Down to Business Industry Review: Women in Business

Marissa Carter, Julie Currid, and Elaine Carey joined Bobby ahead of this year's Women Mean Business Conference and Awards

On Monday, 300 businesswomen and female entrepreneurs will gather in the Shelbourne Hotel for the Women Mean Business Conference and Awards, to celebrate women in diverse businesses.

The theme of the ninth annual WMB Conference & Awards Ceremony is ‘Pay it Forward’, and there will be winners across six diverse award categories.

On this week's Down to Business, Bobby was joined by three of the nominees to look at the whole idea of women in business, and to ask if gender really matters in the entrepreneurial landscape any more.

Joining Bobby were Marissa Carter MD of Cocoa Brown; Julie Currid, co-founder and COO of Initiafy; and Elaine Carey, CCO of Three.

Initiafy is orientation software (SaaS) for contractors and temporary workers – it allows the induction of temporary employees before they start their contracts. COO Julie says the awards "names the elephant in the room, that women in business are probably having to put in that extra effort to get to the same level as a man in business is".

It was a claim Bobby didn't necessarily agree with given his own experience. "I don't see why we have to differentiate on gender terms," he suggested.

Julie says that "that's an absolutely brilliant attitude to have, and it would be amazing if everybody in business had that attitude. But unfortunately the statistics show something else".

Elaine Carey is Chief Commercial Officer of Three, Ireland’s second largest mobile operator with over two million customers. Elaine spearheaded the rebranding of Three through the acquisition of O2 in Ireland in July 2014.

"We really want to get the next generation to not even think that it is a problem, 'because I'm a woman I can't do that'. Because if I have the ability, I can do anything," she observed.

Marissa Carter launched Cocoa Brown - a line of tanning products - three years ago. "I haven't faced any barriers because I'm a woman," she explained. "I think my industry specifically is very female-dominated, so it wouldn't make sense that I would come up against any barriers."

While she pointed out "if you look at the Forbes 500 companies, there are 23 female CEOs out of the top 500 companies", she also argued "I think your success is not determined by whether you're male or whether you're female. The strongest factor for success I believe is self belief, and having other people be advocates of yours. 

"I personally feel that the Women Mean Business Conference and other initiatives... where there are networks of women supporting each other... I think the real benefit there is you have a network of other people who are there supporting you and supporting your business," Marissa added.

You can listen back to the full Industry Review via the podcast above.