Business events can be overly formal and dry, but there was something for everyone to take away from the range of speakers: Phil Prendergast MEP, Julia Lynes of Network Ireland, EMC HR Director Sarah Abbott, ICT Director of Cork City Council Ruth Buckley, Aine Collins TD, fashion designer Heidi Higgins, incoming Cork Chamber President Gillian Keating, and the inimitable Jane Maas, who in her 80s had more energy than most of us in the room.
It’s shorthand to call speakers ‘inspirational’ these days, but the career stories and advice of every one of these women had something in it that we could all apply to our own lives.
The sense of encouragement and wanting to help other women in their own careers was really palpable in the room, and it was one of the best business events I’ve ever been at.
People often wonder aloud to me what the point of women-only networking groups is. After hearing the stories from women there who have attended bigger, better known business events where they left because they were being ogled and groped, or because there was so much one-upmanship going on, or ‘boys club’ dynamics where everything hinged on a tackle in a schools rugby match in 1980, I’ve been reminded that there is a point.
Networking’s meant to be about support and finding people you trust that you can do business with – the point isn’t necessarily that those people are women, it’s that they are all there with the same intentions as you.
On a separate note, I’m looking forward to MCing Damien Mulley’s Stories.ie conference later this month in the beautiful surrounds of Triskel Christchurch, and am available to MC or speak at other events – please send me a tweet or an email to enquire or book.