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Your career pathway

Dr Roisin O'Shea, Certified Mediator, Irish Research Council

What was your pathway to your job?

My return to college wasn’t for some desire for higher learning, but within two weeks the passion came roaring back in a way I didn’t expect. Mediation became a whole chapter in my PHD and at the end of the PHD I thought “I’m a mediator; this is who I am now.” So I set up a business, Arc Mediation, and we now have two consulting partners and eight associates.

Did your background as an artist help in any way?

Law and my other passion, painting are exactly the same thing. You start with the raw tools - my watercolours, my paintbrushes, my page, or legislation, case law, rules – and you don’t know how the painting is going to turn out; it’s exactly the same with law. I love how it’s organic and anything can happen. Everyone around me thought law was rigid but I saw the complexity, and that’s what I found stimulating and engaging.

Any advice for those considering a PHD?

You must be passionately engaged in the subject because you couldn’t sustain it otherwise. You have to find the thing that makes you tick.