Since 1980, Eileen McDargh has helped organizations and individuals transform the life of their business and the business of their life through conversations that matter and connections that count. Known as a master facilitator, an award-winning author, and an internationally recognized keynote speaker, McDargh was recently ranked first on Global Gurus’ list of the World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals.
We recently sat down for a brief interview. Here’s some of our conversation.
Tell us your name and a little about yourself.
I’m Eileen McDargh, CEO of The Resiliency Group. I started my practice in the 80s when I burned out doing corporate communications and PR. I wrote my first book in 1983, and since then, I’ve written seven more. My purpose is to contribute to the happiness, success, and energy of those I touch. I do this by offering a better way to create connections that transform our work and lives, along with a simple process that builds resilience and the energy to move forward.
What exactly does your company do?
I’m a professional facilitator, a keynote speaker, a trainer, and an executive coach. The Resiliency Group is comprised of external consultants who broaden our expertise in health care, organizational development, leadership, and communication.
What were the biggest challenges you have faced, and how did you overcome them?
Staying the course during the ups and downs of finding clients, getting clients, and nurturing clients. I’m not sure anyone ever totally overcomes this trepidation, but I’m tenacious and have an incredibly supportive husband—plus friends and clients who believe in me. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my offerings while staying true to who I am and the principles I believe in.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
Find your “why.” In some way, size, shape, or form, put that why into what you do and how you do it. Self-awareness is critical; never be afraid to walk away from work (or a client) when your gut says it’s not a match.
Also, remember that the first wealth is health. Exercise, diet, and rest are the three legs of a stool that allow you to sit in a desk chair!
Who are your biggest influences and people you admire—and why?
My mother was one of three women “med schooling” during the 1930s. She flew for the military in World War II as part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program. She was my strongest supporter and a model of community giving, tenacity, and courage.
My baby (and only) sister, Susan Mullins, is a fierce defender of social justice and courage. She has gone through so much and is always looking for ways to serve.
Lastly, my twin brother, Dr. John McDargh, models compassion for others and absolute integrity in his decisions. Here’s just one example: During the Vietnam War, he walked away from a Danforth Scholarship at Harvard so he could serve four years in the Coast Guard because the Guard only bears arms in defense of our borders.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful toward who helped get you to where you are?
Sister John Margaret, OFM, who taught me for one year in high school. She saw something in me (a very shy, scrawny girl), and ordered me to stay after school and join the debate team. Her belief—and push—are what have allowed me to do what I do today.
What do you see as your greatest success in life?
Marrying a man with three children and becoming an instant mother and family. When we got married, my husband’s youngest was 10 and his oldest was 17. We were instantly bonded and today are a strong, loving unit. According to my husband, Bill, my presence and persistence are what pulls us together. (Though not without the occasional tears and agony.)
The other success, I hope, is the gift of being able to offer ideas, laughter, and hope to my audiences so that they’re positively impacted in their lives.
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