'Compliance is integral to anyone operating in our space'

Helen Collins, compliance officer and the secretary to the board, tells Silicon Republic why regulatory requirements are a key focus for NDRC.

What are the biggest challenges facing your sector and how are you tackling them?

Taking my sector as compliance, there are always new regulatory requirements coming down the tracks. In 2018, for example, GDPR was, and continues to be, a huge challenge for organisations. All now need to be sure we know what data we have, in what form we have it, why we have it and how long we are going to keep it.

As recipients of State money, we need to ensure value for money and transparency in what we do. We also have to comply with legislation such as protected disclosures, and health and safety, which apply to everybody. Like all other organisations, we have to have written policies in place, and I work closely with the team so they understand their own roles to uphold these policies.

What are the key sector opportunities you’re capitalising on?

We regard being compliant as being a competitive advantage for us in our space. NDRC has a commercial mandate from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to make investments into early-stage digital start-ups, ensuring Ireland has a vibrant and growing culture of digital entrepreneurship. Compliance, for us, shows how seriously we take the management of such funds. It’s integral to anyone operating in our space, and we operate accordingly.

What set you on the road to where you are now?

I loved being a lawyer in private practice but, after many years, I took early retirement and have been lucky enough to find interesting and challenging roles that are quasi-legal. Apart from the law element, I have always enjoyed being part of a professional and ambitious team.

What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?

I did not travel very much when I was young. I’ve travelled a reasonable amount for holidays but I didn’t live abroad for any length of time, apart from one summer in London when I was a student. I see my daughters doing it now, working and living abroad, and gaining so much from the experience.

Who is your role model and why?

I always thought Mary Robinson was very impressive and very focused. She was very much at the forefront of women at the Bar and committed fully to everything she did then and later.

This is an abridged version of an article which originally appeared on Silicon Republic.