In the spotlight this week is Ceara Gallagher, head of the Northern Ireland office of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT NI), who took up her role in March
What was your first job?
My first job was in the South Eastern Trust in 1995. I worked as a paediatric speech and language therapist in community clinics. I worked with children and families to support their speech, language and communication needs.
What qualifications do you have?
I have a BSC Honours in Speech and Language Therapy and I am also a Quality Improvement Fellow.
What do you attribute your success to?
All that I have achieved in life is firstly due to my parents who raised me to be the best version of myself. I have also been very lucky in my career to have people around me who believed in me inside and outside of work. I am passionate about helping people with speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties so this has driven me to be the best for them.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
I hope I come across as sincere, passionate and inclusive. I think people also see my fun side!
Who do you look up to in business?
I look up to businesses that are moral and ethical. Ultimately, I look up to the RCSLT as an organisation that puts people with communication and swallowing difficulties at the heart of all they do.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
Compassionate leadership drives me. I treat people with kindness and compassion and I also try to lead by example and live the qualities I would like to see. I believe that by championing my team’s strengths we are all the better for it. Leadership is at all levels.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
I would like to see more of a joined-up approach between statutory and non statutory organisations in tackling the big issues in health and social care. Everyone is acutely aware of the pressure HSC is under so we need to be creative and transformational in bringing forward solutions.
What website or app could you not do without?
The RCSLT website, it has a wealth of information for SLT staff and members of the public.
What was the last book you read?
Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’. I really enjoy reading inspirational books that will inspire me in my life.
What car do you drive?
A Skoda Yeti.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I also have my own business called The Ceara Grehan School. We support children with confidence and anxiety issues to become their best selves. We use music, performance, art, communication and mindfulness to enable this in a fun filled environment.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
Outside of my precious family with Steven my husband and our children Luca and Enzo, my biggest passion is singing. I have been a professional singer for over 20 years particularly in musical theatre.