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Image / Editorial

5 Irish businesswomen weigh in on the so-called ‘work-life balance’


by Grace McGettigan
06th Feb 2020
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We caught up with some past Businesswoman of the Year winners to find out what it takes to succeed. Here, they weigh in on the so-called ‘work-life balance’.


Work-life balance is an overused phrase; one that tends to carry a double-standard. You rarely hear men being asked how they maintain a balance between their home-life and career, yet women are regularly questioned about it (seemingly because, historically and culturally, we’re expected to hold the house together, not earn a living…).

But things have changed. In 2019, it’s vital for all working people to switch off from their job and responsibilities; regardless of the terminology being used and irrespective of gender. A recent study by Oxford University professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve found making time for things we enjoy can boost our productivity in the long-run. With that in mind, we asked five past winners of the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards what the so-called ‘work-life balance’ means to them.

Kasha Connolly
Hazel Mountain Chocolate

Winner of Start-Up of the Year in 2016

“Work smarter, not harder,” says Kasha. “No matter how busy you are, go to that yoga, kickboxing or badminton class. Make them wait, not every email needs to be answered straight away. Follow your passion, but don’t let it control who you are! Leave work at work.”

Kasha Connolly

Sadie Chowen
Burren Perfumery

Winner of Creative Businesswoman of the Year 2017

“Work-life balance is both important and hard to maintain. A business is like a child and you want to give it everything; but like with children, you have to keep something back for yourself. I go for a 40-minute run with my dog in the mornings which helps to keep me sane and better able to make good decisions. If you’re doing the tasks that really matter, you can get a lot done in a few hours. Do the most important thing in your day first, and step back occasionally to look at the bigger picture.”

Sadie Chowen from the Burren PerfumerySadie Chowen 

Margot Slattery
Sodexo Ireland

Winner of CEO of the Year in 2016

“It does not exist,” Margot says of work-life balance, “It’s all about making it work for you and being open to doing things differently.”

Margot Slattery

Marie Hunt
CBRE Ireland

Winner of Management Professional of the Year 2017

“I’m not the best advertisement for work-life balance, as I work long hours and juggle lots of extracurricular activities; including my work with the To Children With Love charity. I think the best bit of advice is to have something for yourself and make some time in the week for yourself. For some people, this might involve going to a spa or going for a walk. For me, I love gardening, and find that it’s very therapeutic and allows me some mind space.”

Marie Hunt via TwitterMarie Hunt

Aoife Lawler
Irish Fairy Door Company

Winner of Entrepreneur of the Year 2017

“We are all juggling and striving to achieve balance, but I have come to the conclusion that life is not perfect. It’s actually messy at times (as are my parenting skills and my outputs) but it’s okay. I’m learning to enjoy the ride and to stop and be in the moment as much as I can.”

Aoife Lawler and business partner Niamh Sherwin Barry

Top photo: Pexels


Read more: What to do when your boss is a bully

Read more: Ever wanted to take a career break to do a dream job? This Irish woman did

Read more: ‘A few tears at the office and I’m perceived as hysterical’

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