Immersive TIE’s impact with Niall Quinn

A “Whoa” moment.

A reminder of what the reality of a different culture truly feels like.

And a chance to go off grid.

Yes, we are back with the Immersive TIE programme.

And Niall has returned from his experience in Mozambique to tell his tales.

This is a podcast you don’t want to miss.

As most of you know, this was our primary TIE programme for close to 14 years.

It changed people’s lives. It evolved companies. And impacted communities in 24 countries around the world.

But the pandemic had other plans for us, and this had to be put on hold.

Until recently!

Today Niall gives us a window into his experience.

Niall is a Portfolio Manager at Octopus Energy in London, one of the largest investors of renewable energy in Europe. And he holds a Masters in Applied Mathematics and a Doctorate in Quantum Physics.

Let’s just say, when he realised there was data to get stuck into – he was SO excited. 🙂

This conversation is super revealing.

We hear about how he sees himself differently on return.

And the feelings he knows he must hold onto.

We hear about his reflections on leadership.

Why he applied.

And what came out of the experience – both with regards to the impact on the Marine Megafauna Foundation. But also, on him.

There are incredible learnings here, and it’s fascinating to understand the solutions he came up with.

If you’re thinking of applying for TIE. Thinking of having a TIE programme at your company. Or just keen to better understand how the programme impacts people and companies – don’t miss this one.

And the quote Niall ends on by Anne Frank is a perfect way to sum up this chat – “Whoever is happy will make others happy too’.

So grab that favorite beverage or throw on those running shoes, and enjoy this conversation with Niall.

And please don’t forget to let us know what you think of this episode, leave a review and subscribe.

If you’re keen to see more of his experience, do check out his TIE Instagram at @Niall_and_the_whales.

00:00:02:05 – 00:00:27:03
Philippa White
Welcome to the show, where we unearth new ways of looking at ever evolving lights around the world. Seen from a number of different industries, cultures and backgrounds. But there’s one thing that unites everyone I speak to. They all want to do their part to make the world better in their own unique ways. It’s a uniting passion. Whether they’re from the commercial world, third sector or public sector from the Global North or the global south.

00:00:27:15 – 00:01:07:06
Philippa White
My name is Philippa White and welcome to TIE Unearthed. Hello and welcome to episode 56 of TIE Unearthed. As many of you know, the TIE leadership development program started in 2007, and until the pandemic hit, our programs were our immersive TIE experiences. What that meant was a professional from the Global North would spend a few months whilst doing their day job, preparing for the immersive experience they’d do leadership coaching, international development training and bespoke one on one preparation sessions with yours truly.

00:01:07:19 – 00:01:26:16
Philippa White
And then for 30 days they would embark on an experience of a lifetime in the Global South. They would be immersed in another country, another culture, working with people they’ve never worked with before, often in a language they’ve never spoken before. They would have an objective to reach, and they would need to figure out how to get there.

00:01:26:24 – 00:01:50:11
Philippa White
No deliverables, no rules. Just them, their brains, their ingenuity and humanity following the TIE process to make amazing things happen. But the pandemic put a bit of a spanner in the works, and for the past couple of years, we’ve only been focusing on our virtual team TIE program, which came out of the pandemic, but we were unable to do the immersive experiences.

00:01:50:13 – 00:02:21:10
Philippa White
Now there’s still lots happening with the virtual TIE program, but I’m super excited to say that now that the pandemic is slowing down and life is getting back to some sort of normality, our immersive experiences have returned. And today we’re talking to Niall Quinn, who’s just come back from Mozambique. Niall is a portfolio manager at Octopus Energy, which is one of the largest investors in renewable energy in Europe, currently transforming the industry to make energy greener, fairer and genuinely better for people around the world.

00:02:22:01 – 00:02:46:07
Philippa White
Niall was born in rural Ireland and he arrived to the world of financial services by somewhat unconventional means. Having completed a master’s degree in applied mathematics and then pursued a career in academia by completing a doctorate in theoretical quantum physics, he then moved to London to seek out a little bit more tangible application of his skills and found himself an octopus.

00:02:46:19 – 00:03:07:01
Philippa White
Now this conversation is absolutely brilliant. Niall Sense of humor is fantastic. And today we hear about his experience, why he applied, what he was looking for, what was the impact, what he did and so much more. So grab that favorite beverage or throw in those running shoes. And here is Niall.

00:03:07:05 – 00:03:10:06
Philippa White
Niall, thank you so much for joining us. How are you?

00:03:10:15 – 00:03:12:18
Niall Quinn
I’m doing great, thanks. How are you?

00:03:13:03 – 00:03:15:09
Philippa White
I’m well. Where are you right now?

00:03:15:21 – 00:03:26:08
Niall Quinn
I am in southwest London at the moment. Still enjoying the working from home opportunity. Nice. Yeah. So it’s nice. Sunny day here.

00:03:26:08 – 00:03:34:04
Philippa White
Good. Really nice. And obviously, you’ve recently returned from Mozambique, haven’t you? So how long is it? Yeah, that two weeks.

00:03:34:17 – 00:03:36:18
Philippa White
Angus is three weeks, I think today.

00:03:37:04 – 00:03:37:16
Philippa White
Okay.

00:03:38:01 – 00:03:43:13
Philippa White
Yeah. So that’s it’s.

