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Metis Ireland Clonmel Launched

by | Apr 27, 2017 | AHEAD OF THE CURVE |

Keynote speakers (l-r) Ian Cooke, Joe Schmidt, Carl Widger and Gary Connolly


Inside I’m Dancing….

As the father of two teenage daughters, the tune “and we danced all night to the best song ever” plays and is sung regularly in my home, car and elsewhere. It’s stuck in my head and I can’t get it out.

While we didn’t dance all night, the event on April 20th to launch Metis Ireland in Clonmel was certainly the best day ever in my career. Please forgive me for using any excuse, including this forum, to relive the day!

Having made the move from a large PLC to join an elite team with specialist expertise and a true client focus, I was really looking forward to introducing the business to Clonmel. And was a little nervous too. Well, maybe more than a little at times.

I needn’t have been -a call from one of the attendees who travelled from Dublin and who owns and runs a great business in London rang me on Friday with the following message.

“Thank you for a great day. It was polished and professional, yet relaxed and friendly. I go to a lot of events in Ireland and the U.K. and it was on a par with the very best events in Central London”.

What (unsolicited) feedback to get!

Nothing on the day was left to chance and that’s why it was polished and professional. For this I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a number of people. People like Laura Jones in the Clonmel Park Hotel who thought of absolutely everything and continually came up with great suggestions as well as delivering on everything we requested.

People like Katie Long who probably regretted offering to assist but who ran things so well on the day. Katie also sat through some very unpolished presentations as I tried to follow the advice of Oscar Wilde when working out how to explain the Metis Ireland difference – Honest Experienced Financial Planning.

It was Oscar Wilde who said “sorry for writing such a long letter, I haven’t time to write a short one”. There were a few others who suffered the long version – Brian Cleary and J.J. Killian who both said “you’re using way too many words” after I thought I had it summarised perfectly.

My daughters also used the word “friendly” when describing the day. On stage and during the whole day, I could feel that warmth and friendliness.

The reason? The people present of course. In the lead-up I was blown away with the offers of help – often from people I barely knew. I accepted these offers many times – maybe to their disappointment! It was truly the “kindness of strangers” in some cases. In many cases, it was a willingness to help someone who is trying something positive. That sense of support was palpable on the day too.

When I first asked John Kelly about the Clonmel RFC Male Voice Choir, we did not want these gentlemen or my club mates to feel under any obligation or to induce performance anxiety. So, we did not tell them about Joe Schmidt or that the event was linked to me, a choir member.  All they knew was that were being asked to sing 2 songs after a “corporate lunch”. They also did not know they were going to get fed. In that spirit of generosity, they agreed. And none left when they heard it was for me!

When my colleague Carl Widger first mentioned the Choir as a possibility, I thought he was mad. The feedback was great and it is just as well I didn’t ask the choir to perform with a view to clearing the hall. There may even have been a third song if not for Joe Schmidt’s only special request of the day – to take a photo with the Choir.

What can I say about Joe Schmidt?

We had Joe there as our theme was around the area of planning and he is world-class in that field. Joe chose to focus on the word “Honest” in our tag-line. And he clearly lives that. We are so grateful to Joe and suggest he should add the word “generous” to his tag line!

Honesty and accountability are close bedfellows. Social and public accountability can impose a discipline around doing what it is you said you would do. So, here is what I am going to do as a result of Thursday:

  • Write a letter of thanks to Joe Schmidt.
  • Write a letter of thanks to the Clonmel Park Hotel.
  • Persuade Metis Ireland to sponsor something for Clonmel RFC as a thank you to the Choir (this is already done and was very easy!).
  • Attend the next meeting of Clonmel RFC Committee (rather than send apologies as I’m organising a launch event).
  • Buy my colleague, Daniel Nagle, lunch for his birthday – which was last Thursday, 20 April.
  • Personally contact everyone who was kind enough to return a form.
  • Respond individually to all those who phoned or emailed me with a “thanks” or some kind words by Bank Holiday Monday (next Monday).
  • Put together a document with all the feedback to remind me of the “best day ever”.
  • RSVP – in time – to everything I am invited to; and if I say I’ll attend I will – no matter what!


Is there anything I would have changed?

Very, very little. There are some people who couldn’t make it that I would have liked to have had there including my father and sister. And John Kelly who did not witness the fruits of his labours with the Choir. Happy birthday Sue Kelly – see he does love you more than he loves the Club!

On a more serious note, the table plan was challenging and thanks to the guests who dealt with the odd minor last minute adjustment. On the upside, it has made me a better person when it comes to RSVPs!


Ian Cooke


Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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