What I've Learnt: Fiona Kirwan & Lisa French, MDs at Truth PR

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

Fiona Kirwan and Lisa French have been working together for 15 years, originally meeting at Impact before co-founding Truth PR.

This year marks Truth PR's 10th anniverary, and has flourished over the course of the past decade, working with clients across multiple sectors including property, lifestyle, financial services and luxury.

With busy young families, Lisa and Fiona have created a wholly supportive work culture which encourages a healthy work-life balance and flexible working hours. They've provided a unique What We've Learnt to tell their stories together and individually.

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

Lisa: I am very much a creature of habit! I have several daily practices that I follow to the letter but it’s my morning ritual that’s particularly important.

I’m up at 6am for a quick workout before reviewing emails and getting my children up, breakfasted and out to school and nursery. My husband thinks my daily exercise routine is crazy but I can’t stress how big of an impact it has on my overall mental and physical wellbeing. 

What's been your luckiest break?

Fiona: I’m not sure I believe in luck as I’m more of a fatalist! That said, I think mine and Lisa’s courage to step away from being employees and set up on our own was one of the best decisions we made. Maybe it was the right place and right time but we still had to take the leap. 

What's your best failure? 

L: Having a client relationship come to an end always feels at first like a failure. Not all relationships are meant to last forever but that does fly in the face of my die hard determination to succeed.

At Truth we are very proud to have a low turnover of clients and we’ve worked with our largest client for our entire duration as an agency. But of course, clients do come and go. No matter the circumstances, losing a client is a chance to learn and develop and I truly believe that rather than dwelling, you benefit most when you invest your time and energy elsewhere. We always come out stronger and grow as a result.

What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time? 

L: My best investment is the time I spend with my kids. No matter how crazy work can get, I always take a day out of my working week to be a mum. It’s so tempting to put work first when it gets stressful (and juggling emails and calls can be difficult when in soft play hell!) but both Fiona and I are firm on our belief that parenting should always come first.

How would you describe your work/life balance?

F: This is hugely important to us and one of the main reasons Lisa and I wanted to set up on our own. As a Libra, balance is something that I constantly strive for in all aspects of my life but more often than not it’s not until I am out of balance that I can find equilibrium again.

It’s a struggle sometimes with client demands and pressures of being a working mum, but we are big advocates of working hard and smart to get the job done without having to put in extra hours on a regular basis. Life’s short, let’s enjoy it!

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

F: There are a few on my list so it’s really hard to choose. 'The Art of Happiness' by the 14th Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler was a pivotal book in my own personal development and helped me to appreciate that I am responsible for my own happiness and no one else. It was pretty liberating and really useful to bring some simplicity, gratitude and calmness back into my life when things were feeling a bit ungrounded.

My all time favourite book, however, is 'Shantaram', it taught me so many lessons that can be applied to life as a whole - everything that happens in our lives is a gift and there to be learnt from. 

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

F: If something doesn’t feel right, then it’s probably not. There’s no shame in walking away or saying no. It will create more space and opportunities to say yes. 

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

L: Fiona. I honestly feel lucky every single day that I am fortunate enough to work alongside my best friend. We’re such different people and often have very contrasting views but our mutual respect for each other means we haven’t had a single argument in the 10 years we’ve been running Truth PR together - or the five years we worked together before that. 

F: Ditto!

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

F: This won’t surprise those who know me, but I love a good rave. 

What does success look like to you?

L: How happy I am day to day. That’s not to say life doesn’t get difficult because it does and I’ve had a series of tough times recently, with both my parents recovering from serious illness. Plus, Fiona and I continually put pressure on ourselves to be bigger and better. And of course, juggling a business with a young family is a constant challenge.

But I genuinely feel happy every day to be doing something I love, with someone I love, for the people I love. I’m just a big bundle of love really!

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