In the spotlight this week is Ciaran Boyd, general manager of the new £15 million Brook leisure centre in Belfast, which opens to the public in January. GLL, the social enterprise that manages all of Belfast’s public leisure centres in partnership with Belfast City Council, is currently recruiting for more than 100 new roles to work at Brook and two other new leisure centres that will soon open – Lisnasharragh and Andersonstown
What was your first job?
At the tender age of 12 I was a paper boy, learning about the value of money.
What qualifications do you have?
I have nine GCSEs, and an advanced GNVQ and AS level. In my career I have gained further qualifications such as NPLQ, NPMQ, IOSHH, FI level 1 & 2, Swim Teacher Level 1, Swim Coach Level 2, Fundamentals Hurling, Camogie, Gaelic football, Level 1 Soccer Coaching and quite a few others.
What do you attribute your success to?
Hard work, dedication, hunger and of course my family who drive me to succeed and keep me grounded.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
Trustworthy, loyal, imaginative, forward-thinking, determined and someone who never forgets where he came from.
Who do you look up to in business?
I would say Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, owners of The Dead Rabbit in New York. They were penniless and have become a massive success. More personally, Alison Foster took a chance on me in my early career and I wouldn’t be where I am without her. She has worked in local leisure in Belfast for 30 years and taught me everything I know about the business.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
People don’t work for me, they work alongside me. Treat people how you would like to be treated. Be honest, truthful and upfront even if its not what they want to hear. You will gain more respect (wise words from my mother).
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
I’d like to see more of a focus on the social enterprise model which is how we work at GLL. All of the profits made in our leisure centres are reinvested back into the company to train staff and improve facilities for members.
What website or app could you not do without?
I couldn’t live without Whatsapp as I have so many groups, whether it be from coaching, work or family.
What was the last book you read?
It was the Roy Keane autobiography – boy was he driven to succeed.
What car do you drive?
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I’ve opened four different leisure centres in four different job roles – from attendant, duty manager, service/assistant manager and general manager. In my current role as general manager at GLL, I am preparing for the opening and operation of the brand new £15 million Brook leisure centre.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
Family means everything to me, but I have a huge passion for sport particularly GAA, so I merge them both by coaching and watching my children play.