International Women’s Day – Workwell / 6CATS – Michelle Reilly, CEO 6CATS International and Founder of 6CATSPRO

8th March 2022

Where my passion for customer excellence and employee experiences began

I’ve always worked in a service-based role, from my first job as a waitress, to my receptionist role at Holmes Place, through my time building an EMEA division for CXC and now in my current remit as CEO of 6CATS International and founder of 6CATSPRO. I’m really passionate about customer service – it’s probably why I’ve always worked my way up to a management position in everything I’ve done! I thrive on delivering the best possible experience for everyone I work with, whether that’s clients or my colleagues.

To me, building a team that is equally as passionate about delivering excellence is quite simply a given – I can’t think of any other way I’d want to run a business or lead a team. Regardless of gender, I’m always on the lookout for the next ‘superstars’ – people who have what it takes to grow professionally, regardless of their experience.

As a company, 6CATS is committed to supporting and developing its staff and we have some truly inspirational individuals who have worked their way up from complete novices to management positions. Amy Dunn, for example, joined us back in 2010 at the age of 16 looking for summer work. Her passion for everything she does really shines and twelve years later not only is she still with us but she’s also been promoted several times and is now our Operations Director. Stefanie Cook is another brilliant example of a leading female professional who joined the team with limited international compliance experience, but who has shown the commitment to best-in-class service delivery which has led to her taking on a role as Sales Director.

Who inspired me?

Personally, my mum has really inspired me. She taught me that there are no boundaries – if you want to achieve something you can, and I live by that to this day. On a more professional basis, my boss at Holmes Place was a super powerful and truly inspiring woman who dedicated her own time to support others. She acted as my mentor, setting aside time each week to sit down with me and talk through what more I could do and where my career could go. She pushed me to achieve more and I’ve valued that input ever since.

Sense of purpose?

As a business owner, my sense of purpose lies in maintaining our position as a leading supplier brand. However, as an individual, my focus is on continuing to support, train and develop others. When I first joined the umbrella/supplier sector, there were very few (if any) women in leadership positions and I knew I wanted to work my way to the top and challenge this norm. Now I’ve achieved this, I want to create a legacy of strong women in the company and the sector as a whole.

Stay focused, stay strong

For anyone looking to become a strong leader, my advice would be to stay focused on want you want – don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, that choice is yours. A lot of people have a tendency (regardless of their gender) to put up barriers for themselves. Often this can be driven by emotion. It’s important not to be held back by your own barriers or to take things personally. In a professional capacity, emotion can be a barrier, but leaders do need thick skin and the ability to take a challenge, deal with it (successfully or not) and move on.

Championing women in the workplace is absolutely something I wholeheartedly back – but for me, it’s much more than this. I believe in giving anyone the opportunity to grow and thrive. Having worked my way up from waitress to CEO, I’ve personally gone into roles with no prior experience and that’s never held me back – and I want to create the same opportunities for others.


I’ve always worked on the basis that if I put my mind to it, I can take my career wherever I want to – and that’s really paid off. I was incredibly excited to announce the new partnership with Workwell earlier this year and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for both businesses.

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