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Preparing for Christmas with Ulster Bank Business Women Can

The aim of the Ulster Bank Business Women Can network is to enable, connect and support female entrepreneurs and business leaders. Our event on 3rd December did just that, bringing together a wide range of business women to network with each other and learn from the personal experiences of four very successful NI female business leaders. The evening also had a focus on supporting local businesses, with a range of stalls, where female led Ulster Bank customers showcased their business and provided the opportunity for invitees to start their Christmas shopping.


Cathy Martin, Managing Director of CMPR kicked off the evening, speaking of the importance of networking and how her business has grown from contacts made at the first event she organised for Irish artist Terry Bradley. How opportunities can come from every event you attend and by spending your time wisely, networking can benefit long-term. As the founder of Belfast Fashion Week franchise, Cathy has her finger firmly on the pulse of current trends and shared her fashion tips with the audience; that metallics are big for the 2014 Christmas season and one of her top tips for your Christmas party is to bring a handbag big enough to carry those most needed flats for the way home!


Following Cathy, Brenda Shankey gave a very heartfelt and down-to-earth talk, of her experiences of running a men’s grooming business with her husband, Jason She told of the challenges of investing in people and how by being so personally involved in the business and staff, it impacted her when some people have gone on to set up in competition with their business. Brenda’s message was very much about how to bounce back from difficult times and how the world of business is a continuous learning experience. Brenda ended with some tips on how to go from work – to – party at Christmas and how to achieve that much sought after party hair and make-up look in minutes.


Petra Wolsey, Marketing Manager of the Beanchor Group, was the third speaker of the evening, speaking of her career from waitressing initially and working her way through the ranks in a Company which hires over 300 people and runs some of the most successful bars and restaurants in Belfast. With over 50% of female representation on the Beanchor payroll, Petra is acutely aware of the importance of flexible working and the benefit of finding working solutions for both employee and management. Petra finished by reminding everyone of the importance of taking some ‘me’ time over the Christmas break and where better to relax than the beautiful spa at the Merchant hotel


Finishing off the speakers session, Ruth Wilson spoke of how the passion she had for decorating as a young girl who moved house 8 times, has developed into her business, Beaufort Interiors www. which has seen her design homes for the rich and famous, as well as some royal clients! Ruth had prepared a beautiful display to demonstrate some options for decorating your home for the Christmas season.

Before and after the speakers guests had the opportunity to purchase from an array of products at the ‘UB Christmas fair’ ranging from flowers, gifts and cards, beauty products, jewellery, home made cakes and pastries, fabric goods, prints and chocolate. Check out each of our stall holders at their websites / facebook pages as listed:






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