Amanda Roche-Kelly, MD,  Just Eat Takeaway Ireland

22nd April 2024

This week Amanda Roche-Kelly, Managing Director of Just Eat and WMB Diversity Ambassador talks about thinking outside of the box, expansion plans and the importance of ‘knowing your own worth’.

Can you tell our readers a bit about your background and role at Just Eat.

I am managing director of Just Eat Takeaway Ireland, where I manage and oversee the entire Irish business, across Finance, Sales, Marketing, Logistics, Data and Operations. I joined Just Eat in 2013 as managing director, and since then have driven the growth and expansion of the business in Ireland by building a robust and highly engaged team; working hand-in-glove with our 3,700 restaurant, grocery retail and convenience partners; and by responding to the ever-changing consumer landscape in Ireland.

Prior to joining Just Eat Takeaway, I worked as a Regional Manager with Bewley’s Coffee, and as Senior Brand Manager for Pernod Ricard wines.

What is your leadership style?

Empowerment is a big part of my leadership style. It’s crucial that people feel like their voice is heard so I really try to focus on being a good listener and embracing softer skills such as emotional intelligence and empathy.

It’s very important to me to bring my team on a journey, and foster an environment where everyone supports one another, works hard, and reaps the rewards together. The tenure of my team here in Dublin is testament to this style of leadership, and the trust that I aim to instil among my team.

As a WMB Diversity Ambassador, how important are female role models?

It is so important to have female role models who you can look up to, both in life and in business.

Whether that be for women who are starting out in their first jobs, or those who are well-established in their careers, representation matters, and it’s so important to have people (both male and female) who inspire you and provide you with much-needed mentorship and advice as you navigate various challenges.

What are your guiding principles?

My guiding principle, both on a personal level, and as a piece of business advice, comes from Maya Angelou.

She said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This principle has guided me throughout my career to date. It is so important that people feel good about the work they are doing, and that I do everything in my power to create an environment where people feel good about coming into work every day and giving their all.

What DE&I Initiatives are in place at Just Eat.

At Just Eat, our approach to DE&I is focused on Inclusion, Diversity & Belonging (ID&B). Our new ID&B Policy launched in 2023, outlines our three main ambitions, which are: to lead by example to achieve our ID&B mission, to deliver an inclusive environment, and to care for everyone’s story and belonging.

In terms of our broader ID&B initiatives, I am very proud to say that Just Eat Ireland will be a sponsor at Dublin PRIDE this year.

Sponsorships like this allow us to continue to commit to our values to create an inclusive culture where everyone feels welcome, included and valued for exactly who they are.

Two of our colleagues from the Just Eat Ireland office sit on the global LGBTQIIA+ JET and Proud committee and they will be working closely with myself and the wider team as we develop our plans for our upcoming PRIDE sponsorship and also local initiatives we will be working on throughout the year.

What is the greatest opportunity in your business sector today?

Just Eat Ireland has seen huge growth in the grocery and convenience retail space over the last 12 months, but we are also anticipating a huge opportunity in the non-food retail space, and I am greatly looking forward to continuing to expand our partner network to include florists, bakeries, and pet food delivery within the Just Eat offering over the coming months and years.

And the biggest challenge facing your sector?

The constant change and fast-paced nature of our business can be viewed as a challenge by some; however, I prefer to flip challenges on their head and see them as opportunities.

It is essential for Just Eat as a business to keep up with technological developments in order to grow, otherwise we risk getting left behind our competitors. This pushes us to always think outside of the box and constantly evolve the business.

How can you attract and retain a healthy pipeline of female talent?

We have invested in a number of specific initiatives here in Just Eat to encourage a strong pipeline of female talent throughout the business. This includes our leadership development programmes, our transition towards a skills-based talent strategy, which is a departure from the more traditional job-centred talent strategy, as well as our hybrid working approach. This approach is designed to support our entire team in maintaining work-life balance.

‘CEOs overwhelmingly see generative AI as a catalyst for reinvention that will power efficiency, innovation, and transformational change.’ (PwC’s 27th Annual Global CEO Survey 2024). Do you agree?

I see generative AI as a huge catalyst for reinvention, and I think it marks a very exciting time for business leaders as they herald a new era of innovation, efficiency and transformational change.

Technology is advancing at such a quick pace and I would encourage business leaders not to shy away from exploring and adopting new digital advancements and emerging technologies to improve efficiencies and create competitive advantage.

What two traits have helped you most in your working life?

Two traits which have helped most in my working life are emotional intelligence and empathy.

I am extremely relationship driven and as part of this, I aim to demonstrate emotional intelligence and empathy in everything that I do. This allows me to create a strong company culture that allows people to thrive.

Do you invest in ‘you’?

I invest in myself by ensuring that I have a strong work-life balance. This is something that I encourage all my employees to embrace, which means that I have to lead by example.

I really try to prioritise physical wellbeing as part of a healthy lifestyle – I’ll always aim to get out for a run a few times a week after being at a desk for most of the day!

In terms of looking after my mental wellbeing, I think it’s so important to switch off from work and spend time away from phones and devices.

As women, can we ‘have it all’?

I like to think that women can ‘have it all’. ‘Having it all’ is open to interpretation for each individual, so what is truly important is creating an environment and culture within the workplace that caters to each individual and offers flexibility – whether that be hybrid working arrangements, HR policies that cater to families, and D&I initiatives that encourage inclusivity and equity.

What, in your opinion, are the main challenges facing women’s career advancement today?

I think that the biggest challenge facing women’s career advancement today is self-belief, and having confidence in your own skills and abilities.

Time and time again I see women not putting themselves forward for roles or opportunities they deserve due to a lack of self-belief and confidence.

My biggest piece of advice would be to just go for it – because the chances are you are a lot more qualified than you give yourself credit for!

What advice would you give your younger self?

The greatest piece of advice I would give my younger self would be to know my own worth.

There are times where you don’t feel as though you are the right candidate for something, and it’s important to have confidence in your own strengths and abilities and not to be afraid to receive a ‘no’ answer from time to time.