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Tim Borchers Irish Network NYC

Name: Tim Borchers

Professional Field: Law

Hometown: Montana

Years in NYC: 8+ Years

Tell us about your professional background and career? 
I'm from a small town in Montana, Great Falls.  My grandfather Robert O'Neill was born in Cleggan, Co. Galway, and came to Montana when he was 6.  He dropped out of school and went to work in a copper smelter in Anaconda, Montana at 12.  When he was 22 one of the managers thought he had potential, so he was sent to finish high school, then went to college and medical school.  He practiced as a small town doctor in White Sulphur Springs and Roundup, Montana from the 1930s to the 1960s, served in the Montana State Senate and was heavily involved in the Democratic Party.  Luckily he saved money to put all of his grandchildren through college!  

I attended the University of Montana and then Notre Dame Law School, before practicing maritime law and insurance coverage litigation for 17 years, finishing as a partner at a large firm but hating it most of the time.  In my early 40s I switched to sales and sales management, and have had a variety of roles selling to law firms and corporate legal teams.  After living most of my adult life in Seattle, one of those jobs moved me to Boston and then to New York, and I have been here since 2012.

My Irish roots were of interest from a young age, but I didn't really do much with them before coming to NY due to work and family demands.  I was smart enough to claim citizenship and get a passport when I was 20.  Today I'm active the Notre Dame Club of NY, Irish American Bar Association and other groups.  With the Irish Network I coordinated our recent mystery walking tour and look forward to doing it again in May.

2. Why did you join INNYC? 
I had been involved with a variety of Irish groups in NY but not INNYC.  My initial thought is that it was primarily for younger immigrants and that being a few years over the hill it may not be the best use of my time.  However, a friend suggested it and I've found there to be a broader age range and a mix of immigrant and US born.  I've kept my membership up (and just received a renewal notice) because of the people I meet and engage with are fun, passionate about Ireland, interested in living and want to engage in their community.

3. What advice would you give young professionals in your industry?
Understand that your current role isn't your forever role, and build a support network around you that isn't limited to your current company, field or industry.  We all switch jobs and having resources to lean on is crucial when you make a move.  Also, use LinkedIn.  Its free, allows you to connect with people, makes you visible to recruiters, and is a great place to build a personal brand.

4. What do you think was key to your career success in New York?
First, hard work is crucial in New York.  I see people in sales and business development coming into the office at 10 and leaving at 5, and just shake my head.  My customers, lawyers and legal professionals, are typically easiest to reach after 5 when their admins go home and they answer their own phones.  It makes for a long day, so pace yourself, go to the gym or Mass at lunch for a break, and come back refreshed.  Second, be accessible.  The biggest deal I closed at my last job happened when a lawyer called me at 6:45 pm and I was there to arrange services for the next day.   I hate it when someone's voicemail is full or not set up - its not professional and you are closing yourself to the world.  Same with email, or text messages, or LinkedIn messages or any other form  of communication -- respond even if only with an acknowledgement of receipt -- it will make for better relations down the road.




Name: John Murphy

Professional Field: Law

Hometown: Wexford

Years in NYC: 20+ Years


1. Why did you decide to form INNYC? 
In the Fall of 2006 there was a loose group of mostly young Irish professionals who were brought together by a chap in the Irish Consulate who had been posted in the Middle-East and had started a networking group over there among younger Irish expat professionals. He was very surprised there was not a similar group in the NY area. The truth was that in all my time here since the early 90s – yes, an eternity! – there were a variety of Irish groups and charities etc., but actually no dedicated group that brought together younger Irish people from all backgrounds that tended to work in professions or arts or what have you in Manhattan. The core Irish neighborhoods of Woodlawn and Woodside had natural gatherings of folks who lived in those neighborhoods and worked in areas like construction and what not.  But for those living in Manhattan or working in more ‘white-collar’ type jobs, there was nothing organized.  So with the Consulate’s help and a few willing volunteers, we got the ball rolling with a couple of social events and by Spring of 2007, we had a formal Board, a website, and our first Formal event.  Things really took off as we had some really dedicated folks and before long we had marquee speakers like former President Mary Robinson, billionaire Denis O’Brien, the late Peter Sutherland, professional athletes, musicians and so on.  There was a terrific buzz in those early couple years as we got things going.

2. What did you gain from your involvement as both an active member and board member?
Fantastic memories and some friends for life and that is pretty good! It actually really helped expand my network and raised my profile because I ended up being Chair for a couple years but more than anything, the ability to help out and be a source of support and friendship to folks who were just off the boat, so to speak, was huge in terms of a sense of satisfaction in actually helping others.  The amount of folks who rocked up to events only to find places to stay, meet others who would become their best friends during their time in the US, maybe even meet a partner – and we have had marriages over the years! – has been absolutely fantastic.  So yea, I would say the ability to give-back, to mentor, and to generally have the craic with literally hundreds of folks over my years involved with IN-NYC, it has been simply brilliant…and long may it continue!  

