Winners of West Cork Businesswoman of the Year Awards announced

There were three winners of this year's awards
Winners of West Cork Businesswoman of the Year Awards announced

Network Ireland West Cork Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2022 Winners. Left to right, Sharon Huggard, (The Style Coach) Winner of the Emerging New Businesswoman Category, Majella Galvin, (DNG Galvin) Winner of the Employee Shining Star Category and the Power Within Champion Category and Anna Groniecka (Anna Groniecka Photography) Winner of the Creative Professional Category. Photo by theheadshotguy.ie

NETWORK Ireland West Cork (NIWC) revealed the inspiring branch winners for the Businesswoman of the Year Awards at a special ceremony at Glebe Gardens, Baltimore.

The branch winners will be entered into the national awards, the winners of which will be revealed at the Network Ireland National Conference on October 7, 2022 in Galway. Finalists from 15 branches will compete for top honours.

The winners in the various categories are:

Emerging New Businesswoman – Sharon Huggard

Sharon Huggard, a pioneering style coach who empowers women to express their authentic style and boost their body confidence. Her innovative approach merges personal style and personal development—through life coaching and NLP/QTT—to uniquely help women find freedom from weighing their self-worth on the scales.

Sharon has over 12 years of experience in styling women, enabling transformations for her clients with how they look on the outside and feel on the inside.

Sharon Huggard
Sharon Huggard

Having previously worked in the financial services industry for 14 years, Sharon draws on her personal and professional experiences to help women find freedom from hiding and holding themselves back.

Sharon has spent years defining her self-worth by the reading on the scales and she declares ‘enough is enough’. 

Her clients come from every sector of society, politics, media, corporate world, busy mums, but their neuroses are the same. 

“I’m very conscious of the value placed on weight and size and I want to help shift that negative, debilitating mindset to one of acceptance,” said Sharon. 

“We can’t keep deferring our happiness until our weight is perfect,” she said.

Her philosophy is 'we all rise together' and she is an active member of Network Ireland West Cork who are avid advocates for women in business.

Creative Professional - Anna Groniecka

With more than 15 years of experience across commercial and fashion, weddings, corporate headshots and portraits, Anna is known as a “photographer’s photographer,” widely respected in her field. Her creative approach to storytelling through images got the attention of news outlets who became her clients, such as RSVP and Image magazines, The Echo, The Southern Star and West Cork People. She’s also one of the official photographers for NIWC.

Her creativity also came to play during the pandemic, where she used the challenge as an opportunity to expand her skills and start planning for online business streams, such as developing photography workshops and courses.

Anna Groniecka
Anna Groniecka

As a solopreneur who emigrated to Ireland from Poland, Anna’s rise in community is testament to her resilience, business vision and determination. She encourages women to follow their dream despite what naysayers might say.

 “When you want to launch a business, you won’t always get a lot of encouragement from others—either due to their own fears or insecurities,” said Anna. “Don’t let people project their limiting thoughts on you and cut your wings. See everything as a challenge and surround yourself with supportive people like the women at NIWC so you can spread your wings.” 

In last year’s awards, Anna received a Highly Commended award in the Power Within Category in 2021 and serves as a Network Ireland mentor. She recently joined the NIWC committee as a social media officer.

Employee Shining Star & Power Within Champion - Majella Galvin 

For the first time in NIWC history, a candidate has won two categories in the same year; chartered estate agent and valuer Majella Galvin of DNG Galvin has snatched wins in both the Employee Shining Star &Power Within Champion categories!

Majella’s drive, success and passion for supporting people throughout their property journey in a male-dominated industry has earned her a reputation as a role model for women—hence her win as an Employee Shining Star. Her determination after a 15-year eating disorder battle represents the inspiring grit that helped her earn the win in the Power Within category this year.

“I hope my win is a reminder to women that no matter what challenges you face, you can always rise up again,” said Majella, who is also a mentor at Network Ireland.

Majella Galvin
Majella Galvin

“This award represents how persistence and a positive attitude were key to overcoming adversity in my life. Joining NIWC has been a phenomenal support in both a personal and professional level in my journey. My philosophy for success is that you can do anything if you set your mind to it. Obstacles are just building blocks along your route—they make you stronger.” 

While looking for this year’s winners, the judging panel sought women who understand business, who are passionate about their career/business, and show a determination to succeed no matter what life throws at them. 

The judges—West Cork business experts who are renowned leaders in their corporate and entrepreneurial sectors—were:

Linda Coleman, Branch Manager AIB Dunmanway, a personal, business and corporate banking and insurance company.

Jackie Gowran, Founder of Business Weaving, a business coaching practice blending traditional business training with a holistic, intuitive approach.

Adam Walsh, General Manager, JJ Field & Co supermarket, and Director at Ludgate Skibbereen, an innovative co-working space.

NIWC President Marie Wiseman of Wiser Marketing said she’s thrilled that more women are overcoming their reluctance to shine the spotlight on their accomplishments.

“We’re so proud of the winners and all the women who entered this year, and I know our champions will be the ones to beat at nationals,” said Wiseman. 

“Our goal with awards like this is to encourage women to inspire one another to own their accomplishments and raise their visibility. Supporting each other is critical to reversing gender bias and ensuring women have equal pay and opportunities in the workforce—and when you have a solid network around you like Network Ireland West Cork, then anything is possible.

“I would like to pay particular thanks to our three esteemed judges, all of whom have volunteered a lot of their limited personal time to thoughtfully review and assess all entries,” said Wiseman. 

“It says a lot about their investment in the West Cork community and its future, which will be ever brighter by encouraging innovation and leadership through awards like these.” 

Network Ireland West Cork would also like to thank AIB, the official partner for the NIWC Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2022. A special raffle was held to raise funds for the official charity, West Cork Women Against Violence Project.

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