International Women’s Day is a United Nations–sanctioned global holiday that aims to celebrate women’s contributions to society and raise awareness to the areas of society that need to improve to reach gender equality. At No.1 Media we use it as way to amplify women’s voices and however you choose to celebrate it, we are here to listen and learn. This week we are spotlighting some of Irelands most beloved businesswomen and entrepreneurs.
Each year has an official theme, but unofficially, many people use it as a day to remember all the women that have made an impact in their lives through sharing International Women’s Day quotes, thoughtful messages, and more. Right now we are all apart so what better way to bring us together than engage some of our favourite most vibrant women in an interview.
What does IWD mean to you?
For me, IWD is a day, once a year to acknowledge the equality of women in life and in the workplace. All people, irrespective of gender add to the quality and beauty of life and this day allows us to give a platform to women to get the spotlight. I look forward to the day when this platform is not required. We have come a long way from the suffragette’s days. only 100 years ago and decisions made today by me and others will affect the future generations of women to come.
What does your role entail?
I am Marketing Executive at the Chris Mee Group. I am lucky to be part of an exciting and expanding organisation that has over the years, allowed me to carve out my own ideal role as part of a very strong team. We all have a job to do on the team, but I can really focus on many of the things that I love such as traditional marketing, events and outbound content whilst also being involved in the digital side, strategic projects, and customer interaction.
What skills are important to have in your sector?
Marketing is such a broad and varied field. The skills that have been most beneficial to me are:
- An openness to trying new things – and often failing.
- Active listening. Reading between the lines of what people are telling me to find out what they need.
- Good communications. Telling a story through words, graphic design, and the overall user experience of the brand.
- Understanding of analytics, Return on Investment (ROI), Goals and Targets
What are the current challenges for women in your sector?
I’m very lucky in my role. Our Senior Management team and staff are all very engaged in our Marketing strategy. This reduces challenges for me personally in my sector.
I must say that challenges in my sector are similar for both men and for women. The multiplicity of skills required to deliver excellent marketing does bring about challenges. Can the same person be expected to be expert in and responsible for Content Marketing, SEO, Videos, Direct, Database, Social, Events and so on? In some companies the answer is Yes as Marketing is seen exclusively as an overhead.
If you’re not as lucky as I am, and need help ensuring you’re granted the budget and resources you require to expand your Marketing team, you really need to be assertive as a strong woman and show your value. Proving the ROI of every single marketing activity can be hard, but to ensure your teams return is very visible you should determine your goals, outline your KPI’s and keep track of your analytics.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
Marketing evolves extremely quickly. There are so many “experts” and so much information out there which makes it hard to break through the clutter and have your voice heard.
You need to take a step back, decide on your long-term goals then work on the smaller ways of making progress towards these.
Many people may doubt their abilities or feel like discussing their salary, job title/description or promotion expectations is “taboo”. Do not feel this way. If you have the skills and experience to be successful at your job, then you deserve to be where you are and heading towards your long-term goals. Self-confidence is probably the biggest challenge in life and in business …. go for your goal.
“Better to try and fail than not to have tried at all” 😊
Describe the 3 characteristics about yourself that you believe led to your success in business.
- Trust. I evaluate situations and then trust and stand by my judgement when making decisions.
- Understanding. Sometimes things do not work out. When this happens, I put it down to experience, move on and do not do it again.
- Courage. Go big or go home. If I decide to do something, then I want to be the best at it. I’ll give it 110% or I won’t waste my time.
What woman has positively impacted/inspired you in your career, and what is one lesson she taught you?
At the age of 23 I moved to Canada where I was lucky enough to be hired as Marketing & Guest Services Manager at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen or MTK as its lovingly known on the Toronto scene. MTK is a venue owned and run by Donna Dooher and her Husband Kevin Gallagher. Donna is the Head of the Canadian Restaurant and Food Association (CRFA), she is a best-selling author and host of the Canadian Food Network’s ‘The Cookworks’.
I knew immediately upon meeting Donna that she is a bad ass with a contagious, no nonsense, girl power attitude! She had spent decades blazing her trail through the male dominated world of professional kitchens to reach the top and I knew I could learn so much from her.
Many a challenge had hit MTK over the years and Donna always handled them in her typical cheeky and effective way which, as a Marketing person can be a little scary but always ended up working out well and helping boost business.
Whilst Donna was always actively championing the females in her life and in her business, I think that the most inspirational moment that I experienced was when Donna fell down a mountain whilst skiing and badly broke both of her legs. Within days of major surgery (including the insertion of several metal rods) Donna was working and taking meetings from her hospital bed. A couple of months later, against all odds, Donna was back running the show from her fantastic venue – in her iconic high heels!
Three things that Donna said will always stick with me.
- “The smallest things make the biggest difference.”
- “Stay true to your convictions – smile and swear like a truck driver.”
- “Meeting an expectation is not enough. If we don’t exceed expectations, we’ve failed.”
What is a daily or weekly ritual you have that contributes to your ongoing success?
As with everyone, my whole routine has been scuppered by COVID. Before restrictions came into place, I was busy every day with different activities. From Zumba classes to Hula Hooping courses at Cork Circus Factory, and Indian cookery classes at the Cookery Cottage, there was always something
With these types of activities being unavailable, I have flipped my focus to do more homebased activities. I’ve been.
- Challenging myself. Whether it is a “I’m going to quit Caffeine or meat for 50 days to see the result”, “I’m going to go to bed 30 minutes earlier each night to meditate” or “I’m going to do intermittent fasting for a month!” I love to see the changes that these challenges make to my day-to-day life.
- Boosting endorphins. I get the heart racing by doing a fun workout. A friend recommended the Jamie Kinkeade dance workouts from Youtube. They are only about 25 minutes long but they definitely get the heart racing!
- Using my creative side to paint art pieces for my new home.
- Feeding my soul (and my tummy) by testing different cooking and baking recipes with my KitchenAid.
- Uplifting my mood by designing my own floral arrangements. These are especially important right now with working from home.
- Self-pampering. Who does not love a face mask from MediGlow or a bathbomb from Lush?
What is something interesting you are currently working on? Personal or professional
I am working on some really exciting projects professionally right now and I’m really looking forward to getting them to a level where I can share them publicly.
My top personal project now is my garden. I’ve spent some time over recent months designing the plans for the outside of my 70’s bungalow, choosing the aesthetic as well as starting my own greenhouse and vegetable garden. I’m really not very green fingered so it’s certainly been a sharp learning curve with a lot of trial and error but lots of fun. I even grew my own Halloween pumpkin!
Over the last number of years, I have learned to not compare myself so much to others. I have an extraordinarily strong circle of females around me. Some career driven, some focussing on family right now, some furthering themselves with education and some are embracing wanderlust by travelling the world.
I have stopped looking at these fabulous females to see where I am “meant” to be. We are all at different stages of our own journey. To look at one aspect of their lives in comparison to mine would be an unfair measurement of “success” or of personal value.
by Mary-Jane O’Regan