Guest Interview: Paving the Digital Path in NI

As part of our season of Local Profiles, I felt it only fair to follow up Lucas’ starter with a member of the ladies team. And what a lady she is!

Naomh McElhatton is Managing Director of DANI (Digital Advertising NI), with an established career spanning 10 years. Responding to the explosive growth in the UK online advertising market, Naomh created DANI to help advertisers access the Northern Ireland online marketplace. Being voted one of NI’s Top 40 under 40 in 2011, Naomh is now an associate lecturer at the University of Ulster and is a STEM Ambassador with the Stemnet Network.

Naomh offers key insights into the growth of digital in the industry as well as an interesting career history and a keen entrepreneurial spirit.


Naomh McElhatton
So Naomh, how did you get where you are today?

That’s a very long story… but a mixture of travelling a lot of miles, being in the right place at the right time has had a lot to do with it. I started my career as a primary school teacher in London but realised that wasn’t my calling in life! I’ve worked in events management, print and radio and luckily 5 years ago the natural transition into the world of online marketing happened.

What three tips would you offer someone just starting out?

Keep your cool, develop a sense of patience and remember if doesn’t happen overnight.

What’s a typical week like in your role? (If no week is typical, then what was last week like?)

Now that really does vary… last week I was in meetings in London on Monday, Belfast on Tuesday and Carlow on Wednesday, in the office catching up on paperwork Thursday and prepping for my best friends wedding on Friday.

What has changed in for the better and worse since you started in the industry?

People and their businesses are definitely more proactive at looking at ways in which they can do better business online… this has changed dramatically over the past few years, beforehand it really was a NO GO area for a lot of businesses mainly due to the fear of the unknown! The worst thing within the industry is that there are a lot of cowboys – businesses have a bad experience and are very cautious to work with anyone else – a little knowledge is dangerous!!

If you were hiring for an entry-level position, what would make a candidate stand out?

Someone with a hint of initiative and competence, because I am on the road so much I need someone that can grab the reigns and just get on with it!

What is your proudest moment to date?

Within my career? Creating the DANI Awards!! Love seeing the delight in peoples faces being awarded for their efforts.

When you switch off (if you switch off!) what do you do with your own time?

I have 2 young daughters so to spend quality time with my hubby and the girls is precious, I’m also partial to a nice glass of red and a good book! I run … I love long distance running, know it sounds such a cliché but its great to get out in the fresh air and clear the head.

You can follow Naomh on Twitter (@Naomhs) to keep up-to-date with all things digital in NI!