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The Lighter Side: A Q&A with an interesting difference

Lorena Dunne, partner & co-head of the ESG & sustainability practice group at William Fry law firm

What business person do you most admire?

There’s quite a range of people in that category but, unsurprisingly, I particularly admire those behind sustainability-focused businesses and investment strategies (and I’m lucky to work with a lot of fund managers involved in green/impact investing).

On a more niche note, I'm finding businesses trying to solve for environmental impacts of the fashion industry especially interesting at the moment – Belfast start-up Responsible is a really innovative example (founded by Mark Dowds and Mitch Doust), having created technology that allows upmarket fashion brands to buy back previously worn clothing from shoppers and it's interesting to see apps like GoodOnYou that try to rate fashion brands from a sustainability perspective gaining traction.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Not so healthy foods generally but Mary Berry’s white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake in particular.

How do you unwind?

I’m definitely not an expert but walking my dog tends to help as does being near trees and the sea.

How much money is in your wallet?

No cash, ever (which only ever occurs to me when I need a coin for the shopping trolley!)

The last book you read?

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware – a beautiful book with lots of perspective to offer.

What is the best business advice you’ve ever been given?

Know your OKRs (the central message of a book called Measure What Matters by John Doerr).

Who is the most famous person in your contacts list?

HRH the Countess of Wessex (well technically her lady in waiting). The countess is the patron of the 100 Women in Finance NextGen initiative (dedicated to supporting women at the early stages of their careers in finance) and came to Dublin for the launch of the NextGen Dublin chapter in 2018, which I was involved in organising. She is an impressive speaker with a genuine interest in championing women in business and was very engaging.

How do you manage your work/life balance?

By reminding myself that if Helena Morrissey can manage Legal & General, nine children and four Pilates classes a week, I should be okay!

The last film you watched?

The Downton Abbey movie. I will be channelling Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess in my winter years.

What is your favourite possession?

Not sure I should call her a possession but I’m going to say my dog – a miniature dachshund with maximum attitude.

What’s your most memorable holiday ever?

One perfect day spent in the San Blas Islands, Panama.

What social media do you use?

LinkedIn for work, Instagram otherwise.

If money were not an object, what would your fantasy purchase be?

I would fund an animal reserve/shelter or something else that would help with conservation efforts/prevention of animal cruelty.

What is the first website you look at every morning?

The Guardian or New York Times.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Very much a night owl.

What person do you most admire?

My mother – the kindest person I know.

What’s your favourite place in Dublin and why?

There’s something special about the Shelbourne and thereabouts at Christmas.

Anything you would like to plug?

The William Fry ESG & Sustainability Practice Group, which I co-chair with Bryan Bourke, our former managing partner. It’s a cross-sectoral group comprising a large number of highly experienced practitioners. The term ESG is relatively new but the substance is something we have been involved in under one guise or another for many years. We are very much committed to assisting businesses in meeting the challenges and availing of the opportunities associated with the rapidly evolving legal and regulatory landscape around sustainability, not to mention that it’s hugely interesting work.