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Employee Spotlights

Employee Spotlight – Dan O’Kane

Each fortnight we will be spotlighting a member of the team so that you can get to know the people behind the Pacem brand. This week we feature our Planning Analyst, Dan O’Kane. Dan has been with us since January 2022 and is a great support to our Financial Advisory team.

Dan tells us a bit more about himself below.

Employee name
Dan O’Kane

Your role at Pacem
Planning Analyst

How long have you been with Pacem?
Since January 2022

What does your day-to-day role entail?
My day-to-day role usually consists of preparing reports for our clients whether that be Annual Reviews or preparing recommendation reports for potential new clients. There are usually always ad hoc tasks which can vary from week to week in addition to ongoing projects within the firm.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Ambitious, driven, motivated

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
Outside of work I play football for my local club Glenullin, great way to stay active and meet up with people.

What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy the variety of the role. No 2 two days are ever the same which ensures you are always learning and developing. There is also a great team at Pacem with everyone willing to help push the company further and are willing to help guide you along the way.

Favourite food
Can’t go wrong with a good steak and pepper sauce!

Where is the best place you’ve travelled to and why?
I’ve been to Florida a few times with the family. Great spot, plenty to do and the weather’s not bad either. Killarney has to be a close 2nd, beautiful scenery and lovely people.

What interests/hobbies do you have outside work?
It usually consists of some sort of active activity whether that be playing football or the gym, a good way to clear the head.

Employee Spotlight Special – Lisa Jiang

This week’s special edition of Employee Spotlight features Lisa Jiang. Lisa is a 6th form pupil at Ashfield Girls School, Belfast and has been with us for a 6 week internship over the summer break. Lisa has been a great asset to Pacem over the summer break bringing a positive attitude to the team and work.

Lisa tells us a bit more about her experience at Pacem below.

I had first heard of Pacem from the leader of my Career Ready Programme, mentioning how they won an Eastside Award for Employer of the Year. At the time I was not yet interested because I had no idea what Pacem did, and even when the leader suggested a work experience at this company known as ‘Pacem’, I was still indifferent. To my surprise, I was then informed that two representatives of Pacem would come to my school to tell us about ‘Finance’ and ‘Accountancy’. Two words I hear way too many times when people talk about future jobs but have never delved deep enough to know what they actually are beyond money. In the presentation, I asked questions and I had questions answered but everything remained a blur to me. In hindsight, I think the presentation was an excellent idea as it actually left me thinking about it.

As Pacem had been kind enough to lend some of their time to visit my school, I thought it was only fair to offer some of mine and visit their company when they provided a date and time. I thought that there was no harm in coming to see them, with the bonus of getting a glimpse of a real office during real working hours. It was about half an hour before my agreed time that I actually started to panic. Mostly because I was later told that all young people were to be interviewed individually but also because this is a real office with people actually working. I called my mentor and told her all my worries, and she reassured me well. Later that day I got a phone call from the leader of the Programme saying that Pacem was incredibly impressed with me, even though I did not think I was presenting the best version of myself.

Hearing such positive words about me from Pacem made me really happy. I appreciate people’s words a lot and if ‘impressed’ is what Pacem were then I wanted to prove that I am up to their standards. A few weeks later, after signing all the forms, I was in the work experience and prepared to start my first day.

It was better knowing that Pacem aimed to offer young people the opportunities leading into Finance & Accountancy. This meant that there were other young people my age in the work experience too, which, consequently, made me feel more confident in knowing that I was not the only one who would be nervous. It was even better to arrive into Pacem’s building and be greeted so politely and kindly, and to be treated like a friend by all the adults despite our major difference in work. I find that during my experience in Pacem, I did not just talk about work but also talked about myself, and in turn, I got the chance to learn about the roles of Pacem’s employees and their amazing characters. I felt like an equal. I felt like I belonged in Pacem. I felt like I was at home. Everyday I had something that I would look forward to in the next day.

I was finally put into a position where I would be able to properly develop my skills and qualities, primarily communication, creativity and confidence, as not just a student or an employee but as a person.

Through Finance & Accountancy, I was familiarised with app softwares such as Intelligent Office, AutoEntry and QuickBooks. It certainly opened my eyes as I never knew that this field of work was so substantial that it required many, many helping hands. The supporting systems and the different kinds of people to make it successful. Out of all the possible skills that I exist, I think I exercised my patience skills the most as many tasks involved a lot of repetition. As a result of this (hopefully) improved patience, I feel confident in going back to school and enjoy my education more. I can also go back home feeling more appreciative for the people around me, because like a work experience, some of the people that you spend your time with – without even thinking of an end – will not last forever. But that is clearly not the end of it. Patience was not the only skill I developed.

