In Conversation with Catherine Duffy, General Manager of Northern Trust in Limerick


In this month of our In Conversation with series we are delighted to talk to Catherine Duffy, General Manager of Northern Trust in Limerick

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

I am the General Manager of Northern Trust in Limerick. On a day to day basis, I am responsible for the strategic development and operations of our Limerick office.  No two days are the same in this role – each day brings exciting opportunities and challenges.  I am supported by an excellent team of managers who help me create a diverse workforce and expanding business.  I have been working with Northern Trust since 2000 and I have witnessed its evolving operations in Ireland with great pride.  I am also very involved with the wider business community and participate in several local committees.  I am currently the President of the Limerick Chamber of Commerce working with a great active board comprising of people from the city of Limerick, Corporates from the region and the SME community in Limerick.

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

Previous to working in Northern Trust I was employed in Ulster Bank Investment Managers.  From day one in my career I was interested in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) so I am delighted that, as General Manager, I now play a pivotal role in implementing CSR policies.  As a global company, Northern Trust recognises that the demographics of our clients and prospects are shifting.  With the addition of Global Diversity & Inclusion to the CSR organisation, we have positioned Chief Diversity Officers in EMEA, North America and APAC.  This structure allows Northern Trust to strengthen our focus on best-in-class initiatives and engagement.

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

At Northern Trust, in all of our offices globally we have aligned our CSR efforts with our guiding principles of service, expertise and integrity.  We are dedicated to meeting the evolving needs of our clients, shareholders and other key stakeholders through innovative and ethical business practices.  Being a socially responsible company directly contributes to our financial success and creates value for our global stakeholders.  Within the Limerick office, I actively encourage all staff to partake in our community ‘Volunteer Programme’.  Each staff member can participate in two days paid volunteer work per year.  We have engaged with fantastic projects and charities in Limerick city and environs.  By creating and promoting programmes like this, we are dedicated to serving as a responsible corporate citizen through support for the diverse communities and environments in which we live and work.

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

I have to say my colleagues working full time on CSR inspire me daily.  They think outside the box and do not accept the norm, this I greatly admire.  Environmental sustainability is a very complex topic for any sector.  One way that Northern Trust responded to our stakeholders was to begin replying to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in 2006 as our environmental management systems were still evolving.  Our key stakeholders, who themselves participate in CDP or have an interest in assessing a firm’s environmental sustainability practices, engage in dialogue with our CSR professionals, providing an important touch point for Northern Trust.

  • What is your biggest accomplishment or learning so far?

I have been very fortunate in my career to date and given many different opportunities.  I believe no matter what level you are at in your company having a mentor is good advice, someone independent you can depend upon to point you in the right direction.  As for my biggest accomplishment, I am so proud of our staff, office and community in Limerick.  Northern Trust now have 820 staff in Limerick and growing – WOW !!

  • What is your motto in life?

I have two personal mottos in life:

Try to live in others shoes before you make a decision.

If an opportunity arises when possible take up on it.

  • What would a perfect day entail for you?

A 99 ice-cream!!

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