Posts Tagged ‘Deirdre Waldron’

Remote Meetings – Rules of Engagement

May 19, 2020

Over the past few weeks from toddlers to elder lemons, we have all had a baptism of fire when it comes to remote meetings.  

While we are well used to them at this stage you can see already an A to Z of how people are great or not so great using them so I thought it was worth writing this as we can all get a little bit better – it’s all about Communications!

Love them or hate them, they are here to stay, so I have some tips that have helped me through this new way of working and could help you as well.

For us at Fuzion, it gives us the opportunity to say that we are very much open for business, sleeves up and ready to help. And it’s working for us – we even have won new business for the first time ever without ever having met the client face to face!

When the lockdown was announced first, we thought that was the end of all of our Social Media and Media Training as well as our Brand and Communications Workshops, but we quickly adapted and we have been busier than ever thanks to Zoom.

Remote meetings will never replace the valuable face to face connectivity but if we can get remote meetings right, think of the time we can save, not to mind the benefits to the environment and our pockets. 

It could mean that when the world “reboots” if we embrace remote meetings we will be far more productive and effective as individuals and as organisations and we might even win back some more quality of life.

Here are some of my learnings since conquering the fear of my laptop camera!!

  1. Be mindful of your image

Treat remote meetings as if you are all in the same room.

Wear work appropriate clothing and be mindful of your backdrop. If you have a home office, how about using one of your company’s pop ups, or if that’s not feasible either have a blank wall, or a backdrop that is clutter free.

The first week I just wore my gym gear – who cared…. It turns out I did. 

Part of my ability to thrive and not just survive during this time is keeping to my rituals and that includes giving myself time to look well every day – that way, if there is a last minute meeting – well I’m ready for my closeup!!!

  1. Turn your camera on – don’t hide

Pre Covid the majority of people kept their camera off and blamed the wifi! Now it’s becoming less acceptable to have your camera turned off.  

Now most people almost resent it where people leave their camera off.  You almost feel that they are hiding something, or that they don’t want to engage with you fully.

In most cases no one will say anything but they will see you (or not at all!) in a different light if you are the hidden one.

  1. Have the right light

Don’t sit with your back to the window or to strong lighting – all people will see is your silhouette. Use soft natural light to illuminate you in front or to the side. 

If you don’t have good lighting, invest in an LED Ring Light – They are great value, can plug into your laptop and offer a variety of lights and strengths depending on the natural light in the room.

In my room, I work with the light behind me, so I have positioned my laptop on books to the side with one of these LED lights behind the camera, so when I’m on a Zoom call, I turn the light on and it really softens the lighting.  

  1. Frame the camera correctly

Try out a number of positions/locations for the camera – which may also change during the day depending on light. 

Show all of your face. Place the camera at eye level or higher. Looking up at the camera makes you look more engaged (so they say!!)  And look into the lens, not at the screen. That’s where the people are, and that is how you make eye contact.

I have been on one or two meetings, where the other person’s camera was pointed at the ceiling, which is definitely worse than not having the camera on at all!!!

  1. Drown out noise

If you are in an environment where there are other people working near you, or there might be other distracting sounds you might consider using headsets. They could be the typical ones that come with your phone.

I’m working in an office on my own so I find the mic and the speakers on my laptop work fine, however some colleagues that run workshops and webinars prefer to use headphones or a headset with a mic.

Click this link that I found on the Zoom help resources on best cameras and headsets

  1. Sit up straight and proud

Don’t slouch, sit on a chair, rather than a couch if possible, so it feels more like a meeting setting. Don’t move as much as you might during an in-person meeting, and stay within the camera frame.

Saying that, I work from a couch, with cushions supporting my back as I work. 

I have my laptop to my side, connected to a big screen on a coffee table in front of me and my cordless keyboard on a tray on my lap. Very comfy as as it makes room for my new work colleagues – my dogs Honey and Bert either side of me!!! 

When it comes to meetings, I lean toward the edge of the couch, sit up straight, turn towards the camera which is to the side, so that the backdrop is the wall rather than all the cushions surrounding me. It keeps me focused sitting at the edge of the couch and I have my cordless keyboard and mouse on a tray, so I am able to access the screen if I need to.