00:03:44:08 – 00:03:48:19
Niall Quinn
I’m wondering how long I can actually say to people. I’m still getting used to coming back.

00:03:48:20 – 00:03:49:02
Philippa White
Yeah.

00:03:50:12 – 00:03:55:15
Niall Quinn
I think if it’s over 30 days, like the same length as the. But I think I might be pushing it.

00:03:57:03 – 00:03:57:21
Philippa White
We’re getting there.

00:03:58:08 – 00:04:30:16
Philippa White
Yeah, well, I love hearing stories from these experience aces. And obviously yours was a very special one because you were supposed to go in March of 2020 and then we had a global pandemic. So I’m just so excited to hear about how it was and the learnings. But before we get there, what would be really lovely to know, both for me and for our listeners, is just, yeah, maybe you can tell us a little bit more about your background before you were at Octopus Energy and then what you do now as well.

00:04:30:21 – 00:04:44:01
Niall Quinn
Well, as you might tell from the accent, I grew up in Ireland, in the north, in the middle of the country. So it’s so nice and rural. Three brothers, I’m the second oldest and we all kind of ended up reasonably mathematically oriented.

00:04:44:01 – 00:04:47:04
Philippa White
It really autumn here. Yeah.

00:04:48:16 – 00:04:53:05
Niall Quinn
One’s a math teacher. One’s a an accountant. Then we have the rogue one as an English teacher.

00:04:53:05 – 00:04:55:03
Philippa White
What were your parents into? Math.

00:04:55:05 – 00:05:10:14
Niall Quinn
My dad was very quantitative in that way and always kind of pushed us to go the extra mile when it comes to math and science, that really stuck with us. So we kind of kept that. Been going for a while. Me probably more so than anyone else. They kind of took it to the limit.

00:05:11:06 – 00:05:11:12
Philippa White
Yeah.

00:05:11:12 – 00:05:35:07
Niall Quinn
So I went to university, did my undergraduate masters in Queen’s University in Belfast, and that was in applied mathematics lots of algebra, lots of calculus, like lots of that good stuff. At the end of my masters, then I was dabbling into theoretical physics, as one does, and then, yeah, I decided to do my Ph.D. in theoretical quantum physics.

00:05:35:08 – 00:05:47:06
Niall Quinn
I did that at St Andrew’s University in Scotland. Wow. Wow. That was three more years of calculus than algebra.

00:05:47:06 – 00:05:55:02
Philippa White
I really enjoyed calculus and algebra at university, but I did a business degree and this is like undergrad calculus and algebra. We didn’t really, I don’t.

00:05:55:02 – 00:06:00:00
Philippa White
Know, it’s a different beast. Would you go that far?

00:06:00:00 – 00:06:27:23
Niall Quinn
But you had a nice little mix then of the theoretical physics was a bit more working with lasers and there was also cool stuff like that. We did some work on teleportation and invisibility and quantum cryptography and quantum computers and all of this very sci fi stuff. I was still 20 years at least from that. You’d been tangible, so it was super heavy, like theory and conceptual stuff.

00:06:27:24 – 00:06:53:09
Philippa White
I’m just interested that I mean, this is really why our listeners are thinking this too, because you go into that and actually what’s beautiful about many of the jobs now is obviously you study one thing and it’s not directly correlated to exactly what you’re going to be doing. I think that’s beautiful. I think it’s great to study one thing and then you do a job that is so completely different, but you realize that actually is a lot of the thinking and the tools that you learn from the university.

00:06:53:19 – 00:07:14:19
Philippa White
But when you’re actually there, when you’re actually doing the Ph.D. and you don’t have the life experience to know that down the road, I’m going to be doing something completely different. But I know I’m going to be you’re you’re in the day to day doing so much physics. When you were there, did you think, how am I going to use this in real life?

00:07:15:12 – 00:07:16:10
Philippa White
Did that come up.

00:07:17:06 – 00:07:40:08
Niall Quinn
As an incredibly good question? I think at the start it was definitely I was just in full peak mode and I was like, this is just fun. This is just cool. This is like complicated. It is like I always enjoy an intellectual challenge and I don’t think you can go any further with intellectual challenge, working with just the smartest people that you’ve ever match or ever will meet, and doing this incredible stuff.

00:07:40:13 – 00:08:03:05
Niall Quinn
I think the tangibility of what I was doing day to day started to bug me a little bit after a while, I imagine. Like some days you just sit in an office staring at a whiteboard full of formulas and you don’t write on it. You’re just staring and you’re just thinking all day. And then you leave like five and people were like, How was your day?

00:08:03:05 – 00:08:09:04
Niall Quinn
And I was like, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know if it was good or bad or I don’t think it just.

00:08:11:22 – 00:08:13:15
Philippa White
I mean, I was just kind of like.

00:08:13:16 – 00:08:14:19
Niall Quinn
Oh, do I want to.

00:08:14:19 – 00:08:16:05
Philippa White
Do this for the rest of my life? I don’t.

00:08:16:05 – 00:08:36:15
Niall Quinn
Know. So I end up drifting into a friendship group that was largely people doing their masters in finance. So I started actually tutoring them in their masters in finance and they would teach me stuff. We kind of like shared knowledge. And then I was like, Oh, finance, this is cool. And I and then I just realized the breadth of the industry and there is a tangibility to it.

