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Denise Kennedy
The Story
This Chinese proverb says it all: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I’ve been blessed to have had several mentors guide me throughout key moments in my life – both on a personal and professional level. Rather than doing the work for me, those people guided and advised me, challenged my ideas and beliefs, picked me up when I stumbled, and celebrated with me when I achieved a significant milestone. They challenged me in ways that, at times, I thought unfair or harsh, but I can see with hindsight that their honest feedback and criticism, coupled with accountability and support are what allowed me to move out of my comfort zone and achieve what I would have thought impossible. I am a firm believer of using the power of two or more minds to breathe life into any idea, of having someone to hold you accountable so that action is taken, someone you trust who has already travelled the path you’re now on and who can give you the advice you need to move forward confidently. That’s what Startup Marketing Mentor is all about. So, rather than developing a marketing strategy or managing content marketing and digital marketing activities for a business, my aim is to guide people through each process so that they fully understand what they are doing, where they are going and how to go about it. I want to be the person who can honestly challenge their ideas for the better and push their limits, hold them accountable on taking the necessary actions to achieve their goals while being a trusted advisor to brainstorm new ideas and plans with.
Best advice given
I worked in a very tech orientated industry for the best part of 15 years. When I first joined I had absolutely no technical knowledge, something that did not help my self-confidence as I felt useless and incapable of ever grasping the tech jargon. One of my very first mentors took me aside one day and firmly told me to stop comparing myself to others and looking at myself in a negative light. Instead, he suggested that I embrace my unique talents and skills, focusing on what I could offer that nobody else could. That was a turning point in my professional life.
Business day
I start my day with some meditation, writing in my journal and counting my blessings. Once that done I am ready to power on my laptop and start my business day. I have made a habit of preparing my to-do list the evening before, something that now comes naturally to me. I never put down more than 5 priorities per day as it would only create unnecessary stress. There are days where things happen, and I don’t get everything done, rather than giving myself a hard time, I just move what’s not done to the top of my list for the next day.
Mind yourself...
When I’m not travelling, I work from home which can be lonely at times. I try to get out for a brisk lunchtime walk when the weather is good, if not I hop on the treadmill for 20 minutes or so. I also allocate a half day off work (usually on a Friday) to do something good for myself – hairdresser, facial, window shopping in town, a walk in the woods, or coffee/ lunch with a friend, for example.
Love yourself. You’re good enough just as you are. For years I did not like myself, always aspiring to be like this one or that one… It has taken me a long and painful journey to finally accept myself as I am and to like the person I see in the mirror. I still have some work to do in growing my self-confidence (especially in social and networking occasions) but I’m confident that I’ll eventually get there!
Best advice outside business
Proudest moment
When I earned my first month’s decent income as a self-employed person. I finally had some tangible proof that my dream of working for myself might just work!
Funniest moment
My memory is fading – I can’t recall any mistake that was funny!!
Be brave, be bold and believe in yourself. Don't let anyone steal your joy.
A younger you?
Each one of my mentors. Some leaders and authors who have inspired me include Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, Dalai Lama, Jeff Bezos, Elizabeth Gilbert, Arianna Huffington and Paulo Coelho.
anthem for business
I'm not sure. Possibly “Lean on Me” – Bill Withers
"why" For business
See the story in first answer.
other jobs
I worked as a receptionist for the Rothschild family’s domain in Megève, France for two years. I was also a marketing, events and conference manager in a hotel in Switzerland for three years. In 2003, I left the hotel industry to focus on my passion for marketing and landed in the broadcast media technology industry where I managed PR, marketing and communications in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for hardware and software companies. I was also involved in the electronics retail market for about 2 years.
Be the best version of myself.
My experience in setting up and running marketing and PR departments from scratch, building them as companies grow. My experience of working internationally and with different cultures, my past achievements, my desire to help young companies grow and reach their business goals through strategic marketing activities. For those in a tech-led market: my ability to turn engineering talk and tech jargon into plain and simple language that speaks to the customer. My ability to adapt to any situation.
Unique selling point
causes or projects
passionate about
Cara Projects ( which was founded by friends of mine in 2008. I sponsor one of the orphan girls rescued from the slums so that she can go to school and obtain an education. The charity works in Kenya with a targeted focus on Child Protection. Through the Cara Girls Rescue Centre (CGRC) it strives to promote Women’s Empowerment through Vocational training, Health Promotion, Education, Gender Equality, Economic Empowerment and Sustainable Development.
get into your industry
Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom, doing and learning as much as you can as you progress. Don’t let a No stop you. See failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. Ask as many questions as you can, no matter how stupid you may feel they are, aim to learn something new every week through a book, a webinar, etc.
People can find you
Online – my website, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook (see links below).
We’ve adopted a stray cat who has only 3 paws. She still doesn’t come near us but comes to our back door each day to be fed.
song to tell your story
There isn’t really one song that can encompass my journey thus far. I try to live as best I can in the present moment, cherishing what I have today and the people I share my life with. As such “Sunrise – thank you for today” by Slick is a song that speaks
interesting facts

1. I lived in France and Switzerland for 16 years, returning home to Ireland in 2015. 

2. I am co-founder of Connected Legends Ltd ( ) a newly launched online platform connecting technology players of the past with tech newcomers. 

3. I’m madly in love with Orla Kiely handbags!

1,000 euros!
A sun holiday with my daughter and partner.
unaccompanied concert
A Woman’s Heart when they played in Tralee back in the 1990’s