Posts Tagged ‘female leaders’

Inspiration from some of Ireland’s Leading Female Executives to celebrate National Women’s Enterprise Day 2021

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

In celebration of National Women’s Enterprise Day, Voltedge Management invited some colleagues to share some of their own experiences and thoughts on their success and building the future – the theme of this year.

Their inspiring words on careers and role models, and the biggest opportunities and challenges for building the future are truly insightful.

 

Charlotte Barker, Chief Executive of the Institute of Designers in Ireland

Ellen Gunning, CEO of the Global Institute for Public Relations

Geraldine Langan, Chief Operating Officer of LanganBach Services Ltd

Lorna Maguire, Client Services Director at TITAN Experience

Siobhán Finn, National Hub Network Manager at the NACEC

 

To all female executives, best wishes on this day and take a moment to acknowledge your success and contribution to business and society in general.

If you would like to share your own insights please call us our office 01 525 2914 or email us on info@voltedge.ie.

Inspiration from Charlotte Barker, Chief Executive of the Institute of Designers in Ireland, to celebrate National Women’s Enterprise Day 2021

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

As we look forward, we want to help “Build the Future”. We asked Charlotte Barker, Chief Executive of the Institute of Designers in Ireland, to share with us some insights on her experiences and how she draws inspiration from the environment around her, role models she had during her career, and what is, in her opinion, the biggest opportunity and the biggest challenge for building the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voltedge: What is your current role and how long you have held this position?

Charlotte: I am the Chief Executive of the Institute of Designers in Ireland, the professional membership organisation representing designers from all disciplines such as product design, digital design, strategic design and more. I was appointed in September 2021 and am the first Chief Executive to be appointed to lead the strategic vision of IDI’s board of Directors.  

Voltedge: Where do you draw inspiration from? 

Charlotte:  Everywhere! I am a sponge, finding inspiration and joy in the smallest of things on a daily basis. I do believe though that people are my biggest influence, I find human beings and human behaviour fascinating and a constant riddle that needs to be solved.

Voltedge: During the course of your career, was there a role model or mentor that stands out for you? 

Charlotte: I was fortunate enough to have a mentor who was the Group Managing Director of a leading retail design agency in London, at a pivotal time in my life when I felt I needed a guiding light through my career. Struggling to balance a young family and the pressures of career progression is certainly not easy, and all too often spells the end for incredible, talented women who don’t have the support through these times and can’t see an end to the exhaustion. Having my mentor, Ros, gave me a chance to talk through all the thoughts in my mind about my working day, validate my thinking and tip me in the right direction.

Voltedge: What do you think the biggest opportunity is right now for building the future?

Charlotte: I may be biased, but I would say that it’s design. We are seeing a huge surge in our industry as the demand for human-centred responses to the crisis we have been through has shown many just how powerful design can be. Focusing on human beings is a means to providing the best solution to products, to services, to the spaces we share and the planet we inhabit. Design-led responses allow us all to challenge the processes and norms that we have become accustomed to.

Voltedge: What do you think the biggest challenge is right now for building the future? 

Charlotte: Investment in people, planet, and profit equally. While we remain fixated on economic success, we deplete our natural resources and burn out our people. This has to be led from the top, and in the developed world we are slow to move.  

Voltedge: Can you share with us 2 or 3 positives in your personal life that you have discovered over the last 18 months? 

Charlotte: Getting away from the mad dash of life and having better quality time at home as a family has meant we’ve enjoyed each other’s company more! It’s not great to get together late every day when everyone is tired and it’s a treadmill of cajoling kids to do homework, have dinner, baths and bed. Now there is time to discuss the day, eat earlier, laugh more. I’ve also enjoyed having time to read more; I love the escapism of fiction and have really enjoyed some super books this year. Finally, the power of community has been incredibly strong, and I am fortunate enough to live beside neighbours that I now count very much as friends.

Voltedge: What is your favourite quote and why?

Charlotte: ‘It is what it is, we are where we are’ – Not a literary quote, but a former client of mine used to say it! It’s a way of not dwelling on the past, accepting the present, and realising you have the power to change the future. No use crying over spilled milk!

The Institute of Designers in Ireland is the largest and oldest association of Irish design professionals, and longest established creative forum in Ireland. IDI is committed to advancing the value and impact of design – inspiring, supporting and learning from one another along the way.

 

Inspiration from Ellen Gunning, CEO of the Global Institute for Public Relations (GIPR), to celebrate National Women’s Enterprise Day 2021

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

As we look forward, we want to help “Build the Future”. We asked Ellen Gunning, CEO of the Global Institute for Public Relations (GIPR), to share with us some insights on her experiences and how she draws inspiration from the environment around her, role models she had during her career, and what is, in her opinion, the biggest opportunity and the biggest challenge for building the future.

