Aisling Keenan: “Trust your gut instinct and don’t be afraid to try new things” | IWD 2020

International Women’s Day is a celebration of female accomplishment and a call to action for gender equality worldwide. This years’ theme #EachforEqual is about recognising women’s value in society and actively choosing to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. With this is mind, we spoke to some of AIT’s trailblazing women - past and present - who are paving the way forward. Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world. Let’s all be #EachforEqual.

In conversation with Aisling Keenan, lecturer in the Department of Accountancy and Business Computing, AIT:

Can you tell us about your own role in AIT and a little about your background?

I am a lecturer in the Department of Accountancy and Business Computing within the Faculty of Business and Hospitality. My main subjects are predominantly in Digital Marketing teaching; SEO and Web Usability, Advanced Web Analytics, Cyber Psychology etc. I have just completed my PhD thesis which is on Ireland’s Agri-food and Drink Sector: The Correlation Between eWOM Initiatives and Employee Brand Advocacy” with NUIG. I have a strong interest in research, contributing yearly to the Academy of Marketing, Irish Academy of Management and the British Academy of Management conferences.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It is a great day, as you get to hear successful stories about women from different areas. Life is so busy, that we don’t really get time to stand still and reflect and appreciate each other.

Who are your female role models?

There are many female role models that I gain inspiration from, namely; Katie Taylor, Mary Aiken, Annalise Murphy, Vicky Phelan, Mary Robinson, and Marissa Carter.

How can women better support each other?

I think through meetings, networking and spending time hearing each other. I think praising others’ accomplishments is important and just being kind.

What advice would you give women either in or struggling to break into traditionally male industries or sectors?

I think we can achieve anything we want to achieve by working hard and setting goals. There will be knock backs in any industry and sector, and everyone gets them. You just need to understand that and persevere.

How can young women find mentors?

For me with my two little girls, the key is showing them successful female role models with good morals from diverse areas like sport, music, fashion, political, education etc. So that they can see that they can succeed in any area they want to. 

What do you think helped you in your career to date?

I have to say from my mother, who has always instilled education, travel and sport from a young age. Also, meeting some fantastic lecturers both male and female in and outside of AIT who have helped shaped my career.

How can we encourage young girls to dream bigger?

I think visibility is important, showing young girls successful females from different disciplines. Also important is showing them successful males in traditional female industries. Letting them try different sports, teaching them independence, and allowing them to be bored to dream.  Lastly, fresh air…..getting them outside.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give your 18-year-old self?

That’s a tough one. I’d say trust your gut instinct and don’t be afraid to try new things.”

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