10 Women Rising in Gaming
Current company and role: FanDuel, Senior Director, Partner Relations
Hometown: Dublin, Ireland
First job in the gaming industry: At the age of 18, as I began university, I ventured into the gaming industry working for Ladbrokes Ireland as a Manager’s Training Assistant or MTA. This involved working in various bustling small retail sports books or, as we call them in Ireland, “shops” across the greater Dublin area. This role immersed me into the dynamic world of gaming. I quickly advanced to the position of Racecourse Assistant Manager, where I took on more responsibilities and further honed my skills. Throughout university, I worked part-time during the academic calendar and transitioned to full-time during holidays.
After earning my degree in Accounting and Finance at Dublin City University, I embarked on a different career path by joining KPMG to pursue my professional Chartered Accountancy exams, which I was successful in obtaining in 2012. However, my heart remained firmly attached to the gaming industry, and I couldn’t resist staying involved. I commenced a unique journey working two jobs for four years, balancing responsibilities at KPMG with evenings and weekends in the gaming industry. Over these seven years, I advanced my career in gaming alongside my academic pursuits.
Did you apply for work in other industries? Do you think it was easier to find a job in gaming than other career paths?
After four years with KPMG, I sought a new challenge. Given my passion for gaming, I joined Paddy Power (Flutter) as a Financial Accountant. While I had opportunities with large firms like Pfizer and Icon, my heart was set in pursuing my career within gaming. The operational experience gained during my time with Ladbrokes definitely stood out to me and still does to this day!
Joining Flutter marked a pivotal moment in my career, I was fortunate to hold a diverse number of roles, including Financial Business Partner and Head of Loss Prevention/Security. With the repeal of PASP, I took the leap in 2018 to move to the U.S .to join the team setting up the Retail Sportsbook business with FanDuel and what a wild ride that has been! FanDuel continues to be one of the most transformative experiences in my career to date.
What do you like about working in gaming?
I love the dynamic, fast-paced nature of the gaming industry. Each day presents new challenges and opportunities, requiring agility in thought and decision-making. No two days are alike, which keeps the work exciting and fresh. The excitement and entertainment the industry offers is joyful. Witnessing the roars of the bettors at the Meadowlands during the 2018 Wild Card game between the Chicago Bears and the Eagles as a result of the Double Doink is a moment I will never forget.
My journey with FanDuel has been nothing short of incredible. Some standout moments include being a part of the team that launched the largest Sports Book in the US at The Meadowlands, earning immediate access and respect from the CEO, and playing an integral role in the Retail Sportsbook leadership team. I’ve had the privilege of overseeing the construction of our first ten sportsbooks, even though I had zero prior experience in that field. Building a commercial team from the ground up and earning the trust and respect of our market access partners have been particularly fulfilling achievements.
Most recently, I transitioned to the partnerships team, where I have the opportunity to solve complex problems and create value on a daily basis. This journey with FanDuel has intensified my love for the business and reinforced my commitment to the gaming industry.
Did anything surprise you about the industry when you first started?
The vulnerability of customers struck a chord with me very early on. When you are face-to-face with customers on a daily basis, you really get to know them, and it is terrifying to see gambling change them right in front of you. I am so proud that FanDuel are leading the way for Responsible Gaming and so many other operators and regulators are leaning in and making gaming a safer space for all and that I played a fundamental part in developing our initial approach to RG for our Retail Sports Books within the company in the early days.
Were you familiar with gambling before landing a job in the industry? What were your thoughts about it before starting to work in gaming? Has your impression of the industry changed at all?
I have always had a positive view and experience with gambling. Racing was always on the television or radio in the house over the weekends, and the excitement that The Grand National and the Galway Races brought to the house every year was unmatched. Shouting for the horses we picked and the utter joy if we were lucky to win was electric!
I used to spend some weekends at the racecourse with my dad and uncle, and I am convinced this is where my love for the industry was born. The sense of community and passion at these events had a lasting impact.
Even today, when I return home for a vacation and attend a race meeting, I’m greeted with friendly faces and open arms; it is a special feeling that you can’t bottle!
My impression of the industry has remained positive, but I have become more attuned to its complexities, including its darker sides, as I mentioned earlier.
Can you envision making a career in the gaming industry? What are your long-term goals?
I’ve already made significant strides in establishing my career within the gaming industry. My long-term aspirations extend beyond just being a part of it; I aim to be a trailblazer in this ever-evolving business.
The gaming industry undergoes rapid transformation, with online breaking new ground every day, new products emerging, and innovative sports and wagering opportunities arising. I’m determined to immerse myself deeply in this dynamic landscape.
In parallel to my professional goals, as someone who has pretty much “grown up” in the industry, I am passionate about making the industry more appealing and inclusive, particularly for women to advance their careers while also ensuring it is a safe and responsible environment for all. I hope to continue my work with GGW as one of their committee members while also leaning into mentoring colleagues in FanDuel in the coming years.