A Global Ambition Realised In Donegal
The story of Marguerite Cox, whose ambitions and career flourished when she returned home to Donegal
“I use to watch the monks from Ards Friary walk past my window as I trained IT operators in India from my home office. It was a juxtaposition that reflected my personal and professional ambitions.”
Marguerite Cox first returned to Donegal in the year 2000 after her longing for home became too much. The Dunfanaghy-native began her career in hospitality after completing an undergraduate qualification in hotel management. She quickly climbed the career ladder and found herself Front Office Manager in the famous Park Lane Hotel in Piccadilly, London.
A side-step into IT happened when the company that installed the computer system in the hotel hired her. This gave Marguerite the opportunity to work and travel in different geographies as the company expanded in Europe and into the US.
“I’m very ambitious and always seek to challenge myself in my career. As I got older however, I longed to be back in Donegal and the pull was so strong I couldn’t ignore it.”
After being made redundant in 2012, Marguerite felt her professional ambitions would require emigration for a second time. Or her other glaring choice, simply to abandon her career. But she then discovered Optum, a UnitedHealth Group company, in Letterkenny.
Marguerite was fascinated to learn that a global company had strong roots in the town of Letterkenny, and employed over 650 people.
“I feel very lucky to have been able to expand my career at home, build up a network of friends, fulfil my personal ambition of living out my life in Donegal while having the backing of Optum to support me. I’ve also learned so much more about IT systems as I am part of a global team.”
Marguerite has an enviable work-life balance. She works four 12-hour shifts a week which means that she gets to escape to the Wild Atlantic Way on her days off.
“I love the outdoors. It has such a draw for me. I walk, swim and practice yoga. My working week gives me the opportunity to travel whenever I can. Donegal has a strong cultural aspect to it also, which I love – theatre, live music, arts festivals and our heritage. What more could I ask for when it’s all on my doorstep?”
Asked to give advice to the Donegal Diaspora considering a return home, Marguerite’s message is simple.
“There are so many ways to develop your career in Donegal. Optum has many fantastic opportunities. I meet lots of people who, like me, have returned home from abroad and they don’t regret it.
“Don’t’ think for too long, act, make a call, undertake an online search and before you ask, ‘yes, the Internet is strong enough’. You can do anything here. The world is your oyster, just look at me working with international teams for a global business from my base in Letterkenny while living on the coast.”
Optum is a leading information and technology-enabled health services business dedicated to helping make the health system work better for everyone. With more than 100,000 people worldwide, Optum delivers intelligent, integrated solutions that help to modernize the health system and improve overall population health. Optum is part of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH). For more information, visit-