10Qs: Marianne Elliott Talks to Michaela Crawley

WIP Class Intern,  Michaela Crawley Talks  with Professor Marianne Elliott, a leading historian in Ireland, best known for her acclaimed biography Wolfe Tone: Prophet of Irish Independence

What were you doing when you were my age (24)?

I was a PhD student at Oxford University.

How did you get to where you are today?

Good organization, consistent research excellence and good networking.

What qualities do you think that a good leader possess?

A good team-player, ability to command respect, dedication, ability to help others maximise their potential and to remove obstacles to them doing so.  Dispensing with petty bureaucracy.

What qualities do you think that a bad leader possess?

Arrogance, ambition not matching talent, failure to represent and protect the team.

How do you demonstrate your role as a leader in your everyday experience?

Being there when staff need you; fighting for their wellbeing and wellbeing of students within bigger institutions.

Who was the most influential person in your life and why?

The Primary school teacher who chastised me for having low expectations (then!)

If there was one thing that you could change about the Irish/Northern Irish political system, what would it be and why?

Combat segregation at every level.  Separation feeds sectarianism.

What are your own aspirations for the future?

To assist with the answer of the last question.

What advice would you give to a young university graduate from Northern Ireland?

By your own example, to show the world how unrepresentative the extremists in our midst actually are.  Be quietly confident.  Northern-Ireland people have too often apologized for their existence in the past.  Never whinge.  NI has too often sought to blame everyone but ourselves.  Be cheerful, people love our sense of humor and it can take you a long way.  It is, after all, ‘the way we tell them’.  So never actively seek to lose your accent, thankfully nowadays it is a popular one.