Posts Tagged ‘Deirdre Waldron’

So you can teach an old dog new tricks after all!

May 22, 2017

Michael O'Leary - Ryamair

I’m still reeling from the shock of the great customer service I just experienced from Ryanair!

I found that there was a simple error on my flight booking for our summer holidays. Without much hope, I got onto the Ryanair “live chat” and after a relatively short wait, someone came on and solved my problem without an issue and – wait for it – are you sitting down? – without any additional charge – even though I had my credit card in my hand!

The Ryanair experience has improved so much that even Greg, my other half, isn’t complaining (well, not as much as usual) that we are using the airline to get us to Italy this year – in previous years he prefered to take an Aer Lingus flight to Paris and then take the train to Milan (beautiful journey by the way!).

So Michael, I applaud you, you turned the big ship (or plane) and set Ryanair on a new course towards good service, putting the customer first and you gotta be reaping the rewards…..

I think this is a big lesson for all of us.

Just because we do something one way, a way that might have built the success of the company, it doesn’t mean we have to stay doing the same thing, just because it’s the way we always did it.

It’s refreshing for everyone to change things up, it’s good to really listen to your customers and even more important, your potential customers and even if it goes against your original core values (or some might argue, lack of them in Ryanair’s case), consider adapting to suit your market in this very changing world.

When you are ready to make that change – the Fuzion team can be there with you every step of the way to help you 😉

Deirdre 

Deirdre Waldron - Network Ireland PresidentDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion

Fuzion Communications is a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Hillary – get over your glass ceilings!  

July 27, 2016

Hillary Clinton

OK, it is really great that for the first time there is a female candidate for the US Presidential Election, long overdue and everyone bar middle America is in agreement that she is the best person for the job – probably by default!  

But.. I am so over “glass ceilings”.

Hillary heralded her nomination victory as the “biggest crack in that glass ceiling” with a montage of the previous 44 male US presidents accompanied by the sound and vision of breaking glass.

I groaned when I saw it so my other half said (as he always says!) – “OK write a blog about it”.

Hillary went on to say “Little girls, who stayed up late to watch, I may be the first woman President but one of you is next”.

Can we please get rid of this idea of a glass ceiling now!

Personally I don’t believe in them and I never have. I think there are some professions out there, like politics, that are not conducive to women, especially women who have young families. I think it’s not the glass ceiling we need to break, but we need to re-set the foundations by looking at the rules, social norms, conventions and structures that are in place preventing talented women getting to whatever level they want to get to.

I also believe that as women we have to take some responsibility for this.  

Sheryl Sandberg told a great story in her book – ‘Lean In‘. She was heavily pregnant, running late for a meeting and couldn’t find a parking space near the office, so she had to trek a long distance from the back of the car park to get to her meeting. She barged into the meeting, late, uncomfortable and probably a little cranky and asked why there weren’t any allocated parking slots nearer the office, for pregnant employees.

The answer was no one ever asked for them!

The ‘powers that be’ thought this was a great idea and very soon afterwards this policy was implemented.

If we want to get to the top – be it in our business or in our careers, I believe we, as women, need to ask for what we need or help to facilitate change – we must be proactive in resetting the foundations.

I have been working very closely with Enterprise Ireland (EI) over the past few months in my role as President of Network Ireland.

They recognise the fact that as women we need to be more assertive – but they use a much more positive word: “ambitious”.  

Enterprise Ireland have put programmes in place to encourage female entrepreneurs, as they know that businesses run by women have a better chance of succeeding. Their stats prove that women are hesitant about applying for grants and supports, unless they tick every single box – whereas a male counterpart in general will go for every opportunity and worry about matching the criteria afterwards!  

EI’s strategies around nurturing ambition in female entrepreneurs are working and they have seen the number of females on their programmes jump from 7% in 2011 to 22% in 2015.  

We also have a responsibility to support each other.

Hillary, instead of giving the “little girls at home” a ‘call to action’ she should be looking behind her or in front of her at the podium and saying “your turn is next”. It’s the responsibility of all of us to help others up the ladder or pass the torch.

As Madeleine Albright, another US Secretary of State put it ”There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”.

Let’s hope Hillary will remember Madeleine’s wise words and has less of the breaking glass and more of the actions that really support other women to get as far as they can.  

Actions speak so much louder than words or cool AV effects!

