Mary retrained as a Business & Life Coach, a wrote about her journey in her book “Women, Work and Wellness“, an enclopaidic self-help book for busy working women looking help and support. She is massively invested in the healing power of nature, so is thrilled to be given permission for a grant-aided and tax-free annual premium Deciduous Oak Woodland Project is to start in November 2021, on her land.
I was born in North Yorkshire of Irish parents, both teachers and graduated from Durham University with a BSc Hons aged 20 years old. I moved to Ireland, where I qualified and worked as an accountant. From auditing with Ernst & Young, accountant of a stockbroking company, self-employed Consultant who mapped, sourced, and implemented IT systems and trained staff to holding Financial Controller and Director roles. I also Setup companies and prepared accounts and tax for farmers, tradespeople, and sole traders. I love nature, gardening, animals, and writing. In 2015 and 2016, I became certified in NLP , Quantum Thinking, Life Coaching and became a Reiki Master so I could help people as both a Business and a Life coach. I combined this experience and expertise in my book “Women, Work and Wellness” published in December 2018.
Yes, most definitely. I studied Botany and Geography at Durham University as I intended and was offered a Post graduate place (at Sheffield) to then become a Landscape Architect. I graduated and realised that this was not feasible. There was very little work in that area in the UK at the time and I realised that I wanted to move to Ireland. So, there was a new career plan! That is when I decided to pursue a career in Accountancy in Dublin. A purely pragmatic decision!
Like most people, I faced several challenges along the way. From a work perspective there was a big cultural shift when I moved to Dublin and several times, I thought of moving back to the UK. I failed my accountancy exams (first time ever failing an exam) and thought of shifting careers into Journalism but two editors I spoke to, advised me to qualify and do financial journalism. I decided to persist and qualify as an accountant and then decide. It was then that I began to really enjoy my accountancy career, especially the systems work. I made a very good living and in 1985 was promoted to Finance Director in Alcoa and was one of the 10% of female directors in Ireland. By progressing and overcoming challenges, I was able to branch out into other areas that I enjoyed more linked to Botany, nature and writing.
Aside from raising two healthy, happy, and well-adjusted adult children – one an accountant and one a plumber, I successfully submitted a Business Plan to Kildare County Council for an 11.5 acres site in rural Kildare (adjacent to County Dublin) to build a house and start an organic small holding. It was a great place to build a bungalow and to rear the children, complete with a small stream and to have several pets. Growing organic strawberries commercially was a therapeutic balance to my financial career and I could include the children!
I always followed a process in everything I achieved. This was a major factor in my success. The process is having a clear vision of what I wanted to achieve, planning, believing in it and myself and then implementing it. Of course, this also implies putting in the work regarding, education, training, gaining qualifications and expertise. Most importantly, having the flexibility to change, innovate and be creative as the situation changes and plans may be altered.
I absolutely believe in mentoring and was mentored in Alcoa (when I was Financial Controller) by the European CIO and in turn I have also mentored others in a one-to-one capacity and through Women’s Networks in both Alcoa and in GE. My relatively recent shift to certify in NLP, Life Coaching, Quantum Thinking and even becoming a Reiki Master indicates how important I believe our mindset is for both personal and professional development and success in life and business. I then combined all my experiences, expertise in business and in the various coaching and holistic modalities to write a book, published in December 2018. My objective in writing the book was to help others, especially business and professional women, and is called “Women, Work and Wellness”.
To encourage mentoring and coaching of people from an early age, starting in schools. If the visions and plan isn’t there (and you need to be in a good headspace to begin with) it is harder for girls especially, to believe in themselves so that they can attain the academic, professional, and business goals they want. Equally important is that they realise self-care is not being selfish ad they can also have a fulfilling personal life. This also applies to boys both regarding their own personal and professional development and to their understanding and appreciating the need and benefits of Gender Equality.
Don’t doubt yourself. Always believe in yourself and ignore the nay-sayers. Usually, this negativity is more of a reflection on their own limitations not yours – so just go for it! I was told that I would never be accepted into Durham University and to apply to Oxford or Cambridge instead – but I was accepted and graduated at 20 years of age! I was told I would never get planning permission, nor would I be able to grow organic strawberries! My retort to this was – “you wouldn’t be able to do it, but I will!”
My next challenge and I am hugely excited about it – is a 10-acre Oak Woodland! It combines my love of tress, plants, and nature generally and is also hugely beneficial to biodiversity, climate change and to the feeling of general wellness woodlands and nature brings. It is also commercially rewarding so a win from every direction! Planting starts in November 2021.