All this week, we're marking International Women’s Day - introducing you to just some of the great women in our workforce. Today we focus on Rachel Hoy and Kelly O’Shea, two of our colleagues in Dublin who talk us through their work and home lives.
Rachel Hoy is steering delivery of our Sea Gardens mixed use neighbourhood in Bray as Senior Development Manager.
“Over the course of my career in construction – I’m 37 now - I’ve seen the growth in the numbers of women both working in the industry and occupying more senior technical and project management roles, like mine.
“I’m a Senior Development Manager, based in Dublin and currently working on our exciting mixed-use development, Sea Gardens in nearby Bray. As a development manager, I’m involved in all stages of the development process: identifying land opportunities, acquiring sites, financial appraisals, obtaining planning permissions and working alongside the design, construction, marketing and sales teams, right through to the very end of a development. Every day in my role is different and that’s why I love it!
“I moved to Dublin just over four years ago, after establishing a successful career in the UK, where I’d worked in London and the north-west of England and built a great network of contacts and knowledge of the UK property market. When I came to Dublin I’d no contacts and had to learn about the property market from scratch. Since then, I’ve worked for high profile developers and achieved success through winning competitive tenders and securing planning consents on major schemes. Starting my career over again in a new country has been my biggest professional achievement to date.
I’ve never felt that I’ve encountered inequality and not been afforded the same opportunities as men in my career. I believe that, if anything, being a woman in this industry has made me stand out and that has always been a positive.
“What I have found challenging at times is gender stereotyping; men are praised for being assertive, while women are deemed “emotional” for displaying the same assertiveness. That can be frustrating.
“My advice to women in the industry is to support and encourage other women. I’m blessed to have been in the same room as some amazing, strong-minded, intelligent and driven women and I’ve worked alongside them on some great projects, which has been a real privilege.
“I would also advise anyone encountering inequality in the industry to call it out. I think a lot of bias is actually subconscious, so communication is key to education to help resolve inequality.
“I feel supported as a person working in this industry – rather than as a woman specifically. That’s down to the companies I’ve worked for and the positive cultures they promote, supporting men and women equally, which is exactly as it should be.”
8th Lock site administrator Kelly O’Shea (39) moved to Dublin in 2018, and has since made a life and a career for herself in the city.
“I love working for Ballymore, and it was hugely rewarding to see Dublin Landings – my first development with the company – come to fruition.
“I’ve long worked in what traditionally might be male-dominated sectors, working initially in oil and gas before moving to Ballymore in 2018 when I made the bold move to leave my home in Waterford to set up a new life for myself.
“It was hard, as I moved into a house with people I didn’t know, and started making friends! Fast forward to 2023 and I’m working at 8th Lock, I’ve moved into a house with a woman who’s become a great friend, and I’ve even earned myself a regular place in the Clontarf FC Rugby Team.
“It all comes down to belief in yourself and confidence. I knew I needed to make friends here so I plucked up the courage to walk into Clontarf and ask for a place. It’s a sport I knew and I used that to my advantage to establish a new social network for myself. It’s the same at work; I’ve just thrown myself into it, working as hard as I can and making new friends.
“I’ve had my knocks though – and I don’t just mean on the rugby field! I certainly experienced inequality when I worked in the oil and gas sector. It was disheartening, but I think, and hope, things are changing now, and I’ve certainly never experienced anything that’s made me feel inferior while I’ve been at Ballymore, where I feel supported by all colleagues – men and women.
“My way through the down times was just to always be unapologetically real; being myself has helped me earn the respect of others. Showing a willingness to learn and gain lots of experience helps too, and I’m lucky enough to have worked on a few of our developments overseeing the administration onsite – now splitting my weeks between 8th Lock and Seamount Rise in Malahide. It’s giving me the opportunity to meet more people and get involved in more of Ballymore’s work.”