As to Hillary becoming the next President of the USA – I hope she is successful in her campaign, not because she is a woman, or the best possible candidate, but because like most people in Ireland I’m an anything but Trump girl!  But that’s for another blog……

Deirdre 

Deirdre Waldron - Network Ireland PresidentDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The art and power of a good story

May 30, 2016
Bernice Moran pictured at the Network Cork business awards with President Joan Walsh and Karen Fleming

We were at the Network Cork awards which was attended by women of all ages who work across all sectors from healthcare to hospitality, legal to media.

It can prove a bit of challenge to design an event, particularly when choosing a speaker and/ or an MC, that will appeal to such a broad and varied audience although we did have one thing in common – we were all female professionals.

Working with clients on events, we know only too well how much thought and debate goes into this element of planning and rightly so, as the speaker’s contribution is often what an event’s success and value is measured upon by the audience – moreover location, food, entertainment etc.

Network Cork got it very right with a speech from the President of Network Ireland Deirdre Waldron who gave her personal story of taking the leap of faith into entrepreneurship that demonstrated the importance of self belief and support from fellow women in business.

This communicated through an impactful story the invaluable support and network that Network Cork and indeed Network Ireland is.

This was followed by a speech from Bernice Moran who few in the room knew before the event but who everyone wanted to be friends with by the end. Bernice is the co-founder and director of luxury confectionery business The Be Sweet Company but she’s not just a female entrepreneur but a Virgin Atlantic 747 pilot and a mum of three children!

She captivated the room with her awe-inspiring story, wit and humble charm. This savvy communicator and business woman sweetened up the room with chocolates (and boosted visual brand awareness with product placement on each table) and she expertly communicated not just her business and product’s key messages and USP’s, but also her own – after all people buy people.

With brilliant skill she told her incredible story of high achievement, “ballsiness”, belief and business all the while being relatable, honest, engaging as well as entertaining. She won the room over and was a talking point among the audience for the rest of the event and thereafter.

I, and many others I know of who attended the event, told other people we met since about her and her story and in doing so we’ve not only helped to spread the word of the brilliant Bernice Moran and her company but of Network Cork and Network Ireland.

This is the perfect result from an event such as this and it just goes to show the power and reach of a good story.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design  who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Deirdre Waldron – Madam President is Fuelling Ambition for Professional Women in Ireland

January 19, 2016

 

Deirdre Waldron President Network Ireland

Fuzion are very proud to announce that our Managing Partner, Deirdre Waldron has just taken over as National President of Network Ireland.

Deirdre has been involved with the organisation for many years and in that time she has held roles including PRO of the Cork Branch, President of the Cork Branch, PRO of the Network Ireland and as of 16th January 2016 she is officially Madam President!

She has very ambitious plans for the organisation, which she has outlined in her “Fuelling Ambition” manifesto and for anyone who knows Deirdre all of this will be realised!

Network Ireland

In Deirdre’s own words..

2016 for me is going to be a very big year as I take over as National President of Network Ireland, one of the largest organisations representing professional women from all walks of life.

It’s a big year for me as I lead the organisation through a re-brand, expansion plans and some very exciting and high profile events and activities, partnering with some of Ireland’s biggest and best public and private organisations, culminating in our national conference returning to Cork City in September 2016.

Through my engagement with Network Ireland since 2008 I have connected with some amazing people and made many great friendships and am proud and excited about my new role and responsibilities.

One of the first tasks for 2016, was picking a strong theme for my year, that will resonate with our very diverse national membership and professional women from every walk of life in Ireland.

The theme I have chosen is “Fuelling Ambition” and it’s really a strong “call to action” for me as President, for our National Executive, our Branches, for all our members and I hope for all of the women in business we engage with in 2016.

I believe as professional women, we need to become far more ambitious for ourselves, to challenge ourselves and each other so that we can fulfill our untapped potential. We bring so much to the table and this is starting to be recognised, but we have a role to play to make sure that our voices are heard loud and clear in our businesses, organisations, in our regions and nationally.

As a national organisation in 2016 I want Network Ireland to be more ambitious. We are a strong organisation with eight regional branches and a membership of over 500 of the most tenacious, talented and creative professional women from all sectors. We have the unique opportunity to be the voice for professional women in Ireland supporting and encouraging each other as we develop our careers and businesses.

