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Inspirational Women of Brightwater

08 Mar 2019

Eileen Moloney

As the world celebrates #InternationalWomen’sDay, we take a moment to champion the women of Brightwater and in particular two of our inspiring leaders; Barbara McGrath, MD of Brightwater and Estelle Davis, Managing Partner of Brightwater Executive.

It’s been a busy 12 months for Barbara and Estelle. As well as running the day to day operations of the all island recruitment business, they also managed an MBO of the Brightwater Group last September along with  fellow director John O’Donnell. They are now driving the business forward through both organic and acquisitive growth. Every day throws up new challenges but they took time out to answer a few questions in honour of International Women’s Day

Greatest advice you’ve been given?

Barbara:  Work hard and the rewards will come. It’s never failed me!

Estelle: Treat others as you would want to be treated, stay true to your integrity and values and always try and see the bigger picture.

Greatest career achievement to date:

Barbara: As a company, we’ve won several awards in the last few years which is immensely satisfying as we’ve done that as a team. I’ve also really loved getting involved with the NRF, I was President and have served a number of years on the Council.

What was the highlight of the MBO for you?

Estelle: Knowing that we kept the integrity and values of our company at the core of that journey and truly seeing how supportive and strong our collective team culture is and remains.

Barbara: The reaction of our staff to it. They were genuinely thrilled and that was personally very rewarding.

Having gone through an MBO, what advice would you give to anyone considering the same thing? 

Barbara: There’s such a huge amount of work involved. Don’t be afraid to take advice from experts in the field. However the pain is worth the gain and you should absolutely follow your dream. 

What are the challenges facing women in recruitment?

Barbara: Gender diversity in my experience of recruitment has never been an issue. In Brightwater, the split is 60/40 in women’s favour.

Advice to other women seeking to get a seat on the board?

Barbara:  Exactly the same advice that I’d give to a man; know what value you already bring to the company and understand what value you can bring in the future as a leader. Be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked before.

Estelle: Observe and understand the voice and value you’ll bring, ensure that you’re inward and outward looking and put all your efforts and focus into excelling beyond other people’s expectations. Know the timing to push and prove you’ve earned that seat. The right company won’t miss that opportunity to ensure you get there.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone starting out in their career?

Estelle: Aim for something you truly believe you can excel and learn in, people’s career specialisms can change dramatically over their first 5 years , so focus on what excites and challenges you. Align yourself with a company that embraces a strong culture of continuous learning, has a strong  mentorship program and a smart working culture.

What have you learned about being a leader?

Barbara: Being a leader doesn’t mean that you stop learning yourself. Every day I learn something new about leadership, whether it’s how to handle a situation or how to communicate new ideas. Empathy, honesty and transparency are all key skills of a leader.