work but still within a professional perspective. It was often a talking point with people whom I met who were impressed with what we delivered. It also introduced me to some contacts with whom I built a working relationship with over the years.
Personally, it certainly expanded my social network within London and put me in contact with people I wouldn’t have been in touch with otherwise. Looking at what we achieved also helped increase confidence.
An Irish network to ‘plug’ into
London can be a daunting place so it helps to have a network to ‘plug’ into and find common ground. It might provide the opportunity to build friendships and relationships that may last many years.
I do not have lots of experience with the other groups in London however I believe there are a number of Irish groups, all of which do a great job, many of which have a different target group/ ethos. I welcome all groups which aim to promote and act as ambassadors to the Irish community in London.
John is the Managing Director of Lagan Homes England. Established in 1983, Lagan Homes has three companies operating in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and England. Lagan Homes is at the forefront of high quality home building and our strength lies in our people from experienced innovative architects to skilled meticulous craftsmen.
If you’d like to contact John, you can connect with him on LinkedIn here.