Cliona Costello, R&D Manager, Meade Potato Company (Career Boost Programme)
What does your job involve?
As Research & Development (R&D) Manager, my role is quite diverse, which I love. SO I could be doing anything from dealing with any issues currently facing the company, to those affecting the wider environment in which we work.
What are the main tasks you do in a normal week?
A large part of research and development is new product development, so in that context I could be involved in things like trials on new products, dealing with customers and getting the opinions of industry experts.
What skills do you need to be successful?
You need a wide range of skills. Communication skills are vital, at all levels. I need to be able to communicate across a wide range of departments, from engineering to HR, to finance, so it’s vital that I can do that clearly and build good relationships. I also need to be creative in terms of my approach to new products and also in terms of problem solving.
What do you love about your job?
I love the diversity of the role and in terms of what it offers. From dealing with environmental issues to internal issues, I really enjoy the challenges. Challenge for me is an opportunity rather than a problem, as challenges bring rewards and I love the rewards that my job offers me.
What did you do as a student that helps you most in your career?
I come from a farming background and studied animal science in UCD, this gave me a good broad understanding of the agricultural sector in Ireland. As part of the degree we were involved in lots of collaborative activities, which required a lot of teamwork and group projects. These really enhanced my teamwork communication skills, which are vital in my job.
What was your career break?
In third year in college, I worked with an animal nutrition company in the US, and also on a farm. That experience, combined with my academic results, really helped me in landing my role on the Fusion programme with Meade Potato Company.