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Managing Director of Conker Orla Veale Discusses Her Journey From Griffith College and Beyond

Managing Director of Conker, Orla Veale
3 min

MD of Conker Orla Veale identifies as a proud graduate of the Masters in International Business, having completed her postgraduate degree in 2015 

Orla Veale was one of four speakers to attend the first Griffith College Alumni Networking Breakfast that took place at the Hilton Hotel for in December.

Orla kick-started her talk with an introduction to her own career path and journey. The theme of her talk was, “from traditional to entrepreneur”, however Veale challenged this, questioning whether there is such a thing as a “traditional” career nowadays.  

“The Way I’ve Come to Where I am Today”

Flashing back to her youth, Veale confesses she wasn’t one for state examinations or studies. Instead, she found herself building relationships and engaging with people.


“Thing is, I made lots of great contacts, I realised I was good at relationship building and focusing on my strengths. I didn’t realise they were strengths until a few years later when I got over the trauma of not studying properly.”


“A Learning Experience”

Once Veale had finished second-level, she decided to take up employment in a bank, where she learned valuable lessons she could implement into everyday life. However, Veale said it “never felt like it was the right place for me, or the right fit.”

From there, Veale ended up working in insurance, more specifically in employee wellness. “It took me a long time but I finally found what my passion was for”.

“Returning Home”

After a stint in Australia working for international healthcare group BUPA Veale returned to Ireland and enrolled in Griffith's MBA in International Business programme in 2015. During her studies, Veale confesses she was “that annoying mature student, I was in the front row every day, asking all the questions, chatting to the lecturers, I fit every stereotype.”

Returning to do her Master’s, Veale believes that the life experience was of huge benefit to her. In the midst of her dissertation, Veale was able to focus on her points of interest, which included employee wellness and business technology. “You’re being constantly graded and assessed the whole time, which gives you an understanding of yourself.”

“Learn for the Rest of Your Life”

Veale acknowledges the relief that she felt upon completion of the MA, but a sudden realisation dawned on her that she would be learning for the rest of her life.


“That’s the way the world is. It’s changing so quickly; the only way for us to keep up is to keep learning and embracing these opportunities. “


“Even if you’re not in formal structured learning, it’s the way of the world now. There are going to be more courses and more exams in your future.”

“The Connection Between Mental Health and Entrepreneurship”

Over the years, Veale decided she needed to create something of her own, build it and have a sense of ownership. Conker is a business and development consultancy firm which covers a lot of digital marketing for companies as well.


“We work with organisations such as Great Place to Work, who are trying to look after their employees, deliver corporate wellness and deliver a better day at work.”


“Lifelong Learning”

On a final note, Veale recognised what exactly she believed to be the key lessons she picked up over her time in Griffith and in the workplace:

  • Never stop learning
  • Access to learning is essential
  • Look after your health and wellness
  • Surround yourself with the right people

Veale asked the audience, “if you don’t have your health and wellness, what do you have?”