The River Lee Hotel, Cork, was the venue last Thursday evening for the now annual collaboration between the CPA Ireland and Ulster Bank’s Business Women Can (BWC).
The murky grey weather outside certainly didn’t dampen the spirit and mood inside, with lots of networking, learning and listening taking place.
Helen Arnold, TVM – Building an award winning business
First of the speakers to take to the podium was Helen Arnold, Finance Director, TVM. She began by describing the little village of Bartlemy in North Cork where the now, multi million euro, Outside Broadcast (OB) business is headquartered. TVM provides service to major global brands such as NBC, CNN, SKY, Setanta etc. Helen grabbed the attention of the audience by giving a sense of the scale and challenge that the business faces – providing an outside broad cast service for 349 race meetings in Ireland last year, The British open, The figure skating championships in Japan, The Queen’s visit to Ireland (and the very famous images at the English Market, Cork) and much more besides.
Core to Helen’s presentation was the importance of ‘Team’ and ‘People’. TVM up to recent years was very much a family business. As the business has grown in size, the Management team is now made up of non family members too. She also referenced things like the ‘Staff appreciation day’ and family days – all of this helps keep the family feel of the business.
Helen was overall winner of the Ulster Bank Business Achievers ‘women led business’ award, 2014 – she spoke at length around the benefits this has brought to the TVM business and indeed herself. She strongly encouraged those in the room to consider an application for 2015!
Julia Lynes – Getting Out there Internationally
After some networking and refreshments the delegates returned to listen to a presentation from Julia Lynes, Co- Founder of EazyCity which is an accommodation and service provider. Julia displayed passion and energy for her business which she established after graduating from UCC in 2004. Since then she has built it into a multi location business and is currently running a pilot franchise template in Italy.
Julia spoke around the importance of ‘Brand’ and described a rebranding exercise which the Company conducted. She spoke about how the little things matter and explained what she meant by recounting a recent example. This writer will not make the same mistake as a colleague of Julia’s did recently when they inadvertently used as a small letter ‘c’ in the ‘EazyCity’ logo!
Julia also discussed the importance of her ‘Team’ making EazyCity a recognisable brand in this sector. She stated how the ‘Team’ pride themselves on customer service and customer experience. While the franchise pilot is currently being trialled in Italy, Julia has plans for EazyCity to open offices in Germany, Spain and the USA.
Deirdre O’Shaughnessy – Importance of Personal Branding
Last but by no means least was Deirdre O’Shaughnessy, editor and co-presenter of Cork biggest daily talk show, the 96FM Opinion Line. Deirdre’s address was on the subject of Personal branding and she hit the ground…well …sitting! She told delegates to picture a three legged stool and built on this analogy for the duration.
Her energetic and witty parlance engaged the room as she began building out on the three legged stool image – First Leg =Your Character, Second Leg =.Professional Reputation and Third Leg = Personal image. She challenged the audience to consider an introspective view of themselves and Deirdre encouraged the room to ‘Be the best version of yourself’.
As an avid social media user, Deirdre described her relationship with Twitter – she currently has 17,000 followers, and growing. She offered some great practical advice around its use and merits. She shared examples of businesses that have almost exclusively built a brand and consequently shared their value system through this platform.
The event concluded shortly after 8PM and the attendees left with a spring in their step, buoyed by the inspirational speakers ….and left to go back out into the ….Summer…. rain !