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The Pros and Cons of Working for a Start-Up Company

The Pros and Cons of Working for a Start-Up Company

Job security, salary and benefits, regular hours and a sensible work-life balance are what most jobseekers look for in any new employment opportunity. Working at a start-up firm can throw these factors into uncertainty - it’s not all bean bags and avocado toast. However, with Ireland recently being ranked number three in Europe for start-ups, have you considered the possibility that the excitement, reward potential and personal development that are intrinsic to start-up culture could be exactly what you’re looking for? Here are some pros and cons of working for a start-up company to shed some light on the reality of the situation. THE PROS Room for Growth The clue is in the name, but start-ups really are just starting out. That means that, as an early employee, you will be a key part of the company’s development and later success. You’ll be working side by side with the founders from the get-go, learning directly from your bosses and gaining invaluable experience in areas outside of your job remit. As everyone at a start-up is involved in the fight for the survival of the company, you’ll often be expected to take on responsibilities that push you out of your comfort zone and force you to expand your skill set fairly rapidly. As the company grows, so will your responsibilities, and soon you could find yourself in a senior leadership position at a successful firm. Freedom ‘Freedom’ is evident in two ways in start-up culture. Firstly, in the flexibility of working hours: employees are frequently permitted to choose their own working hours and to work from home, since so much business is conducted over the phone and online. Secondly, start-ups are associated with huge levels of innovative freedom. Start-ups are under huge amounts of pressure to keep up in the fast lane or fail, and so grant their employees a considerable creative license to break boundaries and completely reimagine ways to capture consumer engagement. If dynamic, forward thinking in a collaborative, close-knit team is your forte, working in a start-up could be the ideal working environment for you! Purpose When you join a start-up, you know that you will never be simply a ‘cog in a machine.’ As part of a small team driven by collaboration, the company’s mission will be at the forefront of your job description and decision-making process. In a regular office environment, middle management and sheer size of personnel can mean you often feel undervalued and perhaps unconnected with the bigger picture of what the company is trying to achieve. There’s no such issue in start-ups! In an intense, focused environment, you will see the impact of your work first hand and have a significant role in shaping the success of the company, giving you a sense of job satisfaction unlike much other. THE CONS You will Work…Hard More responsibility means a heavier workload and while, in the long term, you may walk away with dozens of great new skills, learning on the job while likely being a single-person department is a tough undertaking. You might find yourself working long hours for little compensation, with only yours and your colleagues’ faith in the company’s mission to keep the candle burning. Work-life balance would likely be called into the mix (what balance?) as you are compelled to take your work home with you – who else will do what needs to be done? Lack of Security Harvard Business School estimates the start-up failure rate to be an enormous 90-95%. That’s an incredible (and terrifying) statistic. Tech start-ups are at particularly high risk, as there’s always the chance that a competitor could sweep the market with a brand-new development, cutting the legs from under competing companies. Leaving a comfortable corporate job with a steady salary, dependable benefits and little risk of redundancy in exchange for a high-risk, unstable work environment that could go bust at any moment is not a gamble one should take lightly. Furthermore, while start-up founders may be excellent pitchers and have garnered piles of seed money from investors, that is no evidence of their leadership ability. With less rigid corporate structure and more direct interaction with the company bosses, you could find yourself working in close proximity to underqualified leaders that will not inspire you to commit wholeheartedly to a venture which requires your unadulterated passion to succeed. Not Much Financial Reward To begin with, at least. Start-up employees notoriously earn significantly reduced salaries until the company begins to achieve real success. After all, it is in investors’ interests not to allow their ventures’ employees to get too comfortable. Spurring your team on with the promise of eventual riches is intended to be a large motivator for hard work and innovation within the company, although you may never end up reaping these promised benefits if the start-up crashes out, like so many do. That being said, modern-age start-ups are ridiculed and envied in equal measure for providing their employees with perks such as free lunches (kombucha, anyone?) and wellbeing sessions. For example, personal finance company Credit Karma offers an on-site spa for employees, as well as nap nooks and music jam rooms, and Airbnb gives their employees a $2,000 stipend for annual holiday expenses. There you have it – the good and the bad about working in a start-up. The stakes are high but, if you make your move wisely, the rewards could well outweigh the struggle you experience at the start. In an exclusive interview with David Dempsey, Senior Vice President of Salesforce, he told us that leaving his job in a well-known tech company was ‘the biggest risk’ he’s ever taken, leaving his stable job for a three-man start-up in 2000. Now, Salesforce employs thousands of people across Europe and America and is one of the world’s most renowned SaaS companies. It just goes to show – taking a plunge and embracing start-up culture could be your ticket to success too.

