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?
It is an opportunity to celebrate women and their achievements. It is incredible to think that women only have the vote just over 100 years! I enjoy the camaraderie around the day, listening to other women’s stories and learning from them. This year I will be logging on to the Women Inspire Network’s Seminar and am looking forward to hearing from TV news reporter Zara King, former politician, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, plus organiser Samantha Kelly, Women’s Inspire Network founder and social media trailblazer, who will discuss empowering women to achieve their potential in life.
What does your role entail?
I am a PR consultant with almost 30 years’ experience working with some of the biggest brands in Ireland including Bulmer’s, Ballygowan, SuperValu, No7 and more recently The Ilac Centre, Green Angel Skincare, Jo Browne, Holos and Rebeluna Cosmetics. I basically help clients to raise their profile through traditional and social media.
What have been some of the biggest struggles and triumphs as a woman in business?
I think having the self-belief to set-up on my own was a big one, imposter syndrome can be debilitating at times. Also, time management can be difficult when you have children, not so much now as they are older, but the struggle is real when they are small, even with a supportive partner, as they nearly always want mummy not daddy!! Triumphs would be every time a client is mentioned in the press as I never take it for granted and still get a buzz from it. Also, the repeat business that I get is lovely, it means they clients trust me and enjoy working with me.
What skills are important to have in your sector?
You need to be a good writer and communicator and understand what a journalist is looking for. Having good contacts and excellent organisational skills helps too.
What are the current challenges for women in your sector?
It is the same as in every other sector to be honest, trying to secure business in a very competitive market, which is even more pronounced in the middle of a pandemic.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
Having self-belief and confidence when social media and bullying is so prevalent. I am lucky in that I made most of my mistakes before social media, but now every thought, look and mistake can be documented for all the world to see.
Describe the 3 characteristics about yourself that you believe led to your success in business.
Honesty, Loyalty and Empathy.
What woman has positively impacted/inspired you in your career, and what is one lesson she taught you?
Seven-year-old me would say Wonder Woman as she was bad ass Seriously though, I suppose it would be someone like Mary Robinson who became President of Ireland while I was still in college, it was a momentous occasion and really felt that the tide was finally turning in Ireland. In PR terms it would have to be Rhona Blake who I worked with at the very start of my career. She always looked flawless and made her job look effortless and easy when it was not. As my career progressed, it was Caroline Moody, my boss and mentor for many years. Her positive attitude, hard work and caring nature proved to me that you do not have to be nasty to get to the pinnacle of your career.
What do you do on a regular basis to celebrate your woman self?
Connecting with my friends over a glass of wine is the tonic that we all need I think, especially now. A bit of retail therapy always helps too.
What is a daily or weekly ritual you have that contributes to your ongoing success?
Lists, I am great list writer. Also, reading newspapers and magazines as well as following social media influencers helps me to keep on top of what is happening in the world and in my business.
What is something interesting you are currently working on? Personal or professional
I am always pitching for new business, but never discuss it until it is a done deal. In other news have just updated my website, which is exciting. On a personal note, I am about to have a big birthday and enter a new decade (next week) which is sobering and scary. It is not ideal, in the middle of a pandemic, as I had great plans that have had to be shelved, but myself, my family and friends are all healthy, so the party can wait.
by Mary-Jane O’Regan