00:08:36:15 – 00:08:54:08
Niall Quinn
There is a kind of a real aspect of things. Of course, there’s certain aspects of finance that are like super conceptual. And when you go into all of these derivatives and all of this mirrored products, so it kind of like drifted to the other side of things, which was something that was a bit more real. That’s what attracted me to Octopus Energy.

00:08:54:08 – 00:08:58:19
Niall Quinn
So I started Octopus Energy as a graduate, so I’ve been there for seven years now.

00:08:58:20 – 00:09:00:15
Philippa White
Wow, I didn’t know you graduate.

00:09:00:15 – 00:09:25:08
Niall Quinn
That’s really cool for listeners. Octopus Energy is an energy business that is currently transforming the energy industry, and they’re doing that by building tech to make energy greener, better, and just genuinely better for everyone. It’s kind of a broken industry, and so within that business, I work in the financial services component and I work as a fund manager.

00:09:25:08 – 00:09:51:05
Niall Quinn
So so my team, they kind of act to connect these trillion of dollars that need to go into energy transition investments in order to make the change and reach the goals we need to get to to combat climate change. And so we match potential investment companies that are actively adding to that energy transition solution. A lot of times that is physical assets is where the tangibility comes in.

00:09:51:07 – 00:10:18:06
Niall Quinn
Yeah, this is physical solar assets offshore and onshore wind. This is batteries, this is energy infrastructure. This is like hydrogen, like new innovative ways. And so we manage them 100%. We are like physically going out there. We manage all aspects of it, super complex, super interesting industry that is evolving all the time. So it kind of suits me down to the ground because it’s just chaos, is it?

00:10:18:06 – 00:10:20:20
Niall Quinn
It’s like I’m like, yes, okay, this is great.

00:10:21:05 – 00:10:23:24
Philippa White
So why did you apply for TIE in?

00:10:23:24 – 00:10:50:15
Niall Quinn
Octopus was a few years before I applied in all these amazing experiences and stories coming up. So we were hearing this all the time and it’s like this amazing. Oh, I actually almost applied one year and something stopped me. I stopped me by having these silly excuses, like I’m too busy or I need to physically be here, concentrate on my job and you know, I’ll not get it anyway.

00:10:50:15 – 00:11:00:08
Niall Quinn
And it was all these little voices in my head. They don’t apply. And it was a bit of a fear component. It was a bit of like, Oh, well, why don’t you just stay in your comfort zone? It’s okay.

00:11:00:08 – 00:11:17:21
Philippa White
So normal if you say that. I mean, they’re called limiting beliefs in the business speak. Right? And when you’re talking to people and you have like everybody has them, everyone has different ways. But the people who apply for TIE or don’t apply for TIE for all these reasons, too busy. Oh, my gosh. I don’t think I’ll get it.

00:11:18:02 – 00:11:25:01
Philippa White
What do I have to offer? Oh, my God, that feels scary. I mean, it’s just. It’s so normal. It’s so normal. Yeah.

00:11:25:02 – 00:11:49:04
Niall Quinn
The next year, which was 2019, I applied without hesitation. I was like, I am doing this. The main driver was to jump out of that comfort zone I find myself, which happens with a lot of people in a huge city like London, and you can end up becoming more insular. And you know, you’ve got your routine. You get up, you get in the tube, you go to the office, you come back, you’ve got this schedule and you’re always run by the schedule.

00:11:49:04 – 00:12:12:09
Niall Quinn
And to break out of it is incredibly difficult sometimes. Yeah, it is. And so I also just wanted to kind of, I guess, stress test my own abilities. If you remove the smallest little comforts like a morning routine, like little things, you have friendship groups and like family. And if you just remove all of that, you just isolate yourself and just think about like you are capable by yourself.

00:12:12:09 – 00:12:35:05
Niall Quinn
I just really wanted to stress test that and see like actually that’s kick us up again. What can I do? Yeah, that that was the big excitement for me and why in that year I reached that moment where I was like, This is a no brainer. I got this month and I did the fantastic mentoring and coaching stuff that you guys offer that really just built up that excitement as well of going on a placement.

00:12:35:05 – 00:12:37:06
Niall Quinn
I had flights, books. I started.

00:12:37:06 – 00:12:38:07
Philippa White
Thinking about language.

00:12:38:07 – 00:12:41:01
Philippa White
Classes and language classes and.

00:12:41:22 – 00:12:46:21
Niall Quinn
Just handing over my job and preparing my team for me being away and.

00:12:47:12 – 00:12:48:02
Philippa White
Then.

00:12:48:10 – 00:13:13:22
Niall Quinn
COVID hit and March 2020, everything grinds to a halt. And that was just the whole placement part. And then as with everyone, the entire world, your life was turned upside down. I think during that time I think everyone involved in some sort of way, personally, professionally, it gave you that headspace, I think, to really ask yourself big questions that were easy to ignore.

00:13:13:22 – 00:13:45:14
Niall Quinn
I was no different in that I was really thinking about, Am I happy in what I’m doing, my job and my life? And it was and I think the one constant in the whole time that one definite I’m going to do this type placements. When I played 19. So in my career I was kind of coming into this place where I was going to be stepping into people management and so inherently thinking about leadership at that time and that change of dynamic that I think happens in a lot of people’s career, particularly in the corporate environment.