Voltedge: What is your current role and how long you have held this position?

 Ellen: This is a great time to ask this question. I have just this week begun to work as CEO of the Global Institute for Public Relations (GIPR). The GIPR was previously known as Irish Academy of Public Relations and I had been the director there for almost 30 years. We have just re-branded to reflect the global nature of our clients who are based in 50 countries around the world. We felt that the old name did not reflect the fact that we have a joint venture in the Middle East and a partnership in Greece, for example. So technically, this is my first week in my new job!

 Voltedge: Where do you draw inspiration from?

 Ellen:  I am inspired by the industry that I work in – PR is very dynamic! I’m inspired by the people I work with – I have a fantastic team of hard working creatives. I am inspired by other industry leaders and thought leaders who share their vision and their back-stories and encourage us all to do more and do better! I am also inspired by books – I’m never done reading, even if I only get to skim-read most books! And, of course, I’m inspired by my husband whose view of the world is utterly different to mine – he is an artist – and who never ceases to amaze me with his vision.

 

Voltedge: During the course of your career, was there a role model or mentor that stands out for you?

 Ellen: Undoubtedly my mother. I am the eldest of four children and my mother brought us all up to believe that we could do absolutely anything. She simply did not know how to dampen our enthusiasm for success, in whatever area we were interested in. My father has now assumed that role. He shares a deep interest in communications and offers unquestioning support and love no matter what I get up to.

Voltedge: What do you think the biggest opportunity is right now for building the future?

Ellen: I believe that the future lies in the hands of those who have the ability to gain insights from data. We are all drowning in data but very few people can analyse and draw conclusions successfully. The future is in AI and Machine Learning that makes this possible. The future will be owned by the visionaries who are first to adopt the technology. Speed is of the essence.

Voltedge: What do you think the biggest challenge is right now for building the future?

 Ellen: The biggest challenge is possibly the changing life expectancy of people who now want to change career paths multiple times during their lives to suit the lifestyle that they have chosen. People are demanding a satisfaction from their work environment that wasn’t previously present. This is a challenge because the ‘length of service’ of employees will continue to shorten as we progress. The upside, of course, is that employees now are much more multi-skilled that previously. From the perspective of GIPR these employees also travel more and upskill at different times in their lives.

 Voltedge: Can you share with us 2 or 3 positives in your personal life that you have discovered over the last 18 months?

 Ellen: I have re-discovered the value of family and now set aside time each week for my father and my mother-in-law (and nothing interrupts it). I found that I really enjoy working on my own as much as I enjoy working with others – which was a real surprise. And I also discovered that I really am addicted to travel. I missed business travel so much. I can’t wait to get back to doing business with different cultures, on different continents, in person. I work with people that I am genuinely interested in, so I really enjoy interactive time with them!

Voltedge: What is your favourite quote and why?

Ellen: My favourite quote has to be this: If you believe you can do it – you can. If you believe you can’t do – you definitely can’t. I subscribe to the can-do theory!

 

Inspiration from Geraldine Langan, Chief Operating Officer of LanganBach Services Limited, to celebrate National Women’s Enterprise Day 2021

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

As we look forward, we want to help “Build the Future”. We asked Geraldine Langan, Chief Operating Officer of LanganBach Services Limited, to share with us some insights on her experiences and how she draws inspiration from the environment around her, role models she had during her career, and what is, in her opinion, the biggest opportunity and the biggest challenge for building the future.

Voltedge: What is your current role and how long you have held this position?

Geraldine: I am the Chief Operating Officer of LanganBach Services Limited, a role I have held since 2017.

 Voltedge: Where do you draw inspiration from?

Geraldine: Our dedicated and professional team have been with us for over 10 years, and we will be celebrating 30 years in business next year.  As an essential service we were at the forefront in providing essential supplies to the HSE and all our customers during the pandemic. The resilience and determination shown by the team during that difficult time, in continuing to provide excellent customer service to all our customers, is where I draw my inspiration.

Voltedge: During the course of your career, was there a role model or mentor that stands out for you?

Geraldine: Over the years, I have been very fortunate to meet and be guided by several inspiring women in business, in  particular Paula Fitzsimons, National Director of the  Going for Growth programme, a wonderful initiative, that supports female leaders in business. I would also have to mention Emeritus Professor Alan Mullally of Trinity College Dublin,  who has been of tremendous support as a guide, mentor, and friend throughout my business and academic career.

Voltedge: What do you think the biggest opportunity is right now for building the future?

