Founder of Keego Investments, Eimear Gourley set up the investment company in April 2020 just weeks after the first lockdown was introduced. Known by her many followers on social media as ‘NI Property Girl’, Eimear strongly believes in encouraging women to focus on themselves to achieve their dreams. The managing director has been married to Kieran for eight years and they have three children, Emily (6), Grace (4) and Ollie (2) and is passionate about teaching kids “more than just the standard school education”.
“We really believe that kids should know about finances and good mindset, and I really believe that this should be taught in schools.”
Describe yourself in five words.
Enthusiastic, geeky, ambitious, thoughtful and energetic.
How did you get involved in the construction and property sector?
I graduated as a Civil Engineer from the University of Ulster in 2012. I worked as a project manager for Northern Ireland Water for nearly 10 years managing multi-million-pound construction sites, which primarily centred around waste water treatment plants. After doing this job for nearly 10 years I just knew I had more to give. I knew that I had such an interest in the property industry and having been looking for something to focus my entrepreneurial energy on, it seemed to be a great fit. I was able to use my existing training and knowledge and build upon it.
What challenges have you faced as a female and mum within the sector?
I wish I could say that I haven’t faced any challenges as a result of being a female or a mum, but I have. I have found that I have always needed to prove myself more than my male peers. It is almost as if a man has instant respect but as a woman, I always had to prove my worth. I always felt the need to go above and beyond in order to earn respect. In my opinion, respect should have to be earned regardless of your gender. Being a mum can be a challenge for us all; balancing home life with wanting a career.
You set up your own business, Keego Investments in April 2020, just as the initial lockdown began. How much more challenging did this make it?
To add to this, at the same time I had my third child, so there was a bit of added pressure already! However, the wheels were already set in motion for my business to start, in my mind at least. I am very determined and something small like a global pandemic wasn’t going to stop me following my dream of owning my own business. I knew that there was no such thing as the perfect time. If I waited for that, I would still be waiting, still in my 9-5 job and filled with regret of not taking the leap. With the kids at home all day it meant working late into the night and this was made even more challenging with my newborn son, who decided that he didn’t like sleep too much for the first few months. It was a serious juggling act but I would not change it for the world. Changing my mindset was a huge part of me becoming an entrepreneur and this really helped me overcome the issues that arose.
How did you handle the pressures of parenting while setting up the company?
I handled them quite well and all down to having a very supportive husband and with a serious change in mindset. I am a great advocate of personal development and investing in myself. Changing my mindset, working on it daily and being able to understand how to keep my mind and body in shape was essential. It really did make the parenting side of the challenge so much easier to deal with. I also tried to involve my girls in what I was doing as much as possible.
How important is it for you to have your children aware of what work you do and striking the family/work life balance?
My children are involved in my business all of the time. They come on house viewings with me, I bring them to some of my renovations and I show them my social media and explain to them why mummy always has her phone in her hand taking videos. My eldest now wants to be a problem solver and own her own business when she grows up. Being my own boss allows me to decide when I work and when I don’t and as my business is growing, I am able to outsource more and more which gets me closer to the balance that we all search for.
Eimear is on Instagram as @ni_propertygirl