5 Things to Avoid When Writing Your CV

5 Things to Avoid When Writing Your CV

Our Recruitment Consultants look at so many CV’s every day and they know exactly what makes a good CV and even more so, what makes a bad CV. If you want to impress a recruiter/hiring manager with your CV, avoid these very common mistakes. Don’t Forget to Include Contact Details You may just assume that sending your CV via email is enough for an employer to contact you, but often CVs get forwarded around and saved on hard drives/desktops so the original email you sent could get lost along with your contact email address. Always put your email address and contact number on your CV. via GIPHY Don’t Use Personal Details It’s good to show your personality through your CV and give the hiring manager a sense of who you are, but some personal details are too personal for your CV. Avoid putting your relationship status on your CV e.g. married, divorced. It’s irrelevant information and it could affect you negatively. All a hiring manger wants to know at first is if you are suitable for the job, leave the personal stuff until you are in the job and getting to know the people you are working with. via GIPHY Don't Be Vague About Important Details Too often job seekers will state a percentage like “Increased social media engagement 100%” with no additional details or context. This leaves the hiring manager to assume the worst about your accomplishment. If you can't be specifc or give detail about a statistic, it's best to just leave it out. via GIPHY Don’t Leave Gaps Time frames are so important on CVs. Dates on your CV should be reflected by month to month time frames, as opposed to year to year. Often people will avoid putting dates on a CV or will try to be vague about the dates in order to hide unemployment gaps. This can look suspicious to employers. It’s better to be honest and give reasons for any gaps instead of trying to hide them. via GIPHY Don’t Include Graphics Leave out fancy graphics, complicated formatting and decorative pictures where possible. They tend to make it more difficult for employers to read. Keep things simple, clear and detailed. If you work in Graphic Design or Marketing a more creative CV could be what makes you stand out to an employer, but avoid making it over complicated. A CV is supposed to outline your experience and skills and the last thing you want is an over complicated design diluting your message. If you want to showcase your work, you could send a ZIP file with a few examples, if you feel it's relevant. via GIPHY

10 Types Of Leadership Styles

10 Types Of Leadership Styles

1. Autocratic An autocratic leader is one who dictates all policies and procedures. Employees and team members have no say whatsoever in how things are done and are expected to follow the command and control of the leader. 2. Coaching This leadership style is about helping others to improve themselves and achieve their goals. They are there to provide guidance and counsel. This leadership style can only work if the follower is open to being advised. 3. Charismatic A charismatic leader is one often adored by their followers. Their undoubtable charisma and personality may lead people to follow their every word. They can be sometimes viewed as manipulative because their intentions may be often self-focused. 4. Transformational Transformational leadership is where a leader works with teams to identify a change that is needed, creates a vision and then guides their followers by inspiring them. A transformational leader won’t only assign tasks and goals but allow teams/ direct reports to decide their own goals to align with the overall company objectives. 5. Laissez-Faire This leadership style gives employees complete free reign with little or no supervision. This can lead to low productivity among staff. 6. Affiliative An affiliative leader promotes harmony among his or her followers and helps to resolve any conflict. This type of leader will also build teams and ensure their followers feel connected to one other. 7. Visionary This type of leader inspires others and really drives progression. They would be well respected among their peers and colleagues and they strive to encourage confidence in their direct reports and other colleagues. 8. Bureaucratic The bureaucratic leadership style was first described by Max Weber in 1947. The bureaucratic style is based on following normative rules and adhering to lines of authority. Bureaucratic leaders are similar to autocratic leaders in that they expect their team members to follow the rules and procedures precisely as instructed. 9. Transactional This form of leadership would be seen in a sales environment. Leaders will incentivise goals and give teams targets to achieve in order to gain reward. The incentive will usually be in the form of monetary and will be granted to staff if tasks are completed or if they reach the top 10 performers. 10. Democratic Leadership This type of leader is one that takes on board what other people have to say. A democratic leader allows and even encourages others to participate in decision making. Do you see any similarities in these leadership styles and the one in your company? Or do you recognise yourself as one of these leaders? Understanding these styles of leadership is a great way to realise what works and what doesn't in your company. It helps you to know the outcomes you want to achieve. Each leadership style encourages different types of performances so it’s good to know what one works best for you.