Geraldine: The pandemic brought immense challenges to our customers and we will continue to engage in new partnerships and seek out new innovations that are emerging in the Medical Diagnostics Industry, to further meet their needs.

Voltedge: What do you think the biggest challenge is right now for building the future?

Geraldine: Adapting to a post pandemic world and the impact that Brexit is having will continue to pose a challenge.

Voltedge: Can you share with us 2 or 3 positives in your personal life that you have discovered over the last 18 months?

Geraldine: I have lived in County Wicklow for many years and for the first time, during lockdown, I realised that I had never really appreciated the beauty of where I live. As a family we went on many walks and the importance of being present with them at that time and not thinking of other things was a valuable and positive  lesson. I also went back to playing the piano which I have not done for many years.

Voltedge: What is your favourite quote and why?

Geraldine: As I really enjoy a cup of tea, it had to be “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water” Eleanor Roosevelt.

 

LanganBach Services is committed to continuing our legacy of excellence in customer service, supplier engagement and innovation. Leaders in the distribution of Diagnostic Kits and Reagent, Laboratory equipment and consumables to healthcare professionals in the Medical, Industry and Research & Development Sectors.

 

Inspiration from Lorna Maguire, Client Services Director at TITAN Experience, to celebrate National Women’s Enterprise Day 2021

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

As we look forward, we want to help “Build the Future”. We asked Lorna Maguire, Client Services Director at TITAN Experience, to share with us some insights on her experiences and how she draws inspiration from the environment around her, role models she had during her career, and what is, in her opinion, the biggest opportunity and the biggest challenge for building the future.

Voltedge: What is your current role and how long you have held this position?

Lorna: My current role is Client Services Director at TITAN Experience. I’ll be in this position for 2 years now, come November.

Voltedge: Where do you draw inspiration from?

Lorna:  Many places… The super team I work with, peers, books, articles, and constant research. We pride ourselves on being an insight driven agency so naturally I’m always on the lookout for new concepts and fresh thinking to bring to our clients.

Voltedge: During the course of your career, was there a role model or mentor that stands out for you? 

Lorna: I’ve been very lucky to have had some amazing role models to lean on throughout my career to date. Eavan Mulligan, a previous Director in TITAN, who I worked with for a couple of years is somebody whom I learnt a lot from – even if she doesn’t realise it! Eavan’s work ethic, commitment to exceptionally high standards, and ability to always see the bigger picture are aspects I’ve tried to take forward in my own working life. I’m also lucky to call her a friend.

Voltedge: What do you think the biggest opportunity is right now for building the future?

Lorna: For me, it’s the breadth of young and skilled talent in Ireland. We need to listen to the leaders of our future and give them the forums to be heard. To me, age really is just a number – if you have the ability, the wiliness to learn, the drive to exceed, and are empathic along the way, then no position should be off limits, in a lot of circumstances.

Voltedge: What do you think the biggest challenge is right now for building the future?

Lorna: To maintain a collaborative culture in this increasingly virtual world. Whilst remote working has given us all the opportunity to achieve a better work/life balance, the challenge now is to build and maintain those wonderful team dynamics, ensure team development and encourage team collaboration. 

Voltedge: Can you share with us 2 or 3 positives in your personal life that you have discovered over the last 18 months? 

Lorna: Family is everything.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Be present.

Voltedge: What is your favourite quote and why?

Lorna: ‘You get what you give’ because it applies to all aspects of life – both work and personal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At TITAN EXPERIENCE we work with global brands, rights holders and sponsors, to invigorate, arouse and connect through the unique energy of sport. We create exceptional experiences to connect brands and rights holders to their target audiences and internal stakeholders.

 

 

Inspiration from Siobhán Finn, National Hub Network Manager at NACEC, to celebrate National Women’s Enterprise Day 2021

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

As we look forward, we want to help “Build the Future”. We asked Siobhán Finn, National Hub Network Manager at NACEC, to share with us some insights on her experiences and how she draws inspiration from the environment around her, role models she had during her career, and what is, in her opinion, the biggest opportunity and the biggest challenge for building the future.

 

Voltedge: What is your current role and how long you have held this position?

Siobhán: I joined the National Association of Community Enterprise Centres in early January this year, right at the outset of the third lockdown! As National Hub Network Manager, I am responsible for building the organisation, delivering the organisation’s strategy and developing strong, productive and collaborative working relationships with multiple partners and stakeholders. 

Voltedge: Where do you draw inspiration from?

Siobhán: The people I share my values with – trust, respect and integrity; the community of people I work with; my daughter whose belief in doing right for the world is unwavering; and the ‘knowing’ that self-belief has the power to change so much.

Voltedge: During the course of your career, was there a role model or mentor that stands out for you?

