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October 5th, 2015 @ 11:22

Network Ireland National Conference & Awards 2015 Knockranny House Hotel, Friday 25th September

NETWORK IRELAND - CONFERENCE COMMITTEE. From L/R  Lesley Moore, Sinead Scahill, Lisa Chambers, Toni Bourke President of Network Mayo, Olwen Dawe Network Ireland President, Susan Heffernan, Carla Manning, Sandra Hart, Anne McNicholas, Una Murphy and Freda Nic Giolla Chathain. Pic: Michael Mc Laughlin

No More Glass Ceilings!

Network Ireland’s National Conference and Awards took place today in Knockranny House Hotel in Westport with over 200 business women from all over Ireland who gathered to discuss, network and learn from one another and from a powerful line up of speakers whose expertise and knowledge was shared with a theme of Harnessing Opportunity for Women in Changing Times. Joining in the conference was the wider online community who joined in the conversation using the designed hashtag, #NoMoreGlassCeilings., that was trending number one in Ireland throughout the day.

The event which is sponsored by AIB, Mayo LEO, and Newstalk, culminated in a Gala Dinner and National Business Awards, recognising the wealth of talent that abounds within the Network Ireland membership of new businesses, established Businesses and professional business women.

Conference Organiser and President of Network Ireland, Olwen Dawe, welcoming everyone to the Conference stated. -

“I believe that culture and environment can be moulded when critical mass exists. Collective support and collective action is crucial if “No More Glass Ceilings” is really to become a reality. You can’t be what you can’t see is an often quoted phrase when it comes to this particular topic and Imy hope for all of you today is that you feel moved to action, whether that action may be starting a new business, or taking whatever step that is the most important to you. Undoubtedly you will feel galvanised by the CEOs, Founders, Directors and experts that you are going to hear from.”

The Conference was officially opened by Mairead McGuinness, MEP who travelled especially to Mayo to engage with the delegates had some extremely sound advice, using her years of experience as a former journalist and now international politician;

“We have to take more risks and I would encourage anyone who has an idea, give it thought, trust your gut and then just do it. I came from a background with no connections in politics and in journalism but knew I wanted to do both, I went with my gut and made it happen. Dispense with guilt and regret, because they are not good for you. People have respect for people who take the knock and get over it and I know from experience that to succeed you first need to fail.”

The MC for the one day conference was Mayo native, academic and broadcaster Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, while speakers and workshop facilitators included; Anne O’Leary, CEO Vodafone Ireland, Terry Prone, Chair of The Communications Clinic, Niamh Gallagher, founder of Women for Election and Lulu O’Sullivan, CEO of 4GiftsDirect who is also on the Advisory Board of the entrepreneurship support initiative Going For Growth.

Following the motivating Conference the Gala Dinner and Business Awards took place. The Awards are a culmination of a six months process where all of the branches host a regional Awards, where three finalists from each branch are chosen to represent the three categories, Best Established Business, New Business and Employee.

Toni Bourke, Network Mayo President said,

“Our branch is so proud of the three inspirational businesswomen who represented Mayo in the national finals with a special congratulations to Ailise Loftus GP of Westport Medical Centre who was highly commended in the employee category”.

The 3 Mayo Branch entrants for the awards were:

  • Sinead Scahill, Skin Deep Institute, New Business Category
  • Caroline Joyce, Travel Bug, Established Business Category
  • Ailise Loftus, Westport Medical Centre, Employee Category

Highly Commended winners

  • Employee Category - Ailise Loftus - Westport Medical Centre - Mayo Branch
  • New Business Category - Geraldine Byrne - MediSkin - North Tipperary Branch
  • Established Business Category - Noeleen Cronin - Home Instead Senior Care - Cork Branch

NETWORK IRELAND - Highly Commended "Employee Category.  Olwen Dawe President Network Ireland and Louise Glennon NWCI presents Ailise Loftus, Westport Medical Clinic, Mayo with the highly commended Award in the Employee Category .  Pic: Michael Mc Laughlin

The winners are as follows:-

Established Business Award Winner: Paula Egan – Comprehensive Business Services – Kildare Branch

Paula is the founder of TaxBuddy.ie and FinanceServices.ie and the judges were particularly impressed that she had developed a businss and then sold it for substantial amount and started the process again with her current business, which is looking to be just as successful. The judges felt that she was a true entrepreneur and had self educated herself in a number of different areas and just knew what makes a business successful.

New Business Award Winner: Naomi Fein – Think Visual - Cork Branch

Naomi was born in Israel to a long line of powerful Israeli women (9 generations!). With Naomi the judges were blown away by what she has achieved in her business in such a short space of time and the calibre of large multinationals she has as clients. Innovation and global potential was the big differentiator and ultimately set her apart.

Naomi founded Think Visual an innovative business that helps companies to communicate clearly through visual storytelling, supporting multinationals in overcoming the challenges of internal communications in a fast paced, complex, multicultural world.The Think Visual creative team joins with the client at live events such as meetings, workshops and conferences to capture key thoughts and ideas in real-time, translating concepts into insightful digital outputs that are memorable actionable and shareable.

Employee Award Winner: Louise McClean – Clarion Liffey Hotel – Dublin branch

All of the judges commented on Louise’s owner's mentality to her role in the Clarion, Liffey Valley. The judges were also impressed with her understanding of the difficulties in the market and also her success in finding new markets and the proactive role she takes in increasing turnover for the hotel.

The Conference and Awards was also supported by Enterprise Ireland, European Union, Enterprise Ireland, Western Development Commission, BNI, Intertrade Ireland and LookWest.ie For further information on Network Ireland and Conference and Business Awards, visit www.networkireland.ie.

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