THIS week’s High Flyer is Ciara Lagan, corporate partner with law firm Tughans who recently was the first female lawyer in Northern Ireland to win the Dealmaker of the Year Award.
What was your first job?
Although not my first job, while I was a trainee solicitor I worked part-time in a bar to supplement my income, but I also met my husband there, which was a nice bonus.
What qualifications do you have?
I hold an Honours Degree in Law from Queen’s University and a Diploma in Professional Legal Studies. As part of my degree I also spent a year in Boston studying business.
What do you attribute your success to?
As you would expect, hard work, ambition and determination but I also think it’s very important to get on with people.
How would you describe yourself to someone who has never met you?
Approachable and committed to my work. A serious professional, but not forgetting to find the humour in situations.
Who do you look up to in business?
On a global stage, Sheryl Sandberg, who has been a great trailblazer for professional women. Closer to home, the dedication of local female entrepreneurs to build successful businesses such as Alyson Hogg of Vita Liberata and Aislinn Rice of Analytic Engines is inspiring.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
I like to take a collaborative approach making sure that my colleagues are fully invested in what we’re doing. Giving autonomy whenever possible is also important.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would that be?
Businesses in Northern Ireland have so much to celebrate but are just too modest. I believe that they should have more self-belief and confidence to promote their achievements. As the saying goes – ‘Success breeds success’.
What website or app could you not do without?
It has to be Twitter for instant access to a comprehensive mix of hard news and quirky stories.
What was the last book you read?
“The Princess Diarist” by Carrie Fisher. It’s a hilarious account of her time making Star Wars.
What car do you drive?
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
During a road trip with a friend many years ago, I was kicked out of Canada! We were driving to Chicago but got lost and found ourselves close to the Canadian border. So we decided to visit Niagara Falls instead. Unfortunately, immigration had other ideas especially when they saw that I had lost part of my visa. I was promptly shown the road south.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
I am passionate about music, all sorts of music. Google Play is constantly on and I love going to concerts – the most recent was Gareth Dunlop in Belfast, but the best was Prince in London’s O2 arena.