Siobhán: There were several over the course of my career, however Pat McGrath, the former CEO of the PM Group, is a standout for me. Pat is a highly experienced board chair and executive and I learnt so much from him during his tenure as Chairperson with the Cork Innovates Partnership.

Voltedge: What do you think the biggest opportunity is right now for building the future?

Siobhán: The post-Covid recovery offers us a real opportunity to ‘build back better’; this time in our lives is a real opportunity to reflect, re-evaluate, and reimagine the ways in which we want to create positive change in our world, our local communities and how we live our lives into the future – creating a better place for our families and our communities and leaving a legacy for our children that really counts!

Voltedge: What do you think the biggest challenge is right now for building the future?

Siobhán: To make change happen, we need to think differently, and build regionally. As we live the ‘new normal’ we must remember to hold onto what we have learnt about ourselves, the communities in which we live and put those learnings to good use for a better future.  It can be easy to lose valuable learnings as the pace of life runs away with us all.

 Voltedge: Can you share with us 2 or 3 positives in your personal life that you have discovered over the last 18 months?

Siobhán: I’ve had a really busy 10 years raising a young daughter (now a teenager) and changing my life direction in my 40s. I turned 50 right before Covid. This time, when sometimes it felt like the world stool still, has reminded me how much I love being in nature, in the outdoors and how much I enjoy walking for hours on end. I am an introvert by nature and this time showed me how much I value the company of people and what being in the presence of positive people can do for you. It taught me the importance of being in the presence of those I love and respect the most.

Voltedge: What is your favourite quote and why?

Siobhán: Be true to yourself!

 

The National Association of Community Enterprise Centres (NACEC) represents a network of 250+ Enterprise Ireland funded centres and hubs across the Republic of Ireland.

Formally established in 2008 and drawing together a number of pre-existing regional networks, NACEC’s primary role is to support and develop the interests of community enterprise on a national basis.

Join us in celebrating these Inspiring and Successful Female Leaders on International Women’s Day 2021

Friday, March 5th, 2021

Voltedge Management is marking International Women’s Day 2021 by celebrating these six outstanding female leaders, each of whom have achieved exceptional accomplishments in their area of expertise.

We met up with them (virtually of course) and asked them to share with us some of their career and business insights and how they draw inspiration from the environment around them, role models they had during their careers, some advice on coping during Covid-19, and what “Choose to Challenge” means to them.

Inspiration and insights from Angela Tynan, Manager of Nutgrove Enterprise Park

Inspiration and insights from Jo Ballot, Clinical Research Manager at St. Vincent’s University Hospital

Inspiration and insights from Karen Hernandez, Senior Executive at Enterprise Ireland

Inspiration and insights from Lynda Quinn, Head of Human Resources with Tourism Ireland

Inspiration and insights from Mary Connaughton, Director of CIPD Ireland

Inspiration and insights from Nathalie Rowell, CEO of the Virdis Group

In celebrating these outstanding female leaders, Voltedge Management extends our very best wishes to them for continued success in their careers, fulfilment and happiness in life and to thank them for their inspiring words.

If you have any enquiries regarding this article or any other topic we have covered, please call us our office 01 525 2914 or email us on info@voltedge.ie.

Inspiration from Lynda Quinn, Head of Human Resources with Tourism Ireland, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021

Friday, March 5th, 2021

We asked Lynda Quinn, Head of Human Resources with Tourism Ireland to share with us some insights on her experiences and how she draws inspiration from the environment around her, role models she had during her careers, the best advice she received since Covid-19 hit the world, and what does the slogan “Choose to Challenge” mean to her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tourism Ireland is responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination. The Leaning Tower of Pisa and the London Eye are two of the iconic sites which will join Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening to mark St Patrick’s Day 2021.

Voltedge: What is your current role and how long you have held this position?

Lynda: I am Head of Human Resources with Tourism Ireland. I took up this position in September 2020.

Voltedge: Where do you draw inspiration from?

Lynda: My children are a constant source of inspiration for me.  Their sense of curiosity and wonder never ceases to amaze me. Their ability to cope and adapt to the COVID world has inspired me on those days where I may have struggled to make sense of all that was happening.

Voltedge: During the course of your career, was there a role model or mentor that stands out for you?

Lynda: A number of mentors come to mind.  I am very fortunate to have worked with great leaders and mentors over the years and have always sought out their advice. Being surrounded by people who are passionate about what they do is what drives me forward.

Voltedge: What is the best piece of advice you received since Covid-19 hit the world?

Lynda: We’re certainly living in unprecedented and very challenging times, so one of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given is to take one day at a time – don’t be too hard on yourself!

