Lorraine Heskin

Lorraine Heskin is the Managing Director of Gourmet Food Parlour. Hailing from a small village in Co. Galway, she studied at the University of Limerick before heading off to New York for 3 years working in a diverse range of food businesses. On returning to Dublin, Lorraine and her business partner Lorraine Byrne made the decision to open their first 25 seater café in Dun Laoghaire in 2006. Through hard work and dedication, Gourmet Food Parlour has grown into a very successful business employing a team of over 300 people across the group. With 8 locations across Dublin, (Dun Laoghaire, Swords, Malahide, Santry, Deli Bar Swords, Skerries, House Leeson Street, AIG) their newest restaurant in Salthill, Galway and ever-growing catering and event business, it has been a busy 12 years.

Lorraine’s hands-on approach to running the business is the driving force behind GFP. Her dedication, determination and hard work filter down throughout the company. She creates a positive working environment throughout the head office and each location. Lorraine often speaks of Team GFP and how the strength of the brand is down to every person that works for her. Lorraine sets high standards and expectations for her team, which constantly challenges each individual to strive for better and to ensure there is attention paid to every detail. To become a successful business, there needs to be a very committed, hard-working and driven leader at the helm and Lorraine is certainly all of these. Lorraine was recently a runner up in the Entrepreneur of The Year Category at the Image Women in Business Awards 2018. You will often see Lorraine featured on various panel discussions and networking events. As a leader in the food and beverage industry, she’s been invited as the Keynote speaker for Network Ireland at two separate networking events in 2018, AIB Future Sparks events in 2018 and 2019.

Can leadership be taught? If so, how?

I don’t believe that leadership can be taught but I do believe it can be learned. There is a huge difference! If you have the right qualities to become a leader then you can learn and develop through growing in confidence in your role, observing your peers, setting goals and aspiring to be the best you can be to be a great leader.

What do you think is the difference between management and leadership?

The difference between a manager and a leader is inspiration and motivation. A good manager manages people to achieve their goals but a true leader inspires others to achieve their dreams and aspirations. Really great leaders are very positive people with great communication skills and a strong ability to delegate.

The world around us is changing faster than at any time in human history and we need more leaders to emerge. How do we make this happen?

If you are a good leader then you will inspire more people to become leaders. People who are leaders in their field have the power to create and develop people within their organisations to become a leader in their own right. Leaders must try and aspire people to reach their potential in lots of different ways. Leading from within a successful organisation is a great way to start!

What is the one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?

Getting too absorbed into the day to day running of the business is a common mistake, this clouds judgement and has an adverse effect on a company’s performance. Delegate and believe in your team and allow them to lead through correct mentoring and training.

What advice would you give to someone dealing with a high-pressure situation in their life or work?

Firstly, ask yourself what the reason is for this problem, try to work through it in your mind as this can assist greatly in finding potential solutions. Don’t be afraid to talk about it to people you trust, don’t rush into making any decisions or moves you aren’t comfortable with and be confident with your next steps. Time to reflect is always a good thing and remember, there is always a solution you just have to find it.

What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?

“You are a badass, how to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life” by Jen Sincero
“One Minute Manager” by Kenneth Blanchard
“I love An Irishman Abroad and The Good Glow” by Georgie Crawford podcasts