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5 Minutes With Trish Long, Vice President & General Manager Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Ireland

by Holly O'Neill
13th May 2016

Appointed as VP in 2008 but since 1994 has held a variety of roles within The Walt Disney Company, Trish Long’s present role combines core responsibility for the company in Ireland, overseeing all aspects of the distribution and marketing campaigns in the country for the entire theatrical slate including Walt Disney Animation Studios; Disney live action; Pixar; Marvel & Lucas Films. She is part of the Disney International and European teams, while also working across Disney franchises and with other Disney lines of business to grow the Walt Disney brand in Ireland. She is a recipient of Disney’s International ?top talent handler of the year award? and also a member of the Disney Strategic Foresight EMEA team (Advanced Practitioner) ?. She sits on the boards of the Irish Film Institute; Troy Studios (opening this summer) and the Governing Authority of the University of Limerick.

What are you tips for managing a team, board of directors and yourself all at the same time?

Juggle, juggle & then juggle some more. Self awareness and honesty with yourself (regarding mood, energy & ability at any given time) is key. Being aware of the pressure points within ones team; seeing it as part of your job to alleviate these as much as possible in order to allow them to do their jobs & honest communication regarding same. With boards – real clarity from the start about how much time one is able to commit and ensuring the Chair is comfortable with that- while also being willing to step up (where feasible) during critical periods. For me – by only agreeing to be on boards on which I am personally committed to the issue or organisation & think that what I have to contribute will make a difference, makes it possible to remain energised. I have a magic number (3) and don’t believe its realistic to be on more than 3 boards at a time (and also good if the boards are at different stages of development or need). I also think it gets easier as you get older and more experienced – I’ve never been busier or had more responsibility but I’ve also never had more flexibility.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

I don’t. As I don’t believe work life balance (or what I understand people to mean when they use that term) is not feasible (hence the reason I’ll be mainly talking about the Myth of Work Life Balance). So instead I just live my life (while of course having clarity about whats most important to and for me to flourish personally & professionally). Choosing a great partner who ?gets you? and what you are trying to achieve has been key for me. Also having a big extended and demanding network of friends & family with all that entails keeps me grounded. Yoga and Prosecco help too (though not at the same time)??

What is your advice for people wishing to change roles or direction within a company?

Do your research; ensure you plug any gaps in your skillset while simultaneously trying to identify a mentor (official or unofficial) and don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek advice. Own the fact you wish to remain within the company as you are committed to it but would like to develop in a different direction and be willing to communicate that where appropriate and when likely to help achieve it. Finally be realistic, patient but charmingly persistent.

What are your tips for professional goal setting?

I think the SMART approach (setting goals which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Framed ) can be very useful & at the least is a good tool particularly at the start of ones career. At this stage you may not yet trust your own gut or indeed be yet brave enough to own – even to yourself (or indeed know) what your goals are. SMART is not as easy to apply in all careers (eg: media/arts/entertainment). As one progresses through ones professional life, I think self awareness and honesty is vital especially if you are no longer satisfied or as challenged as you’d like. Flexibility , pragmatism and a sense of humour are powerful & bring perspective.

Trish Long will be speaking at our IMAGE Networking Breakfast?#GIRLBOSS on Friday, May 20th at 7.30pm, alongside Kira Walton, founder of VOYA and Dr. Mary Ryan, consultant physician and endocrinologist senior lecturer in University of Limerick Medical School. Find out more about our IMAGE Networking Breakfast?#GIRLBOSS here.

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