MESSAGES of support and congratulations continue to pour in for Network Cork Business Woman of the Year, Susie Horgan, but it was two cards made by her little daughters that made her heart melt.
Susie, originally of Douglas, who lives in Ballintemple, is Managing Director of Springboard PR & Marketing. She had been holidaying with old school and college friends in Malaga last Friday when the awards took place.
When she got back home to Ballintemple on Monday night, a wonderful surprise greeted her, two homemade cards crafted by her girls, Emily and Alice.
“My kids are six and eight, so trying to explain to them what it meant was kind of difficult, but when they understood then they were delighted,” said Susie.
“I came home on the late flight and they had left two homemade cards in the kitchen for me, saying ‘We love you mummy, well done.’ And my six year old had put on the front of the card. ‘Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow!’ And I was, what is that about? So I said ‘Lovey, what’s the pow, pow pow about’ and she said, ‘You’re a superhero mummy’. It broke my heart, such a cutie pie.
“I just thought, you know, when you are a mum to daughters, and you know the guilt of a working mum, when you have your kids proud of you and your husband very proud of you — he was delighted, you know everything happens because of their support and understanding, so it was just lovely.
“Everyone who has their own business says this is so hard, so challenging. I would say that a year or two in I was saying, am I going to keep doing this? Should I go get a job? I have young children... and it was Darryl who always told me to keep going, so he has been very supportive all the way through.”
Springboard PR & Marketing is celebrating its fifth year in business and it’s an exciting time, they have just moved offices to South Terrace and opened a Dublin office too at Fitzwilliam Square. The company creates bespoke communications strategies. It provides public relations across traditional and online platforms, content creation, digital marketing, event management and brand strategy, working with clients in the technology, healthcare, corporate, food, arts and tourism industries.
Susie said: “Our client base continues to grow and we are so fortunate to work with such diverse and inspiring organisations.
“It’s an exciting time for Springboard, and reflects the hard work and dedication of the whole team.”
Susie, a former pupil of Scoil Mhuire, studied Arts at UCC in Sociology and Psychology, before doing a post grad in Business at Smurfit in UCD.
Her first PR job was with Cork Film Festival, when she was doing some work with them and someone asked her to draft a press release — which she admits she didn’t know how to write at the time. She was initially hoping to get into sports PR because of her showjumping background (she showjumped for Ireland around 20 years ago) but never pursued that avenue.
She says the world of media and PR has changed dramatically since she first started out.
“When I started in PR in the late 1990s we were printing off photographs and sticking captions on the back and sending them by courier, and that is not that long ago, but that is actually what happened!
“We faxed press releases, it was a different world, and news was so different then.
“In my business, we are adapting with the digital age, like everyone involved in media, and so we are very much driving content and online content, that is really important.”
As well as winning the overall Network Cork Business Woman of the Year, Susie won the SME less than 10 Employees’ category. It was one of six award categories on the night. She will now go forward for consideration at the Network Ireland National Business Awards, which will take place at a gala ceremony on Friday, October 6 in Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort in Wicklow.
Susie said she felt really bad at missing the awards night, at the black tie event, hosted in the Rochestown Park Hotel last Friday, but was so delighted with the accolade.
“I hadn’t expected it, obviously, and I am just really honoured and a bit stunned, it is fantastic. I feel that it is lovely to actually go, ‘you know, I am good at this!’ It is a bit surreal.”
She was having dinner with friends in Malaga when she got the call from an employee telling her the wonderful news.
“I woke half of Malaga, the scream that came out of me. I genuinely hadn’t expected it at all. I had entered before and didn’t win, so it was just a lovely, lovely surprise.”
She said her mum posted a lovely tribute to her on Facebook, and the calls of congratulations came quick and fast too. A glass of champagne was raised among her old school and college friends in Malaga.
Susie said she would advise any business woman to join Network Cork. She became a member four years ago and found it incredible.
“It is lonely setting up your own business and I found it incredibly supportive, they are all so positive, everyone is willing to lend an ear… say something supportive, and give advice, lots of great advice.
“I recommend it to everyone who is starting their own business, and even anyone who is in a business, because it is great for confidence. Everyone finds networking challenging, it is intimidating walking into a room and not knowing anybody, but Network Cork is such a friendly place, it really helps to overcome those nerves, and especially for business owners. I have made some really good friends through Network Cork, really good friends.”
Between juggling her own business, bringing the kids to Gaelic football, hockey, swimming, tennis — does she find any downtime or ‘me time’?
The family love to escape to West Cork, and Susie walks her dog every morning before work, she also goes to HIIT classes a couple of times a week.
AND THE AWARDS GO TO...
The full role call of winners at the Network Cork Business Women of the Year were:
Emerging Business Category Winner, Sian Horn, Elite Pilates.
SME less than 10 Employees Category, Susie Horgan, Springboard PR & Marketing.
SME more than 10 Employees Category, Michelle Johnson, ASA Marketing.
Employee Award Category, Gillian Hennessy of Collins Press.
Social Enterprise Category, Sinead O’Keeffe, Enable Ireland.
Arts Category winner, Sinead Dunphy, Cork International Choral Festival.
To find out more about Network Cork see http://www.networkireland.ie/cork