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Happy International Women’s Day 2021 from Taxback.com!

The theme of International Women's Day 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge. Check out how we're celebrating IWD over on our Instagram.

Today is international women's day, a day dedicated to celebrating the achievements of all women around the world.

IWD provides us with an important opportunity to reflect and recognise the positive changes that have taken place to date and pushes us to continue to challenge the gender bias and inequality that still remains today.

At Taxback.com, we are extremely proud that 70% of our team are female! In this blog, we are going to profile some of the fantastic female members of the Taxback.com team and discuss the challenges they have faced and lessons they have learned in their careers.

Joanna Murphy 


What is your role within Taxback.com?

Taxback.com is a 23-year-old business and I am really proud to be responsible for the continuous growth of the company.

As CEO, I work to ensure that our business is operating as efficiently and smartly in all of our markets on a day-to-day basis. At the same time, I keep a watchful eye on the overall picture and our long-term strategic approach.

It’s a really interesting role.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I live in Co Wicklow with my husband, Ray and my three kids.

I love long distance running and I feel very privileged to have access to nature in all its glory, a mere stone's throw from where I live. I get lost in thought when I run and it's a great reset for me.

I’m a positive person and I believe this helps me a lot in my role. I am a problem solver. I enjoy working with my back to the wall and helping others to achieve goals while operating under tricky circumstances.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?

As CEO, I tend to spend some of my workweek sitting in boardrooms – or at least I did before COVID!

Where once there were mostly men in the boardrooms that I was in, that's not the case anymore. That is a great stride forward.

Starting out in business, I used to suffer quite a lot with imposter syndrome – I felt that I shouldn't contribute in meetings as I didn't believe I had anything of value to add.

Today, I try every day to give everyone on our team a voice and to make sure that they feel valued and their contributions are welcome.

What are the moments in your life that you #ChooseToChallenge social norms?

I have travelled all over the world on business. And I have encountered countless situations in which I have not been treated as an 'equal' when compared with male colleagues. So it is clear that we have a long way to go to achieve true equality around the world.

We all have to play our part. It is an endeavour for everyone, it includes everyone, it has to or it simply won't work. In fact, the smartest men I have met are some of the most ardent feminists!

Who is a female you look up to?

I look up to my mother. We're really close and she's my best friend. I look up to her because I've seen great resilience in her. In fact, her mother, my grandmother, was an extraordinarily strong woman too.

My grandmother was one of the very first women in Ireland to graduate from UCD with a science degree and she played hockey for Ireland. What’s more, my grandmother's mother was the very first woman to own a business in Mallow. It was a drapery store. There seems to be a lot of strong women in the family!

Laura McHugh

Marketing Manager

What is your role in Taxback.com?

I'm the Marketing Manager at Taxback.com. I lead a team of incredible marketers as we go for growth in global markets!

Tell us a bit about yourself

I'm a proud Galwegian but I love to travel and feel very at home in big, busy cities like New York. I love to cook, I find the whole process helps me de-stress and then you get to enjoy and share what you've made. In my next life, I plan to escape to the Chateau!

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?

I have been really fortunate to have had incredible female mentorship in all my roles to date. I feel grateful to live in a time where women's rights, opinions and achievements are now acknowledged and celebrated. We have our first female VP in the US; perhaps in Ireland we paved the way!

What are the moments in your life that you #ChooseToChallenge social norms?

I #ChooseToChallenge everyday by supporting and celebrating the work of my colleagues and teams. I think it's important to acknowledge great work and ensure every team member feels their efforts are seen and their ideas actioned.

Who is a female you look up to?

I have always admired females who have crafted a career from their passions. The first that springs to mind is Emily Weiss. I think if you're passionate about your work it will always be a success.

Marian Ryan

Consumer Tax Manager

What is your role in Taxback.com?

I am a consumer tax manager. My role touches all departments in Taxback.com and our services. From developing new products to discovering new markets.

My job is to keep an ear to the ground and to spot changes to legislation or tax laws that may impact our target market and to find a product to fix their pain points.

We have an amazing team of tax experts here in Taxback.com and part of my job is to find a way of connecting our tax expertise with the consumer in a way that works for everyone.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a proud Tipperary woman (with no interest in hurling).

I have worked with Taxback.com for almost 11 years, starting out as an account manager, moving on to Business Development for a few years and I have been working as Consumer Tax Manager for the past 12 months.

Professionally I consider myself to be driven and slightly competitive which is a stark contrast to how people in my personal life would consider me to be! People that know me purely on a personal level would consider me extremely laid back.

I get a huge sense of achievement out of helping my team achieve goals or targets they never thought possible. I have always considered myself to be quite a pragmatic person both professionally and in my personal life, I can be level headed in a crisis. ''What would Marian do?'' is a phrase that is frequently used by a good friend of mine.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?

While it has not been everyone's experience, I feel lucky because I have never fallen victim to gender inequality. The glass ceiling is not something that has been in my vocabulary.

I come from a family of workers and of strong driven women. My mother has always worked and was Post Master until her retirement last year. My older sister progressed to Managing Director level in her early 30's with three small children.

Going to college, getting a career and doing well in that career was mandatory in my family. It was always instilled in us that if you work hard you will achieve great things.

In my career I have also worked under some amazing strong female CEO's and directors. In fact, my senior management team with Taxback.com has always been headed up by strong females.

At Taxback.com, you don't get promoted or recognised based on your gender. Instead, you get promoted and recognised based on your contributions, ingenuity and work ethic.

Who is a female you look up to?

OK, this probably a cliché but I really do take inspiration from Brené Brown. I find her Ted Talks and YouTube videos a great motivational tool!

