As part of our Women of vision series, we want to highlight the professional challenges and career aspirations of the women working here inIreland. Women in Ireland have a strong entrepreneurial spirit: the rate of female early stage entrepreneurs in Ireland is the 5th highest in Europe. The agility and resilience of women during the pandemic has been a testament to their strength and courage. Our first Woman of Vision is Denise Kenny, creator of The Head Plan.
Tell us a bit about you?
I am second youngest of a family of seven siblings! My mam and dad did a super job of bringing us up, I look back now, and I am in awe. I feel I inherited the best qualities from mam and dad.
Mam is the original queen of self-care and wellness and was qualified as s a holistic practitioner before it was even a big thing. She always made time for self-care and wellness in her super busy days and got us all involved in these activities – journaling, affirmations, meditation, holistic movement etc. Some of my earliest memories are of these activities.
Dad is the true definition of determination and self-belief. He lost his sight at the age of 9 and was placed in a state boarding school for most of his childhood. He went above and beyond in education with a number of degrees and master’s degrees under his belt as well as being a respected executive working full time and often long hours while providing for the family. Dad’s outlook on life is one that I draw inspiration from every day – his focuses on his abilities not his disability and he goes for it.
I felt it important to introduce both because it will make sense to you when I say I am very passionate about self-care and wellness and equally extremely ambitious about breaking barriers as a woman in business. I believe that wellness and ambition need to go hand in hand in order to succeed.
I am married to Ciaran, Co Founder of The Head Plan, Best Friend, Partner… the labels go on. He is the real reason while The Head Plan all started. He was the stop / start moment in life that I will share with you shortly.
I live in Dublin and miss travelling but when the world opens I hope to be found on a beach somewhere.
Tell us about your business?
The Head Plan is a guided Wellness and Personal Development brand. We create products and services that aim to keep users inspired, motivated, focused and driver to be the best version of themselves and guide them to create their own Head Plan in a balanced way to get to where they truly belong. Our first product The Head Plan Journal was quickly followed by Nourish (food planner) and Daily Drench (motivational water bottle). People are really connecting with the brand, thousands of people in over 35 countries are now working on their own Head Plan.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in growing your business?
Honestly to myself and Ciaran the biggest inspiration in growing the business has been the reviews and DMs from users of the products. I am in tears at least once a week – it’s such a powerful motivator. To hear the positive impact our brand is having on people and how we’ve been part positive changes in someone else’s life – I mean this is the best work we have ever been a part of. It’s the most rewarding for sure.
What do you love most about having your own business?
Besides loving the work, we do and the impact it is having. I feel so lucky to work with Ciaran every day. Sunday fear no longer exists.
What has been the most significant thing you have done to grow your business?
Hiring. We went from myself and Ciaran fulfilling orders to now having a fulfilment company and having a team of 6 soon to be 7. In order to grow you need to grow your team.
What is your business and what led you to start it?
2018 was the best year of myself and Ciaran’s life (to date) we just got married in Italy, I just landed my dream job, Ciaran was just accepted onto an acceleration programme for a start uo he was passionate about. It was the best year but the busiest year! We were jumping from project to project – catching up at the weekends, experiencing Sunday fear and all round just going a million miles an hour. I don’t think you realise how fast you’re actually going until you stop.
On Jan 22nd 2019 2 days after our Honeymoon it all stopped. Ciaran went to the doctor after experiencing what he thought was a viral infection for the weeks leading up to and during the honeymoon. It wasn’t too bad but enough to feel off. 2 hours after that appointment he was called to go to hospital and given the news that he had AML ( Acute Myeloid Leukaemia ) and he had to start treatment straight away… that is the moment our world stopped and it didn’t start spinning for a while but when it did it was spinning at a different pace and we had our eyes wide open.
It began to dawn on us that now being faced with a life-or-death situation that we were not living the last few years and certainly not living well and so The Head Plan was born. It shouldn’t take a moment like this to start living!
What is your number 1 tip for anyone struggling to overcome entrepreneurial overwhelm and keep going?
It is totally normal to feel this way from time to time but don’t let it take over you. Believe in yourself and bring the best version of you to every day because that’s all we have is the day in front of us.
Denise Kenny Founder of The Head Plan