The Arts Interview Sept 21

Born in Limerick I have lived everywhere from Caherdavin, to Dooradoyle, before finally ending up living in Corbally.

Born in Limerick I have lived everywhere from Caherdavin, to Dooradoyle, before finally ending up living in Corbally.

I went to St Marys and Laurel Hill Secondary School. I enjoyed school and although some of my subjects were tedious, Maths to be precise, in general I fed off my teachers’ enthusiasm. After studying tourism for my Master’s Degree, I now market the University of Limerick as a destination and manage international events.

After finishing college I went to London for a year.

It was fun and I got valuable experience in recruitment sales. A lot of the biggest companies I worked for had Irish management teams which helped greatly in the selling process. I decided to come home after a year, wanting to be involved in public relations, in some way. After working in that business for a few months I decided to write up a job description to offer to potential employers. It read: ‘When you think you need these services, I think I’d make a good candidate for interview’. When a position arose in UL I went for it. It was the hardest interview of my life, with a very specific panel, so I was thrilled when I got it.

When younger, I wanted to be Julia Roberts, but ultimately, I always knew that I wanted to work with people.

When I first started college, I worked on events for one summer and got hooked. You have to get a real thrill out of making others happy, in order to work in the service industry, and to be good at it. It is like running a mini-business. You get to be involved at the start, middle and end, so if you do a good job, there is a palpable sense of achievement. In my job a lot of my clients soon become firm friends. Indeed, I enjoy meeting new people and helping them in their lines of work. Events are often held to promote a product, enhance a brand or improve the company’s/organisation’s reputation. If you enjoy working with enthusiastic people, you will find event management, to be a good fit. Some of my clients are international charities that have been coming to UL since 2007. They have a long term relationship with Limerick and make a valuable contribution to the local economy.

Visitors should leave Limerick with a good impression and I hope that I can contribute something towards that goal.

UL is a beautiful campus and once you get people on site, they usually want to do business with you. We just ran a very successful International Limericks Poetry contest in association with the Limerick Writers Centre (LWC). There were entries from over 16 countries. One man found out about it on the Wednesday beforehand, took a flight from Jacksonville, Florida, on Thursday and competed in the competition on Saturday. We are planning to build on this enthusiasm for next year. Indeed, I am in talks currently with a couple of people in the USA about developing the Limericks Poetry Slam for next year and have other ideas in the pipeline.

The Events Department at UL are always thinking of new ways to promote the area.

We have just launched This is a unique university holiday concept which will, hopefully, attract new markets. We have implemented a few new plans for event promotions this year already and my director, Linda Stevens, drove the idea for a new cultural festival called Tailteann Nua which will continue to expand going forward. I have been very lucky in my career which has offered me the opportunity to lead projects and work on some inspirational ideas.

We should treasure our recorded history.

Only last week I did a tour of the Rare Books and Manuscripts collection in UL’s Glucksman Library. I even saw a hand written letter by Pádraig Pearse there, which was fascinating. Any visit to Dolans will show you the amazing talent that we have hidden in this city. I was involved with the Local Heroes Group at its initial stages, which proves that if you invest in our people, the city will flourish.

My parents are very hard workers.

They always pushed me to do as much as possible in the short time that we have here. My mother wrote poetry so I guess that I take after her in my love of the written word. Currently, I have an online book network which posts recommendations amongst interested parties and bloggers can post recommendations about themselves. Even today, self-motivated people inspire me. There is nothing better than having a coffee with someone who sees the whole world as their personal playground. There are people and organisations such as Special Olympics and others, who are working hard everyday to inspire others. This selfless attitude is very refreshing.

To avoid any gloomy thoughts about the economy I try to surround myself with proactive people.

Like many Limerick people I like to take a stroll through the market on a Saturday, go to Dolans for a gig, or come out to UL for a walk along the lovely banks of the Shannon. We are very lucky to have such facilities. In my experience Irish people have more enthusiasm for life than many other nationalities. We are well thought of around the world but we really need to build our own confidence 

I enjoy foraging – does that count as a hobby?

September is a great time for blackberry picking. I remember going out to the fields with my grandfather as a child, and picking anything that caught my eye. It is an Irish thing isn’t it? I read, somewhere, that Ireland has the most blackberry bushes per square mile, of any other country, in the world!

To read more about Lisa Gibbons please see:

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