Parents in business: Mairead of Tarasis Enterprises

Mairead Mackle runs Tarasis Enterprises, which operates across 14 regions in Ireland delivering 1 million hours of care annually to over 60,000 clients and providing 2,700 crisis beds every single night to those who are vulnerable and at risk of homelessness in communities across the country. Read on to find out how she combines work and family life as mum to seven.

I am happily married to my husband Gerald; we have seven kids including twins. Our older kids are either running their own businesses or are involved in Tarasis Enterprises and the younger ones are in Primary School.

What did you do before coming up with your business and how was it making the transition?

I worked in the NHS as a qualified Podiatrist, opened my own practice and then moved into business to have more flexibility as I had young children.

When did you launch and how did you get started?

“If a business isn’t giving you more life, it’s taking it away” – After I read Emyth by Michael Gerber, I realised that a traditional 9-5pm job just wasn’t working for me with young children, missing appointments and special occasions. I had an idea for a domiciliary care business that would allow clients to live independently in their own homes.  The business started at my kitchen table 25 years ago – it has now grown and developed into a dynamic team of 1,200 operating across 14 regions in Ireland delivering 1 million hours of care annually to over 60,000 clients and provides 2,700 crisis beds every single night to those who are vulnerable and at risk of homelessness in communities across the country.

What has been your favourite thing about running your own business?

The freedom to follow my own path.  After launching Homecare in 1995 I caught the entrepreneurial bug.  My husband & I love to give back, so we had a vision to use the power of our businesses to affect real social change in the communities in which we operate, making a positive difference to peoples’ lives. I am incredibly proud of the work our team does every day. 

We’ve been able to expand, grow and develop our expertise into what is now – a diverse suite of progressive businesses across several industries including care, support, housing solutions, renewables, and construction.   Alongside that we have our own employee-led volunteer run charity iCare, celebrating 10 years this year.  You’ll find iCare wherever kindness can make a difference.  It is designed to improve the lives of others through simple acts of kindness called “iCare Wishes”.  Since inception it has raised over £350,000 and granted close to 400 iCare Wishes for individuals, families and groups across the Country. 

How do you fit in work with your family life?

I was able to buy a head office that is next door to our home, so that’s worked out well! On a serious note, I have a fantastic team both at home in our family and at work.  At home, my childminder has been part of our family for 21 years. I make time for family… it’s as simple as that because it’s important to me. My older children are also involved in different parts of the businesses & the charity. They really enjoy that & move things forward. At work, we have a fantastic culture of caring & making a difference so my Senior Management team not only understand and share my vision but they drive it forward every single day.

Have you had a “I’ve made it” moment?

I don’t think anyone who has been described as an entrepreneur will ever say they’ve had an “I made it” moment.  I am always looking for the next challenge that I can sink my teeth into.  “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” I love this quote.  You shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes and take a risk. Winning the NatWest everywoman of the Year award last year was a fantastic recognition. Receiving the award felt like a celebration of the work that we do and the real difference that we make to peoples’ lives across a number of sectors and industries – that is something very powerful, that I don’t take for granted.  I’m excited for the new relationships and opportunities that the award win has already and continues to present.

What has been your biggest challenge so far? How did you overcome it?

One of the biggest personal/ professional challenges in the last five years was when my twins were born at 30 weeks.  That in itself was a very anxious time (thankfully they have came through all of that and are fun loving 4 year olds now) but I had only just employed a new General Manager for the business, three weeks prior. To add in more drama to the mix, our Managing Director then had her twins three weeks later. “Challenging” probably isn’t a strong enough word to describe that period of time but we rallied through, as we always do!!

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I’m a strong advocate for encouraging more women into entrepreneurship but I also know the challenges of finding the balance.  So, beyond business, I launched Evolve in 2018 – a community for women to inspire them to achieve greater success in their life, be that personally or professionally. 

I’d also love to write a book one day.  The Alison Rose report has highlighted that female entrepreneurs could contribute 28 billion to the UK economy.  I believe that wellbeing and leadership are absolutely interconnected and a central part to achieving success, these are themes I’d love to explore in more detail.

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