Eilísh Hardiman, Grit Board Member and Chief Executive at Children’s Health Ireland
Please tell us a little about yourself and your role as Chief Executive of Children’s Health Ireland?
Originally from Galway, I’m married to Steve and living in Dublin for almost three decades and importantly, I’m Mum to twins, Emily and Lucca who are 18 years old.
I’m Chief Executive of Children’s Health Ireland since 2013. It’s my 3rd Chief Executive role in healthcare, albeit, the most challenging one to date. I have over 30 years’ experience in acute academic health services, with 20 of these in senior management.
Children’s Health Ireland is the merged entity of three children’s hospitals in Dublin, and it commenced in Jan 2019. We provide all national paediatric specialities, some on an all-island basis and secondary acute paediatric services for the Eastern region of Ireland. We work with paediatric colleagues and services across the regions to support care closest to the child’s home.
Currently our services are in four locations in Dublin and the majority of these will transfer to the new children’s hospital, currently under construction. Our new children’s hospital is the largest capital investment by Government, it’s planned and designed to be ‘born digital’ with advanced technology and 100% single rooms planned around the care and treatment of children and families.
Children’s Health Ireland is an academic health sciences entity with multiple academic partners committed to integrated services, education, training, research and innovation in paediatrics and child health.
What does diversity, equity and inclusion mean to you and why is it so important?
Diversity, equity and inclusion means having a mind-set, behaviours, practices and organisational processes that respects and supports patients, families, staff and others with diverse skills, traits, backgrounds and circumstances.
Respect and integrity are two of our core values in Children’s Health Ireland. When we value diversity, equity and inclusion we are putting these values into action.
As Chief Executive how have you promoted gender equality in the workplace?
Using the ‘if she can’t see it, she can’t be it’ principle and starting with the Board of Children’s Health Ireland, I have worked with the Board Chair and the Governance and Nominations Committee to recruit Board membership that reflects gender equally.
Forty five percent of the Board membership in 2023 are female. Currently, 50% of the Executive Team in Children’s Health Ireland are female.
This gender balance is reflected down through the organisation. Children’s Health Ireland has also published its Gender Pay Gap Report on our webpage and commitments made to closing this gap.
What are the benefits to having more women in leadership?
Conversations, inputs and views come from different perspectives on a leadership team.
I would say that the benefits are not just from female perspectives, and it is best to have diverse perspectives to enrich our decision-making and avoid group think.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
The caring role undertaken by women.
As a Grit advisory board member, please provide three pieces of advice that has served you well in your career?
- Have a mentor and a coach, you need them when in a senior post.
- Find people to work with who want to make better things happen.
- Mind yourself.
Any final thoughts?
Best wishes to all at the Grit Female Leaders in Healthcare Summit. Enjoy, network and learn.