The company’s rapid growth has been led from the top by Founder & CEO Darragh McCarthy along with his senior executive team that he has assembled around him. In her role as Chief Human Resources Officer, Sinead Carville has been instrumental in managing that growth from when she started with the company in October 2016.
When she arrived at FinTrU from US banking group Citi, the company had grown to a team of 60. Just four short years later, the headcount is over the 600-mark. And it is set to grow further.
“We’re fortunate that there is a fantastic talent pool here in Northern Ireland, and we’re very confident that it’s a talent pool that will enable us to fuel further growth over the coming years.”
FinTrU opened its second base in a former shirt factory in Derry/Londonderry two years ago and is now home to over 120 members of staff. “We received the warmest welcome in the city, we’ve been made to feel valued and acceleration of our North West growth is one of our key strategic priorities.”
A Dubliner, Sinead Carville cut her teeth in the retail sector before moving into Financial Services and has over 15 years’ experience in HR leadership.
“In a lot of ways, my retail experience prepared me for becoming an HR professional. Retail is a fast-paced, target driven environment with people at the core,” she says. Moving north to work with the Sliderobes group as their Training and Development Manager, Sinead decided on a change of tack in career terms, signing up for a Masters in Human Resource Management at Ulster University.
When Citi arrived in Northern Ireland to set up its HR function here, she formed part of the team that built and established the unit. She went on to work at Citi for four years. “It helped me to gain a real understanding of investment banking and to see if I could repeat previous professional successes within a completely different industry,” she says. “But it is a very big, global operation employing tens of thousands of people. In the end, I felt a bit like a small cog in a very big wheel.”
The chance to influence strategy and help drive change attracted her to the FinTrU role. “It was a risk,” she says. “I was moving to a smaller organisation but one with big aspirations and dreams. After meeting with Darragh I knew I wanted to be part of the FinTrU story. I was fully confident that the plans for growth could be achieved and could see the determination and enthusiasm that existed within the firm. It was a risk that paid off tenfold”.
Sinead arrived at FinTrU’s Gasworks site as the company had announced the creation of 80 new jobs, and since then the pace has been unrelenting. During her time, she has seen it all with FinTrU – with the company evolving throughout the growth from 60 to 600 employees during her tenure. The company’s 10x growth provides a nice correlation for Sinead to reflect on her four-year anniversary in October 2020.
“I knew when I joined FinTrU in October 2016 that this business would achieve big results, but I am not sure I could have predicted a tenfold growth in our employee headcount within four years. I am so proud of what we have achieved and the part that all our employees have played in this.
“Our challenge back then was to sell a relatively new employer like FinTrU to candidates,” she says. “We sought out people who had that entrepreneurial mindset, who wanted to be part of building something really unique and special in Northern Ireland.
“The crux of my role became the development of our employment experience from pre-employment right through,” she adds. “at all stages of our growth, maintaining our unique and vibrant culture whilst growing at pace was and continues to be a priority.
The market for talent within Northern Ireland is competitive and to be able to compete you need to offer an attractive employment proposition. We are now recognised as a leading employer of choice within Financial Services in Northern Ireland, something that we are extremely proud of achieving in such a short space of time.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought big challenges for the organisation. FinTrU established a Covid response team back in February as the global crisis developed and had its entire staff working from home before the Government imposed a lockdown.
“Prior to Covid, we had never been an organisation where working from home was part of the culture. The vast majority of employees worked within our offices so this represented a huge task,” says Sinead. “Ensuring the health and wellbeing of our employees and minimising the impact to our client services was at the forefront of all decisions we took. Our employees have proved how resilient they are and their commitment during this time has been exemplary. Not only that but their ongoing support to our charitable events has been both creative and impressive”.
So, what does the future hold for FinTrU in such uncertain times. According to Sinead the future is very bright indeed. “We have been very fortunate to not just maintain our business in such challenging times but to grow significantly and that demonstrates what a strong trajectory we are on. We have recently incorporated in the US and opened an office in New York and we have accelerated our technology strategy. Professionally this offers me so much to be excited about and I will always be thankful I took that leap of faith four years ago.”
Sinead Carville with FinTrU Founder & CEO Darragh McCarthy