With our twelfth annual IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards just around the corner, we’re catching up with past winners to learn more about their jobs. Kay Connolly, Chief Executive Officer at St Vincent’s University Hospital, won Management Professional of the Year in 2016. She kindly sat down to talk us through her role, as well as sharing advice for nominees in this year’s awards.
How would you describe what you do day-to-day?
"Strategic management, medium to long-term. Driving change and quality improvements to ensure we maintain the high quality of service offered to our patients. Providing leadership, management and expertise, and making decisions with senior management colleagues, so that we can achieve the hospital’s strategic objectives. Visiting staff in the various departments, keeping up to date with the work they do on the ground. I spend a lot of my time walking around the hospital."
What inspired you to get into business management?
"Knowing that I would have a greater voice for the patient and for the staff that care for them, and being able to bring my wealth of experience to the decision-making table to effect change."
Have you ever had a mentor?
"Not in the formal sense, but there were one or two people who afforded me opportunities and challenged me to exceed beyond my own expectations."
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced working in the hospital industry, and how did you overcome it?
"The impact of financial restraints on delivering a quality of service to our patients. I overcame this challenge by putting the patient first in every decision that is made – that has to be the absolute priority."
What five things do you think every woman should know before taking up a management position?
1. Know their own capability. Management is not suited to everyone
2. Believe in themselves
3. Know not to be on their own agenda – must be about the organisation
4. Know what they want to achieve
5. Know to commit to the continuous development of oneself.
What do you think are the key traits needed to win management professional of the year?
- A willingness to put yourself forward
- A proven credibility
- Track record of leadership, innovation and motivation
- Knowing it’s all about the people you lead
Did anything change after winning your award?
"The goodwill and genuine happiness of friends and colleagues after winning the award was overwhelming. It was such great validation for the work that I had done, culminating in my appointment to CEO in June of this year."
Have you any tips for nominees in this year’s management professional category?
- Enjoy this momentous moment
- Hope to win
- Take pride in being nominated
- Use the nomination as a stepping stone for the next stage of your career
What are your favourite memories from the awards night?
"Obviously the excitement, but what stands out is the amount of people at the awards who approached me afterwards, delighted to congratulate me because a relative or a friend had received such amazing care in St. Vincent’s University Hospital."
Join us on Monday, 19th November in celebration of Ireland's most inspiring businesswomen. Leading influential businesspeople are invited to come together to enjoy a luxurious gala dinner, during which we recognise and celebrate women in business across all areas of the Irish and international business world.