Personally – My sister, she is a powerhouse when it comes to business and people management but she has an innate ability to leave work life and stress at the door at the end of the day. She has mastered the work/life balance and she is excelling at both.

Within Taxback.com – Joanna Murphy – She is fearless and fierce. Joanna encourages the team to take chances and try something new but she is reluctant to lay blame if something isn't successful and prefers solutions to problems.

Rositsa Baneva

Senior SEO Specialist

What is your role in Taxback.com?

I'm a Senior SEO Specialist and I've been working for the company for almost 6 years.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I have a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and a Master's Degree in Business Computer Technologies.

I love my job. For me self-development is very important, that's why I use every opportunity to develop and learn. I love my family and spending time with relatives and friends.

Finally, I love travelling, the beach and nature!

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?

There is certainly progress. In the technological world (and the world of remote work that so many of us are now used to), there is no gender division.

If you show knowledge and achieve results, you will be appreciated, no matter if a man or a woman is behind the computer.

What are the moments in your life that you #ChooseToChallenge social norms?

First was when I started learning computer Technologies at the Technical University of Varna, there weren't many girls in the class.

It was very challenging to compete with all the geeky boys!

It was also a big challenge when I became a working mother. To be a workaholic, and a mother and to combine all the duties at home and family is exhausting sometimes!

But all the happy faces around are the reward. I hope to set aside a little more 'me time' in the future.

Who is a female you look up to?

I can't name it. It's a super-powerful imaginary woman - clever, beautiful, smiled, confident and never tired, achieving high mountain tops in the professional and personal life.

I'm sure there are quite a few women who will find themselves in this description.

Rachel O'Shea

Head of Employee Experience

What is your role in Taxback.com?

I am the Head of Employee Experience at Taxback Group. In a nutshell, it involves ensuring that every employee, regardless of their age, gender, position, etc., is valued and has the opportunity to make their voice heard.

We pride ourselves on having a #OneTeam culture that fosters collaboration, recognises and rewards innovation, encourages entrepreneurship and most importantly, a workplace that provides a positive employee experience.

My role is very much centred around the various initiatives that enable us to have this unique #OneTeam Culture.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I'm a born and bred Waterford woman and live in the beautiful seaside town of Tramore.

I graduated from WIT in 2018 with a Bachelor of Business (Hons) with French and was honoured to be recognised as the Marketing Student of the Year!

My career to date has been extremely varied and I have worked in the events industry, as a radio presenter and I also did a brief stint in sales before joining the Taxback team in 2018.

I began my career as Engagement and Communications Officer before being promoted to Head of Employee Experience in February of last year. In my personal time, you'll usually find me in the gym or walking my fur babies (Elmo and Pepper) along the sand dunes in Tramore.

I'm a sucker for a good quote and genuinely live by the motto "in a world where you can be anything, be kind".

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?

Thankfully, I think society is moving in a really positive direction when it comes to gender equality.

The world is certainly a much more connected place than it was even 20 years ago, and the ease of which we can inform ourselves and others has definitely played a huge role in raising awareness of gender inequality.

While I could give you an extensive list of examples; in a nutshell, I believe that as individuals, we have never been less tied down by societal norms.

Across the wider Taxback Group, we have 7 companies, 6 of which are led by female CEOs. Having such a strong female representation at every level of the organisation is both incredibly inspiring and proof of our commitment to gender equality. Here, you're recognised and rewarded based on your work ethic and contributions, and challenging the norm is encouraged. I'm extremely grateful for the fact that I've always had supportive people around me who have encouraged me to give everything my all.

What are the moments in your life that you #ChooseToChallenge social norms?

During my time in college, I worked for an events company and we were outsourced to do a lot of the groundwork for larger companies in the events industry.

On one such occasion, I was tasked with running a Retro Sports Day for over 100 employees. I was only eighteen at the time and when I arrived, the Lead Event Coordinator asked where the Event Manager was. Despite me speaking to him over the phone multiple times on the lead up to the event, let's just say he assumed that someone older would be actually running it!

His doubt in me only motivated me and thankfully, the event was a huge success which was made even sweeter by an apology and a well done just moments after we wrapped things up.

That was the day I learned that some people will always find a reason to doubt you. Your biggest strength is to truly know and have confidence in your capabilities. Know what you bring to the table and own it!

Who is a female you look up to?

I consider myself very lucky to have worked with and met some incredibly inspirational, driven and hard-working women throughout my life. I also come from a family of absolute Powerhouses such as my mum, nanny and aunty – all of whom have had a huge impact on my life while providing constant support and encouragement every step of the way.

Someone who I'm sure will be spoken about a lot today is Whitney Wolfe Herd and rightly so! As if being the youngest self-made female billionaire wasn't enough of an achievement, she has built this billion dollar empire directly through challenging social norms. She used her own negative experiences to establish a brand whose vision, mission and values are engrained into every cell of its DNA and for that. You'd be hard pressed to find someone that wouldn't look up to her!

Elena Stefanova

Design Team Leader

What is your role in Taxback.com?

I am a multimedia designer and Design Team Leader.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I have degrees in both marketing and arts. I come from a very artistic family of painters and musicians. I love animals, books and music

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?

From my experience, gender equality has always been in place in the Taxback Group.

But we still have a long way to all to achieve equality in all areas of society. Many men still underestimate women or want them to work full time and to take full care of the kids and housework because it's a "women's job".

Who is a female you look up to?

I find something to admire in every woman I meet in my life. But the most important woman that set the example for me is my mother and her mother. They both are amazing, smart, and innovative for their time, as well as caring and lovable. I feel lucky to have them in my life.