Geraldine Heavey, ESB

17th July 2019

As part of our WMB Gender Diversity Ambassador series, Geraldine Heavey tells us about her role at ESB, her thoughts on diversity and her vision for the future.

Describe your current role at ESB

I am the Executive Director, Enterprise Services, ESB.  With over 700 employees, Enterprise Services, as ESB’s internal service provider, enables ESB’s Brighter Future Strategy by leading, advising and delivering in its core areas of expertise.  Enterprise Services is:

•The strategic advisor to ESB Group in relation to legal, procurement, pension, insurance and other matters.

•Responsible for providing business critical processes and services to the rest of ESB Group through its two delivery arms, Business Operations and IT Delivery; and

•Responsible for leading the digital transformation of ESB Group, as well as leading operational excellence across ESB.

What is the size and scope of ESB’s operations?

ESB is a leading Irish utility with annual turnover of €3.4 billon, €13.3 billion assets and c. 7,800 employees.  It has a 38% share of generation in the all-island market and a significant supply business supplying electricity and gas to approximately 1.3 million customers throughout the island of Ireland (All figures quoted as at 31 December 2018).

How important is it to have role models in business today?

It is very important to have role models in business today in terms of leading by example, encouraging people to broaden their horizons and it helps demonstrate that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Tell us a bit about your career journey

Given I liked working with numbers and enjoyed accountancy and business subjects in school, when I left school I decided to pursue an accountancy qualification. Having qualified, I joined ESB over 20 years ago and have enjoyed a wide range of finance and non-finance roles.  I was appointed to the position of Executive Director, Enterprise Services in June 2018. Prior to this I held a number of senior financial and general management positions across ESB Group including Manager, ESB Trading and Group Finance and Commercial Manager.

What motivates you?

I am always motivated to do my best, realise my potential and move things forward and also really enjoy supporting and helping others to realise their potential too.

How important is it to invest in further education?

I think it is very important to continuously avail of opportunities to develop and learn in life, both personally and professionally, which includes investing in further education.

How has ESB evolved to accommodate the changing needs of its customers, and it’s employees?

Having a diverse workforce is really important to ESB for many reasons including our need to understand better the customers we serve. The diversity of our workforce has evolved over the years reflecting the diversity of our customer base, enabling us to evolve our service and offerings to align with customer needs.

Becoming more diverse as a workforce has also seen us evolve our ways of working to support this. We place a big emphasis on inclusion to ensure everyone can be themselves and therefore their best at work. It has also seen us introduce more and more supports into the workplace such as Employee Resource Groups, programmes to support family transitions and flexible working arrangements.

How does ESB attract and retain female talent?

We have been working hard to ensure female participation and diversity in our intake programmes (graduate recruitment, apprenticeship training programme and other recruitment processes).

In recent years, we have seen an increase in the numbers of females at Executive level and at Senior Management level because we have brought a focus to diversity in our talent management processes. This coupled with the work we are doing to support our females through maternity transitions and the associated management development is having a positive impact on female appointments to middle management roles. I really believe that once there are role models in the organisation and a diverse leadership team shaping our ways of working, we get an upward spiral effect or more diversity.

Best piece of advice or favourite motto?

Balance is very much a personal matter – no one size fits all. Strike the right balance for you; Working smart and building a strong network you can rely on.