Ray O'Connor

How many years have you held this position? 
1½ years. As CCO of 4site, I direct and coordinate the commercial operations of 4site, focusing on the development of existing business and the acquisition of new opportunities. Headquartered in Limerick, with offices in Dublin and the UK, we employ 80+ highly skilled professionals to design, survey, build and maintain world-class communications networks. The team adapts technology, tools and processes to deliver reliable and future-proofed turnkey services for clients across Ireland, the UK and further afield. The business has a wealth of expertise in fibre technology, as well as considerable experience in the planning, design and build of wireless networks. Clients include Vodafone, SIRO, Cignal, Huawei, 2RN (RTE), Three, Ericsson, Nokia, CityFibre, CommScope and enet.

What has been your career highlight to date?
My career highlight was joining 4site as CCO and becoming part of a dynamic team that’s enabling smarter connectivity. Our design work is evident across all the major ‘fibre to the home’ and wireless projects throughout Ireland and the UK. These are ‘legacy projects’ that I feel anyone would want to say they were involved with.

What qualities do you need to succeed in business? 
There are three – the utmost integrity, emotional intelligence and an aptitude for listening. In the telecoms business, your reputation, ability to deliver and willingness to help clients find the right solution is key, as you will often find yourself working with that same client time and time again over the years.

Who or what are your main influences?
A positive ‘can-do’ attitude and a willingness to see optimism in challenging situations. I’ve managed a variety of teams over the years and hard work and focus always stands out. Excelling in any role is down to your personal attitude, perseverance, and willingness to get on with and collaborate with your industry peers and clients.

What is the most challenging part of your role?
One of the biggest challenges is keeping close to new prospect clients, especially in new markets where our reputation is unknown. There is a constant cost battle when bidding for new projects. We position quality as our over-arching selling point and have hired some of the best people in the industry to ensure we continue delivering the best result possible. 

What, in your view, is the biggest challenge facing directors in Ireland today?
Having the vision to create diversity at board level to facilitate a variety of approaches and perspectives. In terms of gender balance, companies like Vodafone and eir have made huge strides in that direction with female CEOs now heading up both firms. It’s important to acknowledge this wasn’t because of ‘quota ratio’, but because they were the right people for the role. More businesses need to follow suit.

What, in your opinion, makes a great leader? 
Great leaders develop, embrace and build trusting relationships with a diverse range of individuals who all share a similar goal or purpose. Great leaders know this diversity means they are going to be challenged time and time again, and this will ultimately help them grow their own thinking and approach.

What do you hope to gain from your membership with the IoD?
It’s very easy to stay immersed in your own day-to-day world, so I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to meet like-minded people from other sectors, who all face similar challenges. Support from the IoD peer group as well as the range of IoD seminars and workshops will also be extremely beneficial.