She Said Club's Naomh McElhatton discusses Festive Fun and Frolics event and celebrating women's stories

  • Sync NI’s Tina Lauro Pollock interviewed Naomh McElhatton, SMART Global founder and CEO and the mastermind behind the She Said Club, an inspirational, aspirational online community for women to network, find genuine peer support, and share their real life experiences.

    Opening up about the motivations for founding the She Said Club, Naomh was refreshingly honest about wanting to build an authentic support network for women that stretched beyond meaningless false platitudes and meticulously curated depictions of unrealistic female perfection, particularly on social media.

    “I started the She Said Club firstly as a labour of love: In the world we live in there’s a lot of falseness, and we need to take a step back and cut out the bullshit. The She Said Club podcast is about real life, real women, real stories, and real struggles.

    The main focus of the She Said Club is to give a much-needed platform to a diverse range of inspiring women, opening up the floor for some really challenging, thought-provoking conversations.

    “We have had so many diverse women speak, from politicians, to cancer survivors, to surrogate mothers, to fashionistas. It's the broad depth of these conversations that is important to us.The amount of people that have said to me ‘I thought it was just me’ shows we can all relate to some of the struggles the She Said Club addresses, despite having some really niche conversations.

    “We hope to have a real impact with these real life conversations - none of which are scripted or edited, just authentic and no crap. I didn't know when I started the podcast what way it would take shape, or that there would be such an interest in these stories”, admitted Naomh. “I've realised now that if we can all work to support each other it makes life a lot easier for all of us, which is something that keeps me going.”

    As one of Ireland’s busiest and most respected entrepreneurs, it might surprise some that Naomh has any time to spare to focus on the stories of other businesswomen, but her dedication to sharing the real-life experiences of women and her masterful juggling of a chaotic yet rewarding schedule seem boundless.

    “I'm a big believer in the saying 'if you need something done, ask a busy person'. I keep myself very organised: I run on a schedule and it’s not out of the ordinary for me to run a conference and record a podcast in the same working day - the She Said Club is just another part of the job.”

    While the She Said Club is Naomh’s brainchild, she is keen to share credit for the She Said Club’s great success with her team at SMART Global and the women who share such valuable insights by speaking on its podcast.

    “The She Said Club is based on my ideas and my thought process, but I just facilitate the conversations. We have amazing girls from the SMART Global team helping out – Dearbhla, who works on all events, and Shannon, who looks after our social accounts. 

    “Of course, the speakers who share their stories are the real champions”, Naomh enthused, “and some of our episodes have been so timely with certain topics being prevalent at the time of airing. When Professor Siobhan O'Neill’s podcast was released on her studies of Mental Health and the impact of Trauma, the newspapers were inundated the next day with articles from studies Siobhan herself had conducted.”

    Recognising that the festive season piles a unique plethora of pressures onto women, Naomh has organised a fun, pamper-focused event to help alleviate seasonal stress and give women a timely and much-needed boost in the run-up to the holidays. Festive Fun and Frolics, taking place on November 25 in the Ten Square Hotel, is set to be an amazing event that offers women the chance to recharge during the busiest time of year for many.

    “At Christmas we get so carried away with our kids and loved ones that we never take time for ourselves”, Naomh explained. “So for this one day, we aren't 'mummy' or 'wifey' – it's a chance for some downtime and ‘me-time’ with amazing treats and goodie bags.

    “I often hear that some women find networking events intimidating, but this isn't a corporate networking event - I never want the She Said Club to be anything other than fun and freeing. It is a relaxed gang and community where someone can come to be fun and open and honest. We have Bridgeen Rea-Kaya there to take us through some meditation practice, followed by talks from Gemma Garrett and Jean-Barrett Quinn about self-love and care.”

    The She Said Club’s reach doesn’t begin and end in Belfast: In fact, Naomh was keen to discuss her future plans and detail some of the events Irish women can expect from the She Said Club in 2019 across the island.

    “The She Said Club is for all women, in all areas of Ireland: We have some exciting plans for the ladies down in Cork and Kilkenny. But more immediately, we are bringing a 'New Year Self-care' event to the Shandon Hotel in Dunfanaghy on January 19, more details of which will be revealed soon.”

    Sync NI is the proud media partner for the She Said Club’s Festive Fun and Frolics event, taking place in the Ten Square Hotel on November 25. To register for the fun-focused pampering event, visit the She Said Club website or click the image below.

    Keep up to date with the She Said Club on social media: Like on Facebook and follow on Twitter and Instagram. Join the club to stay in the loop.

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