‘‘Women who inspire me are those who don’t make the headlines but who juggle home and work, illness and hard times and who still celebrate life.’’ Dr. Teresa O’Hara, Lecturer, AIT

Teresa O’Hara

Lecturer for Strategic Management and International Corporate Strategy

What does International Woman’s Day mean to you?

A day to celebrate the achievements of women and wear purple with a purpose!

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

As a lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Hospitality I teach subjects in the areas of strategic management, ethical decision making, change management and business model development. I love to teach and enjoy hearing students’ stories. I am also the Director of the Masters of Business which is a one year graduate programme that gives students that “extra edge” in the job market.

What do you think we can be doing to inspire and encourage more young people?

Listen to what they have to say. Help them to help themselves.

What women have had the greatest Impact on your life, and why? (a real women from your life or historic).

I was brought up with five sisters and one brother so I have always been surrounded by strong women who are all very different. My mother was widowed at 46 and left with
seven children. While times were difficult we always enjoyed life and celebrated birthdays and had fun. Women who inspire me are those who don’t make the headlines but who juggle home and work, illness and hard times and who still celebrate life.

What is your greatest achievement in work to date?

I get most satisfaction when students come back to me after they finish a course and say things like “I am not afraid of presenting anymore” or “You inspired me to do a Masters” or “This course was really useful for setting up my business”. As a teacher your greatest achievement is when you make a difference in a student’s life.

What inspired you to pursue your career?

I was brought up in a home where we had a small family business. It meant that everybody got involved and my weekends as a teenager were spent going to the wholesaler and
stocking shelves. I took for granted that people worked hard for what they got and that it was up to you to make things happen. My love of learning is probably my biggest draw to being a lecturer.

What do I want most for the women of tomorrow?

That they are bold enough to be ambitious for what they want and that they are confident enough to let people know this is what they are striving for.

How to strive for, achieve, and maintain balance in our lives?

As a mother of two teenage boys (sometimes it feels like I am feeding 10!) your work day blends into another job at home and at weekends. I try to achieve balance by making small moments count. A coffee on my own or with friends or a journey in the car with your children where you have downtime to talk (when they turn down the rap music). Balance is really about setting priorities for yourself and trying to make life happen within them.

What advice will you give to your younger self?

Don’t sweat the small stuff!

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