EPISODE

34

From Athlete to CEO with Niall Dunne

Julienne and Jerome speak to Niall Dunne, CEO of Polymateria, a company that is working on solving the enormous, worldwide problem of plastic pollutants.
You’ll go on a fascinating journey as Niall tells us about how he started as a track and field athlete, met with Julienne’s husband and fellow Irishman, Joe Ryan, who was a coach at Manhattan College in the Bronx, New York. Niall ended up representing Ireland in the 800m run.
From there, Niall encountered a few angels that looked over him as he struggled with a potentially career ending injury, and then went on to work with some of the biggest companies (Accenture, BT, Saatchi & Saatchi) as a sustainability officer, moving the needle to reduce their carbon footprint.
In 2018, he met the founders of Polymateria and he decided to apply his athlete’s single minded purpose to the problem of plastic pollutants.
He tells us about the principles of integrity, trust and performance that have allowed his company to sustain the attacks of the behemoths of the industry his company is disrupting, and how he’s managed to steer the company to growth against all odds.
This all comes to life when Niall tells us about how an employee made a decision to tell a group of investors to leave their coffee at the door when visiting a lab, and what Niall learned from that.
Finally, when Niall gets personal about an experience he had in New York City, thinking he’d never be able to run again, Julienne and Jerome have to fight back tears, and take away wonderful lessons to inspire you to rise to whatever challenges come your way!
This is a MUST LISTEN!

Links and resources:
Polymateria website
Niall Dunne’s linkedin
Lifecycle which chronicles the movement to end plastic pollution
Tim Brown, co-founder and CEO of Allbirds on the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Podcast Series

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