4 Inspirational Business Women Share Their Secrets To Success

Now, more than ever, there’s a strong focus and need to discuss and progress with gender equality. At Cpl we’re proud to have a strong network of women throughout our organisation – from our CEO right through to the many women on each of our teams and across our 22 brands. With International Women’s Day this week, and with the theme of #PressforProgress in mind, I asked 4 inspirational business women, all of whom are elected to and pressing for progress within the Dublin Chamber Council this year, to share their top secrets for success in life and in work.

Aisling Hassell – Head of Customer Experience at Airbnb & Airbnb Ireland Site Lead

Aisling HassellAisling Hassell leads Airbnb’s global customer experience team, which is focused on supporting the global Airbnb community across 191+ countries. She also acts as Site Lead for Airbnb’s European headquarters in Dublin, its largest base outside of the US. She leads two locations here with over 450 employees, across growing teams from Customer Experience to Trust & Safety. Aisling joined Airbnb in 2014, after a global career leading customer strategy and experience in technology, communications and software innovators.

Aisling’s secrets for success
  1. Write down your goals, both personal and professional. It will surprise you how many you achieve. The book “5” by Kobi Yamada is good for building a 5-year plan.
  2. Take risks. No-one succeeds without leaping into the unknown sometimes. Embrace change and learning by doing.
  3. Live by the golden rule. Success today is not how you manage upward, but outward. How you work with your colleagues matters more in this reputation-based world.
  4. Keep a sense of humour. It’s priceless both in work and at home. All work with no laughs is a very dull place indeed.


Margot Slattery – Country President, Sodexo Ireland

Margot-SlatteryMargot Slattery is country president for Sodexo Ireland, part of the French-owned Sodexo Group, the world’s largest multi-services company. She has corporate governance and directorial responsibility for all its operations in Ireland and Northern Ireland, where it employs 3,700 people with a combined turnover of €118m in 2016. 

Margot has appeared on the OUTstanding/Financial Times’ list of Top 100 LGBT Business Leaders for the past three years and in 2017, for her work in supporting diversity and inclusion and women in business, she was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by the French Ambassador to Ireland.

Margot’s secrets for success
  1. Be yourself and strive to hold onto this as it is something that stays true and real as you move through your career.
  2. For me, almost all your opportunities and challenges begin and end with people, so it helps to keep that in mind in most situations.
  3. Maintaining an external view is important. You need to be aware of what’s happening in the world, to other companies and in business sectors outside your own. Some of the best innovations you can bring to your business will have their seeds in other sectors.
  4. I have found that the solution to most problems is in the room, either with yourself or your team. It takes humility, openness and listening skills to see that.
  5. Although sometimes a lot easier said than done, it’s important to ‘let things go’ at the end of each day, not to hold onto work concerns unduly and to put every worry into its proper perspective. When I get home, I ‘park’ the day’s happenings to ensure my attention is there for my partner and family.


Joanne Hession – Managing Director, Entrepreneurs Academy

Joanne HessionJoanne Hession is leading the non-profit initiative LiFTIreland.ie, a platform and means to drive stronger leadership from the kitchen table to the boardroom across the country, based on the premise that the quality of a society is defined by the character of its leaders. Joanne founded her first businesses 20 years ago, The Entrepreneurs Academy and QED The Accreditation Experts, businesses she still runs today. Author of “Don’t Get A Job Build A Business”, Joanne is frequently invited to work with teams and speak on entrepreneurial leadership. Joanne is currently a Board Member of BizWorld and in 2017 was invited to join Dr John Maxwell’s President’s Advisory Council in the US. 

Joanne’s secrets for success
  1. Remember that life and work aren’t separate! Work is an expression of your person and is an integral aspect of life. Achieving a harmony in and out of work is key.
  2. Continuously be open to (and look for) opportunities to learn. I aim to learn something new each day.
  3. Focus on how you can develop and help those around you. This helps your team and/or family to reach their potential, which of course, in turn, helps you.
  4. Have goals. Be specific, give yourself a timeframe and regularly check them to see how you are progressing in achieving them. If it helps, put them somewhere that you will see them easily, so that they don’t become dusted over and forgotten!
  5. Believe in something that is bigger than you.


Mary McKenna – Managing Director, Tour America

Mary-McKennaMary McKenna, Managing Director of Tour America, has been in the travel sector for almost 24 years. Mary started her business in 1995 from her sitting room, with no money and just 3 staff. Tour America employs 50 people in Dublin, Cork and Orlando with a turnover of €20 million. Tour America has won numerous awards over the years most notably in 2018 the 9th year in a row Deloitte Best Managed Companies award.  Tour America recently won the 2018 Travel Agent of the Year.

Mary’s secrets for success
  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff as it is all small stuff.
  2. Life is very short, so ensure you love what you do. Have fun every day and don’t forget to laugh.
  3. The only way you grow is to go outside your comfort zone.  Keep learning and developing yourself.
  4. Be grateful and give back, help others and become a mentor. Put your staff first and they will love their customers.
  5. Be good to yourself, take care of you mind, and exercise your body.  Get rid of all toxic people out of your life.

Now, more than ever before, it’s vital to #PressforProgress in work and outside of work. Always strive to motivate and unite friends, family and colleagues – on International Women’s Day and every day.

For more information visit www.internationalwomensday.com

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