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Frances Fitzgerald Women in Leadership Masterclass

02 June 2020

In May 2019 Frances Fitzgerald, Fine Gael MEP for Dublin City and County, welcomed the opportunity to deliver the first masterclass in the 2020 series as an online event moderated by Michelle Cullen, Accenture.

Frances is currently a Fine Gael Member of the European Parliament for Dublin City and County. She is a member of the ECON (Economic & Monetary Affairs) Committee, FEMM (Women’s Rights & Gender Equality) Committee and DEVE (Development) Committee, and she is the lead coordinator for the European People’s Party on FEMM. Frances has served as a Fine Gael Parliamentarian for over 20 years, as a Senator and T.D, as Minister for Children & Youth Affairs (2011- 14), as Minister for Justice & Equality (2014-17); as Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation (2017) and as Tánaiste (2016-17).

Frances welcomed the opportunity to be part of the Masterclass, saying that we need such initiatives, given the ongoing equality issues around women in leadership, and the need to discuss and share information.

As part of the dicussion Frances reflected on some insights that have helped her as a woman in politics and are applicable to many other industries:

  • It is important to have a place to think well and to have time to think – and this can include having a mentor who can listen and advise and help you figure out the next step 
  • Think about the assumptions you are making about yourself in any given situation – what would you do if you knew they were not true?
  • Step back from the frenzy – take a moment to assess and figure out what is important
  • Get support – seek out mentors who can help you, people who know the system or a situation and who will go for coffee and have a chat about it. We need to support each other too, so affirm other women. As you get more responsibilities, ensure you are building in more support
  • If someone is talking over you at a meeting, or repeating something you said and getting the credit, speak up and say you made that point. Reinforce what you have said so your voice is heard.
  • Try to build resilience from your experiences
  • Give yourself permission to be happy

 The Women in Leadership Masterclass Series is supported by Accenture.

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