In 2016, my wish would be for all professional women to forget about glass ceilings and focus on fuelling our ambitions collectively and as individuals – taking us through every glass ceiling that we think is in our way.   

There has never been a better time to be a professional woman.

Finally culture is changing and slowly but surely the powers that be are recognising that women at the decision making tables makes for better business. And if any proof was needed, a recent global study showed that boards with over 30% female representation faired much better through the recession than boards with fewer or no female representation. Network Ireland is determined to play its part in ensuring that we fuel the ambition of professional women so they can fulfil their potential and we can increase representation.    

As an organisation, Network Ireland gets valuable support from organisations such as Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices. They recognise the role that women have to play and are very proactive in helping women achieve their full potential.

We have also received support from other organisations such as AIB, European Parliament Information Office and the Local Enterprise Offices and many others who want to bring more women to the decision making tables in our region and nationally.

I’d love it if every single person reading this would ask themselves – how can they fuel their own ambition?

Don’t wait for something good to happen – you can make it happen for yourself, in your career or in your business. This can be done by connecting with like minded individuals so that you can encourage and support each other and we do so much of this for women through Network Ireland, through our regional and national events and our ongoing engagement with each other on social media.

There is also a strong learning dimension with Network Ireland as we carefully choose topics of interest and experts from their respective fields to speak and participate in our range of events during the year. We always make sure that there is a big social side to what we do as a relaxed and fun atmosphere can be the best way to network!    

So this year, let us all help each other to fuel our ambitions, drive on in our careers and in our businesses – so by this time next year we can all say we have had a great year because we achieved what we wanted to achieve and of course, we had fun in the process.

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRWell said Deirdre … Network Ireland and all of the professional women that are represented throughout the country are lucky to have you!

Deirdre Waldron is a Managing Partner with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Design who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

15 years and my Fuzion journey!

September 11, 2015

Fuzion PR -2 015

I can’t believe that it’s 15 years since I handed in my notice to my boss (and separately to my ex – but that’s another story!!!) and 15 years since Fuzion was born!!!

I had gotten to the stage at the ripe old age of 34, where I knew that I could have run the business I was working for much better than my boss, and I thought with an attitude like that perhaps I should start my own business.  So I borrowed a laptop until I could afford my own, invested in a logo , some cool business cards and got the word out that Fuzion was open for business!!

At the time I was living in Tralee and later that year I emigrated to Cork!

Deirdre Waldron on the Cork Chamber billboard

I never looked back and am so proud of everything that Fuzion has achieved.  I know that I’m so blessed by all of the friends I have made since then and the talented people I have worked alongside, many of whom have played  a big part in the Fuzion story.  And I am especially blessed for the life Greg and I have made together in Cork, thanks to Fuzion.

Fuzion PR and Marketing

Little did we know when we leased our first office in Cork city that the wheels would very soon fall off the Irish economy and our services were deemed as ‘dispensable’ by many clients who were in fear of the recession. It was a very challenging time, so we rolled up our sleeves, we worked even harder, we dug deep and instead of cutting back we grew our business and opened an office in Dublin! When I look back this was a fantastic achievement considering the harsh environment.

We called it ‘storming the recession‘!

Fuzion Communications Team

So to mark 15 years I thought I’d give 15 things that I have learned about business, that have really helped me along my Fuzion journey:-

  1. Tenacity is the difference between success and failure
  2. Be absolutely sure you have the right people on the bus with you
  3. Treat everyone with respect, even those a**holes who don’t deserve it!
  4. Pick a life partner who thinks you could conquer the world
  5. Admit when you make a mistake, it’s the first step to fixing it
  6. If in doubt, always go with your gut
  7. When hiring, look into someone’s eyes rather than their CV’s
  8. Don’t work with clients where you care more about their business than they do
  9. Business is no place for negative people
  10. Do some pro bono work –  it will come back to you in so many ways
  11. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – there’s lots of it out there
  12. Work every hour that’s needed Monday to Friday, but treasure your days off
  13. Dress every day as if you have a photo call
  14. Confirm everything by email

And most importantly what we are doing today:-

15… Celebrate the milestones and never waste a good story about your business!
Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRHappy Birthday to Fuzion and a huge thank you to every single person who has supported us along the way and been part of our journey!

