What does leadership mean to you and how do you define it?
I’d define leadership as supporting and facilitating the team to do their best work and grow professionally. It’s about creating an environment where our team know they are trusted to explore ideas and possibilities, knowing that ideas that don’t work out are just part of the process.
What is the most important lesson you have learned, from your personal or business life?
After over 25 years in business, I have learnt that I always need to be looking at what’s happening next week / month / year and preparing for it. Also, not to get too emotionally invested in the business. A work-life balance is something I don’t always achieve, but I strive for.
Is there someone who has had a major impact on you as a leader?
Authentic and values-driven leaders have inspired me to knit our core values into the operation of the business and brand. Blake Mykosie of Tom’s Shoes, Jacinta Arden, and Joey Wat of Yum China.
Have you experienced failure? If so, what did you learn?
I have learnt more from my failures in business than I have from my successes. Taking time to think is so important as I can tend to get immersed in the ‘busyness’ of the day-to-day running of an eCommerce and now physical retail company. I have learnt to communicate early and often to key stakeholders. I have learnt that timing is essential. You can have a great product that is just too early for the market. And at the end of the day business is about people. The quality of my business is directly linked to the quality of the people we hire.
Who do you admire in the business world and why?
The many Irish entrepreneurs who had the grit and resilience to get through the pandemic, the cycle of openings and closures, and waiting on things to improve.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring board directors?
Learn about the industry and the company. Be clear on what your role is on the board. Come prepared to board meetings – read the board packs in advance.
If you were able to run one company, apart from your own business, which would you choose and why?
Something medical. I’m going to come back as a surgeon in my next life.