Does Ireland Need the Constitutional Right to Health?

Why should health professionals have to shout from the rooftops that their patients may be harmed or die because they are under resourced/funded? Why should patients or carers (often sick themselves) have to set up their own advocacy groups out of serious concerns for themselves or their loved ones? Why should ordinary people have to march for the homeless and the most vulnerable of our society? Imagine if charities, unions or voluntary groups did not have to compete with one another so that they could get better access to health services; recruit/retain more doctors, nurses or consultants or reduce waitingRead More…

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Launching my Research at the RCPI

Last year was without a doubt an extremely turbulent year, not just in my own life, but also in the global world of politics; the world of entertainment (loss of so many famous people) and in the world of our environment (learning of the real impact of global warming).  We, as humans though, can often look back, reflecting on the all the negatives, but sometimes, I feel, it is better to focus on all the positives that happen. I personally faced extreme lows in 2016, but in keeping with my last post related to my New Year resolutions, I decided to remind myself of allRead More…

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Mobbing as a form of bullying – in school and in work.

I collect my daughter from school. I know she is not herself. She is quiet, withdrawn and won’t make eye contact with me when I ask her how her day was. I know something is wrong. She is usually a witty, happy-go-lucky child with a charming sense of humour that would make even the grumpiest of persons grin. She is smart and creative; but also super sensitive, so has learned the skill of not letting anyone see how she is really feeling. Except me. I know when she is not being herself. When we get home and her sisters goRead More…

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Inspiration is not just a feeling, it is an action.

At some stage in our lives most of us will say we have been inspired by a person we have met or heard about – a speaker, a business person, a person who has overcome tough times, against all the odds. I have met many people in my life that I have been inspired by. Quite often when I deliver talks about the background to my work, and why I do it, people tell me I myself am inspirational. I always feel grateful that I have evoked positive emotions in people, and often, I feel good in myself knowing thatRead More…

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Resilience, Survival and Fears of Entrepreneurs

At 7am, on the morning I woke up to pitch on Dragons’ Den, I rang my husband and said I couldn’t do it. Told him I was coming home. Told him how scared I was that I would make a fool of myself. Worried about what people would think of me – would they think I was too big for my boots? Would people hate my idea? What if I messed up on my financials? Or tripped and fell and made a fool of myself? I even worried about people seeing my weight gain on television because they wouldn’t know I wasRead More…

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We won investment on RTÉ Dragons DEN!

At 7am, on the morning I woke up to pitch on Dragons’ Den, I rang my husband and said I couldn’t do it. Told him I was coming home. Told him how scared I was that I would make a fool of myself. Worried about what people would think of me – would they think I was too big for my boots? Would people hate my idea? What if I messed up on my financials? Or tripped and fell and made a fool of myself? I even worried about people seeing my weight gain on television because they wouldn’t know I was pregnantRead More…

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Closure through Open Disclosure: Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right.

Many years ago, I remember walking into the playroom to find two of my daughters screaming at one another – my younger daughter was in tears. Using a firm, but much lower tone than theirs, I requested both of them to stop screaming. They did. At just seven and six years of age at the time, these little arguments were a regular occurrence. I bent down to their level and asked both girls what had happened. I was abruptly met with more ear piercing screeches of: “She did…” “No, she did..!” “NO, I DIDN’T…!” Again, lowering my voice even further to almost a whisper, yet remaining stern,Read More…

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Branding and Buy In: Business (and Buyer) Beware – and Be Aware.

As an an entrepreneur now for almost 16 years, one of the most important elements of my work has been building brands that resonate, not just with local customers and staff, but with global audiences too. People can often think a brand is just a name for a product or service, but it is so much more than that. It is the perception of a brand that actually matters most. I particularly liked an article by Jerry McLaughlin, which stated: Put simply, your “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name.  It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—bothRead More…

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Being a “Carent” – a Parent and a Carer Combined

As a parent we will all at some time have to deal with the coughs, colds, vomiting bugs and the many cuts and bruises that our children will entail as they grow up. We will have to deal with our crying child as they get their first vaccinations – retracting with a pain in our own tummies as we hate to see them in pain. Even the smallest illness will stress a parent out to no end – never mind the sleepless nights, and GP visits – it is just horrible when our children are unwell. But when a child isRead More…

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When life gives you lemons, taste them – and learn.

