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IWD 2024: Breaking barriers with resilience and gratitude
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

During the global pandemic, I realized the importance of two traits: gratitude and resilience. Being grateful for things like time with loved ones, ongoing health, inner resources, and our ability to achieve what we have so far in our careers and lives motivated me, even when times were tough.  

Resilience allowed me to overcome any challenge thrown my way. I didn’t come from a background of wealth or business savvy; I worked my way up in business back in Ireland at a time when the country was experiencing economic depression.  

I was determined to do whatever it took to improve my situation and was always entrepreneurial. That included studying nights after working all day and learning multiple languages to qualify for a job with the EU and companies with subsidiaries in Ireland. 

I then left everything behind in Ireland to come to the United States in 1988 to continue pursuing a better life. I worked my way through several industries, eventually starting my own insurance brokerage in California that specialized in health insurance, life insurance, and estate planning. In 2014, my husband passed away and I was suddenly charged with taking over our business ventures alone while raising three teenagers without him. 

It was a very tough time, with many obstacles along the way. But I kept going, even when things got hard, because I was determined to do my best. I learned that giving up isn't an option, even when life isn't easy. Because of this, I respect hard work and know that success is possible even under challenging circumstances. 

Nothing happens overnight. But nothing happens at ALL unless you make it happen. I've been able to navigate through challenges with confidence by remaining resilient and honest, no matter the situation. I say what’s on my mind, and I’ve never been afraid to dig and ask questions in different situations. This has been critical in forging my path, because if you are willing to learn and never stop demanding answers, you eventually get to the place you’re looking to be in life. Don't ever be intimidated in a professional or personal situation.  

Today, more women than ever oversee executive management, organizational policy, and new product development in the IT industry. They do this by being very creative and determined in business, which helps their companies reach their goals. I see a future where women consistently bring their amazing skills to this field, pushing technology forward as it becomes more integrated into our businesses, homes, and overall safety. There’s never been a more vital time to be involved in the technology space. 

Change can be scary and uncomfortable, but it's also an opportunity to grow and try new things. Speak your mind even when it’s something you don’t think people will want to hear. Get your information from the best possible sources but be straightforward when delivering that information to others. And be ready to adapt and move on to new situations when it’s required. Those who don’t bend, break. 

In the IT world, it's important to think outside the box and be willing to take risks. You don’t need to follow someone else’s rules within an organization, you can create your own company and establish your own rules. It pays to be entrepreneurial and not give up, even in the face of adversity. Embrace challenges as opportunities and always strive to stay ahead of the curve in this constantly evolving field.  

Success isn't handed to us—we must earn it by staying strong and true to our values. Resilience, perseverance, patience, gratitude and honesty pay off. By having the courage to pursue our own path and not conform to traditional norms, we open ourselves up to endless possibilities and opportunities. When we push ourselves out of our comfort zones and take calculated risks, we never know what incredible journeys may await us.  

The technology sphere is full of potential for those who are bold enough to seize it, and by embracing resilience while remaining grateful for what we have, women can make their mark and achieve success. I like to think I'm living proof of that.