'A different world' - The Offaly woman working with the stars in New York

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

'A different world' - The Offaly woman working with the stars in New York

'A different world' - The Offaly woman working with the stars in New York

A long way from her home in Clara, Lisa Stewart is making a name for herself working with media giants Sony Pictures Entertainment, the multi-billion dollar company responsible for international film and television production and distribution.

Having rubbed shoulders with the likes of Steve Martin and Patrick Stewart, no relation, Lisa's stock has risen considerably on the New York entertainment scene, and yet the path home is one well worn, to her family and friends, as well her granny's chipper!

I try to visit home two or three times a year but I don’t think the goodbyes ever get any easier.

Originally from Clara, the daughter of Paul and Breda Stewart, Lisa attended Scoil Bhride in Clara and later Killina Secondary School, nurturing her love of sport along the way. She played GAA and soccer for Clara, and although her mother once worked as a reporter, a career in media seemed a distant prospect growing up in North Offaly. 

"Clara is a great town to grow up in. It’s big enough that there’s lots to get involved in but small enough that there’s a great community," Lisa remarked to the Offaly Express.

"I grew up with lots of extended family members on the doorstep and all the fun family occasions that come with that. I’m also lucky to have both sets of grandparents and my parents and brother all living there so I like to get home regularly," she added.

"Neither my mother or I ever considered that I would follow that route into media, although I knew I wanted to do something practical and I enjoyed English and writing."

"So not having been too thrilled with my Leaving Certificate results, I decided to take up an offer on a PLC course in Journalism at DIT Rathmines for a year and see what I wanted to do from there."

Lisa enjoyed it so much she made the move to the diploma course in media at Ballyfermot College of Further Education, an institution famed for its media graduates, and later secured a Dublin City University degree in Media Production Management.

I think it’s always the ones you’ve grown up watching in movies as a kid that make you stop and realise you’re experiencing a different world.

After college, she made the move to New York, having "fallen in love with it on family holidays as a kid." "It was always my plan to move here, not necessarily forever, but I was aware of the opportunities and potential that New York could offer," Lisa explained. 

Despite having enjoyed writing at school, Lisa was drawn more to the visual end of the media spectrum, and she told us, "I loved the creativity that came with visual media. Seeing an idea or concept through scriptwriting to production and editing
and then seeing the final piece was very satisfying."

"But having worked on a lot of corporate videos for big name clients here in New York, I realised it wasn’t giving me the same satisfaction anymore, so I started steering more towards Film and TV," she told us. 

It was here Lisa truly found her niche and her career began to flourish as she began making a name for herself. "I think it’s the messages you can convey through the right stories delivered in the right way and the potential they have to raise awareness and insight into issues that people just won’t pick up on by reading an article or listening to a news report."

When Lisa first moved to New York she worked with a relatively small production company, but she proved a big hit and began forging her way up the ladder very quickly. "It was intense at times, but I learned a lot and met some amazing people."

She then made the move to Sony Pictures Entertainment and is working on a new show called ‘Meet the Drapers,’ featuring one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent families, The Drapers. "Sony is a great place to work. The environment is incredible and the people couldn’t be nicer," she said.

Her job has seen her cross paths with a host of famous faces, including comedian and acting icon, Steve Martin. "He was doing an interview for a documentary and we were contacted to coordinate an appropriate set space. He was incredibly nice, there was only around ten of us in the studio for the interview but he made a conscious effort to go out of his way to talk to everyone," Lisa recalled.

She also bumped into Patrick Stewart and Malia Obama, the daughter of former US President Barack Obama, on her travels across New York. "I was interviewing for an exciting position at another film company and she was interning there at the time," Lisa stated.

The Clara woman counts these instances as "pinch yourself moments," with Steve Martin particularly standing out. "I think it’s always the ones you’ve grown up watching in movies as a kid that make you stop and realise you’re experiencing a different world."

Lisa is highly thought of in production circles and was interviewed recenty for a position with Hollywood star Robert DeNiro. "I never imagined I would find myself sitting in a café in New York city with three of his team discussing the details of a potential job working for him."

"I wasn’t offered the position at that time but it certainly was an experience. I have a lot of American friends who would have loved that opportunity so the fact I even got to meet with them about it will always be something special," Lisa continued.

Despite the fast-paced glamour and draw of New York, Lisa still misses home and suggests she will return some day. "I definitely see myself in America for the next few years but I also love where I’m from and I miss the people a lot. We’ll see what the next few years bring but I don’t see myself staying away from home forever."

I try to visit home two or three times a year but I don’t think the goodbyes ever get any easier.



"I miss family and the people you've known for years and can just pick up where you left off with, and the food!" Lisa said. "My Nanny owns our local chipper and it's one of the first stops I make when I’m home. I try to visit home two or three times a year but I don’t think the goodbyes ever get any easier."

Even in one of the biggest cities in the world, Lisa still seeks out a slice of the Faithful in the Big Apple. "There is a surprising amount of Clara and Offaly people out here. I attend the Offaly GAA New York events every year too, which is always a fun night and a nice taste of home," Lisa concluded.

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If you have a story for us, sports news, an event happening in your area, or if you want to submit pictures or videos, contact the Offaly Express team via email to justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie, or through our Facebook.