Back for Business: Siobhán Cahalan

Back for Business after 20 years overseas, including stints on Wall Street, it was a logical step for Siobhán Cahalan to return and establish executive coaching firm Wisdom and Vision.

Siobhán Cahalan had lived and worked in Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Germany, the US and Denmark and had accumulated over 20 years’ experience in international management and leadership roles, in which she designed and managed global processes and led global teams, before deciding that she wished to return to live in Ireland.

Siobhán’s roles overseas included a period as Production Manager with The Wall Street Journal Europe in Brussels, as Compliance Manager with Deutsche Bank in Berlin, and as vice-president Global Change Management Lead, on 60 Wall Street, NYC, where she managed third-party risk.

“Governance is something which affects and impacts each of us all the days of our lives”

“It was a logical step to return to Ireland after 20 years to be closer to my parents and family, and quite simply, to live in Ireland,” she says.

Best practice governance

Siobhán’s initial foray into her international career came about in 1999 when she moved to the Netherlands as Production Manager, supporting the international division of Reed Elsevier, the Dutch publishing house. Up to that point, Siobhán had worked with a print packaging firm in Dublin, after obtaining a Bachelor of Technology degree from the University of Limerick.

On her return to Ireland, Siobhán completed a Diploma in Executive Coaching in March 2019 and founded Wisdom and Vision to provide her services as an accredited executive coach and qualified coaching supervisor with a particular interest in encouraging Best Practice Governance, supporting Boards, CEOs and senior leaders to implement good governance. 

She defines executive governance as supporting senior leaders to lead and manage in a way that strengthens best practice governance, managing the day-to-day operations, in line with the vision, strategy and planning, with integrity and in the best interests of all stakeholders.

Siobhán says she is on a mission to demystify governance and to help people realise it is not a scary concept. “Governance is something which affects and impacts each of us all the days of our lives. There is good and bad governance. It means how something is led and managed,” she says.

Wisdom and Vision supports organisational governance, coaching governance, individual governance, volunteer governance and service governance. Siobhán, a native of Co Tipperary, runs the company from her home on the unspoilt coastline in Morriscastle, Co Wexford.

One of the highlights of her business so far has been setting up a coaching hub for a global coaching industry body, headquartered in Brussels. As Mentor Hub Team Leader, Accreditation Mentor, Trainer and Group Facilitator, she designed, built and managed a process to efficiently support EMCC Global Accreditation, thereby enhancing governance within the coaching industry. She has also been a speaker at the EMCC Global Conference 2022 presenting a Framework which she developed.

Siobhán says she would recommend the Back for Business programme for returning emigrants who wish to set up a business.

“Back for Business offers a heart-warming and meaningful welcome home and a support community that understands the challenges of such a major transition. The group I was with was admirable and I have even seen one of them on television speaking about the success of his business! The most important thing for me was the welcome home,” she says.

As well as Back for Business, Siobhán has availed of mentorship and training from LEO Tipperary, LEO Wexford and with Intertrade Ireland with regards to submitting proposals for public sector tender opportunities.

Siobhán’s future plans for the business include expanding the reach of demystifying governance in Ireland and abroad by continuing to support Boards, CEOs and senior leaders to build awareness of and implement good governance.

Are you thinking of coming Back for Business?

This is the sixth year of the Back for Business programme and there are up to 50 places available to support those have returned to Ireland – or are  thinking about it – and have or want to start a business here.

The Back for Business developmental programme, which is funded from the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme, was created to foster and support entrepreneurial activity among emigrants returning to live in Ireland. The call for this year’s applications was launched by Colm Brophy TD, Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora. 

Back for Business 6 will run from the end of January to June 2023. There is no charge for those selected to participate and the closing date for applications is Friday 6 January 2023. 

Back for Business is aimed at those who have lived abroad for at least a year and have returned in the last three years or those planning to return in the near future. It addresses challenges that all early-stage entrepreneurs encounter, but also focuses on the additional barriers faced by those who have been living outside Ireland for some years

Participants on last year’s programme increased their combined workforce by 76% and more than doubled (107% ) their turnover during the cycle – despite the restrictions placed on businesses as a result of the Covid pandemic.

Those selected to join Back for Business 6 will take part in round table sessions, focused on goals and milestones, which are facilitated by voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs who have experience of successfully starting and growing a business. 

This year’s Lead Entrepreneurs are: Hannah Wrixon, founder of WrkWrk, formerly known as Get the Shifts; Morgan Browne, CEO of Milner Browne and Enterpryze; Paul Duggan of The Gardiner Group; Seamus Reilly, co-founder and formerly of Critical Healthcare; and Thomas Ennis, founder of the Thomas Ennis Group.

A Back for Business Community is also being formed for previous participants, who will be offered workshops, review round tables and an annual Community Forum.

Those interested in learning more about applying for Back for Business 6 can download a brochure and register their interest in receiving an application form.

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