Voltedge: Can you share with us 2 or 3 positives in your personal life that you have discovered during the pandemic?

Lynda: Like so many other people who’ve been working from home since last spring, one of the positives for me has included being able to spend more quality time with my family. I’ve regained many hours previously spent commuting to the office each week, which has meant a less frantic lifestyle for me. The COVID crisis has shown that it is possible to work effectively from home, without the stress of dealing with rush hour traffic and long commutes.

I now have more time to focus on my own wellbeing and have tried many different pastimes over the last 12 months – from baking, to cycling, to yoga to sea swimming.  I haven’t found that one thing that I am truly passionate about, but I am enjoying having the time to explore all these new activities.

Voltedge: In light of so much remote working and social distancing, what practices or approach have you taken to try to communicate and collaborate effectively during this time and to support employees?

Lynda: Having taken up my role with Tourism Ireland in the middle of the pandemic I have not had the opportunity to meet most of my colleagues face to face. Even though we can’t meet in person for now, we’ve become really good at maximising the use of ICT for communication and collaboration. I have regular meetings with my own team on Teams/Zoom, so that we stay as connected as possible. I’ve also created a dynamic ‘wellness hub’ on our organisation’s intranet, which has become a really useful tool for staff. It includes a mindfulness section, tips for nutrition and healthy eating when working for home, as well as an ‘ideas hub’ for staff members to upload their own suggestions.

Voltedge: What does the slogan ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?

Lynda: For me, ‘Choose to Challenge’ is about working to create a gender-equal world and greater inclusion in the workplace. It’s about actively challenging or calling out inequality or gender bias when I see it and, more positively, consciously celebrating the achievements of women.

Voltedge: What is your favourite quote and why?  

Lynda: ‘Be kind’ – in these very strange times we have never needed to say this as much as we do now, whether it is with our family, our friends, our colleagues or ourselves!  Life is really challenging for all of us right now so just by being a little bit kinder will help us get through this – with our sanity intact!

 

Inspiration from Karen Hernandez, Senior Executive at Enterprise Ireland, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021

Friday, March 5th, 2021

We asked Karen Hernandez, Senior Executive at Enterprise Ireland to share with us some insights on her experiences and how she draws inspiration from the environment around her, role models she had during her careers, the best advice she received since Covid-19 hit the world, and what does the slogan “Choose to Challenge” mean to her.

 

 

 

Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. We work in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales on global markets. In this way, we support sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment. Further details on the organisation and its services are available at www.enterprise-ireland.com.

Voltedge: What is your current role and how long you have held this position?

Karen: For the past four years I’ve been working as a senior executive at Enterprise Ireland, leading the agency’s centre of excellence in organisational development to support SME growth and job creation. In this role, myself and my team regularly engage one-on-one with companies to support them to put in place the appropriate organisational structures, capability and HR processes to drive business growth.  Prior to this role, I worked as a senior programme manager within Enterprise Ireland, designing and delivering development programmes to support client companies better innovate, increase export sales and scale effectively.  Before joining Enterprise Ireland, almost 15 years ago, I worked in the banking sector, across several HR and business functions.

Voltedge: Where do you draw inspiration from?

Karen: I’m one of those people who loves getting up early, before everyone in the house is awake.  Since the pandemic started, I’ve continued to get up at my usual time, even though I’m working from home.  I use this time to think, to reflect on the day ahead and to exercise.  I run almost every day and I find it gives me the opportunity to think through challenges I’m facing at work and to create new ideas.  Sometimes I just run in silence and let my thoughts flow and other times I listen to music or podcasts.  I always return home with a renewed energy and motivation to face the day ahead.

Voltedge: During the course of your career, was there a role model or mentor that stands out for you?

Karen: I had a couple of very strong female managers when I worked in the banking industry.  Even though I was quite young at the time they gave me the opportunity to work with and influence senior management early on in my career.  This enabled me to find my unique voice within the workplace and have confidence in the value I bring to my role.

Voltedge: What is the best piece of advice you received since Covid-19 hit the world?

Karen: There are a couple of pieces of advice that have resonated with me and which have helped me through the ups and downs of the past 12 months. The first is to take each day at a time. I am, by nature, a planner and like to have my weeks and months mapped out in advance. However, we’re living in a very uncertain world at present and no-one knows what the coming months will bring. Although it was uncomfortable at first, I’m getting used to thinking and planning in terms of today and this week and not worrying too much about what I’ll be doing in 3 or 6 months’ time.

The second piece of advice is that it’s ok not to feel ok. This pandemic has impacted all of us in very unique ways and it’s hard not to have days when we’re feeling down. We need to all look out for family members or work colleagues who may be struggling and be there for them and provide whatever support they need.

