Orla Diffily

Orla is a leading fashion and events PR Consultant and also a TV stylist on Ireland’s top rated afternoon show RTE Today. She began her career in Murray Consultants in Dublin, and also worked for top agency Setanta Communications before moving in house to the Corporate Affairs Department of Kerry Group plc.

Orla established her own consultancy Upfront in 1995 and over the years has managed everything from fashion launches to racing festivals in Ireland and abroad. She also co-produced Ireland’s leading fashion industry event, KFW Irish Fashion Industry Awards and the Irish Fashion Showcase in New York in association with Irish Design. She is passionate about promoting the Irish fashion design and retail industry nationally and internationally. Orla also owns an award winning model & people agency, Upfront Models. She was awarded the prestigious House of .EU by EURid in 2014 and the Mercedes Benz CFW Award for promotion of Irish Fashion Design in 2016.

Can leadership be taught? If so, how?

Everything can be taught – if there is a desire to learn. Leaderships skills can be acquired by mentoring and simply watching and listening in the right environment. However, we are not all chiefs – and successful businesses need indians also.

When you are filling a leadership role in your organisation what qualities do you look for from candidates?

Above everything I look for enthusiasm, loyalty and determination to get the job done. Also perspective.

If you had to leave your organisation for 1 year what would you ask of your team and what advice would you give them?

To focus on core objectives and seek out new opportunities. Also if something is not working, don’t be afraid to walk away and not look back.

What are you doing today to make sure your organisation will be relevant in 10 years time?

Realistically no one really knows what will happen within any industry in 10 years time. The world is changing so quickly, it is more important to be responsive now and fluid enough to roll with change and adapt.

What leaders outside your own organisation do you admire and why?

I admire Leo Varadkar for his determination and vision. I also admire Taylor Swift for the same reasons!

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

Make it your goal to consume media – and begin everyday by looking at a recognised resource. I read the Irish Times, independent.ie and New York Times online – but there are so many options. Don’t wear blinkers – online social media platforms can often tailor the news feeds based on what their bots translate are your preferences and this can be limiting to the content you are exposed too. I also recommend following people who inspire you on Twitter and Instagram, but don’t believe everything you read.