Network Ireland is a non-profit, voluntary organisation, with 1,000 members and fifteen dynamic branches around the country. With the main aim of supporting the professional development of women, 2018 President Roseann Heavey explains why this years theme of paying it forward will reap rewards for all its members.
What is Network Ireland and what can someone expect from membership?
Established in 1983, Network Ireland’s membership is made up of a very diverse group of women, from budding entrepreneurs, SME owners, professionals and leaders in indigenous and multinational organisations, non-profits, charities, arts and the public sector.
We have a strong voice and are interested in promoting diversity and equality, entrepreneurship and leadership development and we aim to collaborate with like-minded people and organisations.
Network Ireland is unique in the fact that it offers support, mentoring and confidence building for women, in particular those starting in business or returning to the workplace.
Our overall aims are to:
- Provide a forum where professional women can exchange ideas and increase business contacts
- Encourage women to achieve more satisfying careers
- Market the skills and expertise of Network members
- Promote women as worthy contributors to the Irish economy and decision-making bodies
- Liaise with National and International Organisations
- Create Links into Government and State Bodies
- Promote a high standard of ethics in business
- Promote the welfare of the community through the joint effort of members.
As a voluntary organisation all committee members, nationally and at branch level, give freely of their time to coordinate and manage events, speakers, and our flagship national events. The funding needed to run the best possible events for our members is achieved through membership fees and financial partnerships with public and private bodies. Network Ireland provides a forum in which new and established business women can develop professional and personal contacts to ensure that their contribution and influence is recognised as a vital force in business and in society.
Network Ireland is unique in the fact that it offers support, mentoring and confidence building for women, in particular those starting in business or returning to the workplace. Members can develop and pool their individual skills through interaction and collaboration with other women in a supportive environment which offers training, mentoring and an opportunity to tap into the skills and specialist expertise of other members.
With our new mentor programme we now have over 200 hours of mentoring available
What are your goals for Network Ireland this year?
Network Ireland flourished during 2017. The organisation is 35 years established and there are now 15 branches nationwide. With our new mentor programme we now have over 200 hours of mentoring available. And so much more is going on behind the scenes. The national executive committee and all our volunteers around the country are working tirelessly to ensure we protect the Network Ireland brand while striving to be Irelands leading national organisation that all women aspire to be part of.
2018 is about ‘paying it forward’. We want each of our members to continue to make connections and to refer business, we want them to mentor, to give back and always think in the back of your mind-how can I help this person I have just met. Who do I know that can help them?
We are firm believers that good things happen to good people and if everyone pays it forward, it will come full circle and something good will, without doubt, happen to you in return.
Applications are now open for the Network Ireland Business Women of the Year Awards; who should apply and what are you looking for this year?
Any of our members that meet the criteria should apply. It is one of the best experiences they will have. We encourage all members to review the categories they could apply within and the terms and conditions. Speak to the branch presidents about applying and do not be shy. We have members of such excellent calibre and experience. The judges are always looking for women who can showcase their business and tell their story. We are here to get you the recognition you deserve so get applying now. This year we have a new award – best use of digital in your business. We recognise that so many businesses are going digital and want to open up the competition here to give our members an additional chance to apply.
Tell us about your partnership with Enterprise Ireland and what attendees can expect from your upcoming ‘Fuelling Ambition’ roadshow.
Three years ago, we came together with Enterprise Ireland as we both wanted to create something new and diverse and something female entrepreneurs would get benefit from. Our mission continues to be to drive, support and encourage our members to constantly push themselves outside of their comfort zone. I know there will be many looking forward to the very popular pitch competition at the event, but the fact that we have a masterclass organised as well as vital tips from experienced female entrepreneurs promises to be a very exciting couple of weeks for us all as we travel around the country to the various locations.
For more information on Network Ireland visit http://www.networkireland.ie
For details on the Fuelling Ambition Roadshow see https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/Events/OurEvents/Fuelling-Ambition-Roadshows/Fuelling-Ambition-Roadshows.html