Finance & Accountancy is not for everyone. And even if you were interested, Pacem would still not be for everyone as much as it was for me. However, it would not be sensible to miss an opportunity to add something to your CV, or explore an area in which you’ve never stepped into before, or even miss the opportunity to meet really great people.

If you fear the idea of working with adults handing you work that is actually crucially important to their business, just remember, this is a work experience. These are adults who know that you are young and perhaps confused and unsure of what you want to do in the future. They will not make you feel uncomfortable – because why would they? No one would want to stop you from exploring the different possibilities of your future.

Employee Spotlight Special – Angie Dzenite

This week’s special edition of Employee Spotlight features Angie Dzenite. Angie is a 6th form pupil at Ashfield Girls School, Belfast and has been with us for a 6 week internship over the summer break. Angie has brought enthusiasm and has been a great addition to the team over the summer.

Angie tells us a bit more about her experience at Pacem below.

I was given this exciting opportunity by a programme called ‘Careers Ready’ which is organised through Ashfield Girls’ High School. This programme helps you gain a qualification as well as gaining confidence in yourself and experiencing the world of work and being able to have a mentor from different companies who help answer all your worries and problems. Pacem was invited to my school and they then invited us for interviews to see who would get in! When I got accepted, I was over the moon because it was a new experience, new place, and new people! From a young age I was always told to dream big and take every opportunity what came at me, and that is exactly what I did, I took it and have no regrets whatsoever joining this work experience where I learned so many skills and enhanced my qualities making me more confident in myself and ready to take on the world of work and the challenges what come with it.

When I first arrived at Pacem, I was nervous and excited to get stuck into the world of office life. At first, I thought it would be boring, but it wasn’t because the work atmosphere is so welcoming and friendly, every work colleague is always there to help you and even have banter and daily check-ups! You truly feel like your apart of a family and I can see why Pacem is a winning business company at Eastside awards.

When working with Pacem I got to work in both Accounting which was every Tuesday and Wednesday then Finance was every Monday and Thursday. While working for Finance I did a lot of scanning for clients and realised how even the small things are valuable towards the whole financing sector. I also advanced my skills in Excel and IO (intelligence office) which holds loads of client information in which I had to solve queries and problems. I also organised letters and helped with other aspects of finance which is great.

When I was working for accounting, I found it very challenging as you were learning about bank statements, commissions, Cheques, VAT, Net and Gross which was interesting as there were times you literally couldn’t figure out what was happening and when completing tasks, you felt an instant relief. If I was to consider studying in this sector, I would pick accounting because I am always up for a challenge even if stresses you out, you just know that it is worth it in the end. I also used excel, auto entry and tax calc which has deepened my knowledge in accounting.

If I was to summarise this experience working with such a talented company, it was spectacular as you never felt alone and always had tasks set out for you, always had people to talk to and you even had laughs. One thing I will remember be is that although I am an Eastside award winner, I also caused a lot of printer/scanner problems and at one point they both went on system failure and everyone just laughed and tried their best to help! Pacem is a hard-working company and when you get to work with you just realise how privileged you are to be in such a team with very co-ordinated, friendly and determined people. I would recommend anyone to take the opportunity to work for them as they support you through the entire way and you learn a lot.

Employee Spotlight – Lizzy Crossan

Each fortnight we will be spotlighting a member of the team so that you can get to know the people behind the Pacem brand. This week we feature our Director of Accounting & Tax, Lizzy Crossan. Lizzy has been at Pacem since the beginning in 2017 and leads our Accounting and Business Advisory team.

Lizzy tells us a bit more about herself below.

Employee name
Elizabeth Crossan

Your role at Pacem
Director of Accounting & Tax

How long have you been with Pacem?
Since Pacem started in 2017, it’s hard to believe it has been 5 years

What does your day-to-day role entail?
A typical day involves managing our client work and helping the team through any queries. Client work ranges from tax and accounts to VAT or Payroll.
I spend a lot of my time meeting with clients (either in person or online) to review quarterly accounts, do pre year end tax planning or advise and help with any questions or issues they are facing in their business.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Genuine, Practical, Hard-working

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I took quite a while to decide on my chosen career path. I did a degree in Journalism & Psychology, a Masters in Communication, Advertising and PR and spent many (mostly enjoyable) years working in hospitality before entering the world of accountancy and tax.

