On what was maybe the first sunny Friday morning of the season, a crowd of Irish women in business gathered to attend an IMAGE Networking Breakfast in the Marker Hotel on Grand Canal Dock. The initial breakfast reception was followed by the main event; an in-depth discussion on 'Resilience: How to turn a Setback into a Comeback', something that is relevant for anyone who has ventured out of their comfort zone in business.
The morning's panel discussion was hosted by IMAGE's own Melanie Morris, and three speakers; Caitriona Fottrell, Vice President and Director of the Ireland Funds; Trudy Hayes, Founder of beauty app Raven; and Rowan Manahan, the Presenter Mentor; took to the stage to give their experiences on turning a negative into a positive in their careers.
Caitriona Fottrell focused on the generosity of the Irish people and how getting out and spreading the word about causes that you believe in is key to driving success. The Ireland Funds assist with countless community projects around Ireland, which Caitriona spoke passionately about in her speech, and encouraged us to remember that Ireland has something special when it comes to the human element of a business.
According to Rowan Manahan, success lies in how well you can do two things; how well you can write and how well you can talk. Throughout his speech, he outlined some inspiring practical advice on how to overcome nerves when presenting and how to believe in yourself and your career when you take to a stage. He also spoke about why taking time for yourself, to focus on personal vision and goals for your own future is so important and often sacrificed in the working world. "Take at least three time slots in your calendar every week to focus on you", Rowan advised. Something we should all get on board with.
The standout speech of the morning was undoubtedly Trudy Hayes'. The beauty app entrepreneur chose to scrap her pre-planned Powerpoint speech and speak from the heart and the impact it had was palpable. Trudy spoke of her difficult road to her current career, with no education, serious illness and the recession taking everything she owned, including a serious relationship. Through all of this, Trudy was understandably downtrodden, but she took her own advice of "Get up, dress up and show up" and fought for the career she wanted. Starting an app without being able to afford WiFi may sound crazy, but as Trudy showed, there are no obstacles too big if you're determined about what you want.
Audience members shared thoughts and questions with the panellists afterwards, and there was a real atmosphere of shared insight into what makes a successful woman in business. The next Image Networking Breakfast takes place on the 25th of May.