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An Interview with Maria Conway – Financial Director at CPM Ireland

As part of International Women’s Day 2015, we are celebrating successful women in our business who #makeithappen for CPM. Today’s interview is with our Financial Director – Maria Conway.

So for all women looking to succeed in a Finance role, why not check out how Maria has become so accomplished in her career in Finance.

What was your first ever job? 

My first ever job was a Clerical assistant with the Dept of Customs & Excise (that’s what made me reconsider going to college – I quickly got out of there and did a B.Comm in UCD which led me to teaching for over 4 years.

After 4 years in teaching I decided I wanted to become an accountant so started studying as an Accounting Technician in the evenings while working as a Finance Assistant. I then went on to become qualified with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

What Finance Roles did you do before moving in to your current role in CPM?

  1. Kilkenny Block Company – Finance Assistant
  2. Manvic Manufacturing – Assistant Financial Controller
  3. Russell Will Ltd – Financial Controller
  4. Russell Will Ltd – General Manager

Who was the biggest influence on your career? 

One of the most inspiring and charismatic influences was Martin Ryan, our former Managing Director who came to run the Irish business not long after I joined.  He really helped transform the business into a client centric organisation. He also built a strong culture of recognising people and made it a fun place to work.

What do you enjoy most about your current job?

I really enjoy the variety and love working with the clients and client service teams on the commercial side of the role while having an active involvement in the overall business strategy is really important to me.  Ultimately, we are a great people oriented business and that’s what I really love.

If you didn’t have your current job, what would you love to do? 

Not sure, I’m a publican’s daughter and always enjoyed working in the pub, I love eating out & am a sports fanatic – so maybe something like a really cool gastro sports bar (Up the Cats!!)

What would be your advice to women starting out in accountancy?

Enjoy it, be prepared for hard work and get as much rounded experience as possible.  Many business leaders have an accountancy background so it’s a great platform for many aspects of business and corporate life.

If you could state one characteristic that makes a strong business woman, what would that be?

That’s a  hard one…………..Probably determination