THIS week’s High Flyer is Claire Magill, regional conservator for National Trust NI.
What was your first job?
My first job was working in a family restaurant from the age of 14. Waitressing and the skills that go with this territory have stayed with me throughout my career. One important lesson is the importance of the customer.
What qualifications do you have?
I have a Fine Craft design degree, specialising in Ceramics, from UUB, and a PGdip in Conservation of historical glass, ceramics and related materials, from West Dean College, University of Sussex. I’m also an ICON accredited conservator in preventive, and ceramic/glass conservation.
What do you attribute your success to?
Hard work, determination, creativity, attention to detail and a strong work ethic.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
Focused, flexible, hard-working with a sense of humour.
Who do you look up to in business?
Mary Portas. I love that she is always looking outward, seeing what’s relevant, and meeting customer needs. It’s not all about money for Mary, it’s about a sustainable model that’s relevant and ever evolving.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
Developing a strong relationship. It’s about being able to pick up on common themes and making connections. That’s when you gain respect, trust and a happy team.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
For me, it would be the training opportunities in conservation across Ireland. The training isn’t available here which makes it a challenge to commission local conservators. All too often we need to look across the UK for these skills. Whilst the people we employ are amazing at their job, it would be fantastic to be in a position to hire more local people.
What website or app could you not do without?
BBC Sounds is my favourite. There is such a wide variety of podcasts and channels that allow you to meander between great music, Health + Wellbeing, or current affairs.
What was the last book you read?
The Cultured Club by Dearbhla Reynolds.
What car do you drive?
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I have always enjoyed being creative. When the opportunity arose to remove the historic acetylene light fitting located in the west hall of The Argory, Co Armagh, for conservation work, it was the ideal opportunity to put something innovative in its place. We worked with local artist Kevin Killen who created a neon art installation. We choose neon because of the similarities between acetylene and neon light. Also, we were very much aware that Mr Bond, the previous owner, was an advocate of modern art as well as commissioning and supporting local Ulster artists. The project is called ‘Artificial Sunshine,’ and is available for everyone to see along with our new outdoor trail linked to the neon installation which is called ‘Follow The Flow Water Trail.’
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
Iyengar Yoga. I have been practicing for 20 years now, and it helped me deliver my two sons. It also helps with a general create a sense of wellness. I practice daily. I am up every morning round 6.30. Weather permitting, I go outside. It really helps set me up for the day.