What do you like most about your job?
The people I work with. The team are great and everyone wants to help out in any way they can. Everyone gets on so well and there is always a bit of fun in the office!

Favourite food
Cheese, with wine. Cashel blue is my all-time favourite.

What interests/hobbies do you have outside of work?
Apart from the fore mentioned cheese and wine, I love going to my PT- that’s my polytunnel. I spend most of my free time in there potting, planting, watering, weeding, chillin’, closing my eyes and pretending I’m on holiday in the sun, etc.
The whole cycle is so rewarding and being able to make something delicious from things you have grown is a plus.

Where is the best place you’ve travelled to and why?
The best place was Japan, on Honeymoon. The trains are amazing- and never late. We travelled from Tokyo to Hiroshima and stopped off in Kyoto, Osaka and lots of lovely towns on the way. I would go back tomorrow if I could.
But, in saying that, some of the most beautiful places I have been are in Ireland. Over lockdown my husband did a campervan conversion so we have been on a lot of road trips. We went to Cork last summer which was amazing but we usually go to the west coast. Sligo is his favourite and obviously Donegal is the greatest place on earth (I’m not at all biased).

Employee Spotlight – Sean O’Donnell

Each fortnight we will be spotlighting a member of the team so that you can get to know the people behind the Pacem brand. This week we feature our Senior Planning Analyst, Sean O’Donnell. Sean joined the firm in July 2020 as a Planning Analyst Intern and supports our Financial Advisory team in achieving our client’s goals alongside completing his Level 4 Diploma.

Sean tells us a bit more about himself below.

Employee name
Sean O’Donnell

Your role at Pacem
Senior Planning Analyst

How long have you been with Pacem?
Just shy of 2 years

What does your day-to-day role entail?
No 2 days are the same at Pacem and my tasks can be quite different each day but generally my role is to assist the Advisors and Paraplanners in preparing to client annual reviews of their Investment Portfolios. I also spend a lot of time working with the Advisers and Paraplanners analysing all of the information on new clients and help prepare detailed financial plans to include cashflow analysis and investment projections.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
I’d have to say that I’m affable, engaging and ambitious…however some may disagree with these adjectives!

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I didn’t begin my career in financial services until I was 30 years old! Before this, I had a varied work experience from working in hospitality to health and safety but the job which surprises most people is my many years of working for our family Funeral Business!

What do you like most about your job?
Definitely the best thing about my job is the people, both clients and colleagues. I really enjoy engaging with people from various walks of life and to try and assist them with their questions and concerns as much as possible and really look forward to more of this as I progress through my career. We have an amazing team at Pacem and working with these guys every day makes going to work vastly more enjoyable.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
As cliché as it sounds, the first thing I would do is buy a ridiculous car. I’m a huge car fan and have dreams of owning a really silly supercar such as a Ferrari F8 or Lamborghini Huracan…I’d even settle for a BMW M3! After that, I’d make sure that my family’s bills are settled and use the remainder for a once an a lifetime holiday…although I don’t think there would be much left!

Favourite Food
I would consider myself as a foodie! There is nothing that I will not eat, although my own culinary skills are not the best. That being said…..my favourite food of all time is crisps!!

What interests/hobbies do you have outside of work
Before lockdown I was training regularly at Brazilian Jujitsu. Although lockdown and studying towards my Level 4 qualifications has made it difficult to get back into the swing of things, I fully intend to get back as it an get my blue belt by the end of the year!

Employee Spotlight – Tony Glover

Each fortnight we will be spotlighting a member of the team so that you can get to know the people behind the Pacem brand. This week we feature our Group Director, Tony Glover. Tony is a Chartered Tax Adviser with over forty years’ experience in all stages of business life from start-up, through growth and development to merger and acquisition. He has specialist expertise in the use of trusts and complex estate planning strategies.

Tony tells us a bit more about himself below.

Employee name
Tony Glover

Your role at Pacem
Group Director

How long have you been with Pacem?
Pacem evolved from a previous professional partnership that I had been part of for over forty years, so I guess, from day one would cover it!

What does your day-to-day role entail?
The short answer – problem solving. Pacem exists to help our clients navigate their way through the complexities of their business and financial worlds.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
I’ll go with, cool, calm and collected.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I trained and qualified as a Gestalt Psychotherapist!!

