High Flyers: Susan is passionate about what she does - and has laughs along the way

Susan Nightingale.

In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Susan Nightingale, senior manager in Northern Ireland for the British Business Bank

What was your first job?

Whilst being a River Island sales assistant helped pay the bills during university, my ‘career’ began as a commercial officer with Ulster Bank.

What qualifications do you have?

At Queen's I gained my degree in economics & business and a masters in finance before becoming a chartered accountant . . . and I still remember the pain of those exams!

What do you attribute your success to?

I’ll give this one to my parents. Right from the outset they instilled a sense of confidence and self-belief which has been the foundation of everything I have achieved. Also, working hard, building strong networks and maintaining a good reputation.

How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?

In work mode, collaborative and passionate about what I do. On a more personal level, loyal and of course good craic, as we all need a laugh along the way!

Who do you look up to in business?

I’ll have to say serial entrepreneur Sherry Coutu, who has a seriously impressive list of business achievements and charitable endeavours. She’s also so giving of her time and knowledge. At a local level, technology entrepreneur Mary McKenna is a fab lady championing real change for female entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland.

How do you get the best out of people who work for you?

For me it’s acknowledging people’s personal lives come first, then it’s about trust, creating opportunities and ensuring they get the recognition they deserve.

If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?

Getting diversity and inclusion even higher up the business agenda – it’s not just the right thing to do but also makes good commercial sense.

What website or app could you not do without?

The calendar on my personal phone….it has every reminder under the sun on there, I’d genuinely be lost without it.

What was the last book you read?

I’m more of a podcast girl as I can listen on the go - lately I’ve been tuning into Steve Bartlett’s The Diary of a CEO.

What car do you drive?

Thanks to the kids it’s practicality over style for now. Who doesn’t love a 7-seater.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?

I’m a novice triathlete and I’ve skydived over the Great Barrier Reef. I cried with fear before I jumped and will never do it again but an amazing experience!

What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?

Every year my daughter and I do something for charity, whether it be a fun run, mini triathlon or a bun sale. Last year she raised over £600 for the NHS and this year it’s a 30-day fitness challenge for the Simon Community.

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