#20: Sinead O’Brien, Founder of Seagreen Travel

Sinead O’Brien founded Seagreen Travel because she was becoming increasingly frustrated to discover people who visited her native country were not experiencing the real soul of Ireland the way she knows it. That is when she realized the gap for a luxury specialist who could provide US travelers with a fully curated, bespoke, authentic, modern and stylish Irish adventure. Little did she know that becoming an entrepreneur and founder would be her biggest adventure.
Sinead’s career in high net worth client management in New York City set up her up well for success. Blending her understanding of discerning US clientele, with her unique access and on-the-ground relationships in Ireland, Sinead knew she could show people what they were missing. Seagreen Travel was born out of this pride and passion, and today assists clients throughout the United States.

What do you consider your top 3 core values and how do they affect how you lead your business?

Empathy: In this fast paced world, people’s most cherished and valuable commodity is time. So I have tremendous respect for that when curating every moment of our guests’ trip, striving to achieve those transformative memories that everyone yearns for in life. 
Connection: I see myself as being in the business of connection. Ireland is a soulful country full of character, heart, transcending beauty, genuine characters, bubbling with fun, and raw ancient history, and we connect our guests to this in the deepest way. The fresh, wild, green, openness of Ireland has a habit of clearing people’s minds, and giving them a sense of refreshment and re-alignment that recharges them, to the point where many of our guests have had life changing moments.
Spirit of Adventure: I love to approach every project with a spirit of adventure. No wild request or dreamy whim is too much trouble. Our clients comment that they feel like their experience is unique, personable, and planned with passion especially for them, by someone who understands their needs. Our mission is to always get to the heart of the person, and unearth magic and adventure for them.

Can you share a time you either thought you failed, or actually did fail? How did you react and move past it, and what impact did it have on business decisions?

My Dad has always said that ‘Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted’, and I think that really rings true in business, and particularly in an entrepreneurial business. I try to channel any failures to ultimately grow and sharpen the business in the long run.
The biggest learning I have had in this business is to never take anything for granted, and never assume! Whether it is timing that awesome cliff walk just right to catch the sunset, or securing the best caddies for a golf round –every little detail is important and those small touches can have a big impact on the experience. 
I have learned to be uncompromising about checking and double checking every element.

What types of projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to seeing in the future?

We have some exciting partnerships coming up in the corporate and lifestyle space. Organizations who are focused on tapping into their employees and clients’ need for out of the box experiences, will be the ones capable of retaining, recruiting and winning against the competition. We are very fortunate to be working with some of these companies who are at the forefront of this engagement. 
I am also excited to continue to tap in to the American Irish diaspora. The links between Ireland and the United States of America run deep over several centuries and wide across many sectors – historical, cultural, social, sporting, business and political. The unique nature of the Ireland-U.S. relationship is underlined by the more than 30 million Americans who claim some ancestral connection with Ireland. This continues to be a huge opportunity for us.