Voltedge: Can you share with us 2 or 3 positives in your personal life that you have discovered during the pandemic?

Karen: One of the benefits that the pandemic has brought is that it’s opened up more time in my day to focus on personal and family activities. Although I find I’m working longer days because I’m not commuting, I still make time every morning to exercise and I try to get out of the house for a quick walk with the dog at lunch time.

Because a lot of the kids’ activities have been cancelled, we’re now spending more time together as a family during the evening time, whether that be having dinner together or a pizza and movie night at the weekend. Having this time as a family is incredibly special to me and it’ll be important to continue these activities as much as possible once we’re out of the pandemic.

Voltedge: In light of so much remote working and social distancing, what practices or approach have you taken to try to communicate and collaborate effectively during this time and to support employees?

Karen: As I’ve already mentioned, I’m conscious that this pandemic is affecting people in different ways and at different times. Regardless of the level of work I have, I try to stay in touch with my team and colleagues as much as possible, to check in with them as to how they’re doing on a daily basis and to be there for them if they’re having a difficult day.

During the first six months of remote working, I hosted a daily catch-up session with the wider team of 20 people – this was primarily a well-being initiative where we all caught up for 10 to 15 minutes and chatted about non-work activities.  In hindsight, this was a really critical initiative as it brought us closer as a team and laid the foundations for how we all communicate now with each other as we continue to work remotely.

Voltedge: What does the slogan ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?

Karen: To me the phrase ‘Choose to Challenge’ reminds me that I need to proactively look for opportunities to change and challenge things that I perceive as unfair, whether that be at work, at home or in my community. I truly believe that each one of us can make a difference and if we all take just one action to promote or to challenge inequality, we can have an incredible impact.

Voltedge: What is your favourite quote and why?  

Karen: One of my favourite quotes is from Henry Ford who said ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right’.  We can all easily find excuses and talk ourselves out of doing things that are hard.  The truth is that we never know what we can achieve unless we try.

Having self-belief and picking ourselves up when we fail is so important. When I first started running ten years ago I struggled to run to the end of my road. I never imagined I’d be able to run 10km, let alone a half-marathon.  Life is full of so many opportunities and I don’t want to look back on my life when I’m older regretting not having made the best of all that I could.

Inspiration from Nathalie Rowell, CEO of the VirdisGroup, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021

Friday, March 5th, 2021

We asked Nathalie Rowell, CEO of the VirdisGroup to share with us some insights on her experiences and how she draws inspiration from the environment around her, role models she had during her careers, the best advice she received since Covid-19 hit the world, and what does the slogan “Choose to Challenge” mean to her.

 

 

 

 

The VirdisGroup provides high quality, international executive search services to life-science companies of every size; and for roles from R&D, regulatory and manufacturing to market access and commercialisation.

We become trusted advisors for our clients, and help their organisations grow through the quality and strength of their people.

We are a deliberately small and highly focused team of experienced individuals, bringing specialist insight, substantial added-value, and a track-record of successful delivery for the benefit of our clients and candidates.

Voltedge: What is your current role and how long you have held this position?

Nathalie: I am the CEO of the VirdisGroup. I have been in that position since 2007.

Voltedge: Where do you draw inspiration from?

Nathalie: I draw inspiration from the outstanding people I work with, my team, our clients and candidates.

Voltedge: During the course of your career, was there a role model or mentor that stands out for you?

Nathalie: Not really.

Voltedge: What is the best piece of advice you received since Covid-19 hit the world?

Nathalie: Keep focused.

Voltedge: Can you share with us 2 or 3 positives in your personal life that you have discovered during the pandemic?

Nathalie: 1. One can do more with less. 2. The love and support of my family, not that it was a discovery. Still, it felt good that it was there, stronger than ever.

Voltedge: In light of so much remote working and social distancing, what practices or approach have you taken to try to communicate and collaborate effectively during this time and to support employees?

Nathalie: All of us have been very proactive in using Teams, WhatsApp to keep in touch, make a conscious effort to look out for each other, be more patient and tolerant, be systematic in communicating openly, emphasising that every single one of us has a voice.

Voltedge: What does the slogan ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?

Nathalie: As long as it is constructive and benevolent, I am all for it.

Voltedge: What is your favourite quote and why?  

Nathalie: Whatever it takes! It is our motto and all of us at Virdis have been living every minute, every letter of that sentence for the past 13 years.

Inspiration from Mary Connaughton, Director of CIPD Ireland, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021

Friday, March 5th, 2021

We asked Mary Connaughton, Director of CIPD Ireland to share with us some insights on her experiences and how she draws inspiration from the environment around her, role models she had during her careers, the best advice she received since Covid-19 hit the world, and what does the slogan “Choose to Challenge” mean to her.

