International Women’s Day – DHR’s Pick of Inspiring Women
To mark International Women’s Day, we asked some of our staff-members to name the women who have inspired them most in their lives. Here’s who they picked…
Executive Director, Martina Quinn:
- My grandmother, Mary Meagher (pictured top right). She is the matriarch holding court over her large extended family. She turned 92 a few weeks ago, but still devours a couple of novels a week; reads the newspaper religiously every day; and is surprisingly well informed about popular culture. She worked alongside her husband on their farm all her life, raised eight children (including six impressive and accomplished women), and now has dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren who adore her. Throughout my life, she has demonstrated to me – very subtly – the many ways in which women can be strong, well-informed and opinionated, as well as caring and kind.
- Ann O’Dea, (pictured top left) CEO, Editor-at-Large and Co-Founder of SiliconRepublic.com and the driving force behind the ‘Women Invent’ campaign, which champions the role played by women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). The hugely exciting Inspire Fest 2015 – which takes place in Dublin in June – is also the brainchild of Ann. DHR has been working with Ann on various projects over the past year, and we’re currently involved in the delivery of Inspire. The best thing about working with her is her unfailingly positive attitude: she doesn’t give out about others; she doesn’t moan if things go wrong. And she’s got great taste in music too! Follow Ann on Twitter at @annodeasr.
- Gini Dietrich, Founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based communications firm, and author of the amazing Spin Sucks blog. I’ve never met this woman, but I’m a huge fan of hers online, particularly of her posts on Spin Sucks. Anyone with an interest in PR, marketing and communications should check out this blog for great case studies, tips and ‘food for thought’. Follow Gini on Twitter at @ginidietrich / @SpinSucks
Account Director, Tony Heffernan:
It may sound like a bit of an Irish cliché, but the woman I draw most inspiration from was probably my mother, Kitty Heffernan (pictured bottom right).
My father died when I was five leaving my mother to raise seven children ranging from 14 down to 3. Her only income was a widow’s pension which, at the time, amounted to one pound ten shillings (about the equivalent of two euros). Even allowing for a much lower cost of living in 1954 it was a pittance, which she supplemented by child minding, knitting and other odd jobs.
I don’t know how she did it, but we were all adequately fed, clothed (if not very flashily) and educated. She did the tasks small boys would normally expect of a father – fixing the bike, bringing us to matches and painting and decorating.
She was a product of her time, with traditional Catholic views, but she still managed to imbue a sense of tolerance and fair play among her children.
Like many children and young adults I took much of this for granted and it was only later in life that I really appreciated what she had achieved. She was a widow for 40 years and I suppose my one regret is that I did not express my appreciation often enough before she died.
Account Executive, Emily Brennan:
- Having read my colleague’s Tony regret that he didn’t show his appreciation for his own mother enough, I couldn’t leave my own off the list (pictured bottom left). Although we occasionally drive each other mad, Brigid Brennan raised 6 (wonderful!) children and is the most resourceful and generous woman I know. Her never-ending patience with small children and her adoration for her grandchildren is something to be admired. She’s also Ireland’s most underrated chef, Darina Allen has nothing on her!
- My love of history started as a child and continued all the way to college, where I studied it in UCD, so Constance Markievicz is an obvious choice for me for her gumption and bravery. The importance of learning about historical female role models from a young age is not to be underestimated; she has captured my imagination since primary school.
- I’m a huge fan of Glaswegian band Chvrches, and during the past few years I’ve come to admire their lead singer, Lauren Mayberry. The band came to prominence through the internet and their use of blogging and social media channels, and in 2013, Lauren wrote a very articulate article calling out the misogynistic abuse she receives online on a daily basis. She also is the founder of TYCI, a feminist collective, which produces interesting articles, podcasts, interviews and playlists, and is also a great means of discovering new music!
- Bonus fictional woman I admire: Peggy Olson from Mad Men for not letting her gender get in the way of her career ambitions! You go Peggy!
Account Executive, Sebastian Enke:
- Sophie Scholl, for the bold and courageous actions she took to defy the Nazi regime.
- Eileen Gray, for her artistic innovation and vision; her creative output spanned eight decades and she left an enduring legacy.
- Aung San Suu Kyi, for her persistence in fighting for freedom and democracy.
Administrator, Sinéad Duggan:
- Like most people, my mother has had a huge influence on me. I may not have noticed it at the time, but I have grown to appreciate the fact that she, and my father, worked full time, raised four children and still managed to have their own lives. How they did this with one car and a tiny fridge is now beyond me! More recently, I was hugely proud of her for going to live and work in Ethiopia for a year after she had retired. She has always followed her own path and has tried to encourage me to do the same.
- The first woman outside of my family who I remember having an influence on me is Mary Robinson. She was the first person to spark my interest in politics. Since then I have really admired how she has used her voice and intellect to stand up for people in Ireland and around the world, who she sees are being treated unfairly.
PR and Events Intern, Louise Archbold:
- Maya Thompson’s son, Ronan, aged 3, died in May 2011 following a battle with stage iv neuroblastoma. Maya set up the Ronan Thompson Foundation in his memory to raise funds for neuroblastoma research and innovative treatments. Even in the depths of despair and grief, Maya has never given up on her mission to find a cure for cancer.
- As an Irish woman with a passion for voluntary work, Christina Noble is an incredible inspiration to me. Despite a traumatic childhood, she has dedicated her life to helping others. She set up the Christina Noble Foundation dedicated to serving the world’s oppressed and marginalised children.