06 March 2020, by HRM

International Women's Day 2020.


We are proud to be celebrating International Women's Day this year at HRM. In order to start a conversation about the day we interviewed a number of people within the organisation from different backgrounds and functions to understand what it means to them and who are the inspirational women in their lives. 


What does International Women's Day mean to you?

'A celebration of achievements, the struggles we overcome and the awareness of both conscious and unconscious bias.' Ashling Edwards - Associate Director, Munster


'I read The Rebel Girls books to my daughters and I see the inspiration it creates in them. Boys in school regularly tell them girls can't do this or that. They know that it is complete nonsense because they are consistently positively reinforced by everyone around them. It is really important to me that my girls know that everything is open to them in life. This day is another opportunity to continue that positive reinforcement for all little girls like them in my opinion'. Paul O'Donnell - Director of Operations


'IWD is a celebration of women worldwide - whether it is our colleagues, friends, family or famous world leaders and historic figures. It celebrates the freedom women have achieved, and are still striving to achieve in some parts of the world.' Maeve Fahey - Science Selection Consultant


'It is a time of the year to celebrate how far women have come over the years and to recognise outstanding women who, through their own determination and actions, have changed the world we live in for the better.' Clair Schindler - Accountancy & Finance Lead


'A reminder that for years women were treated extremely poorly in many aspects of life, work, home and in other areas of society. It is a shame on us all, that some women still experience bias and inequality, IWD is there to remind us that there is much more to do'. Michael O'Leary - CEO


'Celebrates some of the most important people in my life'. Cian Breheny - Supply Chain & Operations Selection Consultant


Who are the inspiring women in your life?

'My Mom is a very strong woman with an exceptional understanding of people and a non-judgemental approach to the world. Both of my grandmothers had huge losses and difficult times in their lives. My Father's mother was pregnant during the blitz in London and lived through the second world war while all around her the place was being blown up. She was amazing. My mom's mother was a non-qualified midwife who delivered most of the children born on their street - when women still had their kids at home. They both lost children of their own and went on to have large families. They were both warm and gentle and great craic and never let their past sadness define them.' Clair Schindler - Accountancy & Finance Lead


'There are too many to mention. My kids at 20 and 18 are probably top of a long list. They do not recognise gender as a means for making any decision about themselves or anyone else. I know they suffer the same insecurities that many their age do, but they have expectations for their futures and work hard to make those a reality. Like their peers, they will not let gender be a consideration in what they can or cannot do in life. Michael O'Leary - CEO


'My mother is someone who inspires every single day! Probably without even knowing it, she has instilled values in me that I always rely on, she has taught me to really appreciate life, grab opportunities with both hands, back each other up and never devalue yourself. She is also great craic and has a bit of a wild streak that I think comes from growing up in Co. Clare - I'm immensely proud of her and love her dearly! My grandmother (my mother's mother) is also someone who has had a powerful impact on my life, even though she passed away when I was 18, she managed to have a massive imprint on how I view the world, she was very open minded - before her time and approached everything in a balanced and mindful way, I often think of her and miss her very much! The final one is my new niece Katie - it's funny saying that she inspires me as she is still a toddler but she has added such excitement and love in all our lives that I couldn't leave her out!' Arlene Moran - Associate Director, HR


'My mother, mother-in-law, my sisters, my aunts, my friends, my daughter, my many amazing work colleagues at HRM. I am so lucky to be surrounded by incredible, capable women who can achieve anything. Every day without fail those women amazes me with their creativity, capability, empathy, intelligence & strength. The admiration I hold for them is boundless!' Erin Helbert - Head of People


'My 2 girls inspire me every day (they also give out to me everyday but I assume I deserve that). My wife inspires me too. She is setting up a new business at the moment and it's brilliant to see the passion and investment in it. Definitely inspirational stuff'. Paul O'Donnell - Director of Operations


'My mam - She is compassionate and loving and always made myself and my sisters feel like her only priority. She gave us a great start in life even while studying to progress her own career. We always knew she was there for us and now as we are having our own kids she is a huge support and presence.' Aisling Clements - Engineering Lead


If you could have dinner with any women (alive or dead) who would that be?