Dee x

Deirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Tell Your Story with Integrity and Soul

July 16, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner Arthur Ashe Award

The odd time, in between watching Kevin McCloud and his Grand Designs and the News, I sneak a peek at Keeping up with the Kardashians just to see what ridiculous subject they are talking about.

The way they seem to leave their whole life open to the public I find often crude, staged and so far from any sense of reality I know or would like to know!

The car crash show is about a blended family with Kris Jenner (The Momanager), her adult children from her first marriage, her (now former) husband, Olympian and great American hero Bruce Jenner, with his kids from his second marriage (the kids from his first marriage had the sense not to get involved with the show) and into the mix Kris and Bruce’s own two young daughters, who have grown up with cameras on them 24 seven.

It’s total drivel and I find it so fake – and just when us voyeurs thought it couldn’t get any more off the wall, Bruce, the all American hero,  announced to the world (via TV of course) that from now on he was a she; Bruce was now Caitlyn and proud to come out of the closet!

Any decent publicist worth their salt would have predicted the death of the programme, with people turning away in their droves from this far fetched, totally manufactured story line.

But you know what…..I think the whole family have handled it (OK there were a few fake tears from the former Mrs Jenner – Kris) with great compassion, honesty and openness.  Most celebrities would have hidden away and licked their wounds, far from the public they once courted.  That’s what I expected.

Not the Kardashians and Jenners!

Kim / Caitlyn Jenner tweet

Coming up trumps is Kim Kardashian and Caitlyn’s youngest girls Kylie and Kendall.  Kim, who got the whole Kardashian merry-go-round going with her infamous sex tape is coming across as supportive, understanding and so articulate and honest.  I’m seriously impressed and I never, ever thought I would say that about a Kardashian!

The two  youngest girls, still in their teens and living in such a high beam spotlight, obviously are having more trouble with it, but they are communicating in such a dignified way on TV and on their social media pages and it’s clear that they remain proud of their dad.

And there is a lot to be proud of.  Bruce/Caitlyn is out there telling her story with integrity and soul.  She is putting her hands up to the past failings as a father and a husband and she has sought and is finding redemption through her coming out.  The relief is all over her much surgically manipulated face.

Last night America showed its acceptance by awarding her the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs, an award presented annually to individuals, usually high profile sporting personalities, whose contributions to society transcend sports.  The respected reporter Diane Sawyer, the last person to interview Bruce as he announced his transition to Caitlyn was was in the crowd, cheering Caitlyn on; her presence at the Awards spoke volumes, supporting Caitlyn and her actions.

But the big thing for me was the presence of all of Caitlyn’s children, step children and his 88 year old mother, up front and centre supporting her.  Caitlyn will be an example to other people who are thinking of making a difficult transition – and her family I have to say I now kinda respect a little!

Kim Kardashian cheering on Caitlyn Jenner at Arthus Ashe Awards

It just makes me think of the odd client we have, who hesitate about telling their own story – nothing in anyway intrusive like the Kardashians, just their business story.

They really need to jump over the fear hurdle and just go for it. They have nothing to fear if they are honest and communicate with soul and integrity.  As long as this can be demonstrated people will want to connect with them and their businesses.  That is what PR is for –  It helps clients to tell the story of their business and allows them to connect with people.

Don’t shy away from any opportunity that could benefit your business.

Don’t think – what if; I shouldn’t; what would my peers think?  Because if you don’t take up the opportunities to tell your own unique story, you can be sure that your competitors are talking to us or agencies like us (but obviously not as great as us!) without that fear of telling their story.

Be brave, be honest, have soul and command your own airwaves – and if you need some help with that, you know where we are …

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Five things my mum taught me about business and life!

May 11, 2015
My mum at 18, modelling with style her dad's cap, glasses & walking stick!!

My mum at 18

I was feeling a little lonely last week as it was the 5th anniversary of my mum passing.  My mum, Joan Waldron was the first female entrepreneur I came in contact with and the older I get the more I appreciate her work ethic, her tenacity and her passion for business.  

Here is what she taught me, that has helped me become a better business person:-

Lesson No 1: Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Around 1969 my mum and dad moved to Tralee after their business went bust in Mallow.  Mum would have been In her late 30’s with five kids under the age of 13, with no job and no real prospects, apart from the most tenacious approach to business I have ever come across.