We can change our attitude any day of the year, not just in the New Year. On this day, the beginning of 2017, I reflect on a mantra I use often: “Everything happens for a reason”.   While it is easy to say this when calm has been restored, it can be a real challenge to trust in this when we are in the eye of the storm. People can often see entrepreneurs as a little “crazy”. “Who do they think they are thinking they can change the world?” “That’ll never work!” “Why can’t they get a job like everyone else?”Read More…

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Gut Instinct in Healthcare: “I just feel something isn’t right”

“I really feel something is just not right”. “My gut instinct is telling me something is seriously wrong” I have spoken about reassurance and concern before, but I want to reiterate just how important this topic is. Reassuring patients at the first point of care, could potentially not just save lives, it could also save money, time and resources.  The purpose of this very personal post is that I really want to demonstrate that feelings and concerns a patient or carer may have, when communicated to health professionals and subsequently acted on accordingly, could really impact on a patients short and long term outcomes. My PersonalRead More…

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Leaders Need Encouragement, Experience and Effective Education

So, it was just after finishing my Leaving Certificate [way back in 1999!] when I became ecstatic to learn that I was accepted into college to study electronic engineering. I was so eager to get started but unfortunately this feeling was short-lived as I had taken very ill and had been hospitalised for a length of time. It was then, after much reflection and debate, I decided, along with my parents, that it would be probably be best for me to take a year out to heal before I put myself through studying again. It’s funny though how life hasRead More…

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Unhealthy Competitive Cultures Can Impact Negatively on Patients

My Problem As a carer to my dad leaving hospital after a nine week stay, the doctor shows me his prescription – a whopping twenty two separate drugs are on his list – many of which are not pills but are inhalers, injections, patches, liquids and gels.  Items which a pillbox cannot help me with. I quickly realise that I am going to need something to help me manage these medications at home so I ask the doctor can he give me anything to help. He looks at me forlornly and apologises as he says they don’t have anything like that availableRead More…

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#FABCHANGEDAY The Colostrum Project

As a mom, patient and carer – and founder of the Global Village of Health Translation – I often find myself researching various health topics via “Dr. Google”. One thing I never found online though was information about the benefits of the very first feed that you give to your new born baby – that was until I found myself having a very interesting online conversation with neonatologist, Prof Minesh Khashu; Irish Midwife, Deirdre Munro and UK Midwife, Sally Goodwin. As a young mum (a long time ago, I might add!) with my first newborn, I don’t mind admitting IRead More…

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Doing it with us, not for us…

“Taking account of the perspectives of patients and their families is crucial to articulating the reality and identifying the gaps between patient safety measures possible and the levels of safety being experienced by patients.” Building a Culture of Patient Safety, July 2008 Staff Guide to Patient and Public Participation, Cork University Hospital In the last two and a half years, I have attended many health conferences – coming face to face with some of the most innovative people & solutions in health care and more often than not, finding myself wanting to tell every patient in the country about howRead More…

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A Day in the Life of a Patient Attending an Outpatient Clinic: The Problems and Solutions

I arrive at a hospital I haven’t been to before. I have been told in my appointment letter to go  directly to the outpatients desk to let them know I’m here. I look around – there are three reception areas – but which one is  for outpatients? I logically choose the one nearest the front entrance, wait in a queue for five minutes but am then told that this is the reception area, and that I need to go to the one near the coffee shop. Looking at my watch (as I’m now afraid I’ll be late) I head over to the queue that has over ten other people waitingRead More…

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Are “Self Management” courses worth the paper they’re written on?

