Introducing Sean O'Neill

Sean O'Neill standing inside Truo Cathedral in front of the high altar

In July, Truro Cathedral warmly welcomed Sean O’Neill to the senior management team. Sean has taken on the role of Chief Operating Officer for the cathedral, a brand-new position created thanks to a grant from the Cathedral Sustainability Fund. Here, Sean explains more about his role and his aspirations for the cathedral…

The Chief Operating Officer position is brand new to the cathedral – can you tell us a little more about the role and what will you be responsible for?
As a new role for the cathedral it’s going to take some time to see the role really bed in and take shape, I’m expecting the role to evolve over time as the team makes positive changes. Essentially though when put simply, the role is to manage, guide and shape the commercial aspects of the cathedral so that we can ensure the financial security of the organisation for future generations.

What part of the role are you most enjoying so far?
Getting to know the team; I’m a firm believer that your team is your most valuable asset and as such I’m keen to get to know the whole team as well as I can.

What are you most looking forward to developing for the cathedral?
Developing a commercially successful events programme. I’ve been around long enough to know that the events world isn’t the glamorous gravy train that many think it is but it’s still a great commercial opportunity and a chance to engage those who may not normally choose to engage with a sacred space.

What do you think may be the biggest challenges you will face in the role?
I’m the kind of person that likes to get everything done without delay, so I anticipate it being more of a personal challenge in terms of patience and enthusiasm whilst I get to know and understand the organisation and its requirements.

Can you tell us a little about your professional background?
It’s quite diverse but essentially, I’m an accountant by trade, albeit it’s been quite some years since that was my core role. I’ve been working in the not-for-profit sector for many years and over the last 6 years I’ve been focused on business operations management and community engagement.

Why did you want to join the cathedral team?
Since arriving in Cornwall and experiencing Truro Cathedral as a visitor I’ve always viewed it as an important, iconic and interesting landmark and so was keen to learn more when I heard about the position. It was meeting the leadership team though that really cemented my desire to become part of the organisation – the team has ambitious and inspiring aspirations for the cathedral’s future and I’m excited to be part of that.

Are you originally from Cornwall and what is your favourite part of the county?
Alas, no. I moved here around 12 years ago from just outside Manchester, though that’s not where I hail from either! Favourite part of Cornwall is a challenge isn’t it! Gyllyngvase Beach in  Falmouth holds special memories so I’ll plump for that for now.

Can you tell us a little bit about you?
I live in Camborne with my wife, son, cat and dog. Drive a clapped-out old car, am definitely a geek and am very pedantic. My wife’s a saint for putting up with that! I enjoy the precise application of the spoken and written word and everyone tells me I have amazing handwriting.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
Spending time with my family. I relax by painting miniatures (models) almost every day and also enjoy playing board and tabletop strategy games with friends.