  1. Look engaged

Remember it’s not a mirror, so don’t go fidgeting with your hair, or don’t click away on your computer keyboard while someone is talking. If you really have to click away or if there is any external noise like the dogs (or the kids) acting up, then mute when you are not speaking.

I was at a meeting the other day, where one of the ladies kept on tying her hair up and then down. She forgot that everyone could see her.

I think I preferred her hair down lol!!!

  1. Be on time

And that means joining the meeting a few minutes before the start time, to make sure your connection is working OK.

It’s sort of like getting the meeting room ready for the meeting. When I worked in the office, I’d always make sure the room was in order before the meeting and this is my way of making sure I create the best possible impression by being on time and that everything is working properly.

  1. Keep Meetings Short

Some people find remote meetings more draining than face to face meetings. So try and keep them to less than an hour. After the meeting walk around for a few minutes, grab a coffee or give the dog (or kid) a treat for behaving during the meeting!!

I find that I have to focus much more during remote meetings. I want to be sure I hear what everyone is saying and that I’m 100% engaged. So afterwards I feel really drained, but I find it helps keeping them to under an hour if at all possible.

  1. Go Zoom

I know there were some security issues regarding Zoom during the first week or so of the lockdown, but we find this platform really reliable and the quality of audio, visual and screen sharing functionality really good. 

It’s free to use to host meetings if they are under 40 minutes and it’s also free to use if you are just joining in on a meeting. You just need to download the app the first time you use it.

Their website is really great as well for tips on how to use the platform as well as general help with organising webinars, meetings or just working from home. Click here for a blog post from them I found really useful – tips on how to meet like a pro while working from home.

The biggest reason for using Zoom at this stage, is that it is quickly becoming the standard. People are becoming very familiar with it and if it is a meeting, a training session or a webinar make it as easy as possible for them and don’t place any barriers to entry, such as another platform they may not know.

So, that’s all from me – I hope you find these simple tips really useful, and you never know I could be meeting you soon, on Zoom or even better in person!  

Deirdre Waldron, Fuzion Communications, PR ConsultantDeirdre 

Deirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Covid-19 Communications and Staying Safe

March 10, 2020

The recent news of Covid-19 or coronavirus coming to Ireland is of concern to us all. I am sure you are as glued to the quickly evolving story as we are. 

The HSE is advising the risk of catching Covid-19 in Ireland is still low to moderate, but this may change. However, most people continue to go to work, school and other public places, as usual.

While this advice is still in place, it is best practice to introduce some measures in your workplace such as hand sanitiser at entry points and clear advice about hand washing,  to keep your team and workplace visitors safe and to avoid any possible spread of the virus.  

It is also advisable at this stage to review contingencies around remote working, if this is feasible for all or some members of your team. Another practical approach would be considering remote business meetings, using tools such as Skype, Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams, so that travel is kept to a minimum. 

Our design team in Fuzion have created an infographic based on the HSE advice that you can use in your office to encourage good hand hygiene. You can get a high resolution version of this poster here

Covid-19 infographic

As well as the potential health impact of Covid-19, we are already seeing economic implications of the virus and your business could be affected during this time of uncertainty. 

The Department of Business, Enterprise  Industry have developed a Business Continuity Checklist that is well worth checking out here.

The Role of Communications

If your business is at risk of being affected, you may have a possible communications crisis issue. In this scenario it is best to ensure you follow the below important steps that we have shared with all of our clients. 

When a crisis occurs, the need to communicate is immediate. Simple steps to ensure this happens can streamline this process:

1- Agreed Spokespeople

When a crisis occurs, it is best to choose spokespeople most suitable for the situation. Identify your key spokesperson and brief them on what’s happening as well as how your organisation is going to move forward. Then move quickly to respond internally with those messages to your employees. The point here is to quickly alleviate any internal fears or concerns in the workforce. 

2– Set up a group on email or Whatsapp only reserved for the crisis with key spokespeople

Crises tend to happen when you least expect them so Whatsapp is recommended so spokespeople can be contacted out of office hours. This group should only have the spokespeople and appropriate decision makers. 