What do you like most about your job?
The variety that it offers and the challengers that it brings to be continually learning. It has been a privilege to be able to support so many clients over so many years and, in some cases, across generations. It is also a source of some pride to have been part of building such a vibrant, energetic and progressive advisory firm such as Pacem.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
This question stumped me for a while until inspiration emerged in the form of a fictional TV character – Detective Inspector Morse! I love a good puzzle and experience has taught me that through willpower and patient, rational enquiry it is possible to get to the bottom of any conundrum. While I very much enjoy being part of a team, my independent and curious nature leads me to be self-reliant and innovative in decision-making and achieving goals. So yes, I reckon I could have been a detective, well the TV version anyway.

Where is the best place you’ve travelled to and why?
Travelling has been one of my great delights in recent years, there’s nothing more that I enjoy than exploring new places and different cultures. Our trip to South Africa was particularly enjoyable as we were able to go on safari and got to see the ‘big five’; we visited Nelson Mandela’s Soweto home and his prison cell on Robben Island; and we also got to visit the Cape of Good Hope and the lush wine regions north of Cape Town. It was also quite shocking to witness the abject poverty that millions of people have to ensure. So, all in all a very stimulating experience in many different ways.

What interests/hobbies do you have outside of work
Rita and I have three children and six grandchildren, so family holidays and time together has also been a priority for us. Also, I play a bit of golf, but i think the photo below is the closest I’ll get to lifting the Claret Jug. The family recently bought me a new bike and I really enjoy getting out for an early morning cycle on the country roads at home.

Travelling to Anfield to watch Liverpool play is always a great adventure as you re never certain what the outcome will be. Luckily in recent years there have been many memorable successes.

A few years ago, I was invited to join the board of a sizeable local charity in the role of treasurer. This has been a new and challenging adventure, and I have found it very rewarding being able to offer my experience and expertise to an organisation that works to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society.

Employee Spotlight – Jamie Galway

Each fortnight we will be spotlighting a member of the team so that you can get to know the people behind the Pacem brand. This week we feature trainee accounting technician, Jamie Galway. Jamie joined Pacem as an apprentice in August 2021. She is currently completing her HLA Level 5 Accounting Technicians course and supports our accountancy team in delivering a range of services including preparing accounts, bookkeeping and payroll.

Jamie tells us a bit more about herself below.

Employee name
Jamie Galway

Your role at Pacem
Trainee Accounting Technician

How long have you been with Pacem?
7 months

What does your day-to-day role entail?
On a daily basis I support the accountancy team in delivering a range of services for our clients. This usually involves VAT returns, year-end accounts, both weekly and monthly payroll as well as some general admin tasks.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Motivated, positive and friendly

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
From the age of 4 up until I was 18 I was an Irish dancer for Dominic Graham School of Irish Dance. Almost every summer we were visiting different countries to perform in their Celtic festivals and taught the locals some of our moves, however our favourite festival was Festival de Ortigueira as this was like a second home for us!

What do you like most about your job?
I really enjoy learning every day alongside my college classes on a Monday as I can put everything I have studied into practice, which I find really helps. I do also enjoy doing a little VAT or bank reconciliation in work, I don’t know what it is about them that I find satisfying but I do like problem solving!

Favourite Food
100% has to be a chippy, although Morton’s in Ballycastle is the go to!

What is something you learned in the last week?
This week I discovered that running really isn’t as easy as some people make it look! I have been training for my first half marathon in London in just over 2 weeks and I still struggle to break through the ‘wall’ that people talk about!

Favourite film
This is a tough one although I’m going to have to go with the Harry Potter movies as a collective or Fury as my favourite war movie.

Employee Spotlight – Shannon Bermingham

Each fortnight we will be spotlighting a member of the team so that you can get to know the people behind the Pacem brand. This week we feature trainee chartered accountant, Shannon Bermingham. Shannon joined Pacem as an intern in 2020 after graduating with a degree in Business Studies from Ulster University. Since then, Shannon has completed her Postgraduate in Accounting with a distinction and has started her professional qualifications with Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Shannon tells us a bit more about herself below.

Employee name
Shannon Bermingham

Your role at Pacem
Trainee Chartered Accountant

 How long have you been with Pacem?
1 year and 5 months

 What does your day-to-day role entail?
On a day-to-day basis I assist the accounting directors with various accounting and tax related tasks for our clients. Typically, this includes weekly/ monthly payroll, year-end accounts, monthly/ quarterly VAT, and tax returns

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Positive, outgoing and motivated

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
When I’m not studying for my professional exams or learning all things accounting, I am a Team Ireland cheerleader (no pom poms involved!). In April 2022 I will be going to ESPN, Disney in Orlando, Florida to compete against all countries across the globe at the ICU cheerleading world championships. We wont win, but we are aiming for top 10

What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy how every day is a new learning experience and I am constantly growing as a person. I am lucky to be able to work alongside people who have once been in my shoes as a trainee and get to see first-hand what my future will hopefully look like. The Pacem team get along great and we are able to have a bit of fun in between all the hard work, this is a bonus!