00:13:45:14 – 00:14:08:04
Niall Quinn
And so I was like, well, I might be, you know, a leader in a group of like a team of like three or four people. And I need to figure out how that dynamic works. And I then was like, currently now I’m a leader in a media team of ten, so I just blew up that team and I was kind of then leadership was a constant consideration and constant thought.

00:14:08:04 – 00:14:18:18
Niall Quinn
I think for me it’s kind of pushing myself out of their comfort zone and stress testing and seeing what I was capable of. That’s Drive was still there. The only thing that changed was the starting point.

00:14:18:24 – 00:14:34:20
Philippa White
So for our listeners, you went to Mozambique. What was the organization you worked with? What was the brief? Maybe you could just help people understand, you know, you’re a math guy, physics portfolio manager for an energy company. And what was your what did you have to do?

00:14:34:23 – 00:15:07:21
Niall Quinn
I had the absolute pleasure of working with the Marine Megafauna Foundation and Tofu and Mozambique and AMF are an organization that are focused on saving and protecting and researching ocean giants. So marine megafauna like whale sharks and manta rays and and so they have like really wonderful and a strategy piece where they kind of say the renowned for the research, pioneering research never been done before kind of stuff.

00:15:07:21 – 00:15:34:09
Niall Quinn
But their strategy very plainly says research and data are not enough. In order to really tackle problem, you need to tackle it in a holistic way. So they think about conservation, they think about education and inspiring the next generation, as well as the research and topic that I was kind of reading into. MF And you guys asked me to kind of assess more selection of these organizations I would be really interested to work with.

00:15:34:14 – 00:15:56:17
Niall Quinn
And MF was the no brainer. Top of my list. Top of my list. Not a doubt in my mind because it was when I read into them, I was like, Wow, it’s really echoes where I am an octopus and this this total, this kind of holistic approach and been a bit more disruptive. And, you know, it’s tangible listing of things and the, and the nerdy side of me was like, oh, research scientists.

00:15:56:19 – 00:16:00:15
Philippa White
Oh, okay.

00:16:00:15 – 00:16:03:15
Niall Quinn
I was like, fingers crossed. The all data like amazing.

00:16:03:15 – 00:16:03:23
Philippa White
You know.

00:16:04:09 – 00:16:07:12
Philippa White
You didn’t get to do some number crunching. You definitely.

00:16:07:12 – 00:16:08:12
Philippa White
Got to do everything.

00:16:09:10 – 00:16:13:03
Niall Quinn
Now. Like I was counting humpback whales as well. I think that counts.

00:16:13:03 – 00:16:13:13
Philippa White
You know.

00:16:14:05 – 00:16:38:21
Niall Quinn
Every element seemed to come together and I just thought it was perfect. And I was fortunate enough that MF needed business and financial skills as well. MF, like all organizations, have different forms of revenue streams coming in different levels of costs like any business. So his area of focus was on the kind of the overheads at the central organizational level is operational running costs.

00:16:38:21 – 00:16:59:18
Niall Quinn
Typically if they’re going to get revenue in from grants or donations, they’re not usually targeting the operating costs. They’re usually here as a donation or a grant for a particular project to you work on and you cover the costs project. So there was this kind of gap to be able to cover their operating costs, which are essential for them to run the grow as disparate.

00:17:00:05 – 00:17:30:12
Niall Quinn
Yeah, a previous TIE placements developed the concept of these tourism expeditions where it was a luxury opportunity, where a small group of people would come to Mozambique, to the birthplace, the center of Mammoth, and spend time with their researchers, go out diving and actually see these amazing creatures that they’re researching and protecting, and also just learning about what they’re doing in the local community.

00:17:30:12 – 00:17:49:02
Niall Quinn
And as part of that, they get a bit revenue to cover the costs. But then after COVID, this kind of disrupted them, been able to run these sort of trips. The idea is that these cover their operational costs. The objective of my project was really to think about the sustainability and scalable ability of the business in that respect.

00:17:49:23 – 00:18:07:06
Niall Quinn
Sure, we can get revenue to cover costs now, but actually as the business grows, does this kind of format grow with it? And is that the right solution? Is it is it working the way we want it to? And you know what happens when they double in size? You know, it’s kind of thinking about five, ten year timeline.

00:18:07:14 – 00:18:25:07
Niall Quinn
It was it was just super value valuable for them just to have dedicated resource to think about something. And I think it was also just the, you know, the fresh perspective, but it’s also that there is something, especially from a business strategy perspective, there is something to be said about this sort of element of this cool business line.

00:18:25:07 – 00:18:48:21
Niall Quinn
Everyone’s naturally, and especially in a small community, is there’s so much history in building up the business and everyone there has been there for so long. And there’s emotional side of things, sentimental side of things as well. That, of course, needs to be listened to and respected. But there’s always that element of me coming in and saying, Well, I don’t know any of that, and I’m just saying if I just look at numbers, this is what makes sense.

00:18:48:21 – 00:18:53:11
Philippa White
So what did you manage to find out for the organization? Where did you leave?

00:18:53:13 – 00:19:16:15
Niall Quinn
What I basically did is I kind of went in on almost immediately realized that with organizing these trips, logistics were a problem, resources were a problem. But there was just something calling out for that whole concept of working smarter, not harder. And the first thing that I was always taught in octopus when we’re developing solutions is, is there a zero cost opportune city?

