“If its something you really want to do – then just do it”
Veronica O Kelly has been at the forefront of The Waverley Academy for over seventeen years. She started out as a part-time administrator and is now a director. She finds herself at the head of a business that has had 22 family members helping out. It’s been a roller coaster journey and she tells us how it happened?
“I was working in a factory back in 1997 and wasn’t vey happy. Around the same time – my partner was running massage courses, so I started helping out doing a bit of admin work. (Little did I know that 17 years later we’d be married, and I’d be co-owner of one of the biggest private training academies in the country)
Then I took an interest in massage and decided to train as a massage therapist. I loved it – and went on to do an Indian head massage course as well. It gave me a much better understanding of the business in case I needed to help students out.
I enjoyed it so much that I left my factory job to work full time with the massage business, which was called the Irish Academy of Massage at the time. It was a big decision but I was confident it would work out. In fact it turned out to be the best thing I ever done. The business started to grow and when we decided to offer beauty courses I trained as a beauty therapist as well.
By this stage we had turned one of our bedrooms into an office and we were using a telephone box up the road for making phone calls. Its crazy when you look back, but that’s what we did.
As time moved on the business outgrew the bedroom and we built offices out the back garden. Things had moved to another level at this stage as our courses had become very popular. So we hired my brother (Ray) to help with the website, and my partners sister (Breda) to help with accounts.
The new offices in the garden didn’t last very long as we got so busy that we had to get our own training premises and bigger offices. It was a scary move because we had to invest all our savings and remortgage the house. We also needed two more people to help out, so my partners sister (Teresa) and my sister (Joan) joined us. But it all worked out and we haven’t looked back since. There have been many more family members who have helped in the business along the way, and everyone has played their part in making the college a success
Its been a roller coaster journey and not for the faint hearted – but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m involved in all aspects of the business from answering phones to marketing to planning, organising exams and planning courses – every day is different, and you never get bored.
The past couple of years have been particularity exciting as we were voted Irelands number one training academy and we hosted the first Waverley Awards for our graduates. As well as that I ended up marrying my partner Derek
What makes it even better is that the business has developed into a family business with over 22 family members helping out along the way.
But what really excites me is helping students change their lives and watching them graduate. There’s been more than 7,000 of them through the college, so we must be doing something right.
I think part of our success is down to been a family business, and our ethos of treating everyone as we would like our own family members to be treated.
I say to anyone who wants to do our courses: “if its something you really want to do – then just do it – it always seem to work out in the end”