10 Small Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

10 Small Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

‘Work smarter, not longer.’ This is the attitude more and more employers are adopting as flexible and part-time working becomes increasingly normalised by businesses. There are only so many hours in the day – to avoid taking work home with you, it’s important to be productive in the time you have. In a world of short attention spans and incessant distractions, however, that can be difficult. Here are 10 small ways you can increase your productivity at work and better attain that mythical work/life balance. 1. Document Your Time Humans’ awareness of time is historically warped. In very few scenarios can we accurately estimate how much time has passed, with our perception able to be distorted by factors such as temperature, season, time of day or emotional state. It’s therefore a great idea to document how much time a day you actually spend on completing certain tasks. Having an objectively clear picture of how your day tends to be spread out will help you better structure your time in the future. 2. Set Deadlines Now you know where your time is going, try limiting the amount of time you spend on one task. ‘Perfection is the enemy of good,’ so they say. You can always return to an activity and polish it up later. In the meantime, however, it’s a good idea to keep up momentum and move onto a new task when you can – you may be surprised at how much you can achieve if you’re strict with yourself! 3. Hold Standing Meetings This one may not be for everyone, but the results behind it are interesting. It’s been suggested by research that standing meetings (literally meetings where everyone is standing) are more time efficient and productive. Without seats or tables, there tends to be less territoriality and increased group collaboration, not to mention quicker meeting times. One study found their average meeting length was reduced by 25% when participants were standing throughout. 4. Act, Don’t React It’s easy to let your day be dictated by phone calls and emails, putting out fires with every response. While this reactionary attitude is a great way to simply ‘cope’, it stops you making headway of your own with projects that require you to be proactive in how you handle them. While it’s difficult to ignore a pop-up notification or a blaring ring tone, carving out time in your schedule when everybody knows not to disturb you, or turn your notifications off. 5. Delegate Many busy leaders tend to believe it’s quicker to complete a task themselves (and definitely get it right first time) rather than explain the task to a co-worker and have them complete it (maybe not quite right first time). This can result in complete overwork on the part of the leader, and perhaps an unhealthy environment of mistrust or micromanagement in the workspace. Instead, consider assigning tasks to colleagues based on their strengths, and take the time to explain to them clearly what exactly you’re looking for from them. You might be pleasantly surprised when they do it as well, or better, than you could! 6. Stay Healthy One of the most effective ways to increase your productivity is to keep your brain in top shape. Some things you can do to maintain energy levels and sharp thinking are: Get a good night’s sleep Stay hydrated Keep healthy, nutritious snacks in your desk drawer Exercise regularly, particularly in your breaks Take a full lunch break Don’t take work home with you when you can avoid it 7. Take…Breaks? Taking breaks to improve productivity sounds somewhat counterintuitive. However, scientists have suggested that taking regular mental rests from work actually makes us more productive in the long run. As University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras elaborates: “Deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused…From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!” Why not give it a go? Try working in 90-segments with a 10-minute break between each. Really disconnect from your desk during this time – take a walk, get some fresh air. When you return to the problem at hand, you’ll be forced to think about it globally rather than specifically for a few minutes, perhaps enabling you to see solutions and perspectives previously hidden from you. 8. Avoid Multi-tasking When your to-do list is overwhelmingly long, it can be tempting to hop from task to task, generating an illusion of control for your own benefit. However, studies have consistently suggested that we are most productive when we set our minds to one job at a time. While you might feel you are getting more done while multi-tasking, in reality you are wasting time as you jump between headspaces, losing the clarity that comes with continuous focus. 9. Try Listening to Music Research suggests that certain types of music at the right time can really boost productivity. There is disagreement as to why exactly this is – some credit the boost in mood, some claim it is the ability to drown out office chatter. Regardless, music can be really useful in helping workers eliminate distractions and power through a task, particularly repetitive ones. Instrumental music is particularly praised as a focus-tool. The lack of lyrics means it’s hard for you to get distracted by words and meanings, enabling you to dedicate 100% of your concentration to your work. Similarly, the soothing effects of classical musical can help alleviate stress, helping you be more productive. If you don’t have a work playlist ready to go, you can find some great ready-made ones on most music streaming sites, such as Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music. 10. Prioritise We all have most productive hours. If you’ve followed our first tip and documented how you spend your work time, you should know what hours those are for you. Therefore, it’s only logical that you should assign yourself your most difficult tasks, and the priorities, in those ultra-productive windows. That way, a task that would otherwise take you an entire morning could theoretically only consume half an afternoon, if that’s how you work. As most workers grow increasingly unproductive throughout the day, it makes sense to reserve the easiest tasks for the afternoon. You won’t have to channel the same level of energy into these tasks, while also ticking items off your list. These are just 10 ways you can increase productivity in the workplace. While these are useful tips you can enact in your everyday working life, it’s important to remember that productivity is primarily a state of mind. If you love your job and find your daily workload rewarding, you’ll likely be considerably more productive than someone who does not. If you’re struggling to maintain productivity across the working week, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and assess whether this position is really the right one for you, or perhaps consider that you are suffering from Burnout (just this week classified as a diagnosable illness by WHO).