'Probably Hilary Mantel. Love her books and would like to have a chat with her about them'. Paul O'Donnell - Director of Operations


'It would be a toss-up between Michelle Obama and Julia Gillard (first female Australian prime minister) they are both true feminists and so action orientated. They are inspirational and actually I found out recently that they are working together to promote access to education for everyone in the world. They both have an excellent sense of humour too and are not afraid to think big or to promote other women.' Clair Schindler - Accountancy & Finance Lead


'Princess D - she was a cool lady, think we could have a bit of a giggle over a couple of glasses of vino'. Melissa Shannon - HR Selection Consultant


'Sarah Jessica Parker. She is one of the most iconic female stars in television having starred on HBO's Sex and the City. She has 3 children, has won several awards for SATC, runs a production company and is a notable designer and businesswoman with her own shoe line. I think it would be really interesting to meet her and chat about her career, success and how she juggles everything in today's busy world!' Gillian McMurrough - Associate Director, Science


Mary Robinson - 1st president of Ireland who changed the role of president. She took an active role in policy making from the government. She celebrated the Irish diaspora in a way that connected Irish in a different way - socially, politically and economically. She is a true Women in Leadership advocate and speaks the voice of the nation to this day across important social injustices. Ashling Edwards - Associate Director, Munster


'My Granny that I never got to meet (my Dad's mother). By all accounts with plenty of stories, she was an amazing woman and I would have loved to meet her! The living female would have to be Jennifer Aniston, I'm a massive fan and I think she would be great fun' Arlene Moran - Associate Director, HR


The theme this year is #EachForEqual, what does that mean to you?

'It means that gender should never be a consideration or part of a decision-making process in business or society'. Michael O'Leary - CEO


'Recognising and respecting everyone's differences but accepting we are all the same'. Gillian McMurrough - Associate Director, Science


'A person male or female should be able to succeed entirely based on their competencies, not gender. equal pay for equal work and equal opportunities for all.' Paul McDonogh - Supply Chain & Operations Selection Consultant


'#EachforEqual is about creating a world that is equal for all – for my daughter and my son. We can all make choices & take actions every day - big or small that challenge behaviours, mindsets & stereotypes to improve situations for everyone and to create a future that is equal for all genders.' Erin Helbert - Head of People


'Perspective, the reason it is important to have a more balanced workplace, for example, men and women view things from different perspectives - this may sound stereotypical but it is also true. A mix and balance between male and female leaders offers more variety and colour to decision making and problem-solving.' Aisling Clements - Engineering Lead


What advice would you give to a young woman starting their career?

'Do something that you naturally enjoy, try your best, work hard and reap the rewards!' Arlene Moran - Associate Director, HR


'Believe in yourself and do not define yourself by your gender. Your ethic and performance should generate the results and progress you seek. If not ask why'. Aisling Clements - Engineering Lead


'Don't let anybody put you down or tell you you're not good enough, put yourself above everyone else and go for what makes you happy.' Melissa Shannon - HR Selection Consultant


'Try not to let what everyone else is doing impact you, everyone is on their own journey. Develop your gut instinct and always listen to it. Work is a vehicle for your mind to be challenged and for you to earn a living and you should enjoy it! If you hate your job, it's probably not right for you, don't be afraid to walk away from something that's making you unhappy. Be brave! Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. You build resilience through making mistakes so even though it feels crap at the time, you will learn to not fall into the same trap over and over - trust your ability to learn and become stronger.' Clair Schindler - Accountancy & Finance Lead


'Don't be afraid to give your opinion. It's okay to show emotion - it shows you care. Leverage your high emotional intelligence and multi-tasking capabilities - women and men are different, celebrate these.' Ashling Edwards - Associate Director, Munster


'Be yourself: Know that what you are excellent at is likely what comes easily to you. Choose a career in which you can use your natural strengths, or find a way to use your natural strengths in the job or career you are in. Feel the fear and do it anyway: Always take on new challenges, even if you feel you are not completely ready. Someone else will, so make sure that someone is you! Confidence: Project the confidence you would advise someone else in your shoes to. Use your voice. Ask questions – doing so is a powerful learning tool TAKE CREDIT and ACCEPT PRAISE! Everytime!' Erin Helbert - Head of People


'Pay zero attention to stereotypes and go after what you want.' Paul McDonogh - Supply Chain & Operations Selection Consultant


'Always be open to learning and improving'. Gillian McMurrough - Associate Director, Science


'Be really proud of who you are, never let your gender be a factor in any decision made by or about you. If you are in a workplace that does not do likewise, change your workplace to one with better values'. Michael O'Leary - CEO


'Try to pick out what your strengths are - whether it's building relationships, working independently, working with numbers - and choose a career path that will allow you to both utilise and develop those strengths!' Maeve Fahey - Science


'To be perseverant and believe in themselves'. Cian Breheny - Supply Chain & Operations Selection Consultant


'Always back yourself, especially when you are unsure. Mistakes don't matter as much as you think, so don't sweat them. If you are appraising yourself always be really nice to yourself!' Paul O'Donnell - Director of Operations


HRM is also holding a clothes drive for Dress For Success who are a charity that promotes the economic independence of women by providing career development tools and a support network, while also campaigning for equality in the workplace throughout Ireland. You can find out more about Dress For Success, what they do and how you can help on their website

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