On Monday November 7th, 2022, Guaranteed Irish hosted our first ever Guaranteed Irish Business Awards Alumni Event. This private networking event brought together and celebrated all the Guaranteed Irish Members who won Awards at the Inaugural Guaranteed Irish Business Awards in March 2022.
Throughout the day, hosted in the stunning old trading floor of Euronext in Dublin's City Centre, 2 panels of special guest speakers were quizzed on the topics of "Sale, Sail or Sell", and "The Value of Irish". The morning panel, MC'd by Newstalk presenter Anton Savage, comprised of Peter Lougheed, Microsoft; Eleanor McEvoy, Entrepreneur; Niall Jones, Euronext; and Bernard Jackman, former Leinster & Ireland Rugby