Anne Donaghy dedicated her award to her late sister - 'The best businesswoman I knew'

‘Leitir woman’ Anne Donaghy has won the Outstanding Management and Leadership award at this year’s Northern Ireland Women in Business Awards.

The region’s top businesswomen were celebrated for their achievements at a ceremony in the Crowne Plaza Belfast.

Anne, Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, was nominated due to her passion for investment, innovation, job creation and growing the economy of Mid and East Antrim, and Northern Ireland.

Anne, who has a home in Drumlaghdrid, spent much of her childhood in Donegal and remains very much part of the local community, with a number of family and friends from the area and her partner, Michael Bonner from Ballincurry, Doochary.

Anne Donaghy won the Outstanding Management and Leadership award at this year’s Northern Ireland Women in Business Awards.

Under the direction of Elected Members, Anne is currently leading the creation of an ecosystem of advanced manufacturing in Mid and East Antrim, as well as delivering multi-million pound transformative projects through Belfast Region City Deal.

Anne has also played a key role in the now Graham-led bid for a Heathrow Logistics Hub – a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create 5,000 jobs and secure £5bn for the Northern Ireland economy.

She said: “I extend a personal thank you to all those who have helped me over the years within a professional, community and family environment.

“I am truly privileged to be the Chief Executive of a great Council with excellent staff and Elected Members that take real leadership decisions and have the same passion as I do for this borough.

“I truly value the strong relationships that I hold with businesses and the community, and it is our working together that makes us one of the most resilient, successful and top-performing areas in Northern Ireland.”

Anne is clear her inspiration remains her two sisters.

She added: “My late sister, Geraldine, was the best businesswoman I knew, and I learned so much from her, including how to run a business, and more importantly how to build relationships with people and to understand the success of any business is about the people within it.

“I am proud to dedicate this award to her, as without her support I very much doubt I would be where I am today. She is sadly missed by so many people and is a great loss not only to me, but to the business community with which she worked so well.

“My youngest sister Kathleen remains my best friend in life. She is the most exceptional, generous and kind lady that I know.

“I thank her for her inspiration, support and her honesty. She truly is my backbone.

“I regularly go back to Leitir. It has a truly special place in my heart and I love to spend time with the people that I love and cherish when I’m there.”

This year’s Awards, now in their ninth year, brought together female entrepreneurs and businesswomen from a diverse range of disciplines, to acknowledge and congratulate them on their hard work, dedication and success.

Sponsored by Virgin Media Business for the second consecutive year, the Awards received 185 submissions and honoured 16 inspiring women and one outstanding business organisation.