A networking lunch brought leading Donegal women in business together at Castle Grove on Tuesday 21st November.

Ambitious local women were invited to gather for Bank of Ireland’s National Enterprise Week and learn from key speakers about scaling their business.

Donegal Bank of Ireland Business specialist Marjorie Morrison welcomed some 70 women to the lunch and introduced energizing talks from four diverse speakers, who are all at different stages in their careers.

Guest speakers for National Enterprise Week event “Donegal Women -Scaling your Business Network”. L-R: Nikki Bradley, Marjorie Morrison, Mary Coughlan, Deirdre McGlone and Joann Hosey. Photo: Brian McDaid

In her talk, Mary Coughlan acknowledged that she was in a very powerful room of businesswomen. The former Tánaiste and TD now works as a consultant and shared an insight into her 23 years in politics.

Mary was elected to Dail Eireann as one of the youngest-ever TDs in 1987. She described how she cut her teeth in local council and encouraged women considering political life to recognise experience in local authority as an important stepping stone.

‘Take opportunities as they come’ and ‘take experience from failure’ were the messages Mary had to share.

“Take risks, but be assured and confident that you are competent,” she said.

Former Tanaiste, Mary Coughlan. Photo Clive Wasson

Nikki Bradley. Photo: Brian Mc Daid

Motivational speaker Nikki Bradley is an adaptive adventurer who emboldened her audience to overcome their own challenges.

Nikki is a young cancer survivor who has undergone two hip replacements. She has endured many setbacks and now faces the prospect of a total leg amputation. However, the spirited woman told of how she manages to pick herself up and push herself physically and mentally in impressive challenges.

“When faced with a setback you either sink or swim,” she said. Nikki took the leap to set up her own business – The Motivation Factory – this summer, and said that despite all her adventures leaving full-time employment was the scariest thing she had done.

Nikki told everyone to remember the date – November 21st – and set themselves a goal to be completed by November 21st 2018. In this way, every woman in the room will have a guaranteed sense of achievement. “There is huge potential in every single one of you,” she said.

Mary Coughlan and Deirdre McGlone. Photo: Rachel McLaughlin. DonegalWoman.ie

Deirdre McGlone shared her success story just hours after being named as runner-up for Entrepreneur of the Year in the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year awards.

The Harvey’s Point Hotelier said there has never been a better time to be a woman in business in Donegal.

She shared the love story of Harvey’s Point and the ups and downs of running the highly-regarded hotel over the years.

Success in business, Deirdre said, was about knowing where you want to go with future goals. She shared her own mission for Harvey’s Point, which is a three-part process of having happy customers, happy staff and continued reinvention while keeping true to their ethos of providing a ‘Cead Míle Failte’.

Bank of Ireland team pictured with special guest speaker Joann Hosey Provincial Director Bank of Ireland for the National Enterprise Week at Castle Grove House. Photo: Brian Mc Daid

Joann Hosey, Provincial Director of Bank of Ireland had many tips for working mothers on integrating family life and work life.

Joann shared six steps to building superior confidence in business and had many motivation messages for achieving goals.

Special presentations were made to local business leaders who recently received awards. Sandra Devenney of McElhinneys was named Ireland’s Manager of the Year by Retail Excellence Ireland, while Mary T Sweeney of Castle Grove won a place in the Hall of Fame at the Letterkenny Business Awards 2017. Mary T, Karoline Sweeney and all the Castle Grove staff had provided a fantastic lunch and welcome reception for all the guests at the event.

The theme of the event was ‘Scaling Your Business’ and guests were encouraged to set their sights on new heights in their work and businesses. Bank of Ireland team members from across the many Donegal branches were on hand with expert advice on finance and opportunities.

Bank of Ireland Staff, Seamus Ferry, Yvonne Boal, Laura Gallagher, Majella Henry, Carmel Brennan and Jimmy Stafford at the Bank of Ireland National Enterprise week Women in Business Lunch at Castle Grove Country House Hotel. Photo Clive Wasson

Bank of Ireland’s 17th National Enterprise Week events will continue until November 24th for all SMEs with an interest in growing their business.

Each National Enterprise Week event has been carefully planned to support specific industry sectors with experts on hand to speak about everything from trends, forecasts and opportunities to personal relevant business experience. The aim of the initiative is to promote and drive momentum for businesses in areas such as manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, agri, finance, fisheries and export markets.

Check out more photos from the event below:

Patrica McGinley, Loretto McEniff, Lucia Wurth and Marjorie Morrison. Photo Clive Wasson

Sandra Devenney, Vikie Kee and Caroline O’Boyle. Photo Clive Wasson

Kathryn Bonnar, Joeleen McEhinney, Gillian McGough and Patrica Treacy. Photo Clive Wasson

Liz Sullivan, BOI, Buncrana, Sarah Gillespie, Rinci and Andrena Lynch, Bank of Ireland. Photo Clive Wasson

Guests at the Bank of Ireland National Enterprise week Women in Business Lunch at Castle Grove Country House Hotel. Photo Clive Wasson

Photo:  DonegalWoman.ie

Nora Friel principal of Loreto Secondary School and Lisa Mc Gowan, Loreto. Photo: Brian Mc Daid

Guest at Castlegrove for the Bank Of Ireland enterprise week. Included Jolene Mc Elhinney, Mc Elhinney & Associates, Toni Forrester, Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce, Yvonne Boal, Bank of Ireland, Letterkenny and Catherine Bonner, representing Sinead Bradley Solicitors Letterkenny

Deidre Bradley Carndonagh with Marjorie Morrison at Castle Grove House. Photo: Brian Mc Daid

Laura Gallagher, Marjorie Morrison and Carmel Brennan from the Bank of Ireland team who welcomed guests to the National Enterprise Week at Castlegrove. Photo: Brian Mc Daid

Mary Sweeney from Castle Grove House welcomes guest speaker, Former T‡naiste, Mary Coughlan to the National Enterprise Week.

Guest at the National Enterprise Week event at Castlegrove House. Photo: Brian Mc Daid