A 46 year old man stands at the kitchen counter in his house staring blankly at the two bags of medicines he has just collected from his pharmacy. Maurice – his heart full of regret; his head racing with anxiety. Feeling unhappy, scared about his future – and feeling, oh, so alone. Suddenly he is stirred from his thoughts as his four children – two teenager boys and twin 10 year old girls – come bounding into the house with their mom in tow, after being collected from school. He smiles at them, pushes the dreaded bags aside and asks them how theirRead More…

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When patients have no choice but to be innovative…

Patients and carers across the world are constantly coming up with new ideas in relation to the management of medications, achieving daily tasks with limited mobility, tracking symptoms and even finding ways to remember medical information. I myself even came up with the MediStori – a personal health organiser – while caring for my dad who was on 22 medications! And this last week, for us, it was no different. This time, however, it was not because of one of the many chronic conditions each of my daughters have – it was simply because my youngest daughter had slipped on a path,Read More…

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The Christmas Retail Saga: Exploiting consumers experience rather than creating it.

Yet again another Christmas shop opens. A video posted shows a large retailer in Ireland selling its Christmas decorations – in August. Yet again, I sigh. I sigh not because I have yet to pay upcoming fees for my children going back to school (and I don’t want to be hounded about Santa just yet) nor do I sigh because I am still in my positive summer mood (and don’t want to think about hats and scarves just yet!) I sigh because I think it is just bad business planning. Now before people think I am the ominous Grinch – please let me explain…my absoluteRead More…

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Camping Showed me the True Spirit of Community

I started packing bags, folding sleeping bags, filling flasks, writing lists of things I needed, topping up the car with Diesel and checking our travel emergency bag to ensure it had every medicine known to man in it – just in case. Yes, we were going camping. On the spur of the moment, I had decided that I was bringing my three daughters on a camping trip. My husband, who couldn’t take time off work, was staying at home, but I was determined that I could do this on my own. So off we went in the car up to the beautiful mountainous scenery inRead More…

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Speaking at the National Patient Forum 2015

At 7.30am last Tuesday, I found myself talking aloud in my car, en route to Dublin, practicing for a presentation that I would be delivering at the National Patient and Service User Forum that same morning. Looking back,  I was really getting into it and I quite animatedly corrected myself when I went off track by shaking my head and frowning– I’m sure if anyone saw me, they surely had an early morning laugh on my behalf! Anyway, it was just as I said the words “collaboration is key” that my GPS decided to gently interrupt my thoughts to let meRead More…

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Overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]

This is how I told my story at Heart Children Ireland’s National AGM… “Hi my name is Olive, and I am a mum of three girls; Micaela Nicole and Mackensie.  I was going to tell my story spontaneously , but every time I practised doing it this way, my emotions took over and I forgot where I was, so today I am going to read it out to make sure I don’t skip over anything. We, as a family, come up to Dublin quite often as each of my girls see different specialists in Crumlin, including their cardiologist, Dr Coleman.Read More…

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The Stigma: Anxiety Caused by Disclosing Anxiety.

Please Note: I will be disclosing personal information in this post. I am terrified in doing so, but here goes anyway. I care too much about breaking the stigma surrounding the mental health agenda. This post was originally posted on LinkedIn for professionals. ——————————————————————————————— Always. People think I’m always happy. Bubbly, outgoing, fun. People think I’m always strong. Hopeful, helpful, inspirational. People think I’m always smart. thinking, strategic, clever. People think I’m always grateful. Praising, delighted, unwanting. People think I’m always motivated. Busy, hardworking, driven. People think I’m always there. Caring, kind, mindful. Always. That one word that flows throughout. No one thing in this world is stagnant. No one thing inRead More…

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Do you judge peoples ability to do their work by their tastes in clothes, hobbies or music?

