Cyril caught up with Valerie O’Connell, GM of Choice People

Thursday, September 01, 2022.
Cyril caught up with Valerie O’Connell, GM of Choice People

H&R Times caught up with Valerie O’Connell, General Manager of Choice People, based in the Midlands

Choice Team, an overview of the people involved and experience 

Choice People Recruitment Specialists is one of the positives that came out of Covid.  Following a few conversations with my employers, they encouraged and supported me to set up a recruitment agency locally in Laois which has been my home for the past sixteen years. I began working on all aspects of the business, from choosing the company name to creating website content and building our brand. Choice People opened its doors in November 2020, a challenging time with another lockdown looming. But over the coming months, the database of candidates and clients grew and placements were made. Choice People now has a team of four with a combined 90 years of experience.

Three of the team are based locally and our fourth member, Clodagh is located in Dublin.

Valerie O’Connell has worked in management roles for several years, overseeing the sales and operations of different sectors. She has an extensive background within the hospitality industry, completing the CERT Professional Culinary Arts Cookery course and worked in premium kitchens across Europe, before moving to front of house. These roots have given her the experience required to assist her in her current role as general manager of Choice People, where she is dealing day to day with a variety of operations throughout. Valerie’s current focus is developing a premium recruitment firm that specialises in staffing solutions for the hospitality sector nationwide.

Clodagh Szakacs, developed her professional skills during her fifteen years working in hospitality and catering in Ireland and Australia in the areas of human resources, finance, sales & marketing and operations, including four years on cruise liners. She also provides seven years’ experience in the recruitment industry, specialising in hospitality.  Clodagh has a BA Degree in Business, Tourism and Hospitality Management, a Diploma in Hotel and Catering Management and a CIPD Diploma in Learning and Development.

Terry Byrne has a wealth of experience within the Leisure industry, he holds a Diploma in Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation. His areas of expertise are the management of leisure centres in hotels, the private and corporate sectors. He has a great understanding of management in leisure and hospitality. Terry has also worked as a personal trainer, dealing with sports injuries, working with professional athletes and rehabilitation patients. To complete his studies, he added a CIPD Diploma in Human Resource Management.

Otmar Wullich is a seasoned hospitality professional with over (30) thirty years of experience in the hospitality, tourism, training, consultancy, and supplier industry. He has a classic hospitality career, studying restaurant & hotel management in his native Germany. Otmar also is a qualified trainer and has a Master’s in Hospitality Management. He was appointed as a Mentor & Advisor for Failte Ireland.  Otmar’s hospitality experience covers several 5-star properties in Ireland the UK and Continental Europe in various senior management roles.

Choice People Recruitment, has developed into a staffing solutions company for contract, temporary and permanent staff on a local and national scale. We are on hand to advise, guide and mentor both new and established clients and candidates through the recruitment process.

The Choice People Team has a wealth of experience across several industries including Administration, Hospitality, IT, Leisure, Procurement and Sales & Marketing. Our current database covers all four corners of Ireland. Trust and strong communication between both clients and candidates are at the core of all of our business dealings. We empower our connections with confidence and choice while building relationships. Our dedicated recruitment specialists have the expertise to understand the employer’s needs and aspirations, while ensuring the new potential employees are the right fit for the role. We are set up for both face-to-face and virtual interviews and conduct site visits with all new clients to better understand their needs.

Our company values are commitment, integrity and trust and these are not just words, these are the fundamentals that ground our company and guide us through our days in offering a great service to both our candidates and clients.  

Recently we were shortlisted for the Recruitment Company of the Year with Midlands 103 Customer Service Awards. It was a privilege to be shortlisted for this award, which is a first for us and with hope and continued hard work, the first of many. We were delighted especially as it was nominations from our clients and candidates that got us there. Having a great team who are dedicated and being recognised for their hard work it is a wonderful achievement.

We are fortunate to work with some wonderful clients and visit fascinating properties. During these site visits, we gain insightful knowledge of our client’s requirements and see the most interesting places.

We have gone beyond the walls of Ballyfin Demesne to wander through the china room, wine cellar and gardens, to the production floor of Ballymaguire foods – one of Ireland’s largest readymade meal manufacturing plants and recent winner of 14 Good Taste awards.

Cyril caught up with Valerie O’Connell, GM of Choice People

These tours give us a great advantage when informing candidates of the roles and locations.

Visit to find out more.

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