Working life: Mary McCarthy, CEO, of ANEW

Mary McCarthy

After eight hours’ sleep every night I take a few moments for meditation. 

On good days, I do a 5k run before work.

I am the CEO of a charity that supports women and families.

Set up over 30 years ago as a non- denominational, non-judgemental crisis pregnancy agency, our services have now developed into homeless accommodation for women, outreach support, parenting courses, free counselling for post abortion and crisis pregnancy clients and a pre-natal service.

Sustaining and developing these services that we offer means I start my morning with phonecalls from the car. 

My typical day starts with a meeting with our operations manager Marian Barnard where we discuss and agree actions for the day.


Our development plans include a move to Washington St in Cork. 

Nationally we are rebranding, relaunching, developing a three-year strategic plan, an organisational restructure and developing our homeless service.

We see more than 1,000 clients per year. Client profiles vary from young teenagers to students to professionals. 

Recently, we have been supporting a client with two young children in the Cork area who is facing eviction with no prospect of alternative accommodation. 

This is an example of a family which is benefitting from our multi-faceted service.


I normally meet with the leadership team once per week and this is done over some lunch and back to the office for a more formal meeting.

On days where I don’t have meetings scheduled, I will try to get out of the office for at least 20 minutes to recharge. 

This gives me the ability to look at things with a fresh set of eyes for the afternoon.


The afternoon often involves dealing with various stakeholders such as HSE, Dublin City Council and Tusla, directors, volunteers and staff. 

The job itself is fast paced with ever-changing priorities and sometimes crisis situations.


This week there is a board meeting on Saturday. I am very aware that the eight directors give of their time so generously and on a purely voluntary basis so it is essential I am on top of my game with regards making the meetings as effective as possible.


I leave the office about 6pm and make my way over to DCU where I am in my final year of a masters in human resource strategies.

* Mary McCarthy is CEO of ANEW, crisis pregnancy and abortion counselling.


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