Sandra Murphy is Group Brand & Communications, Trigon Hotels.
When you were small, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I initially wanted to be an air hostess and then I wanted to be in business. I worked for Aer Lingus on transatlantic flights for a few years immediately after college. I then went into the restaurant industry and was self employed for 12 years.
Tell us about your career progression to your role today:
I have been working for Trigon Hotels for the last five years. I initially joined the company as the Group Event Creation and Production Manager. My role was to create events for the Cork International Hotel, the Cork Airport Hotel and the Metropole Hotel. Over the years, we created many events including the Cork Travel Fair, the Cork Oyster Festival, the Cork Car Show, the Cork Baking and Chocolate Weekend and many more. During this process, we collaborated with major stakeholders like Cork Airport, Heineken Ireland, Failte Ireland, Super Valu, Bord Bia, the National Dairy Council, Cork County Council and so many more. Naturally enough, these events were led with strong PR campaigns to ensure their success. When Covid-19 arrived, the events landscape shifted and so my role naturally transitioned to focus on leading and managing the Brand and Communications across the hotel group.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?
I love being challenged on a daily basis and love setting goals so that I have high targets to achieve each and every day. My role is very people-centric and luckily I get to interact with all departments across the hotels. I very much enjoy the challenges associated with elevating and improving our products and services.
What motivates you?
I am a goal setter in all areas of my life and so I am motivated by setting and achieving targets. I am motivated on a professional basis with achieving work targets but I am also acutely aware of the importance of balance. Covid has thought us all the value of life, and the appreciation of the little things in life and so, these goals aren’t always monumental – they might just be simple daily tasks in a self care like drinking two litres of water and getting an hour of exercise each morning.
What advice would you give your 15 year old self?
What other people think of you, is none of your business and – if it is not going to matter in five years, do not spend more than five minutes worrying about it.
If you weren't in the job you have, what would you be doing?
I have a passion for politics and law – so probably in that area.
What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?
From a life perspective, I would honestly say that being self-employed for 12 years, post-Celtic Tiger and having the resilience and grit to come out the other side, was genuinely one of my biggest achievements. It was the most challenging period professionally and personally, but it has really influenced my outlook on life – and made me so much more appreciative for the little things. I am also very proud of the events that we created over the years at Trigon Hotels which I have no doubt, we will see the return of very soon.
Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?
My mother. She is an extremely hard working woman filled with determination. I really do admire her in so many ways.
What is the life dream now?
I am actually very happy in life right now. I feel that Covid made me pause for thought and really assess what makes me happy. I no longer do things that I do not enjoy. I work much smarter and really value my time – and the people that I spend time with.
How do you switch off?
I have become disciplined with switching off now. I generally put my phone onto ‘do not disturb’ and turn off notifications when I am with family, friends and loved ones. I adore social media but I also really value time with people.
What is your favourite Cork memory?
Santa in Cashes and the sales in Roches Stores bring me so much nostalgia.
What is your favourite place in Cork?
My favourite place in Cork is home. But I love going to Murphys Farm in Bishopstown and the Regional Park for walks. I also love Kinsale.
Do you have a favourite quote or motto?
“It is never too late to be what you might have been” - George Eliot
When are you at your happiest?
I am at my happiest with family and loved ones. I love cooking and so, cooking and entertaining does make me really happy as food can bring people so much joy and pleasure. Along with a great bottle of wine.
What is your hidden talent?
I would say that cooking is my talent.
Anything else youd like to share with us?
Talking of events coming back, we are so excited to be celebrating Culture Night on 17 September. We have a fabulous band booked for outside the Metropole Hotel, on Harley Street in the evening time.
We actually opened a food market there during Covid and so we are looking forward to having live music to celebrate Culture Night!
This year there’s over 70 in-person, outdoor and online free events for all the family to enjoy so I would encourage everyone to log on to culturenightcork.ie to check out what’s on!