When people think of Intel in Ireland, often what comes to mind is the scale of our operations and the complexity of our technology. What they perhaps do not think about, is the people who make all of this possible and the diversity of their stories.
With a population of employee’s equivalent to the town of Roscommon, Intel Ireland is home to a vibrant, diverse and dynamic collection of people.
Intel is a place that is full of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends and neighbours and over the next number of weeks, as we celebrate 30 years of Intel Ireland, we will be sharing their stories – meet the people of Intel.
Lynda Connolly, 39
During secondary school, I told my career adviser about my love for maths and physics and asked if there were any courses that might match my interest. I was told that as a woman, my best option was a career in teaching so that I could have lots of time off to rear children. It really shocked me, being told at the age of 16 that my choices were limited just because I was female! Luckily I came from a home where my mum believed in equality and also role modelled to me and my sisters that we should strive for whatever we wanted. So I began my own research and pursued engineering where I was the only woman in my class, and have since always studied and worked in male dominated environments, but it hasn’t bothered me because I enjoyed it so much.
As my career has developed I’ve moved on from engineering to an operations manager role. Today in Intel, I mentor a group of women so that they can navigate their career successfully because I know it’s not always easy. I was raised to follow my passions, and never get sidelined into a particular career path based on your gender or who you are. My mum, who broke boundaries long before it was more common, always insisted us three girls be independent and to get a good education to support ourselves, so now I pass that on to my children, even though they are boys aged six and eight, because it’s still really important for them to be advocates for equality, along with the environment. I want them to know that anything they can do, a woman can do and roles are interchangeable at work and at home. My mum was one of four girls who took over her dad’s farm which wasn’t really done back then. Thankfully Ireland has progressed a lot from women having to give up their jobs in the civil service but in reality it can still seem hard. I meet up regularly with my girl friends from school and as we’re approaching 40, mostly married with kids, we all still feel we struggle to find that work / life balance.
My other role model is Mary Robinson, especially her drive for a better environment. At home we’ve been cutting back on plastic, and things like weedkiller. It feels so small scale sometimes but I’m super optimistic that when we focus on the little wins, they all add up. This younger generation really get it. My two boys would freak out if they saw rubbish on the road and I’m trying to educate them on protecting animals too. We plant flowers that attract bees, helping them to understand why we buy local honey, and grow our own strawberries. We moved house from Lucan to a rural area about four years ago and as we walk together, I point out plants and give them awareness about the importance of their natural environment.
My mum has a garden she opens to the public and dad loves fishing and runs an angling centre in land locked Laois! Both my parents are working to their passions and their strengths and I want to follow their lead. Moving to a more rural area means that while we have a busy life, we can enjoy the space around us, and switch off. I hope I teach my sons to always do their best and never give up, because that has helped me in life.
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