Limerick.ie's Q&A with Edwina Gore, owner of Gore Communications, following her recent election to President of Network Ireland Limerick.
Can you give us a brief history of your career to date?
After studying marketing and languages, I joined IBM Ireland on a student programme and then went on to work as a marketing executive for one of their largest resellers, CARA Computers. From there I spent eight years at a marketing & PR agency as senior account manager working primarily with IT and Travel clients.
In 2004 I moved back home and was PR Manager for Chorus/UPC (now Virgin Media) for two years before moving to Halifax Insurance Ireland Ltd. in Shannon which was taken over by Lloyds Banking Group at the height of the financial meltdown. I specialised in Internal Communications for the Insurance Division in UK & Ireland. When the bank restructured and withdrew its Irish operations in 2012, there were very few job opportunities so I started to work on a consultancy basis.
What attracted you to working in the communications industry?
Initially it was the creativity and later it was the opportunities the industry offered. I loved working on so many different elements with so many different people when developing campaigns. And then, as the profession evolved, I was drawn to specialist areas. So over the years I have got qualifications in Public Relations, the Psychology of Communications, Internal Communications and Social Media.
You were recently elected 2017 president of Network Ireland Limerick, what does the role entail, and what are your plans for the year?
My role involves working with a fantastic group of ladies on our committee to ensure that our branch fosters the aims and objectives of Network Ireland. I am fortunate to be taking over the reigns as the Network is growing in strength and membership thanks to the dedication, commitment and great work of my predecessors Louise Lawlor and Gillian Horan. With the foundations laid and an improving economy, I am now focused on encouraging more members to join and improving what we do so that all our members have the opportunity to connect, learn, share ideas and get the support they need.
Can you give an overview of what Network Ireland does?
Network Ireland provides a forum where women in business, the professions and the Arts can exchange business ideas and increase their business contacts. It encourages women to achieve more satisfying careers and promotes women as worthy contributors to the Irish economy. Network Ireland Limerick is a branch of Network Ireland, focused on driving the personal and professional development of women. We hold monthly networking meetings where a guest speaker is invited to inspire, educate and inform on topics of interest to women. Members can develop and pool their individual skills through interaction with other women in a supportive environment which offers training, mentoring and an opportunity for women who call on other members with specialist expertise for help.
We are delighted that Network Ireland Limerick is sponsored by the Local Enterprise Offices in Limerick as well as AIB and Vodafone nationally.
How did you first get involved with Network Ireland Limerick?
Louise Lawlor of Blink Design encouraged me to join and I’m so glad she did. Since joining the Network, I have found my membership hugely beneficial both personally and professionally, particularly since I set up Gore Communications.
You worked in the private sector for a number of years before starting your own business, Gore Communications. Did you always want to start your own business?
Not necessarily. Setting up Gore Communications has evolved quite naturally over the last couple of years. Working part-time on a consultancy basis at Limerick Chamber gave me the opportunity to reflect on what I really wanted to do. I enjoyed the work-life balance but wanted a challenge. Having worked for a PR & marketing communications agency in Dublin, I knew I loved the diversity and buzz of working with several clients across different sectors at the same time. No two days were the same. I’m delighted with how it has worked out and very grateful to have some really great clients.
What challenges have you faced since you became a business owner?
Having always worked in a team environment I found working for myself sometimes lonely, so the support network I have built up since joining Network Ireland Limerick has been a lifeline. Also, finding the time for business development can be challenging when so focused on delivering for existing clients.
What advice would you give to others considering starting their own business in Limerick?
Establish a really strong network – preferably with like-minded people who have also set up their own business. Set realistic goals and keep them in mind at all times, particularly during the tough times. Constantly up skill so you can stay ahead of the game.
Have you utilised any supports from the Local Enterprise Office, Limerick City and County Council or Limerick Chamber?
I’ve attended quite a few workshops with the LEO - the six week social media programme was terrific and just what I needed to refresh my skills.
In your opinion, how has the business landscape changed in Limerick since you’ve been working here?
I think the change in the last five years has been quite remarkable. Since the recession companies are working harder and smarter. The ongoing revitalisation of the city centre and inward investment has given the region a confidence boost and there is a sea-change in attitude. Companies are more upbeat and not afraid to compete nationally and internationally. And every other week we hear of a new start-up – that’s really exciting.
What are Limerick’s best assets in attracting investment from international companies and smaller start-ups?
Limerick is edgy, has character and really importantly, now has culture. It has something to offer young people.
Affordable cost of living, lack of congestion and ease at which you can escape to the countryside or seaside has to be a plus. And it goes without saying the third level institutions and connectivity offered by Shannon airport are instrumental.