Cork businesswoman Caroline Dowling left school at 15 to have her first child; now she is president of Flextronics, a $26B, industry-leading, Fortune Global 500 company with a global workforce of 200,000. Here, she shares her working wisdom.

What's your business mantra?
No heroes; Smart collaboration; Never lose a customer; Revenue before cost cutting.

What's the best piece of advice you have been given?
Your family loves you, not the company.

What are your strengths and your weaknesses?
My weaknesses are: not being disciplined in taking care of my health.
My strengths? Tenacious and focused on results.

What is the most important area for women in business that still needs to change?
The C-suite (senior executive roles) and the board room.

How do you approach a work/life balance?
I don’t – I think it’s nearly impossible to expect to have a ‘balance’; you inevitable make large sacrifices to get to exec level and to stay there.

How do you stay passionate about what you do?
Keep stretching the goals and keep learning new ways of working.

How do you unwind?
I’m at my best when I’m fit; that’s the ideal. However the more likely is a trip to west cork, a good book and a great glass of wine shared with my loved ones.

What is success to you?
Seeing the kids grow up to be independent, confident adults. Still being able to share a good laugh with my husband.