In 2011, Vicki O'Toole, MD, JJ O'Toole Packaging was awarded the title of Overall Businesswoman of the Year. Here, she shares what winning meant to her and her business.
‘Since winning the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year award, I’m doing things I never thought I’d do,’ says Vicki O’Toole, managing director of JJ O’Toole Packaging, a 105-year-old family business that supplies packaging solutions to clients across the retail, industrial and food industries. From the distinctive monochrome, ribbon-tie carrier bags of luxury department store Brown Thomas to the elegant hatboxes used by iconic London store Selfridges, the company provides bespoke packaging solutions to 6,000 clients across the UK and Ireland.
Vicki is nothing if not resilient. A stay-at-home mum until she joined the family business in 2002, she took over as MD in 2005 while her husband Fergus worked part time. In 2010, she assumed full control of the company, but under the most dreadful of circumstances, the sudden death of Fergus. By making the choice to focus on building on the legacy of the company and concentrating on winning contracts, Vicki has continued to see the company through many challenges. With JJ O’Toole Ltd now being Ireland’s leading supplier of packaging and counting companies such as Selfridges, Newbridge Silverware, Avoca, Fenwick, Lloyds Pharmacies, Musgrave Group and Brown Thomas among their loyal customers, Vicki’s hard work speaks for itself. The company celebrated its centenary in 2014. With over 100 years of experience and expertise on their side, the future continues to look very bright indeed.
Vicki has steered the company through the recession, and fostered steady growth over the past few years. She admits she didn’t understand the importance of awards ceremonies until she won the IMAGE title in 2011 and believes it has impacted on her success growing the business. ‘Since the IMAGE awards, I’m constantly being approached to speak at business events, and this has boosted my confidence enormously. I believe in myself more, and in my business because of that.’
Photograph by Patrick Bolger
Read more: To enter the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year 2019.
Read more: To buy tickets to this year's gala event on November 25.
Read more: Stories from inspiring Irish businesswomen.