The Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Women In Business networks from Dublin City and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Boards joined forces for the fifth consecutive year to celebrate International Women’s Day on Thursday the 6th of March at the Alexander hotel in Dublin city centre.
Having attended last year and been so impressed with the event, my expectations were high this year. I was not disappointed. MC Barbara Moynihan, On Your Feet Training, was the perfect hostess and kept a tight ship on timings which meant that the audience got a chance to appreciate all the speakers fully.
There were 6 fabulous women in total, 3 speakers and a further 3 panelists.
1. Anne Sheehan, Enterprise Director at Vodafone
Anne Sheehan, Enterprise Director at Vodafone opened, and inspired us with how enlightened Vodafone are with their appointments of Board members. The last three appointed have been women, bringing their female leaders in top senior management to 20% in 2012/13.
2. Louise Phelan, VP of Global Operations EMEA at Paypal
Next up was the awe-inspiring Louise Phelan, VP of Global Operations EMEA at Paypal. She had us all in stitches with her down to earth attitude and very real personality. She offered a really good perspective on mentoring and told us how many of her best mentors and champions through her career had been men. She has ‘paid this forward’ and truly believes in building careers for her staff (both male and female) rather than just jobs.
3. Jean O’Sullivan, Manager, Female Entrepreneurship at Enterprise Ireland
Jean O’Sullivan, Manager, Female Entrepreneurship at Enterprise Ireland, gave us a more global perspective from her role in EI. In fact, she had just come straight from the airport having flown in from London. She told of the Women’s Co-operative bank in Cyprus, set up in 2001 by 350 women to tackle access to financial resources for female entrepreneurs. Of course they lend to both men and women, but are particularly sensitive to women’s entrepreneurial activity.
4. Sophie Morris of Kooky Dough
Opening up for the panellists was Sophie Morris of Kooky Dough, who, in between finding new international markets for her product – Thailand, UAE and the UK – and being a baking ambassador for Kerrygold, also found time to write a cookbook! A true entrepreneur, she said that we have to be true to ourselves – she never gave up on her idea because she believed so passionately in it. This passion is what is very obvious to her outsourcing partners, who are very much part of what makes the Kooky Dough operating model so successful.
5. Joanne Hession of QED Training
Joanne Hession of QED Training always wanted to run her own business and was never going to be happy until she did. She too is an author, of the best seller ‘Don’t Get a Job, Build a Business’. She’s a true mentor and motivator and told us that we need to look after ourselves – she started taking proper care of her diet, exercise and sleep a number of years ago and said it changed her life.
6. Karen Brown of Karora Cosmetics
The 26 year old Karen Brown of Karora Cosmetics was an exciting speaker to finish with. She has achieved huge success with her self- tan product line. Her official U.S. launch was in the prestigious Henri Bendel in New York and she’s off again to the U.S. next week, where her product will sell in 700 stores. Her words of advice? Never give up – even when €20,000 worth of product has to be dumped because the wrong ingredients were used! Nail biting stuff, but she took learnings from everything she did along the way which has made her the businesswoman she is today.
There was a full house on the night and I think everyone there would agree it was a fantastic way to celebrate International Women’s Day 2014.