Posts Tagged ‘women’s day’

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