 

 

 

 

CIPD Ireland is the professional body for HR and people development – experts on the world of work and career partner to 6,000 members in Ireland and more than 150,000 members around the world.

Voltedge: What is your current role and how long you have held this position?

Mary: I am Director of CIPD Ireland and have been in my role for 5 years.

Voltedge: Where do you draw inspiration from?

Mary: I’m lucky that I get to meet and hear so many HR leaders and top speakers, and I’m continuously humbled by their principled approach and commitment. Got lots out of an interview of Professor Tom Kochan, MIT Sloan School of Management by Prof Bill Roche last year.

Voltedge: During the course of your career, was there a role model or mentor that stands out for you?

Mary: I have drawn on different role models at different stages of my career – always looking for someone who inspires. Had a great boss at one point who showed great leadership, balanced support and challenge and resolved issues.

Voltedge: What is the best piece of advice you received since Covid-19 hit the world?

Mary: Stay positive and focus on the things that you can control.

Voltedge: Can you share with us 2 or 3 positives in your personal life that you have discovered during the pandemic?

Mary: Baking is a lovely mindful activity – I had got out of the habit and now enjoy it with my daughter. Finding the time to reach out to call those that I hadn’t been in touch with, both friends and distant relatives.

Voltedge: In light of so much remote working and social distancing, what practices or approach have you taken to try to communicate and collaborate effectively during this time and to support employees?

Mary: Always put wellbeing first – starting by asking people how they are doing and how much they are investing in managing their own wellbeing.

Voltedge: What does the slogan ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?

Mary: We’ve had an interesting discussion on this – is it about choices I have made to challenge or not, is it about individuals or is it about organisations. So for me it’s about encouraging people to challenge the status quo. In our silence we are saying something is acceptable, even when we know it’s not.

Voltedge: What is your favourite quote and why?  

Mary: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – translated to be treat everyone with respect and fairness, as I would like to be treated.

Inspiration from Jo Ballot, Clinical Research Manager at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021

Friday, March 5th, 2021

We asked Jo Ballot, Clinical Research Manager at St. Vincent’s University Hospital to share with us some insights on her experiences and how she draws inspiration from the environment around her, role models she had during her careers, the best advice she received since Covid-19 hit the world, and what does the slogan “Choose to Challenge” mean to her.

 

 

 

 

 

Voltedge: What is your current role and how long you have held this position?

Jo: I work as the oncology clinical research manager at Clinical Cancer Research Trust charity located in St Vincent’s University Hospital , leading a team of research nurses, data managers and research assistants. Together, we facilitate access to new treatment options for oncology  patients . I have worked in Oncology Research for over 20 years and am in my present position since 2011.

Voltedge: Where do you draw inspiration from?

Jo: My inspiration is derived from being part of a team which offers the latest cancer treatment options  to patients through the clinical trial process with the goal of extending their lives. There is huge satisfaction to see new oncology treatments becoming approved for the use to a wider patient population resulting  from our research team and patients collaboration.

Voltedge: During the course of your career, was there a role model or mentor that stands out for you?

Jo: Throughout my career, I have worked with many inspirational role models, nurses, doctors, scientists and pharmacists, however there are certain patients who continuously stand out, their ability to plough on, their ongoing resilience, in the face of extreme adversity. I get huge job satisfaction and drive because of their ability to keep going.

Voltedge: What is the best piece of advice you received since Covid-19 hit the world?

Jo: This too will pass.

Voltedge: Can you share with us 2 or 3 positives in your personal life that you have discovered during the pandemic?

Jo: My down time has become leisurely, for the obvious reasons but I have learnt to enjoy a slower and more pleasurable pace, traditionally, my downtime was busy, too busy at times. I am definitely enjoying my garden more, no longer seeing it as a chore, and I am delighted to be still sea swimming since last March. I am surprising and delighting myself with each dip. It has become a lovely refresh and rebalance opportunity each weekend. I also qualified as a Yoga Teacher last September and am slowly exploring some teaching online.

Voltedge: In light of so much remote working and social distancing, what practices or approach have you taken to try to communicate and collaborate effectively during this time and to support employees?

Jo: We  have been hospital based for the majority of the year with some remote working which took time to figure out communication paths, we were lucky that we lived within close radius to the hospital and each other, so frequent detours via bike to drop work packages. We meet as a team weekly on Microsoft Teams and agreed collectively to turn on cameras and take a moment to check in on a social level and a final roundup at close of meeting to share forthcoming weeks work.  . We have been creative regarding on line celebrations of Christmas party, ‘ noughty ‘ birthday  and other events during throughout the year. A few random quizzes have provided a refresh/reset button .  Next up is the  St Patricks Day Quiz and board game challenge.

