Women in Business recognised outstanding business women from across Northern Ireland at the 8th Annual Women in Business Awards.
The prestigious gala awards celebrate the dedication, achievements and talent of female business women and this year the awards received an impressive number of submissions from a diverse cross-section of high calibre women and organisations.
Fourteen inspirational women and one organisation were acknowledged for their outstanding contribution to business in Northern Ireland with Elaine Birchall receiving the accolade of Business Woman of the Year 2018, sponsored by Virgin Media Business.
Elaine has been Chief Executive Officer at SHS Group since 2014 following two decades of international business experience. Throughout her career Elaine has directed finance, supply chain and general management operations for organisations based in the US, South Pacific, Europe, the UK and Africa. She currently has responsibility for developing and growing SHS across its divisions and is widely recognised as an inspirational leader in her field.
To celebrate the 100 Anniversary of Suffrage, a Special Lifetime Achievement Award, was awarded to Monica McWilliams. Monica has filled many roles and fulfilled many duties throughout her impressively rich and long career as a politician, Human Rights defender and professor, giving women a voice over many years.
The winners include:
- Award for Excellence in IT. Adrienne Hanna, Right Revenue Ltd. (Sponsored by The Irish News)
- Award for Best Marketing Campaign. Olga Lynch, The Transfer Tutor (Sponsored by Kaizen Print)
- Award for Best in Professional Services (Corporate). Aideen Duggan, Keenan Healthcare. (Sponsored by Grafton Recruitment)
- Award for Best in Professional Services (Individual). Tracey Schofield, A&L Goodbody. (Sponsored by Grafton Recruitment)
- Award for Best New Start Up. Katie Matthews, Excel In Education Tutoring School Ltd (Sponsored by Go For It)
- Award for Best Customer Service (Corporate). Noreen Courtney, Bombardier Belfast (Sponsored by RSA)
- Award for Best Customer Service (Individual). Claire Stewart, Cartmill Stewart & Co Chartered Accountants (Sponsored by RSA)
- Award for Outstanding Innovation. Cara Macklin, Macklin Care Homes & Malone Lodge Hotel (sponsored by First Trust Bank)
- Corporate Award for Advancing Diversity in the Workplace (Corporate). Allstate Northern Ireland (Sponsored by Queen’s University Belfast)
- Individual Award for Advancing Diversity in the Workplace (Individual). Vicky Davies, Danske Bank UK (Sponsored by Queen’s University Belfast)
- Award for Best Small Business. Claire Hunter, Marine Hotel Ballycastle (Sponsored by Danske Bank)
- Award for Outstanding Management and Leadership. Maeve Monaghan, NOW Group. (Sponsored by Fleet Financial)
- Award for Young Business Woman of the Year 2018. Deirdre Lynch, Vector Improvements Ltd. (Sponsored by Ulster Bank)
- Business Woman of the Year 2018. Elaine Birchall. (Sponsored by Virgin Media Business)
Chief Executive of Women in Business Roseann Kelly commented, “We are thrilled to honour all our finalists and winners through this awards ceremony and I am delighted that their amazing achievements are being acknowledged. All the women who entered have proven themselves to be highly skilled in their field and demonstrated tremendous determination and passion for what they do. I would like to congratulate each one of our winners on their award tonight and wish them every success for their future endeavours.
“Women are often reluctant to put themselves forward for acknowledgement and are humble about their abilities and talents. This is why celebrating and highlighting the inspirational women at these awards is so important. It promotes positive recognition of women in our society and in turn, encourages others to strive to achieve their goals.”
Tamara McMillen, Executive Sales Director, Virgin Media Business continued, “There is no greater recognition than that which comes from colleagues and peers, and all the Woman In Business Awards 2018 winners should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved.
“I’m delighted to say that at Virgin Media Business, we are not only championing diversity and inclusion but are also seeking to do our part to achieve diversity balance in our workplace. The partnership we share with Women In Business Awards is invaluable in accomplishing this and overcoming obstacles within and across industries”.
As well as rewarding excellence, the evening also sought to inspire women to continue to challenge stereotypes and continue to strive for success. Finalists and guests were addressed by keynote speaker U.S. Consul General and former Department of State’s Director for Press Operations, Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau.
Commenting on the level of accomplishment, U.S. Consul General Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau said, “I am honoured to be attending the awards event tonight, along with so many dedicated, successful and inspirational women.”