Caroline Rafferty, MD Homecare Independent Living

Homecare Independent Living (HCIL) was my second job out of University.  Upon completion of a BA Hons Degree in Accounting and Finance at Jordanstown I joined a practice to complete my Institute of Chartered Accountants exams.  I joined HCIL in 2009 as a Financial Accountant.  Admittedly, in the back of my mind I was calculating how long I would need to be in the company to qualify for maternity, something we still laugh about now!
I had no idea that joining HCIL would be the start of an amazing journey both personally and professionally, in a company where I would get more job satisfaction than I could ever have imagined, working alongside people who would inspire, challenge and encourage me.  I had this new desire to succeed and make a difference.  I was promoted in 2010 to Financial Controller and again in 2012 to Chief Financial Officer.
Finding solutions drove me to the next challenge…
Once in HCIL, I found myself getting excited about new challenges and creating suitable, efficient solutions.  What started as a small family business, had grown and expanded very quickly into a significant employer and industry player.  I needed to create new financial systems, management accounts and transform the way data was recorded and stored whilst simultaneously feeding into the company strategy and direction.  I set myself the challenge of having all accounting systems operational by December (having joined in May).  The next challenge was preparing ourselves to report to a PLC level within two months, which, through complete dedication and with a great team – we accomplished.  I discovered a real joy and love for my job that I hadn’t felt before.
Just because it’s not in your plan doesn’t mean it isn’t meant for you …
In July 2018 I was promoted to Managing Director.  I’m the first to admit that being Managing Director was never on my list of career goals and it took me a while to decide if the role was for me but so far, I am loving it.  A lot of the excitement for the role is because of the excellent team of people I have around me, my knowledge and passion for this company and the health and social care industry as well as my commitment to making a real difference.
Mentors and lessons learned…
Mairead and Gerald Mackle have both been hugely influential both on a personal and professional level.  They share the same vision, always see the end goal before anyone else and talk about it as if we are already there.  Although mine is an extremely demanding role, the family-based values promoted by both Mairead and Gerald enable me to have a flexible home-work life balance, something I very much value as a wife and mother of 3 young children.  Mairead gives me complete autonomy to get on with things, trusting that I share her same vision, passion and values.  She loves to see people succeeding and is the first person to want to promote the success of her team.  Gerald has a quiet determination that I really admire.  He knows exactly how a project will be implemented and delivered and isn’t afraid of taking a risk.  Before Homecare I would have said I was a very risk averse person, but over the years I have learned that sometimes you have trust yourself and take the leap - if it’s meant to be it will be.
A typical day…
Consistency is key for me.  It allows me to organise my time efficiently, collect my thoughts and channel my energy into tasks that will deliver real results.  I block Monday and Friday out of my diary for thinking and planning, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s are meeting days with Senior Management, members of my leadership team and other key staff.  It is really important that I have one-to-one time to listen to those I work so closely with - it means I spend a lot of my week actually learning.
About Caroline
Caroline is a graduate from the University of Ulster with a BA Honours in Accounting and Finance. She completed her professional accounting exams with the Institute of Chartered Accountants and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2007. While working with Homecare, she has completed the Aspiring Leaders Programme and a mini MBA from Queens University Belfast and is currently enrolled on the Excelus Managers Program due to complete this month.  Alongside Mairead Mackle, Gerald Mackle and Janine Smalls, Caroline was a founding member of the iCare charity in 2010 and plays an integral role in the success of the charity and the impact it has had towards building stronger communities and eliminating social isolation.
Caroline has been a Mentor for the Young Enterprise Northern Ireland programme, supporting and guiding business studies students with their commercial operations as well as a mentor on the Tomorrows Leaders Programme.  She is also a member of Evolve - a women's network set up to promote and encourage strong female leadership across the community and to inspire and support women to be the best that they can be. She is also a member of LIFT Ireland, a not for profit movement that aims to inspire our future generations to focus on character and value-based leadership.