Creative Business Series: Sinead Connolly
I first met Sinead Connolly at a female leadership group we both joined, Emerald Influence. The program was created by the Irish Australian chamber of commerce as a peer to peer networking group and I was so impressed with Sinead from the start. At just 28, Sinead owns and runs a thriving recruitment business, Lotus People, in Sydneys CBD. She has won more awards than I have had hot dinners and she seems to do it all with complete ease and grace!
What I love about Sinead is that she is so focused on her internal culture and making sure her staff are happy and well looked after. After working myself for years in a really toxic environment at a previous workplace, it is so nice to see people like Sinead that uderstand the value of a happy and healthy team.
Lotus is going from strength to strength with Sinead at the helm and there are so many pearls of wisdom to be learned from this #girlboss Enjoy!
Sinead Connolly, welcome! Tell us what you are up to today?
Today has been busy! I had a deadline for an award submission for the Recruitment International Awards which I have just sent in so I’m feeling very happy about getting that done. We won the Best Small Agency to Work For at last year’s RI Awards, so really hoping to be shortlisted this year! This morning I spent the morning at a talk by Seek.com.au’s new Managing Director – she was really inspiring and has only been in the role for 16 days!
What do you LOVE about your business?
The people! My team, our candidates, our clients – I am an introvert in many ways but I am very interested in human behavior, psychology and I love people! My team are incredible – they are hardworking, genuine, committed and I am extremely proud of our internal culture. I also love working with our candidates and clients, conducting service reviews and hearing all of the positive feedback about Lotus People in the market.
What are your daily habits to keep you on track for world domination?
Running Lotus means I am always busy with a seemingly never ending to do list. In order for me to stay balanced and sane (!), I make sure that I do yoga or pilates every day. I have a rule that I don’t check my phone just before bed or first thing in the morning until I’ve left the house and I have turned off all app notifications too – I find this helps me switch off and it allows other ideas space to percolate! I also meditate, journal and cook a home cooked meal (a form of meditation for me!) most days.
What has been your biggest business challenge to date and how have you overcome it?
In June 2016, nine months after setting up Lotus People, the business was doing incredibly well and growing at a rapid pace but I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and had to take 2.5 months out of the business where I was mostly housebound. It was an extremely scary time but with the support of my friends, family, team, shareholders and doctors, I got better and returned to work full time in August 2016. This has definitely been the biggest challenge in my life so far and has given me a new sense of gratitude for life, for my business and a new understanding of the importance of balance and well-being.
If you could pick just one thing that has contributed to your success to date, what has it been?
One is hard – it’s been a journey! I think, again, I would have to say; people – can you see a theme here!? I have always been driven but the reason that I am where I am today is because I have had inspiring mentors and managers above me, a caring and supportive family and the opportunity to work with awesome people.
If you could only work 2 hours per week on your business (lucky you!) what would you do?
Two hours a week – that means I’ve pretty much retired at 29, perfect! If I could only work for two hours a week at Lotus, I would spend it with my team. I’d miss them if I wasn’t here every day and would want to know everything they’re doing and hear about all of their successes.
What is your go-to for getting a dose of inspiration?
Podcasts! I am a huge fan of Podcasts and I listen to shows covering topics from psychology to business to medical research to nutrition. My favourite at the moment is NPR Ted Radio Hour and it’s four ted talks condensed into a 1-hour radio segment on specific topics and I love the variety of topics and the passion of the speakers. I love learning and absorbing knowledge so if I’m learning something new, then I’m feeling inspired!
What is your favourite quote that gets you fired up?
I love this quote by philosopher, Rumi, so much;
“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead, let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”
Life can present challenges and as we know, the only constant is change, but the further we are pushed outside of our comfort zone and the more we take on, the stronger we become, the more we learn, the further we develop and the side we come out on is usually better than the side you are used to.
If you could give budding entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be kind! Be good to people, look after people, make an effort with people. It’s great to be ambitious, driven, successful but always stop to look around and see who may be struggling and who may need an extra bit of kindness or attention. Life is tough but I firmly believe that strong networks, tribes and having supportive, loving people around you can you get you through anything and everything!
Sinead Connolly runs and co-founded Lotus People recruitment, an award-winning business support agency based in Sydney. Driven to provide a superior, personalised unique recruitment service, Sinead uses her experience within the industry and her passion for people to lead the team at Lotus and create a supportive, collaborative and hardworking team culture. Winner of the Young Entrepreneur at the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce Awards 2017, Sinead was rewarded for her commitment to delivering a unique experience in the recruitment industry. Sinead is passionate about people, building relationships and supporting those around her and loves incorporating that into her daily work at Lotus.