Almost 100 people attended the recent business networking event featuring broadcaster, publishing entrepreneur and former Dragon on Dragon’s Den Norah Casey, in the Ferrycarrig Hotel, Wexford. Many attendees were women involved in various businesses around the county. The event was hosted by Wexford Chamber and was sponsored by Wexford Chamber Skillnet, Danone Nutricia and the Wexford People. Opening the proceedings, Chamber President Niall Reck welcomed Ms Casey to the sunny south-east, complimenting her extensive CV of entrepreneurship and innovation. Ms Casey’s discussion was entitled ‘The Power of You – The Importance of Navigating Your Own Life’, and she spoke of how she had spent her whole life studying strategy.
The Power of You
She discussed how people went through a ‘decade of indulgence’ from the age of 23 to 33, after which day-to-day life took over and many people, effectively, went into ‘the slow lane’ and stopped looking forward. Norah remarked, ‘You have until you are 82, the average life expectancy. All of the things you want to do, you still can, and you owe it to the people who can’t, to get out and grab life. Set your internal SAT-NAV towards something or else you are just idling by the curbside.’
She said that ‘this generation was constantly trying to recreate things as if everything had been invented and the innovative side of people’s brain was lazy’. To that end, she recommended a book called ‘Blue Ocean Thinking’, saying it was something that she encouraged her own son to read.
‘Bring your 12-year-old into your business, they will imagine things better than any adult‘, she remarked, adding that ‘most businesses operated in red oceans, bloodbaths between similar businesses instead of embracing innovation. When it came to women in business, she believes that ‘confidence, rather than competence was holding women back. She said women were better at calculating risk which was why, she pointed out, that most women in CEO roles had come via the finance route’.
Collaboration and Cooperation
She referred to Christine Lagarde who famously remarked that Lehman Brothers should have had more Lehman Sisters. That said, Norah pointed out that risk was necessary in many cases and that once you took an initial risk, it became easier to weigh up and take them more often. She also referred to women’s tendency to ruminate which, she said, could be detrimental but also very valuable when it came to understanding why something failed. Fielding a series of questions from the floor, she stressed that she was in favour of collaboration and cooperation: ‘It’s men and women, not men versus women. Rather than Me Too, I’d prefer Us Together.’
Claire O’Rourke, Network Manager of the Wexford Chamber Skillnet observed ‘The event was a huge success with everyone feeling revived and uplifted after a very impressive presentation from Norah Casey. We look forward to supporting inspiring events such as this in the future, and continuing to provide innovative training and upskilling to businesses across the county’.
The above is a summary of an article written by Wexford People’s Anna Hayes, read the full article on Wexford Chamber website. If you would like to learn more about upcoming Wexford Chamber Skillnet events and training courses visit their website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.