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?
To me IWD is about recognising, honouring and celebrating women and their achievements and the role they play in society.
It’s remembering the struggles that women had and the suffragettes who started IWD in the early 1900’s. It’s about the continuing push for women to seek equal opportunities and treatment to that of men.
What does your role entail?
My role is to make sure that the business continues to grow. As the business grows, different problems and opportunities require different solutions. Business conditions change continually and constant investment in innovation and delegation is necessary. We have a great management team in place and my role is now to give up the day-to-day control of every detail and focus on the bigger picture.
What have been some of the biggest struggles and triumphs as a woman in business?
I think the biggest struggle was in the early days trying to achieve a work- life balance when the children were smaller and I was also looking after my 80-year-old mom who was living with me. Feeling inadequate for not being super mom / daughter and wife of the year and trying to grow a successful business all at the same time.
I think sometimes that struggle and feeling of inadequacy resulted in me downplaying my own value and still sometimes have to make a conscious effort to own what I have accomplished.
The biggest triumphs were winning multiple awards for the Green Angel skincare brand and various individual products and my own personal triumph being A South Dublin Chamber Awards ‘Business Person of the Year’ recipient in 2019
What skills are important to have in your sector?
Product knowledge. Understanding the ingredients, benefits and uses allows them to be presented accurately.
I have always found that good listening skills can be a powerful tool not just in the sector that I work in but in all sectors.
Strategic planning. It’s important to establish a direction for the business to take. Set goals and make them a reality.
Problem solving and making smart decisions while considering all the pros and cons can make or break a business. These skills are required most days.
What are the current challenges for women in your sector?
The challenges are not new. Women striving for equality and success in business are still often questioned about their values and priorities in life – whether it be at the expense of their children, their spouses or even at their own personal expense. I think the current challenge possibly is not just continuing to look for equal rights but the demands and expectations of women nowadays to achieve a better work/life balance have only added another challenge to their plate.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
I think with the next generation there will be more leadership opportunities available to women. But with those opportunities’ choices and compromises both business and personal will have to be made. There will be implications and trade-offs that may not always be easy.
Describe the 3 characteristics about yourself that you believe led to your success in business.
The ability to see the big picture
Trusting myself and the company and what it was trying to achieve
Always being grateful for what I have
What woman has positively impacted/inspired you in your career, and what is one lesson she taught you?
Tao Porchon-Lynch was a world war two French Resistance fighter, model, actress, film producer, she became a competitive ballroom dancer at the age of 87, and was a yoga master who taught yoga until the age of 100. Sadly, she passed away in 2020 at the age of 101. She had many positive sayings like, ‘feel the dance of life within you’, ‘don’t let age dictate what you can or cannot do’, she woke up every morning telling herself that ‘this is going to be the best day of my life’ and always claimed that she would never retire, she would ‘dance her way to another planet’.
At the age of 8 she saw young boys practicing yoga on a beach and wanted to join in – she was told it was not ladylike and it was just for boys. So, she decided if they can do it so can she.
She taught me that there is nothing you cannot do- if you tune into the creative life within you.
What do you do on a regular basis to celebrate your woman self?
I treat myself to a regular luxury bath with organic oils, dim lighting and scented candles- it’s my favourite thinking time.
I love a bit of retail therapy, and I find pen and ink drawing very relaxing.
What is a daily or weekly ritual you have that contributes to your ongoing success?
I practice Thai chi for 30mins every morning when I get up. It grounds me.
I always take a few minutes at the end of my workday and write out what my goals are for the following day.
I like to try and start the day with my biggest task – I kid myself by thinking the rest of the day will be easy in comparison
What is something interesting you are currently working on? Personal or professional
I’m very excited to be working on the ‘Home of Green Angel’ our new Green Angel flagship store in Wicklow which we opened just before Christmas. Unfortunately, it is closed at the moment due to Covid-19 but looking forward to reopening in the not-too-distant future. Also, it will include a coffee shop and a vintage tea room.