Ten minutes with Máiréad Connolly of Pinterest

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This article is sponsored by Pinterest as part of the ‘10 Minutes With…’ series.


I grew up in Co Roscommon in the west of Ireland, moving to Dublin in 2010 to complete a BA in English Literature and Film Studies in Trinity College. Afterwards, while I was working as a retail manager in Dublin, I decided I wanted to blend my interest in business and creativity to pursue a career in marketing, so I returned to university and graduated with an Advertising MA in 2016.

From late 2017 through April of 2019, I spent a year in New York, where I worked in a social media agency developing strategy for Nestlé, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Fresh Beauty. It was an amazing time in my life, but I was so excited to return to Dublin to join the Pinterest team!

Outside of work, I enjoy yoga (and trying but failing to do a headstand), cycling (bike trail recommendations welcome), and making and eating food (my sourdough recipe is nearly perfected) – I use the first two interests to mitigate the impact of the last.

How did you get started in your role at Pinterest?

I was referred to Pinterest by a friend who I had previously worked with in the US. She knew I had moved back to Ireland and it was good timing because I was contracting for my old company and needed to find something more permanent. This is a lesson in how valuable your network is, you never know who you meet today, and what they might bring to your life years later.

Why did you choose to work with Pinterest?

Pinterest was one of my favourite apps and platforms from my time in New York – I worked with reps at Pinterest in my previous role and could see that they had a strong culture and kind people. I was at a juncture in my career, and looking to work at a company with strong global ties, that could potentially lead to travel or relocation opportunities in the future. Pinterest checked all of these boxes, and I was happy to take my next step at the company.

What are you working on at present?

I work with three of the big six agencies in the UK and Ireland, supporting and activating their clients on Pinterest at scale. In normal times, this would usually mean hosting and attending big events (which is one of my favourite parts of the job, as I’m a social animal), but it’s still super fun and I’ve had a brilliant three years meeting so many interesting people across the agencies’ groups.

What is the best part of your job?

The people, from all of my colleagues to all of the people I get to meet in the UK. I’m so excited to get back to London and meet people face-to-face this year.

[For more information on Pinterest careers in Dublin, and to apply to positions, visit our careers site]

What is a defining career moment or high point?

I remember being in San Francisco for my onboarding in 2019, we were flown over from Dublin and it was such a pinch-me moment. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be on this new team in a company which I really believed in.

"I enjoy yoga, cycling, and making and eating food. I use the first two interests to mitigate the impact of the last."
Máiréad Connolly, partner manager, mid-market sales at Pinterest

Where do you see the tech industry five years from now?

I think tech/social media in its current form has had its day. People are now more wise to the detrimental impact that social media can have on mental health. Being constantly connected is not good for anyone and I think platforms need to stop capitalising on an attention economy, instead anchor in providing value to people’s lives, connecting them in real life as opposed to in a virtual world which can be filled with negative semiotics. I’m very excited to see how today’s children and teenagers shape the future of tech and social media. Pinterest prioritises this mission and is working hard to be a platform that drives offline inspiration.

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve received?

Think about what you can control and what you can’t. Dial up on what you can control and stop giving energy to what you can’t.

If you could go back in time and give yourself a piece of advice at the start of your career, what would that be? 

Be kind to yourself and grateful for all of the small achievements in your day. Sometimes if something goes wrong or sub-optimally, it’s so easy to focus on that instead of thinking of all of the amazing things you’ve achieved either that week, month or year

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about interviewing for this position?

Use Pinterest, it’s so much easier to sell a product you believe in than one you don’t care about, and if you’re a user – what we internally call a Pinner – it will shine through in the interview.

What would you say are the key skills and capabilities necessary to be good at what you do?

Empathy, communication, and compassion. You absolutely don’t need to be the loudest person in the room, but if you can tune into your clients’ needs you will go far!

Want to learn more about life at Pinterest? Visit us on PinterestLinkedIn, or Instagram


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