Cork women finalists in Businesswoman of Year Awards

The Network Ireland Businesswoman of the Year awards take place this Friday. ELAINE DUGGAN looks at Cork’s representation at the event
Cork women finalists in Businesswoman of Year Awards

Network Cork Businesswoman of the Year Award winners Cathy Fitzgibbon, The Culinary Celt, Noella Carroll, Pinnaklo, Sandra Looney, To Have and To Hold, Aoife Behan, The Montenotte Hotel, Gillian Roche, GE Healthcare, Orla McAndrew, Orla McAndrew Food, Sinead O'Flynn, Health 4 U, and Diane Higgins, Diane Higgins Design pictured with Maria Desmond, Network Cork President and Ingrid Seim, Awards Coordinator. The regional winners go forward to the national finals this Friday. Picture: Gerard McCarthy 

CORK will be well represented at the Network Ireland Conference and Businesswoman of the Year Awards this week.

More than 70 women from across all industries – including 11 from Cork, have been choosen as finalists. The event will take place in Galway’s Saltill Hotel this Friday, October 7.

The keynote speakers include Sharon Keegan, founder and CEO of Peachylean.com, a female led brand empowering women to love their bodies; Business Development Manager and Coach, Claire Scanlon; and Steven Wilkinson, founder of Good and Prosper.

The Irishwoman who was the first female to become head coach of a professional men’s team in Ireland and the UK has joined the line-up for the conference. Lisa Fallon currently works at the highest level of world football, in FIFA’s Global Football Development Division as part of Arsene Wenger’s technical team.

Panellists include the first female Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Nancy Smyth; RTÉ’s Eoin McGee; Marion Finnegan, Chief Economist, Sherry Fitzgerald; and Diane Nevin, CEO of GDT Health Network.

The gala occasion is the highlight event in the Network Ireland calendar and will be hosted by Irish broadcaster and writer Mary Kennedy.

She said: “It is an honour to be asked to host the much anticipated Network Ireland National conference and Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2022. I have had the privilege of meeting and being inspired by some wonderful female entrepreneurs over the years.

“What I admire most about Network Ireland is how the members believe in each other and push each other to rise to whatever challenge is facing them.

“There is something incredibly powerful about being surrounded by people who want you to succeed. I’m really looking forward to meeting businesswomen from all over Ireland at the event in Salthill in October.”

Enterprise Ireland is the event partner for the gathering. The conference takes place from 9am to 4.15pm and the audience will enjoy a programme packed full of expert business insights, real-world advice and entertainment.

Network Ireland West Cork Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2022 Winners. L to R 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. Picture: theheadshotguy.ie
Network Ireland West Cork Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2022 Winners. L to R 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. Picture: theheadshotguy.ie

The conference will be followed by the Businesswoman of the Year awards which get underway at 6.30pm. A total of 350 applicants put their names forward for the awards through 14 regional branches of Network Ireland, and a hectic season of selection events across the country in recent months has resulted in the selection of 71 finalists going forward to October’s event.

A fundraising raffle will be held at the event in aid of Network Ireland’s charity partner for 2022, ACT for Meningitis, as well as child loss project Rosabel’s Rooms. A charity swim is also due to take place the following morning from Blackrock in Salthill.

Network Ireland’s National President, Noreen McKenzie, said: “After two years of virtual and hybrid events, there is great excitement about celebrating in-person once again, which shows by how quickly our tickets sold out this year.

“Our Annual Conference and Businesswoman of the Year Awards is Network Ireland’s flagship event and we are delighted to be working with Enterprise Ireland as event partner once again. We’re preparing a fantastic line-up of keynote speakers who will be sharing their expert views, experiences and insights covering the important topics for ambitious businesswomen.”

This year’s awards are divided into 8 categories:

  • Emerging New Business
  • Solo Businesswoman
  • Established Businesswoman
  • Creative Professional
  • STEM Professional
  • Employee - Rising Star
  • Employee - Shining Star
  • ‘Power Within’ Champion - this award was first introduced in 2020 and is the only one open to all members who have used the power within themselves to great impact.

AIB is the Official National Partner of Network Ireland and has supported the organisation since 2013.

Representing Network Ireland Cork in the final will be:

  • Solo Businesswoman: Cathy Fitzgibbon, The Culinary Celt
  • Emerging New Businesswoman: Noella Carroll, Pinnaklo
  • Established Businesswoman: Sandra Looney, To Have and To Hold
  • Rising Star Employee: Aoife Behan, The Montenotte Hotel
  • Shining Star Employee: Gillian Roche, GE Healthcare
  • Creative Professional: Orla McAndrew, Orla McAndrew Food
  • STEM: Sinead O’Flynn, Health 4 U
  • Diane Higgins, Dian Higgins Design, Power Within

Representing Network Ireland West Cork will be:

  • Emerging New Businesswoman – Sharon Huggard, stylist and body confidence coach
  • Creative Professional - Anna Groniecka, photographer
  • Employee Shining Star & Power Within Champion - Majella Galvin, chartered estate agent and valuer

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