Dad wasn’t working and they were both still licking their wounds from the failure of their business, but she knew she couldn’t wallow for long, knowing she had seven hungry mouths to feed.  In the town on Castle Street she spotted a grotty, near closed down chip shop.

Even though she had no money, she knocked on the door of the house nextdoor to see what the story was about the place, found out that they were the owners and on the spot made a sweetheart of a deal to take over the business – including negotiating for a ton of potatoes thrown in on the deal for good measure!!!

With absolutely no funds, wearing her only “good” suit she visited the bank manager (a family friend) who gave her a small collateral free business loan.  (Ah, the good old days of banking!!!)

Dad had thought she had lost the plot by opening a chip shop and I think he thought by discouraging her, she would come up with a plan B.  She didn’t.  She just rolled up the sleeves, negotiating with tradesmen and suppliers to make the place respectable,

The opening day, came, dad still refused to entertain the notion, so she went off and she opened on her own.  Within half an hour, dad same in, said nothing, just rolled up his sleeves, went behind the counter and started serving up the chips!!!  And he remained by her side in the various businesses that they had until he passed away in 1991.

Mum and dad would always say they never made more money than they did in that little chip shop!  Mum spotted an opportunity, it was really tough going, but it made her stronger and even brought herself and dad closer.

Lesson No 2: The value of networking

Mum and dad thrived in Tralee, moving from the little chip shop to “The Central Grill” one of the first restaurants in Tralee in the early 1970’s on a prime corner location in the centre of town and in 1984 bought a little hotel in Fenit, which had an excellent restaurant and bar trade.

Mum and dad didn’t do much advertising, had never heard of PR, but were brilliant at promoting their business through networking with the local business community and people.

My mum joined the local Bridge Club; after a few years she became President of the local Soroptimist Club and networked to an inch of her life!  She encouraged my dad to join the local Rotary club and he went on to be local President of that organisation the same year she was President of the Soroptimists.

I swear Frank Underwood would have been very proud of her – in a positive way!!!.

She organised meetings on our premises, held bridge parties, where members could sample the food and get into the habit of considering our restaurant for any family or business events.  The Central Grill and later on the Lighthouse in Fenit became one of the leading places for family occasions and a lot of that was down to my mum’s ethos of networking and using her personal contacts to bring in more business.

Back then it’s the same as it is now – people like to deal with people and the best way to close a deal is the same and its to engage with a client or prospect on a one to one basis.  My mum taught me that.

Lesson No 3: Make sure they leave with a smile on their face

Growing up in the hospitality sector gives you great abilities around reading people – the good tippers, the stingy people who would order hot water and bring their own tea bag (seriously!), the couple who were on a first date or in the middle of a fight; the people who you could tell even by the way they walked in the door whether they were going to be nice or difficult.

We could also always tell a bluffer, where people would try anything to get out of paying for a meal. Mum taught us how important it was to listen to our customers complaints and handle them all with courtesy and if at all possible make sure they left feeling that their grievance was heard and dealt with.

She would say, if they have a good experience they will tell two or three people but if they went out feeling negative (even when at times we knew they were in the wrong), they would tell 100 people!  She always had the ethos, that the customer was always right – even when she knew they were in the wrong!!!

Photo 9

Mum and Dad by the Trevi Fountain in Rome

Lesson No 4: Work hard but play hard!

My mum always loved to throw a great party and she loved her holidays with my dad – the good times balanced the times when it was heads down, working at top gear.  They both were two of the hardest workers I have ever known – I think the only one that could beat them is my husband Greg!

During high season they worked seven days a week, from 8am until after 9pm, but then they made sure to treat themselves to really nice holidays in far flung places.  They also had nice weekend breaks together, were great customers in other restaurants in town and just loved having people over for parties and dinners.

Mum very much taught me that if it is all about work, it’s not success.

That if you work hard, it’s important to spend some of that hard earned money creating lasting happy memories and treating yourself to nice things. Mum had lots of happy memories of herself and dad in Rome, travelling along the Amalfi Coast, having a glass of wine in St Mark’s Square in Venice, visiting Russia when very few Europeans were going there.

I must get my love of Italy from her – you can’t keep me away from the place!

No matter what business was like during the turmoil of the last few years I always made sure Greg and I had some downtime together, with some sun on our faces for a week or two.  There are always a million reasons why we shouldn’t take the break from our busy business – but we have gathered an amazing Fuzion family around us who watch our back and our business when we are away and we come back with a renewed sense of vigour for our business, with fresh ideas and energy.