00:19:16:15 – 00:19:36:10
Niall Quinn
And here is a zero cost solution in here just by simply reprioritizing, that is step one. And so I spent a ton of time just listening and learning because any solution that is going to develop not only had to work for us as an organization, but how to work for the environment there in the community that around as well.

00:19:36:17 – 00:19:57:07
Niall Quinn
And that’s the value of having this immersive placement is that you can get both elements together. When I was talking to the Dove Center that they work with Harry Paradise Center and it turned out that actually over the last couple of years, they have really ramped up their expeditions and trips that they do, and they do a lot of them over the year, and that is their bread and butter and they’ve got the infrastructure to support that.

00:19:57:07 – 00:20:17:21
Niall Quinn
And it just seemed this little duplication within Mozambique that doesn’t really make sense because the Mozambique trips were land based as opposed to all the other destinations they’re liveaboard. So you’re on a ship for ten days, everything’s centralized. There is one cost item more or less, and it’s super easy to run and it’s just more seamless. It’s also profitable.

00:20:17:21 – 00:20:33:19
Niall Quinn
Mozambique was big, clunky, because it was land based and you’re driving around changing locations and everything. So I looked at the Perry Perry Dove Center and I was like, Well, you’re doing expeditions already. And then they’re for putting in a lot of resources to develop tourism revenue. That’s not their job. That’s not their mission, that’s not their strategy.

00:20:33:19 – 00:20:56:01
Niall Quinn
So I talked to the Dove Center and I was like, Well, actually, do you think there’s an appetite for your customers to have a concept of a scientific expedition where they partner with them? Unless they would do the exact same thing, they would go out on the dove boats with them, do it, do seminars or lectures with people, teaching them about the life and the wider strategy of them.

00:20:56:17 – 00:21:19:11
Niall Quinn
And it was snapped up so quickly, I was like, Why wouldn’t we do this? This is amazing. You know, can we just make them all scientific? One is like, this is fantastic. There’s an appetite for this. And so what I ended up doing is changing the focus instead of AMREF trying to do this quite clunky, logistically difficult, resource intensive expeditions within, you just change the dynamic a little bit.

00:21:19:11 – 00:21:30:16
Niall Quinn
We’re actually they offered a specialized kind of co-hosting both on package to an existing infrastructure that was run by a business that does that as part of its core business.

00:21:30:21 – 00:21:40:21
Philippa White
I mean, it just feels like a no brainer. But at the same time, I know. But when you don’t have the time or the just the ability to see something from a different point of view, you just don’t get there.

00:21:40:22 – 00:21:56:09
Niall Quinn
There was a lot of decision trees and a lot of dead ends in there because that was also strengthen the proposal by saying, yeah, these are the things that don’t work. This is why they don’t work. And actually redirecting, saying this is not only a good idea, but it’s the best one that we can come up with.

00:21:56:12 – 00:22:12:24
Philippa White
And from my point of view as well, what I just think is so fantastic is you were given the way that TIE works as people are given an objective, so you’re given a brief, you’re not given deliverables, you know, roughly where you want to get to. But it’s up to you and the local team to kind of figure out how to get there.

00:22:12:24 – 00:22:36:00
Philippa White
What’s really cool is you were given the brief and the brief was how to grow and scale these diving expeditions. And so what’s fantastic is it could have been very easy for you to go and just sort of try to take this thing up a mountain. It’d be like, okay, well, let’s try and scale this, but very quickly, I remember we had a conversation and you already clocked that.

00:22:36:00 – 00:22:49:17
Philippa White
Hold on a second. I don’t know if the current structure is even the right structure. Can I question that? Like, yeah, like that’s what the whole point is. I mean, let’s, let’s see where this goes. As long as you’re communicating with your organization. Amazing. Do whatever you think you need to do.

00:22:49:19 – 00:23:18:19
Niall Quinn
We’re talking to Sarah last week and the proposal was put forward to the board and has now officially been approved by the IMF board, which means that the scientific kind of co-hosting expeditions are going ahead for next year. It’s super cool the benefits of this solution for them, as well as it redirects resources so they can. And instead of like spending all this time to do one trip, they could actually just organize three of the liveaboard ones internationally for the same amount of time and resource.

00:23:18:19 – 00:23:33:09
Niall Quinn
That is what brings them greater level of revenue that covers their costs for the future and allows them to grow and not to worry about how they cover their operational costs. They know how to do it and they can do it quite easily and scale up quite easily.

00:23:33:09 – 00:23:46:08
Philippa White
Let’s bring it back to you. Your goal was to be pushed out of your comfort zone. It was to be challenged in new ways. Can you just talk to us about how you were challenged and were you challenged and how do you see yourself and work at anything differently?

00:23:46:09 – 00:24:04:03
Niall Quinn
I pushed myself in the sense that I not only left my comfort zone, but I also actively kind of put it to the side. I kind of went off grid a little bit and I was like, I’m going to go headfirst into this and embed myself as much as I can into the community and just get to know people and build relationships.

00:24:04:03 – 00:24:10:04
Niall Quinn
What I realized from doing that is that I’m perfectly comfortable in a ridiculous situation like that.

00:24:10:04 – 00:24:10:14
Philippa White
I was.

