Provided hospital information to clinicians on drugs and medicines
Pharmacist (Pharma Industry)
Worked in medical affairs as an information pharmacist
Head of UK medial Affairs Pfizer OTC business
I was head of UK Medical Affairs for the Pharmaceutical Company, Pfizer - Over The Counter products (Calpol, Benylin etc)
Career break- & children
I got married and we had 2 little girls. I was also step mum to 4 children
Founder , CEO
The Travelwrap Company
I love being the CEO of The Travelwrap Company because I’m so deeply involved in something that is literally an extension of me. I love meeting talented and engaging people & being able to lead and learn from a team working together to help to build & grow the business I envisioned. As CEO I provide the overarching vision and leadership to grow and steer our company in the right direction & I my job is to get my team behind my vision and behind the business. There’s a lot of responsibility and it can feel overwhelming but it’s also an incredibly privileged position to be in . Waking up each morning knowing you are getting to do exactly what you love is more than most people could ever say about any “job” they have had.
My name is Niamh Barker, I am CEO of The Travelwrap Company & I am a driven, ambitions and passionate entrepreneur.
As Steve Jobs said “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”
I don’t let limitations (made-up or real) obstruct me. I get resourceful, believe in action and reach out to my network.
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, I have a mentor and access to a network of like-minded entrepreneurs.
I am a believer in the ‘Growth mindset’, learning, development and continuous improvement.
I trust my instinct. If it doesn’t feel right then I will walk away.
I am ridiculously proud of our brand, it defines me. Our mission statement: Our travelwraps will always be best in the world because we care passionately about our cashmere, our craftsmanship and our customers.
Finally, 12 facts about me…
I love reading, I read for at least 30 mins every day. Bill Gates once said ‘Books make you smarter’. People that read prolifically are certainly more interesting!
My Pharma background makes me very ‘evidence based’.I like things to make sense on the basis of evidence.
My style is best described as carefree and colourful – colour always makes me smile.
My 10 years working in teams (clinical) and corporate before I started in business gave me a confidence to ‘always find a way’!
I married a man who had 4 young children, we had another 2 children so we have a busy family life which I juggle my business around. I love the autonomy my business gives me.
I was rubbish at Maths so I taught myself when I was a child and got an A in my Maths a year early. I am still rubbish at Maths but I am very driven and always prepared to learn.
I came from a big noisy Irish family of 6 kids.
Gain experience through an internship or job experience.
Talk to recent older students and graduates.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Don’t let anyone tell you what choice is best.
Think about what you don’t like: If you really dislike certain subjects in school, it could be a sign of what to avoid in terms of a profession
Acknowledge people that help.
Listen more than you speak.
Biology, Chemistry, Physics
Rathmore Grammar School
My favourite subject was English at school but I ended up doing 3 science A levels! I came from a family of medics/ scientists, there were 6 of us children and I always say when we were born we were expected to do something in medicine or science. All of us ended up doing a combination of science & Maths at A level. it certainly wasn’t where my strength lay academically but I think it is probably a testimony to my determination that I still managed to have a career in the Pharma industry and the experience and connections that got me there lead me to here! I don’t regret any of it!
I had aspirations to study medicine in my teen years. I went on to study Pharmacy which I decided was more accessible for me as I wasn't particularly academic and allowed me to work in a clinical setting without the same level of responsibility as a doctor!
When people ask me what I would I differently I say nothing, it took all the bumps in the road to get to here but if I was giving someone advice on how to start a business I would say:
1) Focus on the numbers
Understand the bigger picture numbers get a good financial director on board as soon as you can afford to. My business was an expensive hobby for a few years until got a grip on the numbers and found my financial director. Not paying attention to the numbers will be fatal for a business.
2) Get a mentor
I have a business mentor that has supported me for the last five to six years. Simon has run a couple of big global businesses but not in the luxury sector so where he helps me is with generic business skills, financial insight and scaling our business.
I also tune in to many female business women and leaders that that I admire or follow. Some of them are even travelwrap fans so a perfect fit! Often the best role models and mentors are busy people so tapping into different networks for different skillsets makes sense.
Advice ot younger self- would say read every day. I love the quote from Warren Buffet; ‘Read for half an hour every day, that’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest’
…and if I am allowed a second one, develop your public speaking skills from an early age. Don’t be afraid to learn how to own the room!