Mum with one of her greatest friends - and bridge buddy - Monica Kelly

Mum with one of her greatest friends – and bridge buddy – Monica Kelly

Lesson No 5: Mind your friends, they will become family

Mum had some strong friendships going back decades to when she first came to Tralee including, Maureen Deane, Monica Kelly, Phyllis O’Sullivan and Noreen O’Sullivan.  Her friends loved her and our restaurant on Castle Street was the meeting point for all her buddies.

Even though she was very busy she always made time for her friends and they always knew they could count on her for a chat, a piece of advice or just an ear to listen.

We would come home from school and there she would be in the middle of them, at table one in the right hand corner of our restaurant, hatching some plan or just shooting the breeze.  We would roll our eyes up to heaven and disappear to our home upstairs, knowing that we wouldn’t get any attention from her until her friends had left.

She loved bridge and loved her weekly bridge club.  I remember once asking her not to go to the club and stay home with us as I probably had a bad day at school or something.  She explained to me that she had committed to go; that she would be letting her friend down who she was paired with for bridge that night.

She told me that it was so important to cherish and respect your friends; that they provided  support and balance to her life and that when the chips are down and when all us kids had left the nest, they would still be around.

It was so true; her five kids very soon got on with our own lives, but she still had her friends, her bridge and her Soroptimist club and later the Probus club.  And those same friends formed her guard of honour at her funeral.  She was so right, they were there for her, right up to the very end!

I always remember what my mum said and really cherish my friends. The older I get the closer I get to my friends and know that I will have most of them in my life forever. We don’t live in each other’s pockets, but they know I’m there for them if they need anything as they are for me – they are my family every bit as much as my siblings are.

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland

Cork – Let’s Shake it up!

January 5, 2015

 

Good to Great

2014 was a good year.  There were definite signs of recovery, which our own business could see first-hand through our offices in Cork and in Dublin.  We were finding that people and businesses may not have had more money to spend, but there was an air of optimism and that there was a willingness to invest once more, in their businesses, in their homes and on themselves.

In Cork there were a number of indicators that have helped generate this air of positivity.  Work began on One Albert Quay, by John Cleary Developments and BAM Construction, which is initially creating 300 construction jobs and once the construction phase is completed will accommodate up to 1,800 new workers in the city centre. This is one of the largest projects of its type in the whole of Ireland at the moment.

We saw award-winning Cork entrepreneurs such as Dan and Linda Kiely of VoxPro, growing from strength to strength and announcing that by 2016 they plan to employ 4,000 highly skilled people in Cork.

The Cork Convention Bureau continued to punch above its weight, attracting international conferences to Cork in 2014 to the value of over €9 million.

Work continued on the Cork Marketing Strategy – or Cork INC as people have started to call it, where all of the major stakeholders, led by Cork City and County Councils are looking at more joined up thinking in promoting Cork to Foreign Direct Investors.

As part of this project, the research showed us that Cork is seen as a special place to do business. Not only is it economically viable with an intelligent and motivated workforce on our doorstep thanks to our terrific education institutions, but it is also seen by everyone as a great place to live. When it comes to ‘life success’ which is a combination of career and quality of life, Cork beats most other locations globally, hands down.

When we were working on this project it was fantastic to hear so many people playing back to us what we already knew!

Cork also led the charge in the tourism sector with visitor numbers up and the hospitality sector reporting a busy high season. Visitors flocked to attractions such as the English Market, Blarney Castle and Fota Wildlife Park as well as the wilds of East and West Cork.  A lot of visitors know what a special place Cork is!

All of this has made 2014 a good year for people living in Cork. However we can’t just stop at this and we need to be on the front foot and really shake things up and make things happen for ourselves.

As anyone who knows Fuzion and in particular my partner Greg Canty, will know that we are big fans of Jim Collins, the American business consultant and author.  Jim’s most famous theory is how “good is the enemy of great”.  He believes that good organisations can unwittingly slip into a mind-set of  good is good enough and that this complacency can prevent the organisation becoming great.

My wish for Cork in 2015 is that we don’t slip into this mind-set.  Cork is perfectly set to take full advantage of the upturn in the economy which now seems to not just be rhetoric, but fact – instead of thinking “good”, let’s plan for “great”.

