In this podcast,Brid Horan unveils the necessary tools for success, "getting in the way" of your own career and gender balance in business.Download Podcast
With over twenty years' experience in senior executive roles and on boards of public and private sector organisations, Brid Horan joins us as co-chair of Balance for Better Business. After taking some time away from work to start a family, Brid took advantage of the opportunities she was presented with and worked her way to executive roles in businesses such as ESB. Having retired from full-time work, she now aims to create gender balance in the world of business by setting targets for the inclusivity of women in Irish companies.
"We can't wait for the little girls to grow up for everything to be right. There are things that need to be done now to actually take advantage of the talent in the grown-up women in the country and we're not doing that to the full extent".
After moving from the rolling hills of Donegal to Moate, Co. Westmeath, Brid Horan started her career off with great ambition. Having secured a trainee role in Irish Life Ltd. Brid started what would be a long career in Dublin. She stepped away from working life for five years while she and her husband started their family, however she couldn't be kept away from work long, returning to her career as head of KPMG pension and actuarial consulting. From there she moved to ESB where she climbed through the ranks to become Deputy Chief Executive. After eight years in an exciting position, Brid decided to retire from full-time work and began pushing Irish busineses towards achieving gender equality through her new venture; Balance for Better Business.
"I came from an environment that thought I could do anything, so why wouldn't I think I could do anything?"
When it comes to the aspects of your life that have led to your success, it can be difficult to pin down the influence of each event or person. Brid tells us how good fortune, met with independent action, great mentoring and support have contributed to the success she has had. In particular, Brid focuses on the importance of good mentoring; having someone who "takes an interest", offers you the opportunity to learn and gives you advice from their own experiences is something not to be taken for granted.
Self-doubt and "getting in your own way",
When opportunities come our way, it can be difficult to know whether it is the right path for you.Brid admits that being objective and having a "husband who's a good soundboard in terms of separating that self-doubt from the actual reality" is how she knows when she's getting in the way of an amazing opportunity. This eventually leads to her saying yes to many of the opportunities that come her way, being open to the challenge while being realistic about her own abilities to perform within a certain role.
"We have set a target of 33% female representation on boards of ISEQ 20 companies by 2023 and 25% for other listed companies",
As co-chair of Balance for Better Business, Brid explains how they are working to achieve gender balance by setting targets for female representation thus eliminating the male dominance within the business world. Brid admits that throughout her career she has seen the lack of female representation herself and explains how "companies that are led in a gender-balanced way out-perform other companies", in terms of innovation, managing risk and looking at better spreads of data.Balance for better business drives the movement for gender equality by making businesses publicly responsible for including women in executive and non-executive roles. As they say "what gets publicly measured, gets managed even better".
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Learn how to organise a meeting with a mentor to speed up your business and your career immensely: A mentor is somebody who can give you guidance and who takes an interest in how you're advancing. It's very reassuring to know somebody is at your side.
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Balance for Better Business: Learn more about how Brid and the company are changing the representation of women in business on their website.