I graduated from university with a degree in French and History. My first job was as a committee secretary with a small trade association, which I enjoyed and wanted to do to the best of my ability.

I sought out a qualification that would help me do this and would give me added credibility when seeking promotion or moving to a new job. The chartered secretary qualification was the natural choice. I began studying in 1992 and found the coursework both interesting, challenging and useful in my day-to-day work.

I qualified in 1994. The 1990s was a period of focus on the governance of listed companies, a focus which expanded to embrace the public and charity sectors. As a qualified company secretary I understand the principles of good governance and why and how an organisation that takes its governance seriously is more likely to achieve its objectives.

Since I qualified I have changed roles and sectors a number of times and have worked in health regulation, with a charity, a university, and latterly with a major public infrastructure project.

I have undertaken a range of further studies including the ICSA Professional Award in Corporate Governance in 2006.

I continue to attend short courses at the Institute to keep myself up to date with technical developments. I became a Fellow of the Institute in 2007.

My initial ICSA qualification and further studies have given me the technical skills and the confidence to provide advice and support to chairmen and boards, and have enabled me to work at a senior level across a number of different organisations and sectors.

Niamh O’Sullivan FCIS

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