As a really nice pre-Christmas boost, IBEC announced that economic growth in Ireland is expected to hit nearly 6% in 2014 – the strongest rate in Europe, with continued strong growth predicted in 2015. If Ireland can be the star of Europe why not work together to make Cork the star of Ireland.

Cork stakeholders have a responsibility to make sure that we take full advantage of these positive figures and that this time next year; we are all saying that 2015 was a great year for Cork, that we did not get complacent with “good”, but worked towards being “great”.

I have many things on my wish list for 2015.

Cork Convention CentreOne wish is that finally we get going on the much-needed Convention Centre.  There have been enough delays on this for a variety of reasons – many of which I can’t fathom – but Cork needs it urgently if we are to be seen as a “great” player in this arena.

Something desperately needs to be done with our amazing city centre. We are passing way too many empty retail units on Patrick Street and even more empty offices on the South Mall and neighbouring streets. I hope that 2015 is the year we see some tangible initiatives to really fill these empty spaces with a creative mix of uses. With some creativity, positive incentives and initiatives and by working together we can get these streets buzzing once again.

Cork Airport is haemorrhaging flights and this flow needs to be stopped in 2015. I think we all know the answer to this one and my hope for Cork Airport in 2015 is that it gets more autonomy from Dublin and becomes an independent airport. Shannon Airport is thriving to the detriment of Cork Airport and this needs to be addressed urgently. Not only do we want access to fantastic destinations for business and pleasure, we also want to see this traffic reciprocated with more overseas visitors able to discover our fantastic city and surrounds through direct access through our state of the art airport.

We have two very proactive and powerful new CEO’s in Ann Doherty for Cork City Council and Tim Lucey for the Cork County Council who need to continue to show us leadership and steer Cork together towards a great year in 2015.  They both have vast experience in heading up major organisations and now they need to lead us through positive change and progression.

I would ask that they would be confident and brave and a lot more than just safe pairs of hands. Our local politicians and all other stakeholders must support them in this regard and even allow them to take some risks as they push forward.

A colleague of Fuzion’s in our work on the Cork Marketing Strategy over the past year and a half, Malcolm Allan of Place Matters, puts it brilliantly when he says “if you continue doing the same thing, you will get the same results”.  Malcolm is one of the leading global figures in Place Marketing and sees great potential for Cork, but we need to bear his words in mind in 2015.

Let’s make 2015 the year that we really changed things in Cork, taking full advantage of the economic improvements and that we all played our part to make things happen. So much has been invested in plans, consultants, research etc. so let’s make 2015 the year that Cork took major steps to take its rightful place among the leading city regions in Europe and beyond.

My last wish is that all of us genuinely work together and apply a ‘rising tide’ mentality so that overall Cork benefits and not specific interest groups.

Let’s make sure we all have a great year, because Cork and all Corkonians born and bred and those like myself who are lucky enough to be adopted by Cork and to call it home, deserve it.

Lets shake it up!

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRDeirdre Waldron is a Partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Cork and Dublin

This post first appeared as an Opinion Piece in the Evening Echo 2-1-15

We can’t let the South Mall go south!!

August 6, 2014

South Mall, Cork

When I was in college in Cork in the early ‘80’s I used love to walk down South Mall and take in the atmosphere of this bustling busy business street and I vowed I’d someday work there – that is of course, after I travelled and conquered the world!!!

I always knew that Cork would be my home and after a long and winding road now it is. I can’t believe that I am lucky enough to not only work on the South Mall, but that I own a business on this historic business precinct.

We have an equally good location in Dublin on Fitzwilliam Street and even though we continue to grow in Dublin, Cork will always be my base and the South Mall will always be where I am drawn to work – and often play thanks to great places like Electric, right across the road from us!

I know though at the moment I am seeing the Mall with tinted glasses.

Because it’s home to me the glare of all the “To Let” and “For Sale” signs fade into the façades of the buildings. But what must people think when they look at the South Mall now, when viewing the area as a location to set up a business?

With all the vacant signs, it’s probably the last place people new to the city would consider setting up a business. I bet sometimes some people think all that is missing is the tumble-weed – although there are weeds growing off many of the empty buildings!!!

Something has to be done.

