As we celebrate the #InternationalIrish this July, Muireann Lalor from the Irish Repertory Theatre tells us about her experience on the LEAP program. 

LEAP™ (Leadership & Executive Acceleration Program) is all about helping ambitious professional Irish and Irish-American women living in the Greater New York/Tri-State area get more opportunity—to have a voice in important discussions—to have a seat at the table with the decision-makers, and to promote a culture of women helping other women.

With support from the Irish government, the Irish International Business Network (IIBN) developed this leadership and professional development program to advance participants career goals and personal growth. Working in teams, LEAP in the Community inspires women to channel their collective skills towards real-world social problems – making the New York City community better for all.

Here are the top five things I learned: 


Networking is Important

Networking is Important

1. Networking is important – do it!

Do plastic name tags and little cheese cubes riddle you with anxiety? Networking can be daunting but gets so much easier and more rewarding the more you do it, soon you’ll be the one rescuing the doe-eyed newbies into the fold.  

For some very helpful advice on building a meaningful network, check out the author of "Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships in a Hyper-connected World" Kelly Hoey’s website 

Peer Mentoring

Peer Mentoring

2. Peer mentoring is just as valuable as picking the brain of those (very busy) influential people you look up to – mentors are everywhere, and they don’t all have corner offices (not all heroes wear capes, etc.) We can all learn from each other, so embrace it!  

One of my favorite activities of the LEAP program was the speed mentoring event, in-between sessions with LEAP mentors we got to coach each other on questions to ask and who we should speak to. 

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

3. For career growth and accountability, appoint your own board of directors* -

Some people have one role model and that's great, but all successful organizations have a board of directors, and so should you! Make a list of people who have influenced you, and who you admire and aspire to align with, call upon them for advice and guidance if you can, but if they are not readily available – then just ask yourself, "what would Oprah do in this situation?”  

*This concept was first introduced to me by Eileen Scully, founder of The Rising Tides consultancy firm, and ted talkeryou can learn more about her at 



4. Value your worth, and stop power-robbing yourself! 

If you're not being paid enough – ask for a raise! but first, brush up on the art of negotiation. For ideas how to whip those finances and negotiation skills into shape check out the wise no-nonsense words of Samira Salman 

Power robbing – one of the LEAP participants favorite revelations! We had a joint workshop entitled Maximizing Your Personal Power led by Mary McEvoy, LEAP Co-founder, alongside a group of women who were leaders in their communities in Northern Ireland, we discussed how we power rob ourselves, and we vowed to start up a transatlantic book-club. 

I don’t want to give too much away – but here are three power robbers you should stamp out immediately. 

1. Not giving your job title during an introduction.

2. Multi-tasking in meetings.

3. Over-apologizing. 



5. Acceptance and Growth –

At the beginning of the LEAP program, we took the TriMetrix® HD assessment, expertly facilitated and explained in detail by Lori McNeal of Price AssociatesIf you are ever lucky enough to take this test, brace yourself because it's eerily accurate. Knowledge is of course power, however, and you can work on your weak points and capitalize on your strengths. It also teaches you how to interact with certain personalities, given your own competencies 

For some resources on how to work on rounding out those leadership skills, is a fantastic resource. 

I would like to thank all the speakers and mentors who participated in the LEAP program, my fellow LEAP participants, and especially Maura Kelly, Courtney Sunna and Elaine English. And thank you to all the women who have each other's back. 

 To find out more about LEAP visit their website. 

This July IrishCentral pays tribute to the International Irish who are breaking the mold, smashing glass ceilings, and emerging as the next generation of global thinkers and leaders. You can follow IrishCentral’s International Irish throughout by using the hashtag #InternationalIrish or by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. 

Find more in IrishCentral’s business section here. 

This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.