Meet the Board: Anne Daly

Get to know our board with the Meet the NYDI Board series. The board is here to support Irish startups make connections in the US and run events in New York. Are you an Irish start up looking to expand in the US? Reach out to us!

Anne Daly, SVP Strategy and Customer Engagement at Havas Health/Health4Brands

Anne is SVP Strategy and Customer Engagement at Havas Health/Health4Brands. Anne brings expertise in the health & pharma industries to the board, having worked with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck and Pfizer. She also directed and executed strategies on behalf of clients with Sante Strategy in both Europe & North America. In May, Anne was vital in organizing in our MedTech event with Havas Health. Welcome to the board Anne!

Follow Anne on Twitter and Linked In.

Why did you become involved with Digital Irish?

I became involved with Digital Irish soon after I attended my first event. From the outset, it struck me that Digital Irish adopted a different approach and format than other Irish-centered groups in New York City, with a focus on active rather than passive engagement. This pulled me in immediately. Digital Irish stands alone in terms of content, as well, especially for those involved in digital enterprise.

What advice would you have for Irish companies expanding in the US market?

Come prepared. I have seen many companies pitch an idea with enthusiasm and eagerness, but without an investment of forethought into the identity of their audience. When I pitch, I want to know the needs of my potential client and tailor my pitch to them. This allows me to communicate effectively the value I would add to that client. Knowledge of your audiences “pain points” also lets potential clients see that you have spent time understanding their immediate needs.

Outline a tech prediction for the year 2025?

I envision a smarter way of collaborating, including through the use of avatars and virtual reality – goodbye morning commute!

What advice have you for Irish professionals moving to work in the US?

Arrive as prepared as possible and expect to travel a steep learning curve, at a fast pace.

What was the best advice you ever received?

Relax and smile!

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

The opportunity to work with many different pharmaceutical and wellness clients, all of whom desire to keep up with the rapid paradigm shift in healthcare but with the overarching goal to improve patients’ lives

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up

Why, a digital influencer, of course! 😉

The Leader in Technology series interviews Irish professionals who have become leaders in Tech Companies in the US, providing insights into their current role and their advice for aspiring professionals. 

Francis Shanahan, SVP of Technology, Audible

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Francis leads the Core Engineering group at Audible (an Amazon company). Audible is the world’s largest seller and producer of digital spoken-word entertainment and has revolutionized the experience of listening to spoken word. Francis’ group powers everything from content ingestion, membership, catalog publishing, audio delivery right through to personalization. Prior to joining Audible, Francis worked for 15 years up and down Wall Street in the financial sector building teams, designing systems and shipping software for some of the largest financial institutions in the world.

Audible…leaders in Innovation 

Innovation has always been at the forefront of Audible’s business, having been the first digital audio player ever released (4 years before the ipod) and earning more than 100 patents since 2008. Since Francis joined the company, Audible has become a core pillar of Amazon’s flagship service and product offerings including Amazon Prime, Kindle and Alexa.  In this issue of Leaders in Technology, Francis provides his perspective on a range of issues including his role, innovation, career advice and his love for gruesome ultra-marathons.

Experience with Audible

Since joining Audible, you have become the tech lead for the Core Engineering Group. How has your experience been of the transition from coding to becoming responsible for the most valuable resource of the company?

At each stage of my career I’ve tried to focus on impact – where can I use my skills to provide the maximum benefit to the customer. I came to Audible having already spent many years leading teams and so I spent my first few years here deep in the weeds to understand the Audible and Amazon community.  Over time I’ve switched my focus from solving gnarly tech-issues and scaling systems to now focusing on scaling teams and solving for longer-arc issues.

What advice would you have for tech people making the transition into leadership?

Surround yourself with great people. Leaders only succeed through their teams and I view myself as a servant-leader, there to ensure the team has everything they need. Then I try to get out of their way. Leadership can happen at anytime, regardless of your career level and I would recommend everyone identify and pair up with a mentor. Someone who can provide you the benefit of their experience as well as keep you grounded will yield huge benefits over the course of your career.

Innovation is clearly a priority for your organization. What technological developments will Audible be focusing on over the next year?

That would be spoiling the surprise. Suffice to say we have a lot of exciting things coming down the pike and I’m really excited to see them come to market.

Your Career

What were the biggest surprises or challenges you encountered on your journey with Audible?

Audible’s been an amazing journey. I think the single biggest challenge has been to keep up with an organization that’s growing at the pace of our business. That’s a great problem to have by the way and life is never dull.

What advice would you have for Irish developers looking to work and succeed in the US?

Think Big! Don’t be afraid to take big risks (like leaving it all behind) and wander the earth for a while. Irish developers have the benefit of a tremendous education that positions them very competitively on the world stage so get out there and explore.

What has been your biggest achievement at Audible?

