Meeting the Barden Team...Elaine Brady

Meeting the Barden Team...Elaine Brady

Elaine Brady is Managing Partner of Barden Dublin. A Trinity grad, who “fell” into recruitment, she went on to set up Barden, with Ed Heffernan, in 2014.

Elaine looks after the day to day operations of the Dublin office, and recruits professional accountants from the mid to senior end across industry and financial services. We recently sat down with Elaine to learn more about her…

Where are you from?

Originally from a small village called Straffan, Co Kildare.

Where did you study?  

I studied Business, Economics & Social Studies (or B€££ as it’s well known) in Trinity.

What did you enjoy most about your time studying?  

The coffees, and the nights out… I spent lots of time sitting in the arts block people watching!

How old were you when you had your first paying job? And what was it?

I was about 7. I grew up in a family business, which was a food manufacturing plant in South Kildare. My first job was sitting in the office answering the phone, for which I was paid the princely sum of 10p an hour- turns out it’s not slave labour when they’re your own children!

My first non-family business job was summer in 6th year where I worked as a chambermaid in the K Club. It was a tough job and the level of detail and expectation was extremely high.

It was a really great experience. Lots of my friends were also working there so we all cycled to work together, and I also got to meet lots of famous golfers! It was my first bit of financial freedom, and I thought I was loaded on £6.50 an hour!

Where did you work before joining Barden?

I fell into recruitment in 2004, as a grad straight from college. I got a role with a boutique recruitment firm where I then spent 8 very happy years with the company. I started in transactional finance recruiting accounts payable and receivable, then progressed into the recently qualified team.

In 2006 I was lucky enough to get a career break and spent some time living, working and travelling  in Australia. During my time there I worked briefly in Recruitment. My office looked right out onto Sydney Harbour and the Opera House…such an amazing view to start your day with!

After that I came back to Dublin where I spent another 4 years with The Panel, two of which were in the depths of the recession. I then felt I needed to spend some time in a larger global firm, so joined Morgan McKinley. I had 2 great years with them and that’s when I decided to set up Barden with Ed.

Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?

Setting up Barden.

I’d always wanted to have my own business. I’d seen it from a very early age The risk/reward factor in play and I always wanted to try put my own stamp on something.

We set up Barden to do something different and to change people’s perception and expectations of recruitment. We’re hopefully well on that path…

What made you decide to move into the world of recruitment?

I really fell into it. The only thing from my business undergrad I was qualified to do was accounting, and it was the one thing I knew I didn’t want to do.

So I decided to figure out what I wanted. And there were three things…

  • I wanted to work in town
  • I wanted to wear a suit
  • I wanted a business card!

Very sound and logical decision making at play there! However, when I met Paul McArdle, from The Panel, and we had an instant professional rapport, I knew recruitment was for me.

What’s the best thing about working here?

The people – 100%. It’s what gets you up on a Monday. Not just the fantastic team, but all the people associated with Barden, including our partner firms, the accountancy institutes, and those we get to work with on a day to day basis.

 What was most surprising to you about starting Barden?

It was probably in our first 12 months. We were blown away at how open people were to working with us, even though we were a very new business and we were, initially, only 2 people. Yet people were happy to pick up the phone to us and give us a shot. The amount of goodwill and support was fantastic.

What does your role in Barden involve?

I’m the Managing Partner of the Dublin office so it involves all the day to day operations of the Dublin office. I also recruit from the mid to senior end for everything from finance manager to controllers, across industry and financial services.

I always want to have a role in the recruitment side, as it’s something I absolutely love to do.

What three words best describe you?

Energetic, talkative (definitely sometimes too much!), positive.

Who is your role model, and why?

Both my parents from a professional point of view. They both worked extremely hard and ran a very successful business. Through the years I saw how hard they worked and their ability to take a risk. It’s where I get my work ethic from.

Glass half full or half empty?

Most definitely half full.

What’s your favourite moment of the day?

Getting out of bed in the morning. I feel really lucky to be able to each day and that I love my job, life and family.

Where in the world would you most like to visit?

Galápagos Islands. I spent some time travelling around South America, but at the time didn’t have the budget to go visit them. It’s one regret I have and hope to visit them soon!

And finally, who would win a fight between Spiderman, Batman or Wonder-woman?

Wonder-woman, no question!


Need help achieving your ambitions?

Are you a professional accountant looking for help in achieving your ambitions?  If so, get in touch with Elaine Brady today who would be more than happy to meet you for a coffee and chat to help you navigate your professional future.


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