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7 Ways to Increase Engagement in Your Company

7 Ways to Increase Engagement in Your Company

Changing the way that employees understand and interact with culture can significantly increase engagement in the workplace. We’ve listed 7 ways to increase engagement among employees through cultural realignment: 1. Talk About Culture Management need to communicate the culture of the company to all stakeholders in order for everyone else to understand what the company believes in. Buy-in from management is essential. 2. Energise Existing Jobs Offer job rotation, job sharing and combine tasks so that staff are not doing the same thing every day. Introducing a new task which will improve abilities or push employees to learn new skills will motivate staff to improve in their role. Forming self-directed teams can help employees feel like they are in control of their jobs and have a say in the company. 3. Hire for Fit When hiring for new staff it is important that companies don’t just hire people with the right skills, without judging if they will fit in with the company culture. An introverted project manager can be detrimental to an IT project so knowing your culture and the culture of the job role you are advertising is paramount. If outsourcing the hiring process to a recruitment company, it is important that the company understands the culture that you are portraying. In a climate where new recruits are hard to keep and are constantly changing jobs for a better company fit, knowing both the culture of the company and the role can save a company time and money 4. Leverage Manager/Employee Relationship Employee satisfaction relies quite closely on the affiliation they have with their manager. Frequent praise and recognition will empower employees to keep up the good work but if managers are too busy to take notice of their team or to spend time talking with them this bond will turn stale, leading to eroded trust and confidence on both sides of the relationship. Taking the time to schedule meetings with team members and keeping note of the work that your team is doing will leverage this relationship allowing a confiding and open connection. 5. Upward Mentoring Mentoring does not always have to be downward. For employees that have been in the company for a longer period of time and understand the inner working of the company they can provide valuable insight that managers may not have thought of before. Fresh eyes can alert companies to newer technologies and more efficient ways of doing jobs so do not discount something until you have tried it 6. Job Referral Bounties Offering rewards for employees finding and placing workers in your company that suit your culture can prove a successful recruitment strategy. Presenting long-term bounties are even better as employees are motivated to help others progress through impromptu coaching and team working. 7. Measure Improvements Send out surveys every two to three months to measure key performance indicators to see if the culture is changing for the better and if people are becoming more engaged. Measuring the profit and productivity levels in the company overtime can also highlight how successful the project is. Conducting six monthly reviews where employee satisfaction rates are measured and bench-marked can show if some employees are lacking culture fit. Having a programme in place to help these employees find their feet can further increase engagement in the company as you are showing staff that you value them.

