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Women Who Mean Business: Niamh Cornally

Since the establishment of the Women Who Mean Business Network (WWMB), membership has grown to over 300 people. Through panel events and networking evenings, WWMB has worked to bring like-minded professionals together to promote gender equality in the workplace, equal pay, and mentorship.

Founded in 2018 by Jenny Kinmonth, WWMB has hosted numerous panel discussions which have included a range of key note speakers: Anne O’Leary (CEO, Vodafone), Fiona Mullan (VP International HR, Facebook) Nicola Vavasour (CEO, Scotiabank) and Linda Kiely (Co-Founder and Director, Voxpro).

Niamh Cornally was recently appointed Chair of the WWMB Network. With her history of advocacy and strategic implementation, Niamh will play a leading role in the development and direction of the network for the future and beyond.

What do you do at MA?

I was recently appointed as Client Partnership’s Director in Mason Alexander. As part of this role, I am responsible for strategic client relationship management and development of key strategic clients here at Mason Alexander. I have recently taken over as Chair of the Women Who Mean Business Network that was established over 18 months ago.

How did you get into recruitment?

I moved to Dublin after I finished college and started my first job as a recruitment consultant. Now nearly 18 years later, I have worked from consultant through to director level, and I am as passionate about the industry as the day I started working in it. I’m fortunate to have worked in leading recruitment firms during my career and have gained vast experience working in diverse, complex and multicultural environments. I thrive on working with clients, supporting them with the best solutions that meet their needs to attract top talent.

Can you recommend any habits that have helped your professional life?

Be organised, prepare for your day, look at problems as opportunities, not challenges, take criticism well and listen to understand, not to react. Most importantly be authentic to others around you, it forges stronger relationships.

Who inspires you?

Professionally, over the years I’ve been fortunate to work for inspiring leaders throughout my career who have supported me on and off the field. Personally, my husband, parents, siblings and close friends continue to inspire me on an ongoing basis. I believe inspiration comes from many walks of life and you need to be open to receiving it. Over the years, I’ve created my own personal board of people that I regularly connect with who act as my sounding board for me, it has always helped me in times of change and I believe everyone should have a group of people like this!

We all make mistakes in life. It’s how we overcome and deal with them that really matters. Be honest, show up and take responsibility.

What is the Women Who Mean Business network?

The purpose of the Women Who Mean Business network is to provide support to professional women based in Ireland. It has been set up to guide and provide women with confidence in the work place and to inspire women to achieve their full potential, no matter what industry or stage they are at in their career. These events provide a network of peers for women to grow their network, make connections and learn from each other. The speakers to date have been open in sharing the challenges that they have overcome and the success they have had in their careers.

What value can WWMB bring to its members?

With our series of events and workshops, the WWMB network will learn from business women who are leaders in their fields, their tips to success while also exploring the adversities they have overcome on their journeys. Our events are a great chance to learn, discuss issues, ask questions, make connections and share stories. We want to educate women on the importance and benefits of creating valuable networks to support their career development.

What do you think are the major challenges that women face in the workplace?

Although we’ve come a long way in Ireland over the years, there is still an obvious gender bias that lingers within the workplace – whether it’s a man benefiting more from small talk than women, the temperature of the office being set to the average male comfort or a strong woman being labelled as “bossy”. Women today often struggle to strike a balance between working and family life, often sacrificing the latter to succeed and pursue promotional opportunities. Role models and mentorship programme’s play a key role in encouraging and inspiring females to succeed. Some of the key challenges that females face today are achieving work life balance, climbing the ladder, fear, unsupportive managers, lack of colleague support, gender pay gap and gender bias that occur in the workplace.

What can we expect from the next WWMB event?

Gender Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic, with an urgency in demands for transparency. It is great to see so many of our clients addressing this as an issue and committing to gender parity within their organizations. WWMB will be hosting the next in our series of events – Women Who Mean Business – The Next Chapter – Diversity & Inclusion. There is an overarching focus on Gender Diversity within this sphere when companies should be acknowledging all forms of diversity in order to foster an inclusive more collaborative workplace.

To find out more about our Women Who Mean Business Network and events series, reach out to Niamh today.

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