Now, after five years, some Kerr-ful words
She’ll be delighted with that pun: “Have I taught you nothing!?!?”
Oh, boy, has she..
Today is going to be tough for all here at our HQ in Dublin, in our global offices in New York, in Hong Kong, and the new kids on the block in Sydney, as Monaghan’s greatest export leaves the building. Many within these offices are here, in large part, because of Aine Kerr. I am where I am, because of Aine Kerr.
Memories of my earliest days in Storyful are vague now, half a decade later, but I know I encountered a fresh-faced Aine Kerr (also just beginning her Storyful adventure) in my second paid month in the company; November 2011. I had just spent a couple of crazy weeks being moulded, corrupted and taught in the ways of video by the inimitable Ed Rice and how to ‘write Storyful’ by the fantastic Fiona McCann. But, come November, whatever emergency had happened on the roster, or illness had occurred, I found myself scared as sh*t, reporting for duty for my first shift under Aine Kerr, as a US political journalist. It was my dream job.
Her first EVER email to me was a treasure of inspiration (and good password etiquette).
I was a little intimidated by her right off the bat. Aine is a force of nature; a quietly restrained font of boundless energy, all driven towards whatever goal she sets her sights on. She was like nothing I, in my first ‘proper job’, had ever seen. Was this what all bosses were like!? Why didn’t she seem to sleep? How did she email while running? Unfortunately for her, I was hooked: with Aine I had found my mentor. My teacher. She pushed me (and everyone who worked with her) to excel in everything that we do.
She constantly balances this drive toward excellence with a warmth and humour and a genuine interest in your short and long-term success that you dare only dream of. Only Aine hasn’t dreamt it; she’s already planned it. Under Aine, mistakes are best avoided, but never admonished. She realises that every failure is just another lesson learned. That 2012 Presidential campaign is one of the fondest periods of my life, and Aine was there, every step of the way. After an amazing education in the heady world of US Politics, Aine took me (and a bright young chap named Shane Creevy, now Storyful’s Global Video Editor) with her on a new adventure as she founded, grew, and made a successful venture out of Storyful’s viral unit. All told, I spent the next 1563 days under her guidance, growing first as a journalist, then as an editor and finally, as a manager.
I have thousands of personal memories and laughs I could share about my five years under the mentorship of Aine Kerr, including watching her beam with pride the first time I spoke in front of an audience, in front of a class and even on television! And watching her terrify an entire competing company into respecting journalistic ethics (and as a result, seeing them change their entire business model).
But instead, I answer the question everybody asks: Why is Aine so special? It’s not her frankly ridiculous work ethic, or her constant warmth, smiles, and patience.
It’s what she makes you believe. About yourself. About journalism. About the world. I am so very proud to have spent 1563 days, or 4.75 years, learning under the great Aine Kerr.
I am proud to call her my friend.