3. What advice would you give younger professionals in your industry?
Get out of it! Only kidding of course! The legal profession like all others is undergoing a lot of change and disruption.  The traditional model of starting out as a junior lawyer at some firm and grinding it out working long hours in an effort to try to climb the ladder to potential partner status, that model is being interrupted and does not exist in the way it used to.  Law has become much more entrepreneurial.  The positive of this is that there may be non-traditional avenues for young lawyers to pursue whether that be through the public service sector, the start-up sector, or the non-traditional law firm route.  So one piece of advice is for folks not to get discouraged if they cannot land a job at a typical law firm and to be open to exploring atypical paths. 

4.What do you think was key to your career success in New York?
A lot of luck! For real, luck and timing was definitely a part of it but also basic, but not always abundant, traits of sheer hard work, and a friendly and positive attitude in all the jobs I have had – no matter whether significant parts of the work was pure grind or no matter whether certain people or other aspects of the working environment made things challenging.  Always show up, roll up the sleeves and do so with a positive attitude and what I have found is that people will go the extra distance to help you along to that next stage of your career.  I think these basic workplace traits as well as being actively engaged in the broader community – and IN-NYC is a key example – helped me build a broad network that has proved amazing as I have made my way along in my career. 


Name: Hannah Miller

Professional Field: Music

Hometown: Wexford

Years in NYC: 14 months

1. Why did you join INNYC?

I actually joined INNYC around this time last year, on the day of their annual Christmas party. I was getting a little homesick after having spent a few months here and was craving some Irish craic and company. It was a great shout because I met some absolutely lovely people there that I'm still in touch with today, and the INNYC events are always fun to attend. It's a great community to be a part of as a new arrival to the city as there are so many people who understand the transition and have incredibly helpful advice on living in New York.

2. Tell us about your professional background and career before moving to New York?
I play the French Horn and am here in New York doing a Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School. I was previously living in Finland, working in the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra and completed my Bachelor degree at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. In 2017 I participated in a collaborative orchestral tour with the Sibelius Academy and the Juilliard Orchestra where we played concerts in Scandinavia and New York. I was invited to come audition for Juilliard during that which was really exciting, as I was anticipating living out my days in the cold and dark winters in Central Finland, so coming here was a good opportunity for some Vitamin D and a new adventure.

I studied for a couple of years in Dublin, but was at that time was one of just two French Horn performance students in third level education in the whole country, which is why I ended up heading to Finland where there is a pretty strong brass culture. After I graduate I hope to move back to Ireland and try to create and develop a stronger culture of brass music there through teaching and community engagement work so that there can be more horn players coming up the ranks in future generations, (while also performing as much as possible of course!).

3. What advice would you give young professionals in your industry?
I think it's really important to take as many auditions as possible while studying, so that you can gain both good and bad experiences from them when the pressure is low and you can really experiment with what mental training and preparation styles work best for you personally. I've already taken loads of auditions and I always learn so much from each and every one, even if they go terribly.

Also I think it is good to put yourself out there and not be too blinkered down a certain path of only orchestral performing for example. Even if that is your goal, there can be amazing opportunities out there if you embrace them. I have somehow found myself getting a huge amount of work this year playing Irish traditional music at Irish events, book launches, poetry readings and the likes. Even though the horn wouldn't be considered at all in the Irish trad world, I can do a good Irish air or a ballad!

4. What do you think was key to your career success in New York? 
As a musician, I think that New York City has brought me so much in terms of the sheer amount of cultural events that are available on every block on every night of the week. Even after just over a year of living here, I have a box full of ticket stubs from going to plays, dance performances, musicals, operas, jazz gigs and every sort of classical music concert you could wish for, not to mention all of the incredible art museums in the city. All of those have developed my education of the arts so much that they will no doubt impact my performing career for years to come.


Name: Lisa Ryan

Professional Field: Communications

Hometown: Dublin

Years in NYC: 11 months

1. Why did you join INNYC?

I joined INNYC when I first moved to NYC because I was starting from scratch and I wanted to attend the events to meet new friends and connections that might lead me to a job

2. What have you gained as an active INNYC Member?
I have made so many connections with people from the Irish community in NYC, people i'm still friends with today. Everyone was so helpful and it was such a good starting point for me in helping to build a network of my own over here. 

