Trinity Business Alumni (TBA) is the global association of graduates of Trinity from all disciplines, who work in business.
The TBA is for alumni to connect with each other and with College and to contribute to the development of Trinity College, and a forum for on-going learning.
We have been delighted to receive the opportunity to speak below to Wendy Hederman, recently elected President of the TBA network and a commercial law partner in Mason Hayes & Curran
Hi Wendy, and thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us today. To start with, can you tell us a little bit about your own background?
I am a graduate of the law faculty in Trinity, where I spent four very enjoyable years completing a Bachelor of Law. I then did a Masters in European Law in ULB in Brussels, before starting a career as a solicitor with Mason Hayes & Curran, and specialising in commercial and technology law.
What particularly stands out for you about your time in Trinity?
The quality of the teaching and the lecturers has to be the stand out feature of a Trinity law degree. We probably didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, but our lecturers included two future presidents of Ireland (Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese), a future Minister for Finance and Tánaiste (Brian Lenihan), Government Ministers (including Kadar Asmal) and Supreme Court Judges.
The magnificent campus at Trinity, with all sports, societies and academic facilities in one place gives such a full-on university experience. There is the huge sense of tradition you get in Trinity with its great history, but also such a vibrant atmosphere that is so connected to the city.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement and challenge in your career thus far?
My career since Trinity has been varied. I’ve worked in Brussels, in central Europe, spent fascinating years in-house in the communications sector, I headed the legal department of Guinness Ireland for a few years and set up my own law firm. In those roles, and in Mason Hayes & Curran, I have managed to combine legal and business expertise, working every day with dynamic and innovative businesses – particularly Irish and multinational tech companies. And along the way I tried my hand at politics, and elected to Dublin City Council in 2004.
A challenge is to stay constantly at the forefront of legal expertise – whether it is cloud computing, internet of things, data analytics, new data protection regulations or Brexit – we need to be able to advise businesses on what is coming down the tracks, and adapt existing legal principles for new and emerging scenarios.
What are your central ambitions for the year ahead as the new President of TBA?
The TBA is a fantastic network of and for alumni of Trinity, from all faculties and degrees across the College. In my two year stint as TBA President, I want to ensure the TBA and its events are relevant for alumni, particularly more recent graduates, and for female graduates. The TBA organises many networking and continuing education events during the year, many free to attend, that help alumni connect with each other, and with the College. We will be aiming to provide events that reflect current business challenges, to tap into the dynamic body of Trinity alumni, and support the College in its initiatives.
Are there any events you are especially looking forward to as President of the TBA?
The mentoring breakfast sessions in conjunction with Foresight have been really lively – a bit of speed dating with mentors over croissants! The next one is on the 12th of October 2017. I would encourage any graduates to get involved, as graduates say they have got as much from the mentoring sessions as the undergraduates. The Business Student of the Year awards always unearth incredible talent within the student body – I was blown away by the entrants in last year’s competition, jointly sponsored by the TBA and Bank of Ireland. I am sure 2017 will reveal similarly outstanding students.
The TBA is looking forward to continuing its support of the Trinity Global Business Forum, already developed into a significant event in the annual calendar since its inauguration in 2016.
And the TBA dinners in the Dining Hall or 1592 are a great opportunity to catch up with old friends & business colleagues from Trinity, to hear from inspirational business leaders, and to soak up the atmosphere in the fabulous Dining Hall.
What advice would you give students entering the world of business today?
Don’t underestimate the power of networks – and that means giving to your contacts as well as taking. Be flexible and keep learning as you go – no matter what career you start out with, you will probably be in a very different role or place in 10 years’ time. So don’t agonise too much over where you start, just get stuck in to doing something that you enjoy, keep developing your skills and talents, be flexible, and keep an eye out for opportunities along the way.
What message would you like to give female Trinity students?
I have a number of messages which I feel are especially essential to female students. Don’t hold yourself back. Believe in what you can achieve. Look for mentors and supporters. Actively support other women.
And finally, what are your strongest memories from Trinity?
Mostly social and sporting! I won’t forget playing in a women’s rugby match against a Spanish team in College Park. Or having pints outside the Pav on a summers evening watching the cricket and hanging out in friends’ rooms (I never had rooms myself as I lived too near College). And cramming for end of year exams as the noise of building the Trinity Ball stages filtered into the library, which was unforgettable too!