“It was during an informal conversation over a cup of tea with a business associate that led to a discussion about our various music tastes. I confidently declared that Beyoncé was one of my favourite artists. I was immediately taken aback when I was met with an arched eyebrow; a patronizing smile and the statement – “Oh really, YOU listen to Beyoncé?” Would you judge my ability to do my work based on my tastes of clothes, hobbies or music? When I say the name Beyoncé do you think of a famous pop singer – and just that? What if I told youRead More…

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Virgin Awards: First update – I have entered! Can I do it?

I have over 4,000 connections and interested to see what percent of you will engage… Okay so two days I eventually got the courage and I submitted my social ethical enterprise into the @Virgin Media Business VOOM IMPACT Awards! Okay so I know I should have started it a few weeks back but honestly this was a really a big deal for me to do. But why would entering a competition be difficult? Was it for lack of time or resources? No. It was only when I really thought about my hesitancy to do it, I had to think. What was reallyRead More…

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Engagement – don’t talk the talk; walk the walk…

Now you would think with the eagerness of people sharing, exploring and connecting information that it would be relatively easy to find government employees work email addresses, phone numbers or even basic work locations. But this is not always the case, and most of the time, I feel this is okay, as it is after all, up to themselves as to how they share their information. However, what I do have an issue with is, those who preach about “engagement”, “communication”, “partnerships” and “collaboration” with customers, patients, carers, service users and so on…and then choose themselves personally to, not only disengage, but not even giveRead More…

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Yes, I challenge society as a whole. Yes, I challenge you as a person.

I challenge you. I challenge you to not be ignorant.  I challenge you to inform yourself. I challenge you to think of people, not in their masses, but as individuals. I challenge you to take this thought and apply it to yourself. I challenge you to think what it might be like to have people in your own community look down on you. I challenge you to think what it might be like to have societies across the world look down on you. I challenge you to think about how many of our people are across the world who may represent us in aRead More…

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Virgin Media Awards: Update 3

Who would put a Boeing 747 on a river? Who’d design paper health records in today’s world? None other than 2 Irish entrepreneurs in the #VOOM awards! ***HUGE NEWS*** **Quirky Glamping and MediStori – Community Collaboration at it’s Best!** Quirky Nights Glamping Village [yes the crew who brought the Boeing 747 unto the River Shannon!] and ourselves, the MediStori team [the crew who are changing health care globally!] are working together to support each other in the ‪#‎VOOM‬ awards!!! We want to put Ireland on the map and show how two Irish companies join in true community spirit and workRead More…

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Codeine and Cigarettes. Why it’s easier to smoke than get pain relief…

A few weeks back, myself and the hubby decided we’d take a much needed break from all the running around in work and so on the Friday, we jumped in the car with the kids, not minding the oncoming four hour road trip because we knew we’d be able to relax at the other end of the journey. Upon arrival, I was in great form to see our beautiful holiday destination but as soon as I started to get out of the car my mood took a bit of a downturn- my good old knees started giving out their usual creaks, whichRead More…

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World Health Innovation Summit: The Platform for Patients and Professionals, with the Purpose to Partner.

With hundreds of health events being launched every single day across the world, I often hear people say, “Oh, conferences – they’re just a money making racket” or “Health professionals feel they have to go to them, to earn learning credits”, or “They’re just excuses to get out of work and go out on the town afterwards”. Often when I talk to patients like me, they tell me that the topics of discussion at health conferences and such, can often be too “disconnected from reality, from a users perspective” or that they don’t benefit personally from such events . Well, after listening to all these type of comments andRead More…

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Virgin Awards: Update 2 – Silicon Republic, HER.ie, iRadio and WHIS are talking about MediStori!

So just nine short days ago I bit my lip and thought “Can I do this?” I was so hesitant. But then I remembered an image that a good friend had once messaged me: And so – I did it – I entered the Virgin Media #VOOM Awards!  Little did I know what a journey it would be in such a short time! Currently I am now in the top 12 Irish businesses in the running and am now at the top of the GROW category for Ireland. How do I know this – because Silicon Republic told us so! Link here: https://goo.gl/qBKCk3 Additionally national radioRead More…

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The Patient’s Perspective on eHealth Ireland’s Ecosystem.

