I am an immigrant to Aotearoa from my homeland of Ireland. I love both places deeply and have a profound spiritual connection to each. My ancestors, who are embedded in my name, fought for liberty in my homeland. With emancipation in my genes it’s my privilege to apply that passion and energy to the job of championing women to stand in their own power. I am Tara Lorigan.
E ngā waka pītau whakareia,
To the carved canoes
E aku wāwahi ngaru
To the cleavers of waves
koutou i tere mai
To you who sail
I te tahatū o te rangi
Into the horizons (trailblazers)
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa
Greetings to you all
Ki ngā iwi mana whenua,
To the iwi who preside over these lands
E mihi ana, tēnei uri nō Airini, ki a koutou
This descendant of Ireland greets you
Ko Tāmaki-makaurau, taku kainga, inaianei
Auckland is now my home.
Ko Tara Lorigan ahau.
I’m Tara Lorigan
Tara Lorigan is a proven frontier leader and entrepreneur. She’s passionately dedicated to enlightening women to their power with paramount emphasis on ensuring that they have access to the practical resources that’ll best serve each success journey. Following a successful marketing career working with tech companies both in Aotearoa and the UK, she built her own consultancy. Inspired by the work she’d done with early stage entrepreneurs, she made a decision to focus her professional life on ensuring women have access to the tools, thinking and resources required to harness their innate power, and to experience the fullness of their success. This led to the development of Co.OfWomen, an organisation with this as its purpose. 2012 saw the launch of this world-class professional and business development organisation. Almost ten years on, Co.OfWomen remains at the cutting edge of female success. The organisation, with Tara as CEO, serves thousands of business owners and employees via a membership and community based model.
In recognition of her services to women and business, Tara was honoured as a Member of The New Zealand Order of Merit in 2016.
Passion, love, and learning work in synergy are Tara Lorigan’s true north. While she was running a business incubator, she was proud about the approach she’d developed, but frequently wondered ‘where are all the women business owners?’ The absence of any significant female presence in this space was noticeable, but seemed out of her control.
As her business incubator was meeting its conclusion (thanks, dot com crash), Tara began to consider what would come next.
Two ideas circled her head. First, she had the ambition to start a business that could grow beyond herself. Second, the thought that she’d been having throughout her career: ‘where are all the women business owners?‘
Tara began a research project about female business owners to find an answer the question she had in the back of her head. Through interviewing female micro-business owners across New Zealand, it became abundantly clear that there were plenty of women business owners, the problem was they were being ignored. She found a clear appetite for support for women on their success journey, but no one was there to serve them.
Despite this understanding, she found herself immensely interested in what science was saying about building success – for everyone. This passion, along with her previous expertise, inspired her to create GrowMyBiz Ltd. – a business growth organisation, targeted at entrepreneurs. Traction was slow for GrowMyBiz Ltd., and she confessed to her (all male) board that she believed the idea wasn’t scalable. That perhaps it was time to stop, and that it was her shortcomings that brought on this outcome. Confused with her decision, one of the entrepreneurs on the board affirmed that these feelings of low confidence, and the slow growth were completely normal. Even as someone who had spent most of her career supporting start-ups, this insight shocked Tara. Her academic understanding of what should be happening when she started her own business to grow beyond her was wrong.
In that meeting, the board made it clear that GrowMyBiz Ltd needed a defined niche. Here, Tara spoke about the research conducted into female entrepreneurs, which her board agreed would be an interesting market to target. At this point, she wasn’t enamoured with the idea of targeting women because until then (at least in perception), gender didn’t play much of a role in her success journey.
Regardless, she followed this target market to create a brand within GrowMyBiz Ltd called Co.OfWomen. To start with, Co.OfWomen hosted events for female entrepreneurs, which gained more attention than she’d ever anticipated. Such interest in these events evidenced the need for an organisation that served women on their success journeys, and Co.OfWomen was just that.
Six months in, the GrowMyBiz Ltd. board told Tara to find some experienced female entrepreneurs to act on her board instead. While searching for these new board members, Dr Lee Mathias, ONZM, found Co.OfWomen, and stepped in as the first Chair of the board (pinch-me moment). Dr Lee Mathias ONZM mentored Tara for six months to develop Co.OfWomen’s first membership proposition.
Along her journey, Tara criticised herself for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She measured herself against a fiction of how her journey ‘should’ look.
In the process of developing Co.OfWomen, however, she figured out that she was exactly where she was meant to be. And that she was on time, the whole time.
The beauty in the imperfection of Tara’s journey is that it’s a very female experience. The problems she faced in her success had nothing to do with her capacity and everything to do with her biology. Such realisations triggered a domino effect of passion for supporting women on their success journey.
Tara didn’t start out screaming ‘girl power’, she learned the unique value and capacity for success that women hold through her journey. This turned her into someone who comes alive when helping women to harness their female power set.
Over time, Tara grew into a hugely empathetic individual that understands the challenges and the triumphs of female success.
One of the notable challenges that she found women were facing was asking to be given compensation for their work. Co.OfWomen’s mantra is ‘for profit, for good’. Women are biologically wired to do the ‘for good’, but the ‘for profit’ part didn’t come so naturally. She helps women see that there’s no shame in doing good, and getting paid for it.
Tara leads with love. Every person she talks to is in her heart, regardless of where they are on their success journey. In part, this love is what makes the people she talks to listen. Tara is overwhelmingly authentic and holds the fundamental value that everyone is powerful. She makes no judgements. No assumptions. She listens back.
Her skills in careful listening are rare. Rather than assuming that she already knows what a person needs, she is fully present and hears what it is people have to say, and then gives them what they need. She has a unique capacity to make people feel cared about. Paired with her dedication to being skilled and knowledgeable, Tara is an outstanding and empathetic leader.
To find out more about the impact Tara Lorigan’s leadership has made on members of Co.OfWomen, check out the testimonials page.