10 Ways To Reduce Workplace Stress

10 Ways To Reduce Workplace Stress

We’ve all got responsibilities such as working and building a career, running a household and/or raising children which can all be very overwhelming and lead to lots of stress. Here are 10 things you can do to start feeling better and minimising stress: 1. Identify causes of stress What triggers your stressful feelings? Are they related to your workplace, children and family, friendships, finances or something else? Once you’ve identified the trigger, you can get down to the root of your stress and find the best ways to handle it. 2. Recognize how you deal with stress Are you using unhealthy behaviours to cope with work or life stress? For example are you using sleep deprivation, smoking, consumption of alcohol or junk food as a means of coping? 3. Get a good night’s sleep A lack of sleep can result in an increase in stress as a person will not be able to stay focused at work. Sleep deprivation also impairs our decision making ability as we are unable to think clearly. Getting 8 hours sleep a night will help improve a person’s health as you will be able to stay alert throughout the day. 4. Eat a balanced diet Hectic work schedules leave us short on time to prepare healthy meals for ourselves and people then have a tendency to grab fast foods. However eating a balanced nutritional diet will help you stay healthy and keep your brain alert. Deficiency in food nutrients such as lack of vitamin B in the body can result in depression and irritability. Also when a person is under stress, vitamins C and E may be lost. 5. Exercise When you exercise, your brain produces “feel good” transmitters called endorphins. Producing these endorphins will help you deal with stress healthily as people who exercise regularly have more energy. 6. Stay organized It is an overwhelming feeling to think that there are not enough hours in the day. Therefore it is imperative that you manage your time. Come up with a daily plan and keep a diary to keep yourself on track. 7. Do not procrastinate Work piles up when you keep on delaying tasks. There is no use putting off for tomorrow what can be done today. 8. Don’t take on more than you can handle at work Avoid creating your own stress by over-scheduling and failing to say no when too much is asked. Don’t overpromise, and give yourself time to finish the things you do agree to tackle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help/delegate if you can’t meet all the demands placed on you. 9. Ask for support Accepting a hand from supportive friends and family can help you persevere during stressful times. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist who can help you manage stress. 10. Finally, treat yourself When you accomplish a personal goal or finish a project, do something nice for yourself. Go out for a round of golf with friends or take a weekend break with your family. Treating yourself between tasks can help take the edge off and prepare you for the next challenge.

Salary Guide 2019

Salary Guide 2019

Ireland’s unemployment rate of 5.3% has certainly dramatically improved from near 16% in 2012. More people are working in Ireland than ever, which is very positive. The drive to get more business into the regions and outside the main cities is on-going and working. Pressure on housing relative to other major cities, may be overstated but it is in everyone’s interest to balance employment in regional areas. Salary inflation has been increasing in specific areas (IT, legal/compliance, data security, life sciences, banking) and in many cases experienced double digit percentage increases. Ireland is still relatively attractive to mobile European talent, but there has been pressure on salaries because of unprecedented demand. Benefits are increasingly a consideration for applicants, particularly in the technology world where flexible working is becoming the expected norm rather than a differentiating factor. There is no question that the employers who are winning “talent battles” are really looking at their employee experience and also their applicant experience more closely than ever. Effective employer branding was a novelty a few years ago, but now essential in attracting top talent. The good news is that successful employer branding works and ensures salary inflation is not excessive and hiring new talent is controllable Overall, 2019 looks likely to be an interesting year, but as long as we stay competitive and offer some flexibility, Ireland has every reason to believe we can continue to outperform other countries in the war for talent! ​ 2019 Salary Guides for each discipline:​ Accountancy & Finance Banking & Financial Services Construction & Property Services HR Insurance IT Legal & Compliance Manufacturing & Engineering Marketing Multilingual Office Support Sales Software Sales Science & Pharma Supply Chain ​