3- Act as soon as possible

If it is not possible to give a comment immediately, ensure the journalist is asked for a deadline and the organisation will get back to them asap. 

If required, Fuzion can assist you with the response to a crisis, or act as a “gatekeeper” for you with the media.  The earlier Fuzion is contacted, the better in order to effectively respond to a crisis or a journalist query for a statement and minimise any damage a crisis can create. 

4- Agree a response/Statement as soon a crisis occurs

In the case of Covid-19, it is best to have a statement prepared so your business demonstrates it is ready and prepared for such a serious issue. This statement should outline how the business has prepared for the crisis and plans to move forward. 

5- Social Media

If appropriate, share your statement on social media and if a crisis happens on social media, it is advised where possible to take the conversation offline and discuss matters either on direct mail or email. 

6- Create a means for monitoring

Once you’ve determined the channel of distribution for your message, monitoring responses is equally critical. 

Careful planning and preparation should encourage readiness for any possible crisis.

However, situations will arise in organisations that may require expert advice and in this case, you can contact Fuzion’s Crisis Communication team here

 

Advice on Covid-19

Advice on Covid -19 from Public Health bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) is to minimise infection risk thorough hand-washing, isolating ourselves if we are ill, and avoiding touching our faces. More information on personal care can be found here.

While the period ahead is uncertain, if we can calmly prepare for the unexpected we will be in a much better position to face any possible escalation of the crisis. 

Stay safe and with best wishes

Ciara Jordan and Deirdre Waldron on behalf of The Fuzion Team

 

Show Me The Money!!!!!

July 31, 2019

Show me the money

My poor colleagues (you know who you are!) over the last few days have had to put up with me and a gripe I have re certain Social Media Influencers.

Working in communications, I know that Social Media Influencers can be such an important part of the marketing mix and such an effective way to reach target audiences. We work with celebrities and influencers constantly and achieve great results working in partnership with them and they deserve to be rewarded for the work they do for clients – it’s their livelihood!

But for me, a professional in this industry a long time, I think sometimes with certain influencers, when there is budget involved, it often comes across as inauthentic and mercenary.

An typical example – say we have a client organising a sports day – we pick an influencer that we know has a keen interest in this particular sport; pay them a four figure sum to participate in the event – and then we are told that their limit to social media engagement is “One static Instagram Post”!!

So basically they are saying, even though it is something that would be of interest to them, they won’t (really) engage digitally with the event, or the client or the people attending the event, who could be followers or potential followers. 

I think by not connecting authentically and being so rigid, in the long term it will cost these influencers in revenue, clients and followers.

It reminds me of the days back before social media.

We were working with an amazing Danish female fashion brand, who had really beautiful collections, totally current fashion, which were available nationwide. The brand provided us with high quality fashion and product images every season and budget to spend on advertising and PR. We got amazing PR coverage for the brand as the images as well as the price points were really attractive.

We had a five figure sum to spend with one of the high end fashion magazines, but for many seasons the title never took any fashion or product shots or editorial from us for the brand – but the title was more than happy to publish the full page adverts our client were paying for.

I spoke with the editor to see if there was anything she could do, to be told that the brand didn’t suit their editorial content, so I advised my client to pull the advertising!

Basically, the editor was telling me that my client’s brand was not of interest to their readers, and obviously we were fools spending the advertising budget there as well.  

Of course that was before the economic crash and the age of digital – when print titles perhaps could afford to act like this.

For me this Social Media Influencer is saying the same thing as the magazine did.

By only agreeing to do “One Static Instagram Post”, they are saying that my client’s event is not really relevant to them or their followers. 

I don’t expect or want them to bombard their followers with lots of posts and updates about the event, but it would be nice to think that they would want to tell their followers that they were going to attend , perhaps on their Instagram Story, share a live update while they are there and then post some nice photos of the special day out, meeting their followers and new people at something that is relevant to them.

If it’s just “One Static Instagram Post” then forget it!

They are saying to me clearly that they really are there just to collect the money, not to engage digitally with the brand or the people attending on the day.  

