In 1980, Joan Doran created a record as she became Dublin’s first female bus driver. She told the reporter at RTE Archives that she had to renovate her Dublin Bus Uniform as they had originally been designed for men only.
Fiona Brady has her small list of firsts and ‘renovations’ too!
Fiona joined Dublin Bus in their HR department, taking care of admin/payroll/recruitment and training & development. Within a few years in the company, she proposed, designed and drove a ‘graduate program’ for Dublin Bus. In her words “I proposed the graduate program, designed it, applied for it and then got on it’! – This while she was 25 😊
“When I designed the graduate program, I gave every aspect of the business its share in the program. For example the graduates spent time with the engineering department, worked night shifts but also gained experience with other departments like marketing and finance.”
She was the youngest female manager in any of the Bus Depots in Dublin (and probably still holds the record), managing around 270 drivers, predominantly men, who were in different roles (drivers, inspectors and a clerical team). She was posted in one of the biggest bus depots working on operations, industrial relations and had weekly meetings regarding the disciplinary matters concerning the drivers.
As a young female manager, clearly outnumbered by men in such interviews, she decided she would have to gain as much knowledge in the field as possible to be considered serious. “I was probably the age of some of their daughters, and I was trying to handout rules to them – that was tough.”
She learned to drive a double-decker bus so that she knew what she was talking about. This is a best management practice that was exemplified by her. To have ‘hands-on’ knowledge of your employees’ work makes you an efficient manager. And in fairness, I believe that is another record Fiona has created where she, as a woman under 30, learned to drive a bus so that she can manage bus drivers better.
After Dublin Bus, she wanted a change, and the way she went about it was unique as well. She listed her priorities in life and work and researched the companies that promoted values she valued the most. She came across CarTrawler and how they promoted positive work culture. She reached out to the Chief People Officer and wrote her a letter, expressing her interests. They met and from that discussed two roles– one in HR and one in Operations! She decided to push herself out of her comfort zone which was HR and which she had done for over 12 years now – and chose to give the interview for operations.
I can’t stress enough on how this is a great example to follow – because I know a lot of women who mention that their greatest difficulty is in trying things they haven’t tried before. Fiona’s journey seems like a series of taking on challenges just to challenge herself.
As was her practice to set trends through her work, in the new role she helped the team grow from 16 to 290 in 18 months. There were eight different language teams, and Fiona was involved in their performance, development alongside the operational tasks of process improvements. She also drove the project ‘A Roadmap to Excellence’ for the company which involved People, Training, Systems & Processes, Product and Environment.
For that’s somehow her brain works, and it was beautiful to hear her talk about it! Give her something, and she goes into the requirements and efficiencies from start to finish. And she’d immerse in it to improve it.
She’s now in mytaxi. After a video interview from Hawaii in T-shirt, Blazer and pajama shorts – she became the Head of Operations in mytaxi. (I wish I had a picture of that and I hope her interviewers are not reading about it for the first time from here). I heard about her from one of her interviewers – Niall Carson and though I was instantly inspired and eager to meet her, I was quite distracted during the length of our conversation! At first, I was wondering how such a young person can be coming with such an amazing experience portfolio, every time she mentioned a date, I was mentally calculating her age. Long story short – I saw the velvet gloves on iron fists. She’s pretty and petite alright, but she has steered success for her and her teams sitting in the driver’s seat – literally and metaphorically.