What we learned at our Cork #HearfromHer event celebrating International Women’s Day 2019
Glandore’s “Hear from Her” event for International Women’s Day was inspired by the desire to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the women in their community and afford them the visibility they deserve as leaders in their field.
We believe that female role models in business are hugely powerful in changing attitudes and empowering women at all stages in their careers. As the saying goes “You can’t be what you can’t see”. Over the past three years, we have been so fortunate to hear from inspirational and humble women who collectively are making a significant impact on a social, economic, cultural and political level both in Ireland and Internationally.
We were delighted to bring our Hear from Her event to Cork for the first time this International Women’s Day 2019, in partnership with the Cork Entrepreneurs Network.
This year’s panel discussion was around the theme of Balance for Better. The event opened to a lively and engaged crowd at Glandore Cork, City Quarter, Lapps Quay where Glandore Director, Rebecca Kelly welcomed our panellists and guests for the evening. Co-partner of the event in Cork was Laura O’Connell of the Cork Entrepreneurs Network and our moderator for the evening, who introduced the panellists which included Clare Kelly, Director of Glandore and founder of the annual Hear from Her event celebrating International Women’s Day. We also heard from Gillian Keating, Partner at Ronan Daly Jermyn, past president of the Cork Chamber of Commerce and co-founder of I WISH; Sarah Abbott, Glandore member and founder of The People Practice, which focusses on talent strategies to prepare senior leaders for the future and Ciara Crossan, tech entrepreneur and founder of Wedding Dates.
With so many inspiring and interesting speakers from the evening, we have decided to share some of the things we learned from our panellists.
Take confidence from the confidence that people place in you
Gillian Keating spoke to the audience about the steps in her past that led to the impressive experience she holds today. Partner at law firm Ronan Daly Jermyn (RDJ), Gillian leads RDJ’s Corporate and Commercial department and the firm’s Technology and Life Sciences groups. Gillian felt, to better understand her clients and the challenges they were facing, a positive impact would be to get involved in the Cork Chamber of Commerce initially joining their transport committee. Later, she was asked if she would take on the role of President of the Cork Chamber of Commerce. Gillian spoke of how she felt honoured to be asked but ‘totally unequipped’ and how she didn’t feel that she was best placed to represent the strong membership that the Chamber had.
However, it struck her that “You need to take confidence from the confidence that people place in you.” Looking back, Gillian states that taking on the big role of the presidency was one of the best decisions she made in her life, giving her the skills and connections for a clearer insight into business in Cork. What the position also gave Gillian was the discovery that women weren’t operating in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) roles or developing STEM skills. According to Gillian, ‘These were skills that were clearly needed for work of the future.’ From this realisation, Gillian said that she ‘hatched an ambitious plan to introduce opportunities in STEM to young girls.’ From this, I WISH (Inspiring Women in Stem), the highly successful and award-winning social enterprise was born. I WISH is an initiative to inspire young women to consider careers in STEM and in this way help address the skills gap in STEM. ‘I see the pathway to empowering young women through STEM’ concluded Gillian.
We shouldn’t be frightened of fear
Sarah Abbott, leadership coach and founder of The People Practice has worked in senior global executive leadership roles in companies such as EMC and Apple. However, when it came to making the move to go out on her own, she felt fearful. Discussing how she always wanted to set up her own business, she realised what was stopping her was her relationship with fear. By not making a negative association with that emotion, Sarah decided that fear didn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Instead, she embraced it, and founded The People Practice in 2017.
In referencing her acceptance into the ‘Global Ambassadors Programme’ last year, Ciara Crossan, founder of Wedding Dates, talked openly about the feeling of fear and suffering from “imposter syndrome”. ‘I’m not a crier but I cried my eyes out because I was so overwhelmed in being there, absorbing everything and the amazing opportunity,’ said Ciara, and continued to talk of how impressive all of the women, mentees and mentors involved were. Ciara told the audience how she said to her mentor, who was SVP of Client Services at Bank of America at the time, ‘I don’t belong here.’ Her mentor responded by saying ‘That is absolute rubbish.’ Ciara knew that she needed to push that fear of failure aside, as well as the feeling of “imposter syndrome” and say to herself, ‘I was picked for this programme for a reason and I deserve to be here.’
“Balance for Better” means better balance for all
Clare Kelly, Director of Irish, family-business Glandore spoke of how important balance is in today’s modern workplace. Clare is a fellow director alongside her two sisters and talked about how going back to full-time work after having a baby is a struggle and a challenge in any business, let alone a family business where each of the Kelly sisters have taken maternity leave in recent years. She said, ‘As a family business, we’re very mindful of the whole team achieving work-life balance,’ Clare continued to say that ‘It was one of the things we were quite passionate about when re-looking at our maternity policy three years ago.’ She went on to tell the audience how Glandore equalised family pay across the board for both male and female employees, offering the same enhanced pay for both, during the same period of time. ‘We made a decision, as a family, that we would like to give that benefit to other families who were working with us. That’s our attempt to offer balance for better for our employees, and internally to give people themselves the time for a better balance at home.’
Look after yourself and be limitless
‘You can’t pour from an empty cup.’ Ciara Crossan spoke about this important phrase that she thinks about every day, which reminds her to constantly to take care of herself first. She says ‘If I’m taken care of, I can take care of my children, the business and anything else that comes my way.’ While some may feel guilty or apologetic in doing so, Ciara reminded us that it’s up to women to change this narrative. ‘If anyone says “Oh you’re very good to yourself”, just say “Yes I am!”’ she declared.
Sarah Abbott shared an interesting statistic with group: 80% of The People Practice’s individual clients who come for coaching are male. Her hypostasis is that men aren’t afraid to ask. ‘They aren’t afraid to say I deserve a coach,’ she said. ‘Women often feel like they have to solve everything themselves. There’s a piece there that we have to get out of our own stereotype.’ In referencing a client who had had a baby and who asked, ‘I’m okay to come back after three months right? I’m a senior Director, I can’t afford to be out of work,’ Sarah made the point that often, we set our own limits, unnecessarily.
See the full album of images from the event here.
A female-led, family-run business since 2001, Glandore is the leading provider of flexible workspace in Ireland, with nine locations across Cork, Dublin and Belfast. Please get in touch for more information.