“It’s your attitude not aptitude that determines your altitude” – NI Chamber President says confidence is key to being heard in the boardroom
Positive mentorship, confident decision making and how to achieve work life balance were the key talking points at a unique ‘Women in Business’ networking evening hosted by First Trust Bank in Belfast.
Supported by Women in Business NI, over 120 local business leaders gathered to hear from one of Northern Ireland’s most-well known business figures, Ellvena Graham. Now enjoying a portfolio career, Ellvena is currently chair of the Electricity Supply Board, the Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall Ltd Board as well as the President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce after more than 30 years with Ulster Bank.
With almost 20 questions from the floor over the course of an hour, Ellvena gave a frank recollection of her career to date including advice on how to deal with negativity, getting the most from a mentorship, and the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Speaking at the event in First Trust Bank’s University Road branch, Ellvena Graham said;
"The old adage of ‘it’s your attitude not aptitude that determines your altitude’ rings true to me. Over the course of my career to date, I’ve seen how greater diversity boosts creativity and productivity, so it’s vital that our up-and-coming local business women have the confidence to excel in their chosen fields."
“While women need to take pride and encouragement from their own skillset and trust in their abilities, our business leaders and boardrooms need to ask themselves, ‘are you a radiator or are you a drain?’ We want workplaces that radiate positivity, not drain energy. This is what I’ve found crucial to nurturing an environment of inclusivity and with it, growth.”
Donna Wilson, Head of Customer Advocacy, First Trust Bank added;
“Companies and economies are at their most competitive when they harness the talent of all individuals irrespective of gender, and it was evident from the open and frank discussion at our women in business event, that diversity remains a boardroom issue for many of our local leaders.
“At First Trust Bank we too want to ensure we are reflective of the communities we serve and to that end, we support the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, an initiative designed to achieve a more balanced, representative and fair financial services industry as well as our own 50-50 gender balance at managerial level by 2020. We were delighted to facilitate a lively Q+A with Ellvena and share diversity and inclusion experiences.”
Guests also raised support for the MS Society NI at the networking evening - a charity which provides care and services to people living with multiple sclerosis and their families.