00:24:11:12 – 00:24:28:05
Niall Quinn
You know, making friends left, right and center and, you know, having these meaningful connections and like talking to people and just like sharing knowledge and talking. I’ve centers and talking to local business owners and just saying, hey, have you considered doing this for your business? And they’re like, Wow, okay, yeah, let’s talk about this and create these connections of absolute value.

00:24:28:05 – 00:24:41:15
Niall Quinn
Wherever I went, I was worried about what I’d be capable of and I was more like, Oh, you need to rein it in a little bit here. You know, it’s just it’s like, when are you going to have time to just chill out and relax and just do something new? Because I was like, Oh, yeah, wow. Okay. Right.

00:24:41:16 – 00:25:00:00
Niall Quinn
Why don’t I do this more often without sounding like a dating profile? I’ve just realized I am intelligent, I am passionate. I am charismatic, I am personable, I am outgoing. I’ve just been able to explore that and own that. Once you kind of own that a little bit more, I think it’s amazing.

00:25:00:01 – 00:25:18:13
Philippa White
Oh, it’s so good to hear that. First of all, you saying it because like you say, it’s not something people often say because you sort of, oh, no, I can’t be heard saying that. And also going back to your limiting beliefs, what do I have to offer? Oh, God, I don’t know if I can really will. I will even be able to adjust to anything.

00:25:18:13 – 00:25:39:12
Philippa White
And that’s a lot of the time what this is all about is putting yourself in a situation that’s so different to what you would normally experience. And then you blossom in March and then you think, Oh my God, the world is my oyster like I could. Okay. And what what could I do differently in my day to day, actually, that you know, in my role, how would my work even be better or benefit more if I maybe pushed myself in new ways?

00:25:39:12 – 00:25:59:15
Niall Quinn
Yeah, it’s about that. Opening yourself up for new, not just for change and challenges, but just new perceptions. And just, you know what, if we flip something on its head, things that are learned, I guess, and that I’m kind of realizing after some time back in London that I’m kind of taken away from it is, yeah. Whatever you put out there into the world, you’ll get something in return.

00:25:59:15 – 00:26:17:05
Niall Quinn
If you put positivity and you put good energy out there, it just seems to happen that you do get these amazing experiences and these kind of connections in return. I’m trying to I’m keeping that going in London and I’ve noticed, just like kind of not being in my head as much is the quality of life and just how you just are living.

00:26:17:05 – 00:26:29:13
Niall Quinn
Your day is just completely different and I’m really trying to hold on to that as much as possible. So I didn’t really have an aha moment. I had that more at the start. I had this like wow moment, which was like slow down.

00:26:30:06 – 00:26:36:16
Philippa White
Almost like the moment. The moment, right? Yeah. I was.

00:26:36:24 – 00:26:54:07
Niall Quinn
I think it was at the start and I came in just with the London Energy and I was just, you know, in London everyone’s talking so quickly, walking so quickly. It’s a by product of beauty. It’s about squeezing the most out of every possible moment and just going above and beyond. And I came in with this energy, and that does not work in Mozambique.

00:26:54:09 – 00:27:11:23
Niall Quinn
That is not the way they operate. You need to stop. It was amazing what you were able to experience, what you’re able to see. And here just by slowing down and I kind of want to take that back into job as well. So it gives you a different perspective. You know, it’s not only stepping back, but it’s actually just like slowing down.

00:27:12:03 – 00:27:36:15
Niall Quinn
Let’s not rush this, just talk it out. You know, what’s the worst that can happen? And then I think it really solidified what we talked about earlier that this tangibility and needing this meaning in what I do, I think seeing meeting the people there that are incredibly passionate about what they do and being able to like think about I’m researching, I’m thinking about trying to get global conservation and protection for this species.

00:27:36:17 – 00:28:06:17
Niall Quinn
And I’m also diving with them and looking at their interactions and physically being able to spend time with them. That’s just that was incredible to see and experience and I think that’s just really solidified that I need to have that direct meaning tangibility in anything that I do. So this is a really cool opportunity for me to slow down, look at things in a different way, get a different perspective, and actually just decide what means something to me, what really resonates with me, and what I want to do this job.

00:28:07:10 – 00:28:25:11
Niall Quinn
And so I think it’s those conversations that I’m having at the moment and really just trying to instill some of those learnings and people in when we’re trying to grow into the role. I’m still very much passionate about what I do. I love what we do. I love the mission. We’re trying to do that. And it’s that that solidified it because of that real world impact.

00:28:25:11 – 00:28:41:16
Niall Quinn
And what I do, yeah, that solidified my love for what I do. I think it’s just the subtleties of how I approach it and, you know, how I ship things and how I may be like I work from a functional perspective and just I’m not balance. I think I’m very conscious about that balance as well, and.

00:28:41:16 – 00:29:01:02
Philippa White
It’s really important and it’s important to reflect on this. LAWRENCE Smith, who also went to MF, so she didn’t work on the Dove Expedition. She was the first ever one and I can’t remember anything what her project was, but also fell in love with tofu, also fell in love with Andr√© and the team. It’s an incredibly emotive place to work.

00:29:01:02 – 00:29:26:03
Philippa White
You are surrounded by incredibly passionate individuals and she and I did have a conversation. She works in advertising, still at the same company and we’re talking eight years later. But she said, You know, I work in advertising and I just looked at everyone cleaning plastic off the beaches and helping these massive creatures that are in the ocean. And I just can I go back to advertising?

