Our SHINE Festival in March 2021 was a roaring success, smashing all of our targets with 40,000 girls attending. Over 80 incredible, authentic and badass women joined us to celebrate being a girl for 3 whole days!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be catching up with some of the speakers to share why we love them so much and why you should love them too. These women are joyful, smart, positive and hugely inspiring…

For today’s “Shona Meets”, here’s the gorgeous and talented Tara Rafter…

Tara, for those who don’t know about what you do, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Tara Rafter and I am a fully certified professional award-winning Life Coach. I also hold Advanced Coach training in Business, Career, Parent and Relationship Coaching and I am a Master Neuro-linguistic Programming Practitioner. I am a successful author, speaker and I am also an educator for The Irish Life coach Institute.

What inspired you to become a navigation coach?

My bio didn’t always read like that however, I qualified in 2005 with an Honours Degree in Business while working in the retail industry on my school holidays as a sales assistant from an early age. On completing my degree I sold my Honda Civic and left my job in Dunnes Stores and went off to live the dream in Australia, like so many, but on a sunny Tuesday morning in Melbourne, one phone call turned my world upside down. I was told that my Dad had died suddenly at only 58 years of age. I came home to my Mam and brother to help pick up the pieces and got a job on checkouts in my local Supervalu. 

Over a short period of time and with sheer determination I was lucky to work my way up in the store from cashier to top-level management. I spent the next 9 years ticking all the boxes the world tells us we should tick and climbing a ladder that I now know was leaning against the wrong wall. On a Saturday morning in Dublin, Ireland in 2016, I embarked on one of the single greatest personal development journeys of my life to train as a professional coach and sitting in that room, consumed by fear, I felt like I had come home. Since starting my business in 2017 I have been coaching clients across 5 continents. I am SO passionate about my bespoke one-to-one work with my clients both face to face and online. I use a blended approach, from all aspects of my training and experience, based on my client’s needs with the added bonus of accountability to ensure results and my testimonials speak for themselves.  

I opened my own private coaching practice in Ballina, Co Mayo in 2018 and I was awarded ICF Ireland Life Coach of the year after only 11 months in the industry. I created and published my very own goal setting diary in 2018, My Life Compass, which sold out in 2019,2020 and 2021. I was a finalist in The Mayo Business Awards in 2019 and was awarded an All Ireland Business All-Star in 2020. I have been a guest on many chart-topping podcasts and volunteer on my own local radio station here in Ballina, BCRFM. I have been invited as a guest speaker to many incredible sell-out events and I am proud to say I work regularly with global multinationals and their teams. I have been featured in Mayo Now Magazine, The Sunday World, Sunday Independent and The Irish Examiner. I am also proud to educate coaches for The Irish Life coach Institute where I myself trained.

Once I found my path, the doors just kept opening! I did it all, with fear as my companion and I’m still only getting started. My passion for people and my belief in never-ending possibilities is my driving force…

We know that your job involves helping other people to navigate their lives, but who do you look to when you are in need of guidance in your own life?

I have a phenomenal coach 😉, I attend supervision for my work every 3 weeks, I also attend psychotherapy during difficult periods in my life and I adore treatments like reflexology, reiki, acupuncture and bioenergy too as I believe healing can come from many avenues. 

What was the hardest lesson you’ve ever had to learn?

Life is not a dress rehearsal. My mam was one of the strongest most influential people in my life and I never thought I could function without her. When Mam died in 2018 it was the hardest blow I had ever been dealt and my greatest fear became my living reality. If love alone could have kept her alive she would have lived forever ❤️

What is your biggest achievement in life?

My son Kai is my greatest achievement and my efforts to be the best mother I can be, lots of learning and unlearning behaviours around parenting. 

For people feeling a little bit lost and overwhelmed at the moment, what advice would you give them to get back on track?

Get clear on YOUR values, (what you deem to be important) not society’s values or your circle of influence values, YOURS. I often say to people if the only box you had to tick is the world was to be content in yourself what would you change?! What would you let go of?! We place so much energy and focus on trying to “fit in” and be accepted when actually you are the only one who needs to accept you! Take time to sit and write out your worries or the things that are overwhelming you and what the remedies to those things might be. Ask for help, a problem shared is a problem halved. 

Quick-Fire Round:

Favourite Hobby?

Reading and learning 

Favourite Quote?

We’re all just walking each other home” Ram Dass 

Favourite song?

Who Knew – P!nk 

Favourite person ever?

My son Kai or P!nk ❤️

We were also very lucky to have Tara as one of our Wellness Stage SHINE speakers this year! Check out her incredible video below!


We don’t know about you, but we are so glad to have Tara in our SHONA Community! It’s mad to think of how many phenomenal women are on this little Island of ours! Stay tuned to see who else we got chatting to! 

P.S. If you have a suggestion of who you would like us to chat to next and have some burning questions, why not let us know on any of our socials (@shonadotie ) or pop us an email at info@shona.ie 

If you would like to support us and the work that we do,  you can donate below ❤


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