THIS week’s High Flyer is Denny Elliott, head of Northern Ireland at Self Help Africa
What was your first job?
I started my career with a four year apprenticeship in mechanical engineering with Department of Manpower Services. On qualification as an engineer in 1981 there was very little employment opportunities in a town like Derry so it was back to the drawing board for me.
What qualifications do you have?
City and Guilds Mechanical Engineering North West College of Technology. BA Peace and Conflict Studies at Ulster University, Magee. Advertising Marketing and Public Relations, Queens University. Alumni of O’Carroll School of Management, Boston College where I completed the ‘Sustainability of Non – Profits Programme.
What do you attribute your success to?
Knowing my limitations and having been lucky enough to have a number of great people around me, both friends and mentors.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
A real trier who’s fallen over more fences than I’ve jumped.
Who do you look up to in business?
Irish American Chuck Feeney, who pioneered duty free shopping, but more importantly founded one of the largest private foundations in the world – Atlantic Philanthropies. Through Atlantic Philanthropies he has given away somewhere in the region of £6 billion to good causes across the globe including the island of Ireland.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
By explaining first and foremost that they don’t work for me but rather they work for the cause of farmers and families in Africa that Self Help Africa helps resource.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
That all businesses, large and small really grasped and understood the leadership, team development and marketing opportunities which exist when forming partnerships with voluntary sector organisations.
What website or app could you not do without?
Ebay – love a bargain
What was the last book you read?
Hillbilly Elegy – Helps to explain how someone like Donald Trump became President by winning over the voters within the American ‘rustbelt’.
What car do you drive?
A seven-year-old Ford Kuga with 90,000 miles on the clock. Never lets me down.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I love doing bits and pieces of writing and I have a play that I hope will be performed at the Playhouse in Derry sometime in the near future.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
Getting away from it all – I try to take as many short city breaks as I can every year and love visiting cities like Krakow, Prague, Budapest and Berlin. I also go to Glenties in Donegal at weekends where I have a small 160 year-old cottage