Ciara Garvan is founder of WorkJuggle.com in October 2017. Born out of a frustration of spending one hour too many on the M50 racing home from work to pick up the kids, she thought there had to be a better way. WorkJuggle connects highly skilled professionals with flexible, contract and remote work. It also has a passion for supporting women in the workforce and works with companies helping them to build inclusive workforces, whether that is consulting in the area of diversity & inclusion or unconscious bias training.
What has been your career highlight to date?
There have been lots of highlights and, initially, it was launching the company and seeing it grow from strength to strength. There is huge satisfaction from having an idea that you are toying around with in your head and then building a real company which employs people and is growing month on month. I also have a great memory of being invited to meet President Higgins in Aras an Uachtarain last summer. It was a fabulous evening, such an honour. I was there with fellow entrepreneurs, it was a sunny evening, the wine was flowing and it was just great to take a moment to appreciate all that had been achieved.
What qualities do you need to succeed in business?
That is a really good question. For me I think it is tenacity, sticking with the business in the early days when there are lots of obstacles but also being flexible enough to pivot, if required. I also think you need to be able to work with people. The future of work is all about collaboration and this will become more, not less, important going forward.
Who or what are your main influences?
My parents have always been a huge influence on me. My father always loved his job and was passionate about economic development. I think that set the bar high in terms of doing work you believe in. My mother was a teacher and I saw her manage work and family life in a way that has been an inspiration.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
My original background was working in IT for many years. I was an IT Project Manager and, as you may be aware, IT are very rarely customer facing! So, for me, the challenge has been a steep learning curve when it comes to business development, sales and marketing.
What, in your view, is the biggest challenge facing directors in Ireland today?
I think the culture of work is changing very quickly. For me, the biggest challenges are related to the widespread disruption of technology, artifical intelligence and changing workplace norms.
What, in your opinion, makes a great leader?
A great leader is a great communicator, but also someone who follows through. It is about creating a vision but also having the commitment to make things happen. We work with a lot of very senior people within large organisations in Ireland and I would say that, to a person, they all work exceptionally hard.
What do you hope to gain from your membership with the IoD?
I hope to be able to learn from other people around me. Am very interested in different organisations, their working cultures and how they attract and more importantly, retain people.