4 inspirational women share their thoughts on what you need to succeed in business

IMAGE Businesswoman Of The Year Awards

With close to 800 attendees it's fair to say the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2015, celebrated in the Hilton Hotel in Dublin, were a great success! The awards, now in its ninth year honoured the incredible contribution the businesswoman of Ireland make in their respective industries. With this in mind, we wanted to get a look inside what makes some of this years candidates so successful in what they do. To do this we decided to put one simple question to four nominees:

What one piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to be successful in business?

Below we've collated their responses and it really makes for some inspiring reading!


1. Mary Hawkes-Greene, President at Burren College of Art

Mary is an educational innovator. Fuelled by a passion for the Burren and a desire to establish education and creativity as a sustainable economic driver for the area, Mary and her late husband Michael established the Burren College of Art in 1994 with a goal to be 'the best little art school in the world'. Mary is now leading the college from being a hothouse for artists to an international centre for applied creativity. This is what she had to say:

Mary-Hawkes Greene

"To be successful in business, you need to have a goal you are passionate about, work with a team of great people you respect, and have an ability to take risks, be prepared to fail and try again."

2. Sarah O'Connor & Isolde Johnson, Founders of The Cool Bean Company

Sarah, along with Isolde Johnson, co-founded The Cool Bean Company - a food business who create no fuss, no nonsense, superhero food. Their signature product Cool Beans is a healthy, beany meal in a pot that has went from an idea in their kitchen to being stocked nationwide in Supervalu and Fresh stores. This is their response to the question: 

Sarah O'Connor & Isolde Johnson

"Confidence is really important - and that’s confidence not arrogance! You have to believe in yourself, your product and in your ability; if you don’t you will find it hard convincing someone else to believe. This also translates to having the confidence to ask, whether it's for a new opportunity in work, some help and coaching or a new listing for your product. The worst thing that can happen is a no!

Finally, at the end of the day it's about your attitude, our motto in Cool Beans is 'the only thing you can control in life is your attitude, so be a positive bean!'."


3. Orla Moran, Head of SMB SaaS Sales at New Relic EMEA

Orla has dedicated her career to working for technology companies whose ideas are game changing and whose solutions actually work. She has spent over 15 years in the corporate world, heading up sales teams and building sales teams from the ground up mainly for US FDI firms. She is currently with New Relic, which recently IPO'd with a market cap of near a billion dollars. Here is what she had to say:

Orla Moran

"One of my favourite mantra's, and one I use daily is 'success is an inside job'. The flames of success must ignite within you first. Once you believe you can do it, your external reality will catch up pretty quick. I love the quote from the late Wayne Dyer, 'I will see it when I believe it'.

I am also a big believer in following your curiosity on the path to success, what ever that looks like for you. Life is like a treasure hunt and our curiosity gives us the clues! So many people say 'follow your passion' and although I firmly believe this should be the case, so many of us don’t know what our passion is yet and then we feel like a failure for not knowing! We look at other people who clearly are following their passion and then we beat ourselves up for not living ours yet. But following our curiosity, I believe, is the series of stepping stones required to lead us to our passion, which will then lead us to being successful in business and in life. Do, speak, read and be around people who spark that curiosity within you.

One of Steve Jobs greatest qualities was his intense curiosity. Curiosity drives business people to learn their companies and their competitors inside out and to never stop looking for ideas to improve. Curious people will search out great mentors and coaches and learn from their successful patterns. After all, success leaves clues.

Be curious as it will ultimately be your curiosity that leads to ideas, and ideas can change your business and the world, most importantly; yours!"


4. Sandra McKenna, Co-founder Sheology Digital

Sandra co-founded Sheology Digital, a digital media publishing house leading the way in targeting females online. Sheology helps marketers achieve their goals by aligning their goals with engaging digital advertising and content marketing campaigns across their portfolio of digital properties. From the launch of its first website Mummy Pages in 2009, Sheology is now a multi-million euro company with four female-focused lifestyle digital platforms that seek to reach women at every stage of their life. This is what she had to say:

Sandra McKenna

"It's hard to give just one piece of advice to someone who wants to be successful in business. I suppose it really depends on what stage they are at in their career and whether they are running their own business like me.

There is one piece of advice that applies universally however, and that is to surround yourself with people who are better than you. If there is one thing I have learned from my career both working for others and now working for myself, is that you cannot be an expert in everything. I am learning all of the time, both because the digital landscape is constantly evolving but also because I have a really strong team around me.

My co-founder and advisers help me to become a better leader and businesswoman, while the passionate, knowledgeable members of our company team share our business goals and strive to help us to be the successful market-leading digital publisher that we are today."

Sandra won the Digital Businesswoman of the Year award (sponsored by Electric Ireland) on the night for her work with Sheology Digital. Congrats Sandra!

For a full list of winners and results see here.

Follow us on LinkedIn