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Employee Spotlights

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.

Employee Spotlight – Rachael Mason

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 Paraplanners, Rachael Mason. Rachael joined the firm as a placement student in 2017 while completing her Degree in Business Studies, achieving a First-Class Honours. Now a full-time Planning Analyst, she is completing her Level 4 Diploma and supporting our Financial Advisory team to assess and advise our clients on all their financial needs.

Rachael tells us a bit more about herself below.

Employee name:
Rachael Mason

Your role at Pacem
Trainee Paraplanner

How long have you been with Pacem?
4 years in January 2022

What does your day-to-day role entail?
I train and mentor our analysts and interns, helping them to write reports and complete client work. I lead on some of our software system initiatives, including a back office system to hold all client data, which ensures client details are kept up to date and accurate. I assist team members with technical queries for clients, liaise with clients about meetings and attend some client meetings to take notes and help our advisors in any way I can.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Bubbly, determined and meticulous

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
 I like to do things in twos; I got married twice in one year (well kind of…)! My husband and I had a small wedding in September 2020 and had our big wedding celebration in September 2021, due to COVID-19. I also have a twin brother (he’s just 10 minutes older than me!)

What do you like most about your job?
Everyday is different which makes it extremely interesting. I have been given the opportunity to mentor some of our analysts and interns and this has been very rewarding as I get to see how they are progressing first-hand and share some of my own experience. My role is so varied that I am constantly learning on the job and gaining experience in a range of different areas. We are a great team at Pacem and get on very well, which makes it good fun.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this? 
I’ve always loved baking; growing up I helped my mum to bake all the time (this mainly consisted of licking the spoon!). I would love to be a professional baker and go on the Great British Bake Off.

Favourite food:
I love seafood.

What is something you learned in the last week?
We got a puppy last week and so I am learning that the night time whining, constant chewing and difficulty toilet training are all worth it for the cuddles! (I think!)

What interests/hobbies do you have outside of work?
We always did jigsaws growing up and I have rediscovered how much I enjoy these over the past few years. I am a very active person; I play hockey every week for Holywood Ladies and over lockdown I picked up cycling, which has been great fun getting to discover new routes and places.

Employee Spotlight – Lesley Irwin

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 accounting & tax directors, Lesley Irwin. Lesley, based in our North Coast office, ran her own practice for over 15 years and has recently merged her firm, Irwin-McAfee Chartered Accountants, with Pacem. Lesley is a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Tax Advisor and plays a key role in servicing our accountancy clients.

Lesley tells us a bit more about herself below.

Your name:
Lesley Irwin

Your role at Pacem:
Director of Accounting and Tax – based in the North Coast office.

How long have you been with Pacem?
I’ve been part of Team Pacem for almost 5 months. I ran my own practice for over 15 years when a chance phone call with Elizabeth Crossan lead to a merger with Pacem.

What does your day-to-day role entail?
I oversee the provision of a wide range of compliance and advisory services for my clients including annual financial accounts, personal tax returns, payroll, VAT returns and corporation tax.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Determined, organised, control-freak.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I have a full-on obsession with Formula 1 and have done since I was ten years old. Twenty-two weekends a year are filled with watching fast cars racing all over the world. I do not maintain an allegiance to any team but avidly follow a couple of drivers each year based purely on who seems the most fun, their social media posts and the livery of their cars. At the minute it’s all about McLaren.

What do you like most about your job?
I deal directly with the owners and decision-makers within the business. As an accountant I get to see the internal workings of all types of businesses and all sizes of businesses. There is a wide diversity of clients – from farmers to personal trainers, engineers to close-protection officers and opticians to mechanics. It is absolutely fascinating to see how clients in the same businesses with the same circumstances make completely different decisions, have different goals and different levels of tolerance to their tax bills. Over the last 15 years I’ve been able to see some businesses move on to the next generation when directors or partners retire, and new partners join. Other clients have started their businesses around the kitchen table or spare bedroom and quickly grown to be a success. I get to help and advise clients through pivotal moments for their businesses such as the property boom, recession, Brexit, HMRC digitalisation and now Covid-19. I really enjoy the fact that no two clients have the same approach or outcome. Every workday really is different.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Part of me thinks the first thing I would do is speak to Daniel and invest the winnings through Pacem wealth – planning for long-term security and growth while providing a solid income. The more realistic part of me thinks I would book some time off work to interview for a personal assistant, chef, chauffeur and glam squad. Then we need to consider the more practical things like mansion on the beach or apartment in a Mediterranean city? Yacht or plane ? Aston Martin or McLaren ?

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I am doing my dream job at the minute 😊. However, if it doesn’t work out, I’d like to either drive a supercar for a living or become a pilot [preferably of a fighter jet].

Favourite song
Everything by Avicii or Coldplay or Kygo !

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I would love to be able to speak another language fluently.  This has been on my list for years but with little progress.

What is something you learned in the last week?
I have less patience than I thought.

What interests/hobbies do you have outside of work
Covid-19 highlighted that my daily life had become not all that different from lockdown as a busy home life and work life had left little time for other things.  I enjoy reading a good book, swimming or a walk with the dog.  I really look forward to our Summer family holiday each year – it’s great to get all four of us away from the routine and emails to enjoy each other’s company and try out new places, new food and new activities.

Employee Spotlight – Gemma McShane

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 Operations Manger, Gemma McShane, who has been a core member of the team since 2015. Gemma joined the team as a placement student, before completing her degree in Finance & Investment Analysis achieving a First-Class Honours. Gemma completed her Level 4 Diploma in Financial Planning in 2018 and is now responsible for the smooth daily operations of Pacem.

Gemma tells us a bit more about herself below.

Your Name:
Gemma McShane

Your Role:
Operations Manager

How long have you been with Pacem?
6 Years in April past

What does your day-to-day role entail?
My role entails helping with the smooth daily operations of the business; preparing and presenting team meetings, supporting the team with any queries they may have on processes or procedures, attending interviews, helping with induction & training plans for new team members, preparing for management meetings and overseeing ongoing projects. Every day is different – which is why I enjoy my role so much.  

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Organised, diligent & a control-freak! (I sound delightful!)

Tell us something that might surprise us about you…
I’m due my first baby in October – counting down the weeks now!

What do you like most about your job?
The team and the culture within Pacem – every team member is very approachable, which makes working with them very easy!

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Give half of it to charity & split the rest between our immediate families… after we build our dream home of course!

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I would love to be an Interior Designer – I would need to scrub up on my skills first!

Favourite food
Italian… pizza/pasta

What interests/hobbies do you have outside of work
Having overnight stays at the Galgorm (too often some might say) & attending weddings of family & friends. I also enjoy minding our two-year old nephew – he likes to keep us busy and helps us focus on the more important things in life.