WorkWild Geese

‘The idea that there’s endless opportunity appeals to me’

Wild Geese: Alice Maria Murphy, California

Alice Maria Murphy has been rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous in Beverly Hills in her role as head of digital marketing at the California-based ultra-luxury car group, O’Gara Coach.

For the past 18 months Alice Maria Murphy has been rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous in Beverly Hills in her role as head of digital marketing at the California-based ultra-luxury car group, O’Gara Coach.

The company’s customers include more Hollywood A-listers than you can shake a stick at, and O’Gara offers them a choice of metal from premium marques including Lamborghini, McLaren, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin and Bugatti.

Murphy studied commerce with Chinese at UCD and joined the Irish Distillers International Graduate Programme from College in 2012. Her first job with the company was in Cyprus where she represented the Jameson whiskey brand.

From there she moved to Shanghai where she spent four years looking after Jameson and Absolut vodka and travelling widely across Asia – an experience she describes as, “like working and being on holiday simultaneously”.

READ MORE

In 2017 Murphy moved to New York to take up the role of consumer experience and digital manager with Pernod Ricard USA and, by the time she left the drinks industry for O’Gara Coach in 2022, Murphy was senior manager market activation for North America with the group.

“Initially, I left home for an adventure,” Murphy says. “I always knew I wanted to go and see what else was out there and to have a career that allowed me to travel and have other cultural experiences. As my career grew and continued to bring me to new places, I just kept rolling with it. The adventure I was having trumped what I saw as a more routine and predictable life back in Ireland. I stayed abroad for opportunity as the roles I was offered just didn’t exist in Ireland. The countries, brands and projects I’ve seen and worked on couldn’t have been matched by staying at home.”

Murphy is very career driven and has a clear idea of where she wants her professional life to go. To this end she recently quit her job with O’Gara Coach to move into luxury brands consultancy. She will remain based in LA but will split her time between there and New York as she has her sights set on adding top-end fashion names to her portfolio which currently includes a premium Irish whiskey and a luxury Swiss watchmaker.

“I’ve wanted to do something on my own for a while,” she says. “I’ve served my time to build my experience and I have lots of ideas and the fire in my belly to do it now.”

Murphy enjoys living in the US but recognises that there is a flip side to the success and wealth she sees around her.

“The idea that there’s endless opportunity appeals to me, although I wouldn’t say I’ve completely bought in to the concept of the ‘American dream,’” she says.

“I am well aware that it’s not a foolproof concept. It’s very wrapped up in capitalist propaganda and the ‘dream’ is not ubiquitous or available to all. Having said that, when you live here you do buy into the idea of opportunity to some extent. There is a sense that the career possibilities are more open and more endless. I’m ambitious and I don’t like to put limitations on myself. I work well in this climate and it inspires me.”

Murphy says that while she has never been afraid of hard work, the pace of the working environment in the US can sometimes get a little too intense.

“You do feel work can encroach on having a personal life and in America work and a personal life are very often the same thing. PTO [paid time off] is an absolute luxury and colleagues look at you as if you’re an alien if you announce you’re taking anything near two weeks off,” she says.

“There’s also slightly less craic in the office and I have a theory that’s part of the reason Irish people get hired – they’re a great addition to company culture. Living away you miss how the craic is just part of everyday life at home,” Murphy adds.

“I think it was Cillian Murphy who said recently that Irish people are ‘kinder and a bit more copped on’ and I would agree with that sentiment on the whole. I love coming home and just being able to chat with anyone and everyone no matter the situation.

“I also miss being a part of Irish culture and its evolution. I’ve been away for nearly 12 years now and have been very proud to see modern Irish culture develop from abroad. For example, the refocusing and recentering of the Irish language within modern culture. I’m glad these things are happening but sometimes there’s a sadness at not being part of Ireland’s progression.”

Murphy lives in central Los Angeles and when she’s not preoccupied with work she likes to travel and visit the wide network of international friends she has built up over the last decade. She’s an enthusiastic cook and hostess and having lived in Shanghai for four years has a very good collection of authentic Chinses dishes in her culinary repertoire.

“You are certainly surrounded by beautiful people in Beverly Hills and while I work out, I’m not fanatical about it. I’m equally into prioritising sleep, having a nutritious diet and a balanced lifestyle. I’m from Dalkey originally and have a deep connection with the sea so I try to get to the beach in Santa Monica whenever I can,” Murphy says.

Olive Keogh

Olive Keogh

Olive Keogh is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business