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Secrets to Success in Life and Work

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Today marks International Women’s Day – a global event that celebrates women’s achievements in all spheres and an important day of recognition.

With this in mind we asked three successful and inspirational business leaders to share their secrets to success in life and work. What does it really take to be a success?

Liz Grace, Financial Services Partner, Matheson

  1. Don’t be afraid to bring your thoughts to the table when necessary – trust your instincts, do not be afraid to be decisive.
  2. Be generous in your dealings with others in everything that you do. Integrity, positive values and respect for others should be applied and lived in your dealings every day.
  3. In any business organisation, you need to know how your role fits into the strategy. Make that your starting point in order to start seeing results.
  4. Stay focused on your own goals but be aware at all times of what is going on around you, the bigger picture. Don’t forget to see the world through other people’s eyes to understand their position.
  5. Encourage and empower others. There’s room for everyone to shine. But know how to deal with those who would have an alternative agenda!
Liz Grace is a Partner at Matheson and Director of Communications Strategy at the firm. She has over 15 years’ experience in the international financial services sector and is a qualified solicitor. She is Visiting Professor in Funds Law at Maynooth University where she founded and wrote Ireland’s first investment funds law programme for master’s degree candidates at an Irish university. She also set up Matheson’s first sectorally-dedicated knowledge function. Liz is a WMB Ambassador for Gender Diversity.

Alison Hodgson – HR Director, McDonald’s

  1. Have an opinion – and one you believe in and can stand over! In a world full of narratives it’s important to cut through and have a view.
  2. See the upside in everything – life and work are tough enough without having a negative perspective.
  3. Sociability is critical – it costs you nothing and means everything to others.
  4. “Context” is king – a real grounding force to keep what you say and do relevant.
  5. Love and be kind to yourself. Life is for living after all – enjoy.
Alison Hodgson is HR Director at McDonald’s Restaurants of Ireland where she is responsible for all human resource activity as the company continues with its expansion plans. Prior to this, Alison spent five years with the Royal Mail Group where she held various roles including HR director, Group Talent Director and Group head of resourcing. Alison is currently Chair of the Women In Retail Network in Ireland and the elected Chair of the national committee for the CIPD Ireland. 

Anna Scally, International Tax Partner, KPMG Ireland

  1. Professionally, do something you love. It simply wouldn’t be possible to dedicate the time and energy needed to succeed in a profession, unless you love what you do.
  2. Variety is the spice of life. As part of my day job, I get lots of opportunities to travel. I love the mix of working in Dublin but being able to spend time meeting with my clients in the US, Asia and Europe.
  3. Try not to feel guilty. With a busy professional career and three kids, it can be hard not to feel guilty all the time.  I’ve taught myself to focus on what I am doing at that time. I even think I developed my own form of mindfulness, before it was fashionable!
  4. Exercise. I always feel so much better when I can fit in an exercise routine. For the last few years I had been going to the gym a few mornings a week before work.
  5. Finally, and possibly most importantly, reliable childcare is worth its weight in gold. I can’t emphasise this one enough. This is something I worked really hard on and it has paid dividends. I have great back up and support and the best child-minder in the country!
Anna is an International Tax Partner, head of the Technology and Media practice and FinTech leader in KPMG Ireland. Anna has been recognised by Image Magazine as one of Ireland’s top Digital Woman, by Silicon Republic in the Women Invent Tomorrow programme as one of the 100 Top Women in STEM (the only practicing accountant or tax adviser to be included in list), and by Business and Finance magazine as one of the Tech 100. She is also a founding director of the FinTech and Payments Association of Ireland and former member of the Board of the American Chamber of Ireland.

Find out more about International Womens Day