“A day in the life of” Our web Interview with Paraic Hayes SVP, Head of West Coast US at IDA Ireland



This week we get to chat with Waterford born Paraic Hayes, SVP, Head of West Coast US at IDA Ireland

@IDA_Ireland @paraichayes  #whyireland

Let’s get going.

Q 1- How does your normal day begin? –

We start early here in California. I’m usually up between 6 and 7 and often on the phone soon after that to catch up with our teams back in Ireland.

I’m not a renowned morning person so good coffee is a must at this stage and I’ve been trying out different blends recently. (My current favourite is an Irish coffee blend, MeanBean). Under usual circumstances I could be on the road several days a week meeting companies across the West Coast to talk about Ireland for business. Like most people, it’s been primarily Video Calls of late, so the furthest I’ve travelled is laps of the garden. One plus is being able to see more of my family though. The kids are still homeschooling here, so it’s been all hands to the pump in the Hayes house.

Q 2- What are your biggest daily challenges?

Our job at IDA is to spread the message about Ireland as a great location for work and business. It’s a really competitive environment here in Silicon Valley, with over 100 other countries with offices within shouting distance of us here. Since Covid hit we’ve worked extra hard on our relationships with companies in the market that are so important for investment into Ireland.  Also, with so many people working from home its busier than ever, and being able to disengage from the day job, and get exercise is really important for peoples wellbeing. So I talk with our team regularly to make sure they are making time for family, friends and themselves.

Q3- What do you love most about your job?

At IDA we get to work with some of the worlds most exciting companies, helping them navigate one of the most important phases in their development. Companies that get international expansion right tend to do very well, and a new company from the US West Coast is setting up in Ireland on average every 2 weeks. Almost 1 in 10 people in Ireland is employed directly by an international company, so knowing the work we do helps create jobs for people back home is a great motivator. There’s also a lot of pride in seeing Ireland, and Irish people punch above their weight in so many fields across technology, business, and the arts around the world.

Q 4- What do you do to relax?

I recently started learning the guitar. So far I’m up to 8 chords so surely well on my way to becoming a rock-god! It’ll be a good fall back if the IDA gig doesn’t work out!

I’m a reformed marathon runner and triathlete but still swim in the sea whenever I can. I’m also a keen sports fan and love following my beloved Deise hurlers. (Although I can’t say that’s been too relaxing over the past few years!).

Q 5-Favourite staycation destination in Ireland and why?

I’m Waterford born but married to a Donegal woman so this could be a controversial one! I think Waterford is one of the best-kept secrets in Ireland. Its Irelands oldest city, settled by the Vikings over 1100 years ago and has some amazing historical and cultural experiences, as well as great restaurants and authentic pubs. You’re also just 20 minutes from a host of fantastic beaches along the Copper Coast.

I also spend a lot of time in Co. Donegal and it’s really like nowhere else in the world. Absolutely stunning scenery along the Wild Atlantic Way where if you go any further West it’s next stop USA.

So I’ll be diplomatic; the Sunny South East for the culture and the craic; – Donegal for the scenery and the golf! (Even if it is a bit more moist up there!)


Q 6-Favourite holiday destination worldwide?

We didn’t make it to Ireland this Summer for our usual family trip home, so for our staycation here in the US we went hiking in the amazing Zion National Park in Utah. Almost as impressive as Mt. Errigal up in Donegal!

Q 7-Favourite Business motto?

I have a quote from Samuel Beckett on my desk: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”.  Resilience is one of the best traits you can develop not just in business, but in life. I also like this as it reminds me something my Dad told me when I left home for my first job “If you ever find yourself in difficulty, hard work will usually get you out of it”.

Q 8. Advice for young business entrepreneurs

  • Never be afraid to back yourself. Seek out advice from people you trust and admire, but it’s your talent and graft that got you here and you should have faith in that. We hear this a lot from the successful start-up founders and executives we work with at IDA. It’s fantastic to also see this self-belief now in young Irish entrepreneurs who are doing so well around the world.


Contact Paraic on LinkedIn @IDA_Ireland and  @paraichayes #whyireland

Twitter is  @IDAIreland and @ParaicHayesIDA