Meet the Woman Who Now Owns the Business She Once Worked For


Back in 2003 Louise O’Brien was hired as the Office Administrator for Greyhound Box – a company she now owns. Knowing the business inside out has been a huge benefit for Louise, and the business has grown under her leadership, it’s also the reason she was highly commended for our Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Business of the Year Award.

Tell us a bit about your career journey to date?

After a career as a retail Manager, I spent 10 years looking after my sons. During this time I studied at college to prepare myself for returning to work. I initially worked part time doing office administration and then joined Greyhound in 2003. My role developed from Office administrator to Office Manager then onto General Manager. I eventually purchased the business in 2015 and we’ve continued to grow through staff development and a better understanding of finance and sales.

How do you bounce back from rejection and the challenges?

The challenges in my career have led me to see that positive thinking, having a mentor/coach, and really getting to know yourself helps with rejection. Everything can be solved and rejection is not the end of the world.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?

The best thing I’ve found is not to act on emotion. Don’t type an email or call a meeting when emotions are running high, always do things when you’ve had time to consider the situation.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?

It’s a very interesting and dynamic industry, and you don’t need to understand how to run a machine to be part of it. Manufacturing principles are the same whatever you are making – common sense is more valuable than anything. It’s also great having such a wide variety of customers, as anyone who is making something could potentially need our services, which means we get to see a lot of different industries.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

Although I love work, I also love my home. One thing I’ve recognised over the years is that I’m not superwoman! I get outside help as much as I can, which leaves time at the weekend for family and friends. You don’t need to be earning big bucks to warrant doing this, paying for help is allowing you to use your time more productively.

I also try to set aside time for dealing with emails, so I’m not constantly working on them. When I’m on holiday I’ll still have a look, but only for a set time each day then I leave my phone alone. This allows me to relax as I know I’ve dealt with everything.

I also spend half an hour a day just thinking, which enables me to put everything in order. Sometimes I even come up with answers to something I’ve been struggling with.

How have you found mentors and sponsors to support you in your career?

I’ve been very fortunate to have discovered excellent mentors who are really committed to Women in Business. Even if this is just a case of sounding off to someone outside the business it really helps. I’ve also found being a member of Forward Ladies gives me a real buzz, whether that’s through attending events or just making me feel that I can do anything!

If you want to make connections with successful ladies like Louise, there’s no better place than at the Forward Ladies Awards Grand Final. Held in Leeds at the Royal Armories on the 1st December, it’s set to be a fabulous celebration of women in business! Find out more and book your ticket here.