International Women's Day: Clodagh Flanagan

Read more about her inspiring career story as part of our International Women's Day series.  
My advice to any woman who is aspiring to leadership is this: be yourself and respect others, speak clearly, speak from the heart, and don’t forget to listen.

If there is one thing that has defined my career, it’s that communication is the central focus in all that I do. Being an effective leader in the corporate space, whether you are a man, woman, or nonbinary, comes down to your communication skills, and I pride myself on honing those skills throughout my career. 

My interest in this started even before my professional career kicked off – I studied Italian and French at Trinity College in Dublin and found great value in understanding global communication styles and nuances, and that’s something that has been invaluable throughout my career in sales; When I prepare to engage with a potential client, I make note of who they are, where they are from and how to connect with them. I truly believe this makes interactions more personal, and despite what some people may think, business is personal. 

Clodagh with SAP Concur Fusion team

As a woman in corporate leadership, my philosophy isn’t to be the loudest, it’s to be the easiest to understand. It is important that your message resonates, but in order for that to happen, you also need to start by being a good listener. To put it simply, people make decisions based on trust and mutual respect. Making sure people feel understood is the best way to make them feel comfortable, and that’s what I make my priority.  

Traveling extensively and working with people from around the world has helped me understand and appreciate different cultures and communication styles. This certainly made my move from Ireland to the USA easier, and my transition from an EMEA-based role to an American one. Settling in Philadelphia, a city with such a unique vibe and heritage, has also been an exciting learning experience for me. 

I am fortunate to work for a business that encourages personal growth and development and celebrates success. I’ve had the opportunity to progress my career across various sales roles and across continents. I would say my career trajectory, especially my FCM journey from Head of Ireland Sales to my current role as Vice President of Enterprise Sales, is ultimately indicative of my lifelong commitment to understanding of people. My advice to any woman who is aspiring to leadership is this: be yourself and respect others, speak clearly, speak from the heart, and don’t forget to listen. 

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