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
This is the dream! I would firstly give back to my parents, then go on an extravagant holiday and lastly, speak to our financial advisory team at Pacem on how to invest wisely 😊

Favourite food
Chinese takeout, specifically honey chilli chicken

Favourite book(s)
A brilliant fictional romance novel titled ‘It Ends With Us’ by Colleen Hoover. A lot of her books are a must read

Employee Spotlight – Lyn McMaster

Each fortnight we will be spotlighting a member of the team so that you can get to know the people behind the Pacem brand. This week we feature one of our financial advisory directors, Lyn McMaster. Lyn joined the firm, with over 30 years’ financial services experience, as part of our merger with Redrock Financial. As Head of Operations, she supports our team and ensures that we meet all our client’s needs.

Lyn tells us a bit more about herself below.

Employee name
Lyn McMaster

Your role at Pacem
Practice Manager

How long have you been with Pacem?
Just over 2 years, prior to this I was a Director in Redrock Financial with Alison Bell for over 17 years.

What does your day-to-day role entail?
My role is to work alongside the other Directors and the team to ensure we achieve company goals and objectives and deliver excellent client service. I am fortunate that with many years of experience in financial services I can support our clients when required as well as manage and encourage our team. Daily, I can be in conversation with a new client, interviewing applicants for a role in Pacem, working with our HR Consultant or listening to a problem.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
I hope that I am Professional, Supportive & Honest

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I love sporty cars

What do you like most about your job?
Without a doubt, the people. A high percentage of my job satisfaction comes down to the people I work with. I have been privileged in my career to have worked with some great people who have mentored, guided, and influenced me along the way.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I always wanted to be a Nurse (although I would happily deliver customers cars for Ferrari)

Favourite book(s)
How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella

Where is the best place you’ve travelled to and why?
I have two favourite places, both, have amazing beaches but quite different climates. I have wonderful memories of childhood holidays in Donegal, and we still go as a family every Easter. The other place is Anna Maria Island in Florida where I have been going for many years with my husband and children. I enjoy the slow pace of life they offer, and they are both just a great escape from routine.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Learn to play a musical instrument (I did play the piano, but I would need a few lessons!)

What interests/hobbies do you have outside of work?
My family and friends are a huge part of my spare time. I have four Grandsons (Noah, Theo, Luca & Micah) and my husband and I love spending time with them, cheering them on at their football, taking them on days out and spoiling them. My husband and I enjoy long walks in the countryside or coast appreciating the wildlife. When I am chilling out at home there is nothing, I love more than to bake on my Aga.

Employee Spotlight – Sean McCann

Each fortnight we will be spotlighting a member of the team so that you can get to know the people behind the Pacem brand. This week we feature one of our Planning analysts, Sean McCann. Sean joined the firm in 2021 from FinTrU, where he worked following university. He completed his Degree in Finance & Investment Management, achieving a First-Class Honours. Sean is undertaking Pacem’s Internship program currently and supporting our Financial Advisory team to assess and advise our clients on all their financial needs.

Sean tells us a bit more about himself below.

Employee name:
Sean McCann

Your role at Pacem:
Planning Analyst

How long have you been with Pacem?
7 months

What does your day-to-day role entail?
My day-to-day role is based around assisting in preparing reports and completing client work alongside our advisors. However, recently I have additionally been providing help with the compliance side of the business, this is an old acquaintance of mine as I previously worked in compliance.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Diligent, ambitious, and motivated.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I currently hold a golf handicap of 3, probably not a surprise to anyone in the office as its how I spend most of my evenings.

What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy the variety of the job; no two days are the same and you are continually learning and developing as a person.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
I dream of this most weekends but if I was to win it, I’d say I would probably share my wealth with my family and friends, no point in having that amount of money if you’re the only one enjoying it.

Favourite film
Nothing beats a great film; I would have to say my favourite film is Good Will Hunting.

Where is the best place you’ve travelled to and why?
New Zealand, I went out to see family and have to say the main reason I enjoyed it was it was similar to home but with better weather.