Skip to main content

To celebrate International Womens Day 2021 on March 8th, I invited some of the women who inspired me this past year to share what motivates them to keep doing the great things they do.

With very short notice these amazing women sent the most inspiring responses. I hope you enjoy these quotes and beliefs as much as I did. I actually have goose bumps reading this list.

Inspirational Thoughts from Inspirational Women

In alphabetical order………..

Dr Ann Harkin, Postdoctoral Researcher, Psychology graduate, Pharmacist

A quote that I love and I’m not sure where it’s from is. “Never shrink yourself to fit the ideals of people who refuse to grow”.

Ann Kelly, Public Affairs Consultant at Ann Kelly Consultancy

“Every tough decision we make paves the way for our daughters.” It is about making life better for the next generation of women and that’s what drives me.

Bairbre Berry, Head of Human Resources at Crédit Agricole Assurances

What motivates me is the opportunity to constantly improve both personally and professionally, to reach new goals, to enjoy the wins along the way, to motivate engage and develop the people around me and in our organisation. Finally, to strive for balance – finding time to enjoy a happy home and family life is so important, as well as making time for friends and exercise and fun – all of this keeps me doing what I do and love!

Barbara Nolan, Co-founder of M-Space, Partner in Investa Property Partners. Fundraising Enthusiast. Currently Volunteering for Dress for Success Dublin

This year has challenged all of us. We have had to dig very deep. The power of believing in what we are doing has been key. We never wavered from that. The power & the strength that has come from real genuine support around us & equally we have been recharged by giving a lot back too. Kindness is the most important thing in life. It’s something I really try to instil in our 3 children and live by it with our friends, family and also business. It makes all the difference. Celebrate other people’s wins. Being kind costs nothing but it’s priceless.

Brigitte Stuart, Artist and Yoga Instructor

A quote from lrknost designed by @quotesbychristie. Speaks volumes to me at this time. Also the waves of the image are just like the waves of life some highs, some troughs but much of it just living!

“Life is amazing. And then it is awful. And then it is amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and inhale during the ordinary. That’s just living – heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”

CarolAnn Hickey, Co-founder of M-Space, a coworking and flexible office space in Malahide.

My thoughts over the year is to never give up. We must try everyday to be kind and keep going. It’s been such a tough time but more importantly we have our families safe. Relationships have really flourished this year as everyone has really “reconnected” albeit it virtually but still we are all connected.

Claire Molloy Fox, Chartered Accountant with Kinnear Accountants

It’s the “f*** it, let’s go for it mentality.”

Deirdre Keon, Head of Business Development at FCDM

If there was one quote, that has really made sense to me and stayed with me every day on my journey, it would be: ” It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela.

I take strength from this when the chips are down, I know if I stay going, I will achieve my goal or the task at hand. Reflection for me is so important for motivation – nothing is unachievable with the right mindset – and I feel that quote says it all in just 7 words. Stay going, be as productive as you can be every single day, and thoughts of ‘impossibility’ fall away and are replaced with an ongoing sense of accomplishment.

Helen Walsh, Health & Life Coach, Speaker & Media Contributor

My favourite quote is from Glenda the good witch in the Wizard of Oz when she says ‘You had the power all along my dear’. It’s so important to help others see how incredible and unique they are. Everyone deserves to shine.

Jane English, Owner Wineport Lodge in Glasson

My career in hospitality is all about engagement with people. I am always inspired by the ability and tireless dedication of the team I work with, and I feed off the energy and excitement that our guests bring when they arrive at our door in Wineport Lodge. It can be draining at times but it’s never boring and the reward is in playing a small part in every milestone that our loyal supporters choose to celebrate with us.  To receive their appreciation for making it special for them makes it all worthwhile.

Marie O’Brien, Senior Product Manager at Ipsen

A few things I like to say to myself…Positive thoughts bring positive things. You only fail if you quit. Push on through even when it’s the last thing you feel like doing.

Maureen McCowen, Presentation Skills Specialist who Helps people Unlock Speaking Confidence

When the going gets tough, it can be easy to beat ourselves up about what we “should” be doing. I find it helps by reminding myself that I am doing the best I can right now & that’s ok.

Dr Orla Greevy, Senior Software Engineer & Company Founder Sw-eng Software Engineering GmbH

It is a difficult question and I was trying to think of a clever quote and finally I think I am inspired by other strong and kind women. My yoga practice gives me stability and strength.

Patricia Greene, Digital Account Executive at The Web Crew

My motivation is my family, and my own journey in life, and I aim to support & encourage other women to achieve their goals. I love Maya Angelou’s quote “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Pauline Logan, Network Manager Dublin City Local Enterprise Office

I love this expression and have heard versions of it from so many successful entrepreneurs and advisors over the years: 

It is when you step outside your comfort zone that the growth happens.

Samantha Kelly, Tweeting Goddess and Director of @WomensInspire

Surround yourself with good people who ‘get you’ and what you do. Be yourself, share your knowledge and ignore the haters just keep being the best at what you do.

Sohini De, Founder, Director at Empeal

‘Challenges inspire me and drives me to innovate’.

Susan O’Dwyer, CEO Make-a-Wish Ireland

To be honest our wish families especially the mothers inspire me. The resilience shown every day is incredible. I really don’t believe in the word problem, I believe we are sent challenges that can be overturned if you remain positive. Positivity and the belief that anything is possible is what keeps me going.

Yvonne Reddin, Freelance Writer, Content Creator, Interviewer, Freelance Reporter for the Dublin Gazette.

“I believe in not saying I can’t but more about saying I can try”. I challenge myself every day by getting in the sea, If I can do that I can do anything.

And from my family……

Eileen, my sister

It could depend on the day of the week, the time of the day… but around Easter last year I heard someone talking about Brendan Kennelly and I remembered his poem Begin. The last four lines are on my wall since… “Though we live in a world that dreams of ending that always seems about to give in Something that will not acknowledge conclusion, insists that we forever begin…”

Una, my sister

One old saying that comes to mind and has been handed down from my Grandmother via my Mother to my sisters and I is, “Never put off till tomorrow, what can be done today.”

This can be interpreted in many ways,

  1. As simple as making the bed and tidying the house before going out for the day as you never know who you’ll invite in for coffee on the way home. Don’t put things on the long finger, make the phone call write the card, apologize, say thank you.
  2. Tackling something you don’t want to do, an unpleasant or difficult task! Putting it off only increases the dread and makes it seem worse and it feels great to get things done and out of the way
  3. But more importantly making the most of every opportunity, if this year has taught us anything it is how fast things can change and that circumstances and opportunities we took for granted may no longer exist, wouda, couda, shoudda!!!

What a wonderful feeling to look back and have no regrets and say I did everything I wanted to do when I could.

To my sisters and I who live life to the fullest and make the most of it. Happy Woman’s Day

Maeve, my daughter

Stevie Nicks inspires me, especially this quote “Don’t be a lady, be a legend.”

My contribution, Moira, Productivity Consultant and co-founder at

Lots of different quotes inspire me from the simple Nike mantra, “Just Do It” to this gem from Sara Henderson, “Don’t wait for the light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself!”

And the final word goes to the legend that is Lilly, my 92-year-old very independent Mum

Remember how lucky you are. And keep moving …both your mind and your body.


How great is this list? What I love most is the diversity of responses to the same question. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Celebrate International Womens Day.

Moira Dunne