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Image / Editorial

#IMAGEinspires: What Are The Challenges Facing Young Businesswomen In 2015 Ireland?


by Jeanne Sutton
30th Oct 2015

Woman Using a Smartphone

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In the world of Lean In and #GirlBoss mantras, a successful career is something most women strive towards. Ambition isn’t a dirty word. Posting the occasional Instagram photo of a notebook alongside a hot drink and the hashtag #plotting is almost obligatory. However, the road to Make-Sheryl-Proud mountain isn’t a straightforward one. Life isn’t as linear as standing up and saying what you want and then being handed it all – the chic office, the wardrobe of office-to-cocktail-bar dresses, a salary always on the ascent.

The nominees for the Young Businesswoman of the Year at this year’s IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards share their thoughts on the biggest challenges facing young female?entrepreneurs. Put the kettle on, these are words worth reading.

Get your last-minute ticket to Monday’s ceremony here.

We’re worriers, but we’re also optimists

The biggest hurdle? Ourselves! I think we women spend far too much time doubting and?worrying about?our?ability to be brilliant. Men rarely worried by self-doubt.
Chupi Sweetman-Durney, creative director, Chupi Jewellery

Irish Jewellery Designer Chupi Sweetman On What Inspires Her
Chupi Sweetman-Durney, creative director, Chupi Jewellery

In general, women can be less prone to taking risks and we can let the fear of failure stand in the way of ‘going for it’ and pursuing success. You have to believe in what you bring to the table and value your time, efforts and capabilities. Confidence is a great way to combat these fears. Confidence is the key to success, your life unfolds in proportion to your courage.
Anita Murray, company director, Pink Beauty Group

I think the main challenge for me is knowing that pursuing this path is more uncertain and financially unstable than sticking with the well paid corporate path. But I believe it will be worth it in the long term.
Elizabeth Fingleton, CEO, Obeo

Elizabeth Fingleton (Obeo Ltd.)
Elizabeth Fingleton, CEO, Obeo

Being an entrepreneur is all about risk. You’re gambling on yourself and your belief in your brand, product or service. There’s no stability. But that makes you work harder. Especially when you have staff to pay and all that goes with it.
Ellen Kavanagh, owner and creator, Waxperts

Kate Verling Mink Hand & foot Spa IV (1)
Kate Verling, managing director, Mink Hand & Foot Spa

It helps to leave gender out of it

The biggest challenge facing women in the workplace in 2015, I feel, is the attitude that women are still lagging behind in gender equality. It is a perception that is perpetuated by society and moreover by women themselves. We are in constant competition with men, in relentless comparison wars when it comes to salaries and achievements but in reality, we are given the same opportunities as they are, at least here in Ireland. The top people in?business?are the best as a result of their talent and hard work, not because they are male or female. We need to remove that unnecessary pressure from our shoulders and focus on the big picture – whether that is running a successful?business, enjoying a fulfilling career and/or raising a family.
Katie Gilroy, managing director, Urbun Caf?

Anita Murray-16
Anita Murray, company director, Pink Beauty Group

Signing my lease at the age of 22 was daunting, and being a young female trying to tell a bunch of male tradesman what I wanted for the fit out of my shop, was a real eye opener. It was the first struggle I was faced with, sure what would I know? Well it turns out I know quite a bit! Some struggled to take orders from me and would revert all questions and answers to the head builder who would always tell them, ask the boss and point at me, to which they would smirk with contempt. But I held my place and I stood my ground and got it done. I came to learn not everyone is like this, but you just get some difficult people. Three years on and I still face similar issues regularly, but I’m well equipped now to deal with it!
Chloe Harris, CEO, Foodie

Alan Rowlette Photography Image Katie Gilroy (1)
Katie Gilroy, managing director, Urbun Caf?

We need to dream bigger

I think a big problem is we don’t teach people to dream big,?I meet’so many brilliant women?and their talent and drive is insane, they have brilliant ideas for business?but they just don’t think they can do it. My best piece of business advice??Go for it. If you can’t be brilliant, who can?
Chupi Sweetman-Durney, creative director, Chupi Jewellery

Jane
Jane Swarbrigg, managing director, Inglot Cosmetics Ireland

Childcare is still an issue

The challenge of juggling a family and career?will’most likely remain as women in many cases?are the main care givers, but more now than ever?are determined to continue working and forge successful careers as well as families. My mother took me to work in her clothes shop?when I was 10 days old and I have a sneaking’suspicion?I’ll be doing the same.?She?put me on the counter in my Moses basket – I was the star attraction.
Jane Swarbrigg, managing director, Inglot Cosmetics Ireland

Having a new one-year-old baby, I would also have to consider the challenges of running a?business?& a family proportionately. Self-employed parents have dual responsibilities to their businesses and to their families, and finding ways to devote time to both is key to truly achieving that elusive work-life balance which becomes all but blurred at times. I am very lucky to have my own mom on hand but many mothers are discouraged from starting businesses and constrained in the businesses they do start because of childcare costs & accessibility to childcare due to working long and unscheduled hours.
Anita Murray, company director, Pink Beauty Group

Ellen Kavanagh pictured at The Merrion Hotel for the IMAGE Mentoring Workshop: The Art of Good Negotiation with Stephen Boyle. Photo: Anthony Woods
Ellen Kavanagh pictured at The Merrion Hotel for the IMAGE Mentoring Workshop: The Art of Good Negotiation with Stephen Boyle. Photo: Anthony Woods

On that elusive work/life balance

As a?young?woman?in?business, working for myself certainly has had a big impact on work/ life balance. Growing a company and setting out big goals will overtake certain aspects of your life- mostly social! I have spent my twenties building Mink, so it is a great feeling to enter my thirties with a fresh perspective on what is important. You learn to prioritise the hard way- I think women try and be everything to everyone which ultimately can be our downfall.
Kate Verling, managing director, Mink Hand & Foot Spa

Chloe Harris, CEO, Foodie
Chloe Harris, CEO, Foodie

All you can do is do your best wherever you are at the time. If it’s work, give 100% there and work smart to achieve the most you can while you’re there. And the same for when you’re at home.?Everything is mobile now. You don’t have to be in the office to work so it’s trying to juggle that. Whatever works and you’re happy with, do that.
Ellen Kavanagh, owner and creator, Waxperts

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