Mary McGuire is a long-time transformation consultant for global companies, previously working as a Social Worker with some of the most disadvantaged areas of the UK.
Mary holds a BA (Hons) in Social Work, An MBA in Business and an MSc in Organisational Development. Her focus is now on personal transformation and she provides her expert advice on learning how to handle your emotions and accept change.
She offers a unique insight into how we can handle our emotions in a more positive way and live a more fulfilling life.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I’m Mary McGuire, an author, speaker and transformational coach. I’ve just released a book called ‘Coming Home to You’ which helps people to make big changes through small steps. I work with global companies on making positive and lasting changes and help individuals to do the same.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I only started to see work as a career when I started to work in a day centre for people with learning disabilities. I’d been a typical job hopper up until that point, but once I felt I could bring my passion for caring for others into my day job, my career was born. After many years managing social services, I moved to corporate consulting nearly twenty years ago.
Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?
I’ve faced many challenges in my career. In one of my first management roles I nearly had to deal with a mass walkout, as the heavily unionised staff were very unhappy with the changes to their work, which I was leading. I learnt how important it is to listen to your staff and be flexible in responding to their needs.
As a consultant I have had to deliver difficult messages to my clients at times. On more than one occasion they have reacted with anger and shot the messenger. The easy path would have been to soften the messages or avoid the conversation altogether, but I have never subscribed to that approach. Being honest and authentic have fared me well in my career and have become my trademark over the years.
On a typical workday, how does you start your day and how does it end?
For my writing days, I might get up at 5am to get a couple of hours writing completed before I start my work day.
If it’s a non-writing day I will usually be up by 7am, do some yoga and meditation and get to my client’s office by 9am. Days are usually long and I try to leave before 7pm most work days. A light dinner and reading in the evening, or I might go to a Yoga class.
Tell us a little bit about your role and how did that come about?
I went into consultancy after I felt that I had achieved everything I could as a Chief Executive of a regional charity for people with Autism. I love the challenges of working with new companies, new industries and new teams and puzzling out how to make something work for their culture. I found when I became a consultant that I had found my perfect niche, which is solving big problems and making people’s lives better.
Have you ever had a mentor or a sponsor or anyone who has helped your career?
I have been extremely fortunate in my working life to have had a number of inspirational mentors. One was a paid mentor – Mario Van Boeschoten who had the gift of getting to the heart of the matter in a few simple questions.
Whilst I was Chief Executive of the Kingwood Trust many in the late nineties I had two powerful mentors. One was the trustee of the charity – Bert Morris who had been the deputy Chief Executive of Natwest before retiring. He was my Financial non-executive and taught me a lot about how important it is to know the numbers of your business.
The other was Dame Stephanie Shirley, herself a trailblazer who revolutionised the computer and software industry and has gone on to become one of Britain’s foremost philanthropists.
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
I think it would be about increasing their belief in themselves. There are many successful and inspirational women leaders in business, but they are very much in the minority for the business world in general. What I see more than anything in women is a lack of belief in themselves and their abilities, often times when their skills far outweigh that of a male colleague who they watch climb the career ladder.
Success starts on the inside, and if capable and talented women believed in themselves more I believe we would start to see some shifts in the workplace gender balance.
How do you balance your work life and personal life?
Sometimes I’m better at it than others. When I’m on a corporate project, it’s about doing what it takes to get things delivered and this can mean working very long hours. These are multi-million-pound projects, so the company is anxious that they land well.
Outside of project time I’m good at taking time to relax and reflect through yoga, meditation, walks near the ocean and thinking about my next workshops and writing projects.
If you were to look back in five years, what would you see in terms of your achievements?
As my professional life changes from being a corporate consultant to a personal transformation coach and teacher, I would expect to see two to three more books on personal transformation and a busy schedule of international workshops on the same subject.
Tell us about your plans for the future?
Now I have published my first book I have the writing bug, so I already have two to three more books in the pipeline. I feel passionately that people can learn to live happier, more peaceful lives with the right skills and habits and I want to do my best to share that message with the world.
I’m building my online presence through my website: www.findyourjoyfullife.com and I have plans to travel the world to gain inspiration from other cultures and nations.
Coming Home to You by Mary McGuire is out now, available from Amazon, priced £12.95