I’m at this too long now to compromise. 

I really want to work with authentic people and brands and that includes the third party suppliers and influencers we introduce and recommend to our clients.  We always go the extra mile for our clients and we expect the people that we recommend to do likewise.

So, in this case I advised our client not to go with this influencer and instead to work with Influencers who have already connected with the brand organically, who have shown that they are connected and willing to really be part of a very special day. 

My client’s four figure cheque will be addressed to one of them if I have anything to do with it……

Deirdre Waldron, Fuzion Communications, PR ConsultantDeirdre 

Deirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The end of the Business Card?

July 3, 2019

Business Card etiquette

I was having a chat yesterday with a businessman who was saying how LinkedIn was his new business card – that when he meets a new business contact, instead of handing them a business card he connects with them on LinkedIn, so he has that electronic connection.

This is a perfect use of social media tools for business, but I think he is missing a big point of the business card.

For me my business card is an opportunity to showcase my brand to a new contact “Look who I am and where I work”, ““Look at what we can do”, “Look how well we look”.

I just love the Chinese and Japanese culture around business cards, how it is considered rude not to present your business card properly and then to examine a business card respectively and carefully when you are presented with one.

They almost have a ceremony around business cards – how they present it with two hands and you are expected to receive it in both hands, study it and put it beside you if you are at a meeting with them. The business card is considered to represents the person.

I remember 20 years ago when I first started Fuzion Communications, I didn’t have a fancy office, I was working with a borrowed laptop, but I invested in my branding and my business cards, as out and about meeting people, my business cards were my shop window!

Even in our digital age, I still like to present my business cards – and I always watch how they are received. I think it’s a great way to judge if someone is actually engaging with you, to see how they react when you hand them your business card.

So next time you present a card to someone, see how they receive it – and when someone gives you a business card, accept it with honour – you never know, they might have read this blog post too!!

Deirdre Waldron, Fuzion Communications, PR ConsultantDeirdre 

Deirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Don’t be a Commodity, be Remarkable!

July 31, 2018

Health Bars in Multiples

Queuing for my salad at lunchtime in the corner store near our office today in Dublin, I couldn’t help but notice the piles of health bars above the sandwich bar.

Even if I wanted one, I wouldn’t have a clue which one to pick as there were so many different brands, all offering the same thing!

A few years ago, health bars didn’t even exist and now they are competing for space at every till across Ireland. So much noise and so little differentiation.

Health bars have become a commodity.

How can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you and your business?

You have to keep on reinventing, reinvesting – in you, in your business and in your brands.

You have to continually give your target audience good reasons to engage with you. You have to create compelling stories about your products and your business.

As Seth Godin says in his Marketing Bible ‘The Purple Cow’ – you have to be ‘remarkable’ to stand out.

Looking at the image (above) of all these health bars, despite the investment in packaging, despite negotiating shelf space, despite “magical” ingredients that will make you leaner, fitter, healthier, not one of them is remarkable.

Why not make it a resolution to ask yourself right now – what steps could you take today to make your business more remarkable?

If you need any help guiding you towards the answers –  I’d love to help…….

Deirdre 

Deirdre Waldron - Network Ireland PresidentDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Cracking the Diversity Code with Gillian Keating

June 2, 2018

Gillian Keating - I WISH

Greg had the pleasure recently of chatting with a great friend of Fuzion’s, Gillian Keating and capturing this for an episode of our Win Happy podcast.

Gillian, a Partner with RDJ Solicitors and a former President of Cork Chamber is a true ground breaker.

She was the first female President of Cork Chamber, a role that she fully embraced and from there she went on to make even more impact as one of the founders of the I WISH diversity programme.

I WISH was founded to address the low levels of women participating in STEM by targeting transition year students and encouraging them to consider careers in the relevant disciplines.

In the podcast Greg chats with Gillian about the value of hard work, coping with disappointments, pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, gender equality, diversity and “Cracking the Cork Code“.

I hope you enjoy the show!

Click here to listen to the show

Fuzion Win Happy podcast thumbnail

Dee

Deirdre Waldron - Network Ireland PresidentDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

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

 


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