Sun-rays shining through the huge floor to ceiling windows, a selection of biscuits and fruits and about 100 inspiring woman and I was one of them - Women in Business 2016.
Just last minute I got myself a space at the Women in Business Networking Event organised by our Local Enterprise Office Leitrim and Longford. The venue couldn't have been any more suitable - Lough Rynn Castle. Especially while we were blessed with fantastic weather, blue skies a soothing breeze - a great morning to be networking with likeminded.
I met some incredible personalities from all across Ireland. When you work for yourself these meetings are more than "just" networking. They keep you "sane" :) Some familiar faces I spoke to today - it's a little bit like a team meeting really. And all in a fabulous setting!
We chatted about the ups and downs of running a business, how much creating meaningful relationships means to each of us and well, that wine is the one thing that helps us get a quiet minute.
Jackie O'Neill from "Dotti was a Deer" is a creative soul that used to live in Dublin but has (as nearly everyone I spoke to :)) relocated - back home - to Cavan to concentrate on her own art and artist soul. Dublin was to distractive with common affairs and life in the midlands allows Jackie to define her natural style.
So good to see a familiar face. A tab on the shoulder "hey how are you" and you feel more relaxed you're not a stranger. Fiona Egan from Cloughan Farm & Cookery School isn't only a very talented chef (you have to try her desserts!!). She also has a warm, carrying personality. During our Networking session she involved those who were a little more shy which made everyone feel comfortable. ...by the way - If you haven't heard about the Taste of the Lakeland's festival yet... Fiona will showcase her talent and skills during the event - hmmmm desserts!!! (hint hint hint)
I didn't even know... Pauline Egan - notice something? Fiona's talented sister. I only met Pauline today and wonder how I haven't come across her work before!!?? "Dress My Home" is her page which she is running from home while minding her kids at the same time! It's all about accessories for your home, decoration, pretty things... I could go on and on and on and...
Fellow photographer and lovely lady, Clare Frances from Clare Frances Photography popped over to say hello. It's so good to meet a "work colleague". Clare's photography is heartfelt and true. She is based in Roscommon and has years of experience. Her passion are weddings while she also does beautiful new-born photography.
Oh and someone who has taken a lot of fear from me. Grainne McGarty from McGarty Designs... Thank you so much for telling me that life in a cottage without interior, heating, a kitchen is possible - and doesn't have to break a relationship! We figured that we have the same camp stove, which I will be using for a while once we moved to our little "bare" cottage. ...you shouldn't have said "3" years though - that was the only thing that scared me a little :) I might consult you for some interior design tips so we might "settle" a little before 3 years!
Business Tip: Ramona Nicholas from Cara Pharmacy:
"We all make mistakes and put ourself under pressure - be more relaxed and not too hard on yourself." Ramona says that when she feels stressed, it helps her to plan her week. So she sits down every Sunday evening to make a list for the week. "Always have a back up plan"
Business Tip: Suzanne Jackson - So Sue Me
"Follow your intuition. If you're insecure don't ask too many people for their opinion - ask your mum or sister and a business mentor." For Suzanne the hardest was to "let go" when you are in transition phase and you work with a team you need to learn to "step back". Suzanne sets short and long term goals to keep focus on her business.
Business Tip: Anne Heraty - CPL Resources Plc
"Trust your gut - believe in yourself and don't be afraid to take a risk." For Anne working with a strong team is vital to run a successful business. She said when you are searching new recruits to look for members with different strengths and weaknesses to yours to fill gaps of skill and knowledge to strengthen your team. Very good advice also: ask yourself "What do I want to have achieved at the end of the day? If you don't make plans "life" just happens... well sometimes that ain't too bad.