Amanda Roche-Kelly, Managing Director, Just Eat Takeaway Ireland
7th November 2022
This week Amanda Roche-Kelly, Managing Director for Just Eat Takeaway Ireland and WMB Diversity Ambassador highlights how ‘shared success’ drives her to succeed – “Working collectively with my team on shared outcomes and goals is what gets me out of bed and onto my laptop every morning.”
Can you tell our readers a bit about your background and your role at Just Eat Takeaway?
As Managing Director for Just Eat Takeaway Ireland, I am in the very fortunate position to oversee all aspects of our business here. This includes operations, finance, marketing, commercial management, and sales. Essentially, I am responsible, together with my leadership team, for developing a strategy that will drive the growth of the business here in Ireland and oversee the implementation of that strategy.
Our business ensures that we always meet and anticipate our customers’ needs as well as the ever -evolving market conditions we face, all the while driving orders to our restaurant partners who are fundamentally at the heart of everything we do. We are also focused on innovation and reviewing and evolving the level of service we provide – both to the consumer and our partners. We share business insights, trends and relevant data with restaurants, helping them to plan for future growth, to evolve menus to respond to demand and to tweak staffing and opening hours based on insights that we can share.
Sustainability has also become a keen focus of my role more recently, as we continue to roll out more initiatives to advance our efforts in alleviating the impact of climate change.
My role is always interesting and constantly evolving. We have a lot of autonomy in our own market, allowing us to make decisions that help us to grow and build our brand.
What is the best part of your job…. And the most challenging?
Without question, the best part of my role are the people. Working with the team here in Ireland, which I have built up around me over the past ten years, has been such a rewarding experience. I’m in the fortunate position to have had some of the very best people – both past and present – work alongside me to build Just Eat Takeaway in Ireland into the amazing company it is today.
I also particularly enjoy working with a cross-section of people with a wide range of personalities, skills and background which is why I am such a diverse leader. I love embracing people and working with them to build up their strengths and tackle their weaknesses. I know that probably sounds like a very stereotypical answer, but in my case it’s true. I find it incredibly rewarding to help develop my team, enabling them to embrace their skills to the best of their ability.
In terms of challenges, I would probably answer this in the same way to some degree. COVID was a particularly interesting time and while our business went from strength-to-strength, it wasn’t without its challenges, but I am pleased to say for the most part we met them head on, as a team.
Other challenges include external market conditions and fluctuations, which can also be difficult to navigate but with the right team around me, I genuinely feel like I can tackle almost anything!
As a WMB Diversity Ambassador, what does DE&I mean to you personally and as a leader?
For me personally, it’s about being all-inclusive. While it’s important to support and empower women, and this was the primary reason I got involved with WMB initially, we need to always focus on the bigger picture when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion.
It’s about creating an inclusive culture where everyone feels seen, supported and empowered.
Equity is about creating opportunities for all and leading by example, so people live and breathe a specific culture that celebrates everyone’s unique perspectives, skillsets and beliefs. And it’s also about meritocracy, whereby the right person is placed in the right role for the right reasons.
Research (LinkedIn Global Talent Trends) shows that soft skills are equally or more important to hire for than hard skills. Do you agree?
I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. Personally, I am drawn to softer skills and don’t think there’s enough emphasis placed on them, not only in terms of the culture of a business but also in terms of how you get things done.
Hard skills are obviously required for certain positions, however soft skills are just as important given the impact they can have on the people around you. The culture of a business is critical, and everything stems from it.
People who have attributes that include being relationship driven, and personable and who consciously work on their emotional intelligence have so much to offer any organisation and ours is no exception.
With so many people returning to the office environment, either full-time or via a hybrid approach, and especially for those who started their role during COVID, having people around you that have the right attitude and are collegiate can make a massive difference to the broader working environment.
Coming from a sales background, the ability to show empathy, especially when dealing with our partners who often face a multitude of challenges at any given time, is also important.
What current international leader do you admire the most and why?
Finland’s Prime Minister, Sanna Marin is probably one of the international leaders I currently really admire. Not only is she the leader of one of the world’s most progressive countries when it comes to work-life balance, childcare and education, she is also a human at the end of the day. She’s leading by example – demonstrating that you can be a wholly committed professional, while also finding time to let-go and have downtime, which is absolutely critical for people’s well-being, irrespective of the job you hold.
Do women need more flexibility than men?
If anything, men need the same, if not more flexibility than women. What I mean by this simply is, the more flexible men are, the more flexible women can be.
If men had more flexibility, it would in turn create more opportunity for women especially those who assume the role of primary carer (to children, partners, parents etc). By giving men more flexibility in their roles, it would afford greater opportunity to those women who are either trying to progress in their current positions, or who are potentially exploring roles they may not have otherwise.
Greater flexibility for both creates balance and invariably means more time for women to focus their efforts on professional endeavours, especially if they have been hampered in doing so previously.
What drives you to succeed?
There is nothing better in my opinion than shared success. So that’s fundamentally what drives me to succeed.
Working collectively with my team on shared outcomes and goals is what gets me out of bed and onto my laptop every morning. I know that may sound cliched, but there’s no better feeling that celebrating a year well done at a company all-hands meeting and acknowledging the contribution of everyone to the businesses’ success. That old mantra, “there’s no ‘i’ in team” really does ring true for me.
The other thing that drives me, is also setting an example for my children. Showing them how important it is to work hard, and to work towards something. In my role as MD at Just Eat Takeaway, I am in the fortunate position of being able to do that each and every day.
A little bit about You
If you were a superhero, who would you be?
Alternative career choice, no limits?
The person who has influenced you the most.
Unquestionably my mother. She has and continues to be an incredible force and influence in my life.
Not only does she treat everyone with immense love, dignity, and respect; she is also calm and controlled under pressure. When she got married, she gave up a job she loved, which was expected of her at that time, and took up the role of full-time caregiver to our family. She has always been gracious under pressure and generous with her advice and support.
Name three things that you’re passionate about.
•Sport and particularly the coaching and leadership of sport. Bringing all aspects of sport into the business environment. I believe sport and the essence of sport can have an immense impact on a business when it comes to team collaboration and fostering a culture of high performing teams.
•Great food and wine.
•Travel – experiencing different people and different cultures.
If you had a magic wand?…
I will answer this in two parts. More broadly speaking I would find a solution to tackle homelessness in Ireland and around the world. This is an issue I am passionate about and as an organisation we partner with the Peter McVerry Trust every year to lend our support.
Secondly, I would probably give myself a week back in lockdown – not during a global pandemic I would stress – but more so, in a situation whereby I need to stay at home and within certain parameters.
I think some of the positive habits we developed during COVID, specifically around better work-life balance, are slowly dissolving away and we’re reverting to form with an ‘always-on’ mentality. I really try to encourage my teams to strike a balance where they can, and that includes myself.
Introducing our Diversity Ambassadors 2022. You can find out more here>>