We’ve had a lot of firsts at Audible; I’ve lived through (now) 3 Prime Days, multiple country launches, new surface launches and countless features.I think the thing I’m most proud of though is the team (Core Engineering) we’ve built and the idea that we’re continuously improving the product in ways that are tangible to the customer.

On a broader level our company has achieved this tremendous growth without ever losing sight of our community responsibilities within the city of Newark. I think this focus makes us stronger as a company.

If you had one piece of advice for yourself earlier in your career, what would it be?

I was very driven, ambitious and intense to be around in my earlier years. At least it felt that way. I still have those tendencies but I’d like to think the years have mellowed me slightly. To Francis 20 years ago I’d say “Roll with it. Relax. It’ll all work out fine.”

Who was the biggest influence on your career?

My father. He encouraged my curiosity from a very early age. He was there to catch me through multiple “controlled failures” and taught me patience, the importance of listening and a great many other things besides.

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

This job tests me and keeps me on my toes. I’m always learning and being held to a high standard but the best part is I get to work a fantastic team of creative and caring people across all manner of disciplines.  I couldn’t ask for a better role.

What are your passions outside of work? You enjoy running ultra marathons!?!

If I’m not sure I can succeed at something I’ll generally give it a try. That’s how I ended up running ultras. 50km is a good distance for me but I’ve gone as far as 101 miles in 24hours.  Last year I ran the Galtee Crossing in Tipperary and failed out of Leadville in Colorado at the 50mile mark so I guess I found my limit.  There’s nothing quite like heading out into the woods with the open trail in front of you to get back to basics and figure out what’s important. It’s even better with an audiobook and you’d be amazed how far you can go when you slow down and focus. Get out there and run!

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Meet the NYDI Board: Shane Lennon

Read our Meet the NYDI Board series to get to know our board . The board is here to support Irish startups make connections in the US and run events in New York. Are you an Irish start up looking to expand in the US? Reach out to us!

Shane is a marketinShane Lennong, product, business development and technology operations executive who has built teams with direct responsibility for revenue, marketing, product and operations, even with a stint as CTO. He has led the building and transformation of companies in multiple market sectors across digital, social media, mobile, wearable tech, software/SaaS and products for both B2B and B2C markets, for companies under $1M to $500M+.

Follow Shane on Twitter and Linked In.

Why did you become involved with Digital Irish?

Feargall and I were discussing ‘pitch out of water’ his networking event and an old informal group Niamh Bushnell used to ask me and about 10/15 others to every few months back in 1999/2000/2001, jokingly called NYIrishTechMafia. We thought there was enough irish/irish americans in NY at both senior and mid level to create NYDI with a focus on enabling connections for irish/irish american starts ups coming in the US/NY market.

What advice would you have for Irish companies expanding in the US market?

Size the market opportunity – if it is 4X+ the Irish/UK market then plan to build US marketshare, and you must be willing to put customer facing feet on the ground including at least a founder and senior exec, FT commit for at least 2 years. Understand the cultural nuances of doing business in the US, irish charm get’s you a meeting, it takes a lot more effort and details to close deals, story telling is an irish trait and use it (factual). Show passion for your US customers.

Outline a tech prediction for the year 2025

Micro tech: in manufacturing and health. AI smart micro worker bots that can perform both reactive and preventive activities in your body, will probably lead to the end of many diseases like cancer.

If you had one piece of advice for yourself earlier in your career, what would it be?

Find more mentors and forget about the money (salary) for the first 5 to 10 years, it will come.

What was the best advice you ever received?

  • Start networking for your next job the day you start your new job (half jokingly).
  • Always be learning, you are only as good as the last day/week/month, move forward.
  • Only customers count – they pay or love your product/service, internal data points don’t pay the bills.
  • Hire talent that can move up at least 2 levels, even take my job.

Who was the biggest influence on your career?

CMO at hyper growth digital marketing services firm, opened my eyes and showed me it’s about the people (not the tech, not the process … etc …).
Hire talent better than he was, have to say that, when he left I took over most of his responsibilities.

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

Learning new things or better ways to do old things, mentoring talent to realize potential and be able to smile at the beginning and the end of the day 🙂

What is your motto?

It’s about the mini WOW moments – get enough of them and celebrate the small success and the other things take care of themselves (Revenue, Wins etc …) – pinned to my twitter profile for 3 years now (this week)

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?

  • F1 racing driver like Gilles Villeneuve
  • Architect
  • Best rugby winger/center – David Campese, Keith Crossan or Tim Horan
  • Something in marketing with customers (from 14 I worked in Arnotts every summer and winter break till I was 21 and left college)

What are your passions outside of work?

Coaching youth rugby players – the basic skills and keeping it simple –
Cooking food –

Follow Shane on Twitter and Linked In.