The Talent Isle

The Talent Isle

There can be no denying that the Irish economy has benefited hugely from foreign direct investment, particularly from the US. The statistics speak for themselves; today there are 700 US companies with Irish operations directly employing 165,000 people. But, the historical economical and political US-Irish relationship works both ways. With Murphys, Kennedys and O’Neills making their presence known in boardrooms the length and breadth of the 50 States, Ireland is well represented in the highest echelons on US soil. Likewise, the statistics on that side of the Atlantic speak for themselves; there are also 700 Irish companies with operations in the US who employ 100,000 US citizens. Recent changes to the political environment in the form of US protectionism has undoubtedly threatened our status as the location of choice for US companies, making up 12.1% of US FDI investment into Europe despite accounting for just 1% of the entire European economy. At a time of green shoots growth in the aftermath of one of the worst recessions the State has known, this hard won reputation in now in jeopardy. Speaking at the Boston College Ireland Business Council symposium, John Harthorne, CEO MassChallenge described protectionism as grabbing the largest slice of the pie. The responsibility of leadership should be to increase the size, not of the slice, but of the pie itself. So, what can business leaders do? Well, of course we can leave it to the Government and State agencies to do their job, or else we can get out there ourselves and deliver the message that Ireland is still a great place to do business. That is exactly what Ireland Gateway to Europe did on Wednesday April 11, 2018, when a delegation of more than 40 Irish business leaders arrived in Washington to deliver the message that Ireland’s trade partnership with the US is stronger than ever, is truly bilateral and that Ireland remains the location of choice for FDI in Europe. Ireland Gateway to Europe met with their US counterparts and political representatives on Capitol Hill with the purpose of strengthening existing business relationships and create new ones. This initiative is a not-for-profit annual trade mission made up of professional advisory firms who travel the US annually to provide a secure resource network for business expansion to help US investment succeed in setting up operations in Ireland. Founded in 2012 as a response to the economic challenges at that time of global recession, Ireland Gateway to Europe is now in its seventh year of US, UK and global trade missions. Ireland has traditionally enjoyed a particularly strong business, cultural and political relationship with the US. However, in light of the recent announcements of trade tariffs, data privacy, immigration and other protectionist policies, our concern is that there may be a perception that Irish-US trade linkages may have subsequently diminished. The fact of the matter is that the transatlantic economy grew stronger, not weaker over the past year, as did Irish -US trade with US exports to Ireland up 9% and imports to Ireland up 6%. While the Washington mission was the focal point of the 2018 trade mission, the second leg of the trip saw the group travel to Boston to engage directly with the US business community at the stateside launch of the transatlantic Boston College Ireland Business Council (BCIBC). Having launched this side of the Atlantic in Dublin last October, the US BCIBC launch took the form of a Global Leadership Symposium where US CEOs met with their Irish counterparts. The event looked at Global Leadership, where a panel of global CEOs discussed how they, as a transatlantic leadership community, can create opportunities against the backdrop of economic challenges. The purpose of the BCIBC is to establish new, and strengthen existing, transatlantic business ties between the two countries, and it is designed to enhance transatlantic business between the US and Ireland through creating connections that allow for entrepreneurial ventures to grow and prosper. The Global Leadership Symposium is one of a series of planned BCIBC CEO Exchange events that will take place twice annually over the coming years, both in Ireland and in the US. The nest event is scheduled for Dublin this coming October. Founded by the Global Leadership Institute, Boston College, and Ireland, Gateway to Europe, and Chaired by Neil Naughton of GlenDimplex, the main aim of the BCIBC is to bring influential business leaders from both communities together once a year in Dublin and in Boston to create one deeply connected transatlantic trade artery. By establishing the BCICB, the tight commercial and social bonds we share with the US can be strengthened and build upon bilaterally, business to business, in spite of any potential external or internal protectionist political policies. It’s widely known that cultural ties between Massachusetts and Ireland are deep but possibly lesser known are the strength of economic ties with 11,000 people employed by Irish companies there and Ireland being the 6th largest exporter from MA. With threats from the uncertainty of the Brexit situation ringing in our ears from the East and murmurings of protectionism coming from the West, Ireland is again in a unique position to act as the economic transatlantic hub. What will the future hold? As it stands nobody knows for certain, but the community of transatlantic business leaders has a collective, critical role to play to ensure the future foundation of business relations is maintained for generations to come. Those business relationships benefit both Ireland and the US. Let’s both grow our slices of the pie by growing the pie itself. Article featured on The Business Post