In Conversation with Cathriona Fitzsimons PM Group

Members News - Leadership - Oct 30, 2018

This month we are delighted to give readers the opportunity to get to know Cathriona Fitzsimons the Corporate Responsibility Co-ordinator for PM Group.PM Group is an international provider of professional services in engineering, architecture and project management.

Thanks Cathriona for providing us with an insight into your sustainability journey.

Please describe your role & responsibilities and how many years you have been in the company

I am Group Corporate Responsibility Co-ordinator for PM Group. My responsibilities include working with the CR champions in all 17 PM Group offices around the world as well as with the Heads of Environment, Health & Safety and HR.  We work together to deliver CR initiatives that will improve the lives of our people, the communities in which we operate and the Environment.

I joined PM Group 17 years ago as Operations Support Manager for PM Group’s Dublin office and was appointed Group CR co-ordinator two years ago.

What was your background previously? How did you enter the CSR field?

My degree thesis was on Corporate Responsibility, so I guess it’s always been in my DNA. I previously worked with the Virgin Group in the UK in operations and project management roles so I learned early on about change and evolution and the need to be open to new ideas.  Corporate Responsibility is constantly changing with lots of new terminology and areas of focus but at its core it’s about conducting your business in the most ethical, responsible way possible and being the best “corporate citizen” you can be. PM Group has always been an extremely professional and responsible business since its inception over 45 years ago so when the opportunity arose to get involved in CR on a formal basis I jumped at the chance!

How has the sustainability / CSR programme evolved at your company?

When I took on the role two years ago CSR was associated primarily with our Community programme. Since then we have broadened our approach, taking a more holistic view which also encompasses Environment, Governance, Workplace, Marketplace and Health & Safety.  We have transitioned to focus on ‘CR’ which better reflects the many aspects of Corporate Responsibility.  As a global company we now must take a global view on CR trends while at the same time allowing the local offices autonomy.

What are the challenges you encounter in driving the sustainability agenda and how do you stay inspired?

With 17 offices across the group, it can be a challenge to ensure that each business unit develops a CR programme that works for them but we believe in each office taking ownership of their own programme, no matter how small, and that is working well for us. Communicating through the noise of everyone’s “day job” and the information overload that people already experience is also a challenge.

What is your biggest accomplishment or learning so far?

I feel very honoured to be part of the CR agenda in PM Group – to have played even a tiny part in making some improvement either internally or for a community group is a good feeling.  Achieving The Mark was a great achievement for the whole team.  It was a tough process but it gave us a much better understanding of CR as it relates to our business as a whole.

What are the business benefits of having achieved the Business Working Responsibly mark?

To achieve The Mark different aspects of the business came together and we saw CR holistically for the first time. We have retained this structure, and we organise CR around it today.

The Mark and BITC have connected us with other like-minded organisations and collectively we try to do more than the “sum of our parts”. By working together on initiatives like Worker of the Future and the Carbon Pledge we can hopefully contribute to even greater change than we could individually achieve.

What is your motto in life?

That’s so hard! I guess I really believe that “life isn’t a dress rehearsal” and you get out of it what you put in and you have to make the most of every day and every opportunity.

What would a perfect day entail for you?

A great work day would involve: a quick run before work, getting through even some of my “to do” list, getting an update on a Community project from one of our offices, dinner with the whole family, hearing about their days, and maybe a walk/chat/ game of cards with friends in the evening.

A perfect (but rare) non-work day would involve Tipperary beating Kilkenny in the hurling!

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