00:29:26:14 – 00:29:45:00
Philippa White
And I said, you know, it’s a it’s a really good question. And obviously, you know, so many people then were thinking this and I would say even more people now are thinking. But then I asked her, I said, Do you think the change you can make and this only you can answer this, but do you think the change you can make is as impactful?

00:29:45:00 – 00:30:05:16
Philippa White
You go into tofu and cleaning plastic up the beaches or doing whatever it is that you would be doing there. You know, they’ve got these marine biologists who are there and that’s their sort of specialty. Or now that you’ve got the understanding of how this world works, if everybody left the private sector, it would never change and it would never go in the direction it’s going in.

00:30:06:02 – 00:30:36:04
Philippa White
If you are surrounded by resource, be it money and human resource, be it a whole lot of people who believe in the skills that you have and you actually can manipulate a bit of that sort of the decisions and you can move things and you can be a driver of that change. Then you start to think, if I can move a supertanker a few degrees through the power that I have, then maybe that has a ripple effect in more of an impact than on just one beach, for example, or on one area.

00:30:36:10 – 00:30:55:07
Philippa White
And so it was interesting because she actually I’ve got a quote from her that I use in a presentation using my presentations and she said, you know, my my time experience didn’t necessarily totally change the world, but it changed the way that I interact with the world. And I think that it’s unearthing all this stuff that you just talked about.

00:30:55:08 – 00:31:03:09
Philippa White
Oh, my God, I’m charismatic and I can make decisions and I can get people excited about stuff and oh my God, I can be a change maker, basically, is what you just said.

00:31:03:19 – 00:31:04:06
Philippa White
And more.

00:31:04:06 – 00:31:06:20
Philippa White
Words. And then I guess the question is, what do you do with that?

00:31:07:05 – 00:31:16:02
Niall Quinn
That’s so but it’s the question that is not necessarily an answer. It’s something the question.

00:31:16:02 – 00:31:17:16
Philippa White
Is a process. Yeah.

00:31:18:00 – 00:31:43:11
Philippa White
And it is a process. And I think it’s exciting if you can do it where you’re at. And obviously TIE is a it’s a leadership development program for people to sort of help them unearth those feelings and then understanding how they see themselves. And if you can channel that into your work and if you’re working at a place that you feel can grow with your group, you know, with your growth and can adapt to what you’re looking for, then amazing.

00:31:43:13 – 00:31:45:00
Philippa White
You’ll be a firecracker.

00:31:46:08 – 00:31:46:11
Philippa White
Of.

00:31:46:23 – 00:31:51:02
Niall Quinn
Of super fortunate for the environment that I’m in. Yeah, sure, sure, sure.

00:31:51:03 – 00:31:55:17
Philippa White
Is there a story that kind of stands out from your time there?

00:31:55:22 – 00:32:10:18
Niall Quinn
There was a local business owner and they had an employee that didn’t turn up to work without any notice for a few days. And it’s obviously caused problems. And so it was like, why would they do that? You know, this makes no sense. You know, it’s a good job. The alternative is to be out fishing, which is incredibly dangerous.

00:32:10:18 – 00:32:36:14
Niall Quinn
So they’ve got this good, stable job. So it turned out that they were living in a local community and that young guy who has a young family was actually been stopped by his relatives from going to work because they were jealous that he was contributing and going, trying to better himself and trying to change his life and support everyone around him and that they were physically stopping them from going.

00:32:36:14 – 00:32:54:11
Niall Quinn
If you need help here, you’re not allowed to communicate with take away his phones. We can’t communicate. I was baffled, absolutely baffled because it’s just about person making an individual choice to make a change for them and the people they love. And that’s what they want to do and strive forward.

00:32:54:20 – 00:32:55:11
Philippa White
Yeah.

00:32:55:11 – 00:33:18:01
Niall Quinn
And the concept of people that he was closest to denying him that opportunity, that was so counterintuitive to anything that I’ve heard or experienced. Now, that was the kind of a little moment where I was like, Oh, where I knew it was different, but this is a completely different world. That changed the dynamics of my conversation. How do we support this change in the community as well?

00:33:18:01 – 00:33:33:20
Niall Quinn
But it’s such a big thing. It’s just a cultural thing that stood out. It’s not a particularly happy story, but it stood out because that was a stop for me. I was like, I that woke me up. This is serious stuff. This is a completely different environment. I need to get into this. Yeah. Trying to understand.

00:33:33:20 – 00:33:50:24
Philippa White
That it’s interesting because in the training with Chad is talked about, we see the world not as it is, but as we are. And we use that a lot in the training because it’s so important, isn’t it, for when you’re working in other places, for someone just not to show up, you would just see it from your experience, right?

00:33:50:24 – 00:34:10:22
Philippa White
Of course. It’s completely natural. It’s normal. So you would think something’s happened or you? I don’t know. I don’t know what you would think, but you probably wouldn’t get to that. And then you suddenly, when you do discover what that is, you suddenly realize, oh, my gosh, yeah. Like the questions I need to ask are different and how do I ask those questions and how I might be perceived?

00:34:10:22 – 00:34:31:08
Philippa White
And you know, and it brings in that empathy, doesn’t it? And cultural intelligence and being able to, which are all these dynamics in today’s modern world actually, that we all need to be able to. We talked about leadership, how you’re now running a team of more people. The more diverse the team is, the better it is because it’s more innovative in the more you can think so.