Last month, I was both delighted, and honoured, to be invited to keynote the 4th National eHealth Ireland Ecosystem meeting, as chaired by the first CIO of the HSE,Mr Richard Corbridge. When I was told that this particular get together was focusing on an initiative called the “Lighthouse Project” my first thought was – “I can’t wait to see their projects!” and this was immediately followed by – “I wonder how the audience, who are working on much needed electronic health records in Ireland, will react when I tell them I developed paper based health records!?!” I also thought what an appropriate name for such projects – I thought of beingRead More…

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I’m Not Driven by Profit – I’m Driven by Cause. I’m a Social Entrepreneur!

Who is a Social Entrepreneur?  Social entrepreneurship is what lies between the two poles of government-led and business-led transformation.  The authors present a framework for thinking about social entrepreneurship as a process with four stages:  1: Understanding the world. The paradox of social transformation is that one has to truly understand the system as it is before any serious attempt can be made to change it. 2. Envisioning a new future. To make a positive difference, every change agent, whether a social entrepreneur or not, needs to set a direction. Successful social entrepreneurs set the bar high, envisioning fundamental equilibriumRead More…

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“Don’t hire him – he dropped out of school.”

Everyone at some stage will have a regret in their life. It could be something they said or didn’t say; or something they did or didn’t do. It might be something that happened in their childhood, their teens – or even just a few weeks ago. Touching base with the past can help us move forward – no-one should have to live the rest their lives in regret. Awareness, acceptance, apologies and forgiveness can be keys to moving on in life – on both a personal and professional level. In the business world, this too, needs to be remembered. IfRead More…

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The Farmer and the Sheepdog [aka the CEO and the Manager]

Throughout my various careers I have both experienced, and come across, some interesting scenarios in relation to that of the perceptions of front line managers and their overarching bosses. Much of the time (and especially in times of dilemmas/difficult decisions/delicate situations) the manager is the person out front dealing with it.  Unfavorable presumptions and accusations about this person can often be heard whispered between colleagues in the canteen after such events, but I have often wondered are these negative undertones being directed towards the wrong person? Sometimes when you’re involved in a situation you can find it hard to see what’s actually happeningRead More…

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Reassurance – Often written, rarely verbalised.

As I came in from another long day at work, my three girls (and three dogs, I might add!) all came running at me – just before I got a chance to glance at the post that had arrived that day. After seeing their happy faces and hugging them tightly, I felt so reassured that they were so happy, and that yet another day had gone by where I had gone to work and that they were still okay by the time I got home (don’t get me wrong my babysitter is amazing – it’s just a thing I think allRead More…

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Presenting and attending at the National Medicines Forum 2015

Last Thursday, on the 30th April 2015, the 3rd National Medicines Forum was held in No.6 Kildare Street, Dublin 2 – also known as the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.  Upon walking in the doors of this truly remarkable building, you honestly feel like you’ve stepped back in time – you can feel the depth of history and can imagine the learning that was absorbed by medical practitioners gone by. Ironically this same sense actually ran as a theme for a lot of the day as many of the speakers reflected on past eras to compare to present activities. As I walked into the great Corrigan Hall, IRead More…

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My dream in life? Not just world peace, but inner peace.

As I drove home in the car with my three beautiful girls last night in the back seat, I felt that little feeling in my tummy – that feeling that we all experience every now and again – that little moment of sheer inner childlike happiness. I had put on a Disney CD as we set off on our journey and after we had tried our hands at guessing which movie each song came from – we all (including yours truly!) proceeded to sing along to every song at the top of our lungs, which then led to us all reminiscing and laughing about when weRead More…

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Recognition from the IHI

I remember receiving a text message from a good friend, Dr John Fitzsimons, telling me to go on Twitter. To my surprise, my work was showcased in Qatar by no one other than the President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Maureen Bisognano. I think the above image captures the endorsement nicely!