3. Tell us about your career to date.
I graduated from DCU with a degree in Media Studies and English and I moved here on the Graduate Visa last December. At first, I found it so difficult to secure an internship in the Media Field. Through attending some of the INNYC events, I met a lot of people that pointed me in the right direction. After a lot of networking and applying to a couple of hundred jobs in my first few weeks here, I secured a position with Articulate Productions, a communications agency located in the flatiron district of Manhattan. The agency looks after mainly alcohol clients like Bushmills Irish Whiskey and G.H Mumm Champagne. I was taken on to be part of the Irish Whiskey team -  very on brand indeed. 

The founder of Articulate Productions, Moira Breslin started a side business called Articulate Ventures to do consumer facing events. I joined that team to run the social media for New York Flower Week this past June to mark the launch of LEAF - a festival of flowers coming to New York in June 2020. The project was hugely successful and very fun to be a part of. 

The newest Articulate venture was the first-ever New York Irish Whiskey Festival in partnership with Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of the Dead Rabbit. This past weekend, over 25 brands of Irish whiskey from the big guys like Bushmills and Tullamore Dew to the smaller guys like Roe & Co descended on Pier A and NYC folks flocked to taste some Irish whiskey and have the craic. I was part of the organizing team and managed the social media. This project in particular was really close to my heart because it made me feel like I was able to bring a little taste of Ireland to New York. It was a roaring success and I am excited to see what the future holds for the Irish Whiskey Festival! 

I have learned an incredible amount in just a few months at Articulate and I am so honored to be part of such an amazing team. 

4. What advice would you give to young professionals in your industry? 
The best advice I can give to young professionals in the communications industry is to not give up and to try and have the most positive attitude you can. New York will give you the opportunities if you are willing to take them and work hard.

5. What do you think was key to your professional success in New York?
I think the key for me is having a positive attitude and the fact that I never gave up and didn't say no to anything. Luck definitely had a big part to play too.

6. How long have you been based in New York? 
I have been in New York for just over 10 months 

7. Did you come over on the J1 Graduate Visa program?
I did and I would strongly recommend that if you are thinking about it at all to just take the plunge and do it! Moving here was the best thing I have ever done both personally and professionally.

8. Tell us about your favorite INNYC event to date
My favorite was honestly the very first networking event I went to in 519 Broome Street back in January I met so many people that I am still talking to and actually working with on different projects today. 

9. Why did you choose to move to New York from Ireland? (e.g. the opportunity of a graduate visa/internship etc.) 
I have always dreamed of moving to New York so when the opportunity arose to do a graduate visa - I jumped at it and haven't looked back. 



Name: Leah McDonald

Professional Field: Media      

Hometown: Dublin

Years in NYC: 1 1/2 Years

Why did you join INNYC?

Making contacts and connecting with like-minded individuals is challenging when moving to New York, so the INNYC provides the perfect forum to do that. The Network provides the opportunity to explore potential career opportunities, while at the same time having fun at events with people of all ages and backgrounds.

Tell us about your professional background and career trajectory before moving to New York?

I worked for several years as a journalist and news reporter for national newspapers in Ireland including The Irish Times and The Irish Daily Mail. I moved to New York on the J-1 graduate visa program after completing a Master's degree in politics and law at University College Dublin. I had always wanted to live here and jumped at the chance when the opportunity presented itself with my employer, The American work ethic is completely different to that of an organization based in Europe so that experience is invaluable to have. I am currently working in digital media as a Senior Reporter with 

What advice would you give young professionals in your industry?
Be willing to talk to people, go to events which could be beneficial and don’t be afraid to ask for help from peers or those based here for a longer time. The key to success in New York is hard work and it is vital to show enthusiasm and a willingness to develop new skills without being daunted at the prospect. Networking is very important here to get your name out there and is central to career growth in the long-term. Keeping abreast of political developments and having a good knowledge of public figures in the U.S. is essential for journalists and media professionals here, particularly in the run up the 2020 Presidential Election. 

What did you gain from your involvement as a member of INNYC? 
Any expat will know the challenges and loneliness of being away from family and friends, so the INNYC provides a ready-made network of people with a collective sense of identity and love for Ireland. Signing up to the INNYC is a no-brainer as the annual membership rate is $85 and only $50 for J-1 Graduate Visa holders, like myself. INNYC gives you the opportunity to connect with some fantastic people who can offer guidance and mentorship. The social and cultural events which are held frequently throughout the year are guaranteed to be fun and offer the chance to speak to people you may not otherwise have encountered in NYC.



Caoimhe Greene

Professional Field: Hospitality/Sales       

Hometown: Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare

Years in NYC: 5 1/2 Years

Why did you join INNYC?

