Tom Hefferon, CEO of Rayal Energy shares his entrepreneurial journey with DCU students
“If I do this, can I work for myself?” Tom asked in a career guidance session in 1967.
On September 28th, Dr Eric Clinton welcomed Tom Heffron, CEO of Rayal, to DCU as the first in a series of guest speakers to students undertaking the New Enterprise Development (NED) module.
New Enterprise Development (NED) is a multi-award-winning entrepreneurship module designed for both the next generation of family business leaders and individuals pursuing alternative career paths in business, irrespective of their family background. This programme caters to those who may engage with family firms as employees, investors, or advisors, offering a comprehensive perspective on entrepreneurship and leadership in a variety of business contexts
Tom, a DCU alum, delivered a powerful talk to a packed lecture hall about the highs and lows of his entrepreneurial journey, which began in 1977. Since then, he has led multiple businesses before eventually forming Kefron with his business partner, Michael Kearns. Together, they launched Nesta, the first self-storage centre in Ireland. Over the next 20 years, Kefron saw large growth through the expansion of their Nesta facilities, as well as new ventures such as Shred-It and Two Men and a Truck.
Tom and Michael established robust governance structures for their family businesses in the form of a family business constitution, shareholders agreement and a family business council. At the end of 2014, following a very successful career, Tom and his business partner retired, leaving the company in the hands of their sons, who continue to lead the successful company today.
Tom described his retirement from Kefron as a shift in gears rather than putting his feet up and, in 2015, founded Rayal Energy.
Tom holds steadfast to his convictions. Throughout his career, he has consistently embraced his entrepreneurial spirit and maintained unwavering self-confidence. Whether it was during his initial encounters with career guidance or his most recent venture, Tom has remained resolute in his commitment to innovating and forging his path.
Key lessons from Tom
Personal belief – Tom highlighted the importance of being self-aware, knowing your abilities and believing in yourself.
Leadership – Tom graduated with an MA in Leadership and Pastoral Care from DCU. He believes good leadership is about getting out of the way and letting others get on with it.
Bring your whole self to work – Tom’s spirituality has helped him in his career, especially when there were difficult times.
Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t have regrets – make the best of what you have.
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