Voltedge: What does the slogan ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?

Jo: Simply, I have a voice, I can choose to use it positively to speak out against traditionally accepted inequalities and less favourable opportunities available to other people, in my work and personal life.

Voltedge: What is your favourite quote and why?  

Jo: My favourite work quote is a hybrid of practical attitude and hopeful thinking, my almost daily quote is ‘It is what it is’ but balanced by ‘tomorrow is another day’.

Inspiration from Angela Tynan, Manager of Nutgrove Enterprise Park, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021

Friday, March 5th, 2021

We asked Angela Tynan, Manager of Nutgrove Enterprise Park to share with us some insights on her experiences and how she draws inspiration from the environment around her, role models she had during her careers, the best advice she received since Covid-19 hit the world, and what does the slogan “Choose to Challenge” mean to her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutgrove Enterprise Park supports the development of enterprise in the South Dublin area providing affordable and flexible workspace, together with advice and information to the start-up and growing business. Workspace includes offices, food and light industrial units, meeting and coworking space.

Voltedge: What is your current role and how long you have held this position?

Angela: Manager of Nutgrove Enterprise Park in Rathfarnham for past 11 years.  I also manage the Enterprising Women and Link Networks on behalf of Local Enterprise Office DLR together with the LEO and Enterprise Ireland Hi-Start programme.

Voltedge: Where do you draw inspiration from?

Angela: I am regularly amazed by the resilience and creativity that abounds in my entrepreneur networks and indeed our tenant companies in Nutgrove CEC.  Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have seen small businesses draw deep from their own resources, despite the negativity all around us and emerge with fresh ideas and the positivity to try a new approach. I am in awe of the true entrepreneurial mentality and tenacity.

Voltedge: During the course of your career, was there a role model or mentor that stands out for you?

Angela: In my early career in the ’80 and 90’s (when I most needed a mentor) the male dominated business world had dearth of female role models.  However, I don’t think I ever once asked anyone for guidance. In hindsight, if I had more confidence and self-belief, my imaginary mentor then (female or male) might have said “stop waiting for someone to notice how good you are” or “why did you not apply for that job”. I applaud those who pull other women up the ladder behind them, but we also need to include more people of colour and diversity.

Voltedge: What is the best piece of advice you received since Covid-19 hit the world?

Angela: Seek to understand the impact, or what might be going on behind the scenes before you judge – whether in personal interactions or in the business community. Many have struggled to adjust to enforced situations. An email response at 12 midnight from a busy parent is just a different way of working. The routine of 9 to 5 pre Covid-19 had already blurred into ‘always on’.  I think the challenge for business owners will be to take bold, imaginative measures to adopt flexible and remote working to keep the brightest talent invested and motivated.

Voltedge: Can you share with us 2 or 3 positives in your personal life that you have discovered during the pandemic?

Angela: A dog makes the round the block routine so much more tolerable!  Freddie – a frequently borrowed basset spaniel cross has tripped me up, made me laugh and orphaned countless gloves, but the pandemic world is a better place with him in it.

Adopt a time absorbing hobby. I accepted a ‘commission’ to knit a replacement for a fondly remembered fair isle jumper. Take it from me, it is simply not possible to think about  anything else, watch Netflix or drink wine while following an intricate vintage pattern with 5 balls of wool constantly entangling in your lap!

Voltedge: In light of so much remote working and social distancing, what practices or approach have you taken to try to communicate and collaborate effectively during this time and to support employees?

Angela: Understanding people’s personal circumstances and challenges – whether home-schooling or levels of self-motivation – agreeing a work process and then giving them your trust and support to get on with the job is, I believe the key.  Regular online meetings are of benefit, but nothing can replace face to mask-covered face for a personal check-in if possible – our water-cooler moments – pandemic style!

Voltedge: What does the slogan ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?

Angela: When your career is somewhat established, it is easy to allow yourself coast along and I’ve been more conscious in latter years of the ongoing need to push myself out of my comfort zone.  Being surrounded by entrepreneurs probably rubs off and I am conscious that my advice to them is that if you are not getting enjoyment from or being adequately rewarded for the hours you spend every day, then you need to adopt changes. Change is good and necessary, and we owe it to ourselves to use the third of our lives we spend at work to do something that rewards or inspires – ideally both.

Voltedge: What is your favourite quote and why?  

Angela: I love both these quotes and they summarise my interpretation of ‘Choose to Challenge’ beautifully!

“Find out what you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for it.” – Katharine Whitehorn

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” – Maya Angelou