I joined INNYC to meet new people, to learn more about people’s backgrounds, career journeys and most importantly to have fun with like-minded people!

What advice would you give younger professionals in your industry? 

To work hard and be positive. I’m a huge believer in positive visualization and that no goal is too big…especially in New York! Establishing and fostering solid relationships with clients is key and to always try go the extra mile, you want to be the first person a client thinks of calling in the Sales industry. You must be resilient and be prepared to power through the tough days as well as skip through the good ones.

Say yes to every opportunity, network as much as possible, listen to mentors and be hungry to learn and move forward. 

What do you think was key to your success in New York?
Hard work, positive attitude and a bit of luck! ;)



Daniel McLean

Professional Field: Construction       

Hometown: Co. Carlow

Years in NYC: 8 Years

Why did you join INNYC?

I had just moved to New York and I was on the hunt for a job and I could count the list of people I knew in the city on one hand. It was quite overwhelming at the time and when a friend of a friend who was an IN-NYC board member invited me to my first IN-NYC event it proved to be time well spent and I have been involved ever since. IN-NYC proved to be a great landing spot in my early days in New York, it allowed me to meet other people in the same position as myself who were new to the city and it was also a great location to meet people who had been in my shoes a few weeks, months or years previously. Everyone was really helpful and open and the advice I received in those early days still applies today and it definitely set me on the right course. 


What did you gain from your involvement as both an active member and board member?

In my early days as a active member I rapidly expanded my contacts in the city and made some great friends, many of whom are still in NYC today and are also still IN-NYC members. Also through both direct and indirect connections made through the network I met some people who helped me find my first job, I received an introduction to a great immigration attorney and gained many other tips and tricks to survive NYC not least of which was advice on where to find a good pint of Guinness and the Best Full Irish Breakfasts NYC has to offer. (Having been here 8 years and counting I'll be happy to give my recommendations to anyone who is interested).

As a board member I was delighted to have the opportunity to give back to the IN-NYC community, through growing the network, arranging social and professional events and representing the network at collaborative events with other like minded groups. I most enjoyed meeting any new arrivals to New York especially when an introduction to a contact led to a job opportunity or career growth.


What advice would you give younger professionals in your industry? 

I would encourage younger professionals to have a 1 year, 2 year and 5 year plan and vocalize that to your employer and ensure that your visions are aligned. The construction industry is booming in New York right now and its definitely an employees market however loyalty is one of the most important qualities that employers are looking for in candidates. When looking for your first job in the city or considering a move I would say always look at the long term compatibility between you and a potential employer and don't jump at the first opportunity that presents itself. 


What do you think was key to your career success in New York?

I think the key to success in New York is hard work but on top of that I have definitely benefited from advice and mentor-ship from others so I would say always be open to advice and guidance. Building a strong network in your industry and having a well balanced contact list in your industry is also key, I didn't even know what networking was when I first arrived in New York but quickly learned its central to long term success and career growth. Finally being Irish in the construction industry never hurts so embrace your "Irishness" as its definitely an asset.





Name: Gavin Manley

Professional Field: Branding & Advertising

Hometown: Cabinteely, Co. Dublin

Years in NYC: 15 Years

Why did you join INNYC?

I'd been in New York City a few years and I had a nice group of friends but none of them were Irish. The network offered the promise of being able to reconnect with some of that "Irish-ness" that I had drifted away from and probably missed on some level - the unique sense of humor, the banter, the shared collective history and so on.

What did you gain from your involvement as both an active member and board member?

Beyond the fact that at $85 for an annual membership it's the best value in town, the Network is a wonderful gateway to all sorts of other networks in NYC as well. You join the IN NYC and through that, you meet people that are part of the IBO, the IIBN, Digital Irish, even Concern. Many of the same people are members of a few different groups so you've plenty of opportunities to run into people you've met before at different events.

As a board member there was great satisfaction in seeing the events that you planned come to fruition and watching as members connect with one another - not only on a personal level but professionally as well. I am also very proud that my branding agency, CoolGraySeven was behind the redesign of the Irish Network's new logo and tagline "Together From Afar".


What advice would you give younger professionals in your industry? 

Experience is obviously important but having the right attitude is critical when positioning yourself for success in NYC. Employers actively seek out people that will enhance the culture of their organization so focus on projecting a confident, positive attitude in interview situations and the rest will follow.

In the marketing industry today there is a huge emphasis on data when it comes to decision-making and although data is an important piece, young marketers should not lose sight of the fact that great ideas and instinct often go hand in hand.


What do you think was key to your career success in New York?

Determination, hard work and quite a bit of luck!