Four Months To Go Until IoD NI Women’s Leadership Conference

The Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland has joined forces once again with leading law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills, to launch the 2024 Women’s Leadership Conference.

Returning to Belfast’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on Friday 8th March, the conference is expected to be another sell-out event, attracting over 500 delegates and participants.

The theme for the 2024 event is from former COO of Meta, Sheryl Sanberg, “In the future, there will be no female leaders, there will just be leaders” and attendees will be asked to consider how they can commit to this aim within their own businesses and organisations.

Headlining the 2024 conference will be journalist and campaigner, Mariella Frostrup. Known for her appearances on Panorama, hosting Open Book on BBC Radio 4 and her role as The Observer newspaper’s resident Agony Aunt, in recent years Mariella has become increasingly involved in advocacy work, campaigning for equal rights and women’s causes in particular.

She is a Gender Ambassador for Save the Children, a Founder Trustee of The Great Initiative, a gender equality charity, and a long-term supporter of Comic Relief.

Delegates in the room will perhaps be most interested in hearing her discuss her best-selling book ‘Cracking the Menopause’, which Mariella co-authored with writer Alice Smellie, and learning more about the work she has done to encourage more women to come forward and seek out the support they need to navigate this phase of their life.

Joining Mariella on the line-up will be acclaimed chef and former Great British Menu contest, Danni Barry. Now Executive Head Chef at Ballynahinch Castle in County Galway, Danni is only the second ever Irish woman to hold a Michelin star and was named Irish Chef of the Year in 2016.

IoD NI National Director, Kirsty McManus, is confident both Danni, Mariella, and the other speakers will inspire attendees and give a new perspective on leadership.

“Once again, we are proud to have put together such a strong line-up of speakers, and with more names still to be announced, it’s sure to be a fantastic event thanks to the support of all our sponsors and partners.

“For many female business leaders, the IoD NI Women’s Leadership Conference is one of the stand out events of the year and it’s great to see so many organisations and individuals returning to the conference year after year.

“Times are changing though and there is a recognition that to enact meaningful change we need to have everyone in the room, listening and participating in these important conversations. This is why we want to see more men coming along and learning about the steps they can take to support their female colleagues on a leadership journey. If we do want to secure a future where we only see leaders, and no longer need to define them by their gender, then the work starts now, and we all have a role to play.”

Lisa McLaughlin, Managing Partner of headline sponsor HSF’s Belfast office, is looking forward to collaborating with the team at IoD NI to deliver another excellent event.

“This will be the 6th year HSF has supported the Women’s Leadership Conference, and we are proud to have contributed to its phenomenal success. The conference is a real opportunity to focus on the importance of effective leadership for successful businesses. We get to learn from, and see examples of, the best practices of other organisations – and also to shine a light on the amazing initiatives we have introduced in our own firm. We also benefit from the opportunity to nurture and develop the leaders our firm is building for the future.

“We are looking forward to working with the IoD NI team over the coming months to deliver a truly first-class event, and reconnecting with all the wonderful leaders we have met over the years.”

Also returning in 2024 will be the 8th ‘Pitch Perfect’ competition where female-led startups take to the stage for a live pitching competition with audience members voting on who should take home the £4,000 prize.

Tickets are available to purchase now from the IoD NI website and more information about speakers and running order will be posted on the IoD NI’s social media channels.As well as Herbert Smith Freehills, other sponsors include NIE Networks; KPMG; Danske Bank; Henry Brothers; SONI and Translink.

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