My Career Is About The Journey, Not The Destination

July 17, 2013

My name is Cliona (pronounced “Cleena” the “o” is silent). It’s an Irish name as I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Needless to say, I can count the number of times it’s been correctly pronounced on two hands. For the past few years, I’ve been traveling almost non-stop for my job at LinkedIn, a position I couldn’t have imagined being in right out of college and one that is just about as unique as my name. At LinkedIn we talk about “transformation” a lot. It’s one of our core values, and true to LinkedIn form, my career has been completely transformed.

cliona linkedin

Two years ago, I was finishing college at University College Dublin with plans of traveling the world after I graduated. That plan was diverted when I decided to attend an internship fair where I found myself talking to several lovely people from LinkedIn. Two months after the internship fair, I secured a graduate Marketing Internship with LinkedIn working in the Dublin office under the most fantastic manager anyone at my career stage in life could ask for. She treated me like a full time employee, had me owning projects and gave me real responsibility.

When I started at the end of May, the team was in the middle of preparing for LinkedIn’s first customer conference in Europe called Talent Connect. I hadn’t been at LinkedIn more than a few weeks when I found myself working with some of the top executives (including our CEO Jeff Weiner), organising accommodation, merchandise and much more.

It was such an exciting time for me. I was working in Dublin and regularly flying to London in preparation for Talent Connect, which included doing tastings, attending fancy parties and meeting a ton of inspirational people. For the next seven months, I found myself working in different areas of LinkedIn, ranging from events, student initiatives, case studies, localisation, and sales.

In January 2012, seven months after I started my internship, I was brought on to join LinkedIn as a full-time employee, in charge of running the LinkedIn Days, educational seminars for prospective clients in EMEA. I managed more than 50 events across 30 cities in Europe. I took more than 70 flights across the world. I technically still lived at home with my family, but actually lived on a plane. During that time, I got to know all the sales teams from the different offices inside-out and was treated like family in every office I worked. From the Dutch team with hugs and kisses to the Irish and UK teams bringing me out for dinner after each event.

That year, from August to December, I was traveling to about two cities per week, doing my best attempt to speak multiple languages. It was an amazing experience for me; this was, and still is, my dream job; managing events and traveling the world at the same time. I was 22-years-old and had achieved my dream job. My friends laughed wondering where in the world I was and my granny would tell her Bingo friends about my travels, and I was traveling in disbelief that this was my life. It was surreal.

It’s now halfway through 2013 and I’ve relocated to the LinkedIn London office where I get to continue doing what I love to do at a new office in a different city. This year, I am one of the organisers of Talent Connect London, the event I was helping with when I first joined LinkedIn as an intern. I am very excited for this new adventure and to be part of a fantastic team here in London. I have already joined the softball team, the LinkedIn “Legends”, and lots more. I can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store for LinkedIn and me.