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland

In 2015 I was delighted to be selected as a finalist for the IMPACT awards with SEI.  “The Impact Programme aims to support social entrepreneurs who have developed effective solutions to particular social or environmental problems. Over the course of the Impact Programme we aim to help our Awardees develop a clear plan on how best to scale that solution significantly. So, if you have a project that is successfully tackling a particular social or environmental problem in Ireland and are looking to grow that impact even further, then this is the programme for you.”

Endorsed by Irish Government

My work was always about making our society a better place, and helping the most vulnerable people, especially patients. So it came as no surprise to me when An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny, told everyone that “MediStori will save our health service millions”. (He also called me “young” which I greatly appreciated!!)

Advocacy for Advocates – Silence is Not Always Golden.

*Warning this is a long blog post – I’m not apologising for it’s length, I’m just giving you the heads up.* Even writing this blog I feel myself shaking. Fear reaches peak as I wonder if my story will lead to even more negative repercussions for me. Anxiety flows through me as I recall events that deeply, deeply affected me. Nearly ending in the loss of my life. Nearly three years ago, I was thrown into such an unexpected crisis that it directly impacted on me; my family; my business; my shareholders; my reputation; my career and those who were workingRead More…

Speaking at MedTech (and many more!)

When I talk to those in the tech industry,  I usually get asked – “But why is  the MediStori not an app?” And the answer is simple – I asked my customers what they wanted, and this is what I was told. Additionally, there is the major point that most acute hospitals and GP’s do not have public Wi-Fi access and so how would people open their apps without having to pay for their own data? Anyway, because I’m not a “techie”, I normally am not asked to go particular conferences or shows related to technology in healthcare. But I decided to see if IRead More…

Selected for Clinton Global Initiative

I was personally hand picked to be 1 of the 10,000 women across the world to be video interviewed by the CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE! This 3 minute video, includes me talking about my experiences of being a working mum & a carer of my three children & dad, but also includes a detailed account of the MediStori. Of the 10,000 interviewed, my video was picked with just 9 others was showcased at the CGI National AGM 2014, where world leaders , such as Bill, Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama were present. This video is now on the Aroyga World websiteRead More…

Winning Special Merit Sccul Award

On January the 29th, 2015 I sat in the audience clapping for all the winners whose names were being pulled out for the Sccul Enterprise Awards in NUI, Galway. With over 160 businesses submitting entry’s, I was delighted to have even made the shortlist.Little did I know, that that list was going to get even shorter. Throughout the day people asked me if I was in for an award, and truthfully, I wasn’t really sure. I kept thinking to myself, I’d love to win a “One to Watch” award as it would nearly give me a challenge for next year!Read More…

Winning New Frontiers Investment with Enterprise Ireland

In 2013, nearly 100 entrepreneurs applied for Phase One of Enterprise Ireland’s prestigious New Frontiers programme in 2013. Thirty of these were selected and all of whom presented in a “Dragon Den” style pitch to get on to Phase 2. Our company, presenting the MediStori as our first product, were one of 13 to get on to this Phase.  Starting the programme, we learned that we had access to worldwide renowned business mentors and entrepreneurs and were also were landed with a €15,000 start up fund. With bimonthly reviews by the New Frontiers team, we had to prove we wereRead More…

Shortlisted for KPMG Awards

At the end of Enterprise Irelands New Frontiers Programme, only a select few got on to the next round, Phase 3. This is where I became a finalist at this intensive stage to pitch to giants, KPMG. “Our next winner is a mum to three children, who each have chronic illnesses. Keeping an eye on three children at the best of times isn’t easy, but Olive found herself really struggling to track all the medication, appointments and paperwork that went along with chronic illness. This led her to her fourth baby ‘MediStori’. This was the speech that led to me hearingRead More…