I had the pleasure of sitting down with Moira Grassick to speak to her about her career and how she has become the successful woman that she is today. As always, Moira is open, approachable and honest, just like the way she is on an everyday basis in the office.
Joining Graphite in 2012, Moira has helped grow the business significantly. As today is International Women’s Day, I wanted to ask her how she has become the leader that she is today and what highlights and challenges she has faced along the way.
How did you become HR consultancy manager for Graphite?
I joined Graphite in 2012 as a HR consultant. My role progressed quite significantly into a management role, focussing on growing and developing the Graphite brand.
How did you get into HR?
When I finished secondary school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I decided to study mechanical engineering. However, after a year, I decided that this wasn’t the career path for me so I decided to change career paths. I got a job working in accounts payable for a company, where I got promoted to payroll in 2000. I then realised that I wanted to further my career in HR, so I moved into a HR role with an asset bank as a benefits coordinator. I progressed through the company to a HR partner role. Then I applied for the role of HR consultant with Graphite, which has been the best career move for me personally.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
There have been a few. I think the highlight to date has been the growth and development of the Graphite organisation and knowing the contribution that I have made. Until I had my daughter, my career wasn’t as important to me as what it is now. When she was born, I wanted to be able to show her that she can be whatever she wants to be once you put your mind to it. I can see that my role as a leader has influenced people along the way, particularly when I see colleagues progress to achieve great results.
What challenges have you faced along the way?
Over the years, I think the two main things have been managing my time and accepting that it is fine to look for support.I felt that not knowing everything was a sign of weakness. However, throughout the years, I now know that this is not a sign of weakness. To be able to identify and say that you are not good at everything and showing your weaknesses actually shows strength in a person. Everybody needs support and guidance along the way in order to be the best person you can be in your role.
Where do you get your strength from?
I have great internal support from Graphite and I have an excellent team around me. It has been a lot of hard work and dedication to get to where I am today and I have to attribute this to the support that I have around me. My family have given me the strength to keep moving forward, especially my husband who has supported me throughout my entire career. I come from a large family and growing up my parents always encouraged us all to be the best that we can be and I have just carried that through my career.
How do you achieve the work-life balance?
I feel that one of the most important things is having good health, both physically and mentally. Sometimes you just need to stop and listen to your body. Sometimes when I get stressed, my family tell me that I need to stop and slow down a little. It is important that you have people in your life who can say that to you. Everything doesn’t need to be done today, there is always tomorrow. It is about prioritising what is important and what can wait. It is important that you have someone to talk to and in my current role, have great mentors that support me.
What is the best thing about working at Graphite?
The training that all employees receive at Graphite is world class. There is also so much encouragement for career progression for all employees if you show hard work and a willingness to learn. For example, one of the team members on the HR team started as a receptionist, then got promoted to the workforce planning team, then onto the advice team and she is now a HR consultant.
What do you do to relax?
I love the gym and cycling. I go to the gym very early in the morning, as it clears my head and makes me more productive during the day. I also love spending time with my family. I also like to spend time alone as I spend all day talking, I love nothing more than reading a book or magazine and just switching off for a while.
What does it feel like to be an inspiration to all the women in your office?
I am really flattered. I have always tried to work hard. I try to do my job in a consistent way and treat people the way that I would like to be treated. If you have just started off in the organisation or you are the most senior person in the office, everyone deserves to be treated with respect as everyone has a role to play. Graphite has been in Ireland for many years and this success is due to the employees as it is not one person that makes an organisation, everyone together makes an organisation!!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Leaving secondary school at 18 or 19 just like many people, I didn’t know what direction to take. I entered a mechanical engineering course at university, however, I didn’t like the course and left. It was a few years later that I realised that I had a passion for HR and I wanted to pursue that career so I returned to university. I think the advice that I would give my younger self is that you will always find your way, no matter how long it takes. But always be yourself. You don’t need to be anybody else as just being you is good enough!!!