It was recently reported that although women make up half the working age population, in many sectors across N.I. women are still under-represented in the top roles

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we wanted to shine the spotlight on two successful and inspirational women bucking this trend – CEO of CIDO, Cara Dallat and one of CIDO’s first tenants  at the Innovation Centre,  entrepreneur Bernadette Hendron, Owner / Manager of Breakthrough Recruitment.

Cara’s career journey started in communications and marketing. Along the way, she grasped every opportunity that came her way and far from faltering when she was thrown in at the deep end, Cara stepped up and worked ever harder. Her hard work paid off when in 2016 she fought off tough competition to become CEO of CIDO.

Cara attributes her success to enjoying her work, being resilient and engaging in continuous professional development. A good sense of humour has also seen Cara through the tough times. Her biggest inspiration is Mark Pollock, an explorer from N. Ireland who became the first blind man to reach the South Pole.  “Every time I hear him speak, I am humbled by his resilience and what he has managed to achieve as a sportsman and businessman.” Cara tells us.

Bernadette Hendron credits her mother as her biggest inspiration in life. After the death of her father when Bernadette was very young, her mother single-handedly raised four children, instilling in them that you can achieve anything in life if you put your mind to it. Bernadette carries that with her to this day and it has helped keep her focused through challenging times such as the recession, keeping pace with changes in the recruitment sector where new technologies have opened up competition and more recently weathering the storm of uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Bernadette describes herself as resilient, honest and forthright and it is these qualities that have led her to embrace change and strive harder in her business. Bernadette also believes that being personable and forming trusting relationships resulted in her securing longer terms partnerships  and contributed to her business success.

Life is all about balance, and being content and fulfilled outside of work contributes to a happy working life.

Outside of work Cara enjoys spending time with her two children, Jude and Rocha. She’s also an accomplished songwriter, writing music both for fun and cathartic purposes, which helps her wind down from the daily grind. She’s also a TV and film extra. You might have spotted her in Game of Thrones or The Fall. “This is my true passion” Cara tells us, “There’s nothing better than switching off my phone and forgetting about the real world for a while”.

Bernadette too enjoys spending time with her son. In her free time, she also likes to give back, “I  like to  help out with the Young Enterprise Programme” she tells us, “ which hopefully instils something in them to want to grow up and achieve success themselves.”

So there you have it have it, some of the ingredients to becoming a successful business women – resilience, determination, continuous professional development, self-belief and a life outside of work. CIDO is well placed to support women in achieving success and meeting their goals no matter how ambitious through a variety of business programmes, training masterclasses and one to one mentoring.