Ursula Morrish - Visit Cork, Destination Manager
Ursula Morrish is the Destination Manager with Visit Cork, the strategic tourism body which has recently launched the ‘Pure Cork’ brand. Ursula’s career has taken her from working with some of the world’s leading creative agencies to collaborating with local governments and organisations. She brings this global perspective to her role with Visit Cork, where she is teaming up with local businesses and tourism organisations to promote the region to domestic and international visitors. Ursula shares her advice with us and talks about how her time at UCC taught her to be a powerful communicator!
Course/subjects studied in UCC and year of graduation
European Studies BA Hons - 1989
Best memory of University College Cork
I can confidently say that despite living at home I had the best fun, the most freedom and made the best friendships at UCC. My memory of the staff was of amused tolerance and delight. They embraced our enthusiasm, our voracious appetite to learn and taught us to be independent thinkers and powerful communicators. A small group of us who specialised in German went with Professor Joe Lee to an international conference. It was my first time at a big academic event. I was hooked. It opened my eyes to the fun of discourse and that our opinions truly mattered. Great memories of fellow students and how fearless we were to jump into new concepts and activities. We ran with an idea and allowed nothing to obstruct us.
How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?
It has given me an intellectual rigour, great confidence and the most amazing friends.
My degree in European Studies was demanding and required me to adopt a flexible and creative mind-set. As a multidisciplinary course, it gave me a real insight into how connected all fields of study are and how we can create something new by thinking across boundaries. This, I apply to my work on a daily basis. The activities I did with the societies and clubs gave me the first taste of putting creative and intellectual ideas into practice in a collaborative environment. It's this collaborative, collegiate work environment I thrive in most and it has led me to work in some of the top creative agencies globally. I have collaborated with the world's most high profile brands, included in the global FTSE 100 companies, national and local governments and world organisations.
I have relocated back to Cork with my family with a keenness to put my global experience into practice for business in Cork. I am currently the Destination Manager with Visit Cork, which is the strategic tourism agency for Cork, a public-private partnership that promotes Cork as a destination for both leisure and business tourism. I have worked with key stakeholders to develop a new destination brand for Cork, Pure Cork, which brings together all our collective ideas expressed in a singular offer through a vibrant new visual identity. The industry has been quick to adopt the brand which communicates a single unifying proposition for Cork. I have also worked with stakeholders to design and develop a new destination website, marketing collateral and online digital activity. Key to all this activity is a skill-set first developed at UCC, communication.
What is your advice to current UCC students?
Engage, engage, engage. Don't be a bystander, get involved, be adventurous and collaborate.
Take risks (within reason) and gain as much work and life experience your brain and body can cope with!
What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
In UCC I had some truly inspiring teachers, Professor Joe Lee, Prof Dermot Keogh, Dr Liz Steiner-Scott, Dr. Barden - their love for teaching and passion for their academic discipline shone through all their interactions with us students.
Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?
Too many! FIGS - Grouping of the French, Italian, German and Spanish Societies; I set up the Irish European Student Society with the other Universities and held our first conference in Trinity; Film Society; Orienteering Club. I learnt how to manage teams, communicate, understand budgeting and market events.