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Maria O’Donoghue, Office Assist

Maria a native of Charleville and mother of one started her career in hospitality and worked for many years in the industry. After working in Adare Manor, she decided in 2003 to change career path and after returning to education began work in Charleville Foods (now Dawn Meats) as a receptionist, following this she was employed by Kindlebell in Churchtown Mallow where she gained experience in Telephone Answering. Maria was made redundant by Kindlebell when the recession hit and they closed their Churchtown Mallow offices in 2010.

Being unemployed did not sit nicely with Maria but there didn’t seem to be any work available so along with her Mother Geraldine they decided to put their skills together and with little or no money they opened a small office in Charleville working with small businesses who couldn’t afford to hire their own staff and do their administration, bookkeeping and also answer their phones. They called their business Office Assist which took off slowly and many times Geraldine said to Maria “to hell with this we are closing” but Maria wasn’t having any of it and persevered and before long they were hiring their first staff member and another and another. They also moved premises to a much bigger office across the road and now employ 15 staff.

Maria is involved in many networking organisations and early mornings are the norm. Maria was elected onto the ISME National Council in 2023