00:34:31:08 – 00:34:41:16
Philippa White
But then as a result of it’s more diverse, it means that people are coming from different backgrounds. And so as a result, what can we learn from these types of experiences then bring it into our day to day, right?

00:34:41:23 – 00:35:01:11
Niall Quinn
Exactly. It just kind of put me in the best way back in my place and just I opened up my ears a little bit more. That’s something I kind of bring with me. Your brain tries to problem solve for you. You know, it’s doing it. It tries to just match up a solution to a problem. And that’s not always the way that’s not how you should be operating.

00:35:01:11 – 00:35:18:19
Niall Quinn
And so I was actually just saying to sit back and listen, just because you don’t know what’s happening, you don’t know what is driving other people and you don’t know other people’s experiences. And you just need to be open to accepting those different experiences and backgrounds and different mentalities and trying to work together. Really, it’s.

00:35:18:20 – 00:35:19:23
Philippa White
Such a great takeaway now.

00:35:20:00 – 00:35:40:24
Niall Quinn
I think the resonating thing is this whole the energy put out, this energy you get back that I’ve been thinking about that a lot and these quotes hadn’t popped into my head for years, just popped into my head and I was like missing because if it’s a well it this an on frank quotes and it was just simply whoever is happy will make others happy too.

00:35:41:10 – 00:35:53:05
Niall Quinn
And I just thought that was beautifully simple. Yeah. And it just resonates today with everyone. They think it’s just whatever you put out, you will get back and the impact you have on other people is really profound.

00:35:53:05 – 00:36:14:19
Philippa White
I love that. And I actually bringing it back to leadership again. If you’re able to realize your true essence, which obviously will make you happy, if you’re able to realize your purpose, be the leader that you want to be doing the work that you want to do. And if it fits with what you’re about and you’re on your mission and it fits with the mission of the company, then if you’re happy, then you’re going to be really lovely person to work for as well.

00:36:14:19 – 00:36:44:15
Philippa White
Right. And what you’re going to be. Yeah, but I think, you know, it’s, it’s interesting. It fits into everything and also just paying it forward, talked to that an Uber driver to talk to people. And then the more that you do that, the more you get stuff back to don’t you know you wrote a lot on your experience and and I’ll include the denial and the way of Instagram because it really and it’s full of some really lovely insights and I followed it and just different conversations that we had or different that you saw yourself or where you’re at.

00:36:44:19 – 00:37:02:20
Philippa White
This thing about time, which I really like, this thing about meeting complete strangers and having really intimate conversations with people. Then you realize that they step away from the table. You don’t even know their name. And it just it’s just quite extraordinary when you do find yourself doing different things and where that kind of takes you and yeah, yeah, you got me thinking of different ways.

00:37:03:12 – 00:37:06:12
Philippa White
Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you’d like to tell our listeners?

00:37:06:12 – 00:37:45:11
Niall Quinn
We’re mulling over the concept of leadership quite a bit, and I think from the last couple of years and growing throughout covered experience and just this experience of what leadership means in a completely different environment, I think it’s just super interesting that leaders there sometimes in the front of the pack sometimes do that behind the pack. But I think in my experience, the best leaders are there with you kind of side by side, and they’re there supporting you, walking with you, and sort of this open to the unknown, but also showing vulnerability and just being able to inspire others without kind of losing that kind of like human side of us could know how to

00:37:45:11 – 00:38:04:21
Niall Quinn
do leaders going to do with age or seniority or whatever else. It’s actually just we just mentioned it’s about the impact that you have on someone and a kind of a kind of who really is driven from where your heart is line is in a good place and you want to support people and you want to give advice to people and stand with them.

00:38:04:21 – 00:38:15:06
Niall Quinn
But as you being a leader, it takes so many different forms. I think once you see yourself as a leader, that unlocks really some spectacular experiences total.

00:38:15:11 – 00:38:36:19
Philippa White
Totally great thinking and wonderful to leave on that. I couldn’t agree more now. It has been such a pleasure getting to know you because obviously I get to know everyone very well on these experiences and obviously we had a little bit more time to live with our sharing of emails because of the pandemic and everything take a little bit longer, but it’s been such a pleasure and you really have just embraced this experience.

00:38:36:19 – 00:38:43:17
Philippa White
You’ve given so much back to the organization, which is absolutely fantastic, but I feel like you’ve also had a lot to gain from the experience as well, which is what this is all about.

00:38:43:23 – 00:38:53:18
Niall Quinn
Absolutely. And just thank you again. I just blew my mind the entire experience and just a really grateful for everything you and the team have done. Just absolutely game changer.

00:38:53:22 – 00:39:06:09
Philippa White
Amazing. Well, now, thank you from the bottom of my heart. And you know, you’re part of the type now, so you’re not going anywhere. No way for you to tell your story many times, I’m sure. So thank you.

00:39:07:05 – 00:39:08:11
Philippa White
Thanks.

BE A BETTER LEADER

Everyone has the power to inspire, guide, and amplify team success. 

But before you can better lead others, you need to fully understand yourself!

This free tool is a powerful way to reveal the qualities you already have so that you can utilise them to become an even better leader.

Better leaders > better companies > better world.

created with by jessica lynn design
web development by carolyn sheltraw