Reports and studies are great but are they getting us anywhere? Is anyone taking the advice, recommendations on board? Where are the incentives to encourage people to move into the South Mall? Are the Estate Agents doing their jobs properly? Is there something more the business community could be doing? Is there more that the landlords should be doing to make their properties more attractive to businesses?

Electric, South Mall

It just breaks my heart sometimes when I see another business leave, just as strongly as it leaps for joy when I see a business opening. Thankfully there have been a few in the last six months.

Perhaps the business community on the South Mall should join together?

Now I know we have an excellent Chamber of Commerce and there is the Cork Business Association – but should we mount an organic PR campaign for the South Mall; where businesses pro-actively talk up this great business precinct and support the businesses on the Mall.

This could not only help keep businesses on our main business centre but also encourage more businesses to make the South Mall their home. We could make sure new businesses on the Mall are welcomed by neighbours, through social media, through one to one well wishes and the ultimate support, by doing the best to do business with neighbouring businesses.

The South Mall could once again become a real thriving business community, supporting each other and encouraging new neighbours.

So who will start the ball rolling………

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRDeirdre Waldron is a Partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Cork and Dublin

 

Bossy women?

June 18, 2014

Bossy Women

It’s been bothering me…….

I’m forever promoting women and will go out of my way to help girls of all ages reach their full potential.  I think women are absolutely amazing and genuinely believe that if there were more of us in government, on boards and other positions of leadership and decision making, the country would be a much better place to work and live in.

I know Sheryl Sandburg, Facebook CEO (whom I adore btw) has a new campaign, about banning the “bossy” word when it comes to girls.  Sinead O’Connor (whom I don’t adore btw) has joined the campaign by renaming her new album “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss” – and she sure is, in the amazing photo-shoot that was released recently.

Sheryl Sandberg - Bossy womenSheryl Sandburg’s belief is that by calling girls bossy in the playground you can hinder their growth as future leaders – as being assertive can be seen as a negative trait for girls to have.

But you know what, based on my own experience as a woman in business, in this instance I’m not sure I agree with Sheryl or Sinead!

I do think there is a breed of women in business that feel they have to be aggressive or bossy to get ahead.

I feel some act this way because they have an over inflated opinion of themselves; paradoxically others behave this way because deep down they are insecure about their own abilities – or perhaps they just act this way because they know they can get away with it.  Basically most feel they have to over compensate for being female by acting this way.

This is based on my own experiences which go back to the 1970’s when I worked as a very small kid in my parents’ restaurant back in Kerry.

I know even my colleagues when they come out of a meeting with a particularly tricky client/prospect, who is being difficult for no particular reason – nine times out of ten the tricky person will have been a woman.

In general guys are far less complicated, with far fewer agendas.  That’s my opinion!!

In the past year I have experienced some really unreasonable, aggressive and yes bossy women who want to push their perceived superiority onto other women – and I often find – this type of woman will bully other women but not men!!

In the company of men, eye lashes are fluttered; they take men’s opinions more seriously and treat men with more respect.

In fact these women are some of the most sexist people I have come across and do nothing to really encourage other women in business, at a time when we should as women in business be supporting and encouraging each other.

Some women have incomprehensible agendas going on – where they don’t want other women to get ahead, even resenting their ability and/or success!!!

On a real positive note, I know thankfully these women are in the minority.

Mad Women - Jane MaasSome of the most positive experiences I have had in my long working life have been around my engagement with amazing women in business, like the team I work with now in Fuzion – great and caring professionals who would bust a gut for their clients and their colleagues; my very best buddy, Ciara, who I met through work and is as close to me as a sister and so many really great friends that I have made through work.

My greatest business heroes are women – the trailblazing original “Mad WomanJane Maas and another New Yorker, Rose of Tralee founder – Margaret Dwyer.

I am also part of an amazing organisation called Network Ireland, for women in business and through this organisation I see first-hand women supporting each other, inspiring each other – even starting businesses together.

So what will we do with these bossy/aggressive women?

It’s not enough to ban the word – as it isn’t banning the women themselves!!!

First of all try not to take it personally – which is hard not to do when you are in the middle of a situation!

Kill them with professionalism; ever so nicely challenge them on their behaviour and finally try to have the least amount of engagement with them as possible.

If that fails – think Karma!

If you do bad onto others – it will probably come back and bite you in the ass in the future and when you least expect it!!

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRDeirdre Waldron is a Partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Cork and Dublin

 


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