The Ethics of Friendship

I was never one for the yuletide messages. By the time I get to Christmas Eve I am usually so tired I just need to step off the treadmill for a bit and sleep. Transactions to close, turkey to buy (and pretend to know what I am doing and actually cook it), presents to wrap, parties to attend. But before you scream Scrooge, it is a time to be grateful too. For spending time with family and friends, for opining with great authority on the Santa readiness of the chimney, for untangling the lights (how DO they get so tangled?).

A time to reflect on the people who empower and enable you.

I am often asked in my day job, why invest in Cork, what makes Cork unique? Sometimes when we talk about Cork, we list off all the great companies here. That is natural given the impressive pedigree in the region.

But while the companies might set us apart, I have learned that it is people who truly make a difference.

At the Leaders awards this year, I chose to speak about a big theme. Friendship. This stemmed from an event hosted by the Lord Mayor in September where he reminded us of the crest of Cork City, which translated from Latin means a “safe harbour for ships”. That is our roots, a safe harbour. When I think of a safe harbour, I think of trust and when I think of trust, I think of friendship. Michael D Higgins wrote that he had “come to regard the ethics of friendship as the most beautiful enduring prospect that remains available to this and coming generations”. Isn’t that lovely? The ethics of friendship. And that’s it, that’s our unique offering. The ethics of friendship runs deep in Cork, this is who we are, the safe harbour where we look after each other, we trust each other and get business done. The ease at which you can get business done in Cork is incredible; it is unique and it is down to the friendships and connections that each of us has, our ability to get the job done quickly.  You don’t get that level of connectivity in capital cities. They are too large, too dispersed.

This safe harbour positions us well into the future as the technologies of tomorrow are, in my view, all about convergence. Technology permeating everything that we do. It is already happening in areas like FinTech, AgriTech, FoodTech, Biotech . Technology disrupting through all traditional sectors and changing how we work and live;  traditional car companies become energy companies as advances in technology means that the car industry can play a significant role in the climate change agenda : the watch industry becoming a health industry with watches detecting the onset of a stroke with 97% accuracy. With that level of convergence you need to have strong connectivity between all of the stakeholders and the ability to collaborate. My goodness we have that in spades here in Cork. We just need to capitalise on it.  With one third of all job growth planned for the Southern Region under the 2040 National Planning Framework, it is all there for the taking. It is within our reach.

IT@cork has always traded heavily on volunteerism. That has been a wonderful attribute and has allowed me to meet so many great people during my time with the organisation. Each new board member, each new volunteer brings a fresh approach and new ideas.  Our board and committees are very active in the community and give selflessly.

So here they are: the unsung heroes, the volunteers who demonstrate the ethics of friendship every day, the people who are passionate about Tech and who leave their own legacies behind them;

Our board of directors ; Ronan Murphy (Smarttech), Anthony O’ Callaghan (Flex), Aiveen Hyland (BOI), Eileen Moloney (Cork BIC), Gillian Bergin (Dell EMC), John Drury (Westbourne), Michael O’ Connor (Cork Chamber), Sean Byerley (BOI), John McSweeney (Ervia), Paddy O’ Connell (Berkley), Donagh Kiernan (NSC), William Opperman (MPSTOR), Mark Brosnan (Xanadu), Martin Leahy (BioMarin), Barry O’ Sullivan (UCC), Tim Horgan (CIT)

Our committee members ; Gerry Murphy (VMware), Jerry Sweeney (CIX), Grainne Bagnall (STEAM Education), Denis Canty (McKesson), Elaine Beare (Dell EMC), Dave Harley (McKesson), Barry O’ Connell (PlanNet 21), David McCarthy (Yellow Harbour)

And last, but by no means least, our staff who regularly go above and beyond the call of duty – Lisa Monaghan, Aoife Carey, Annette Coburn and of course the wonderful Sarah Walsh.

And so you see, it is people who make a difference after all.

Wishing you and your families a very happy, fun and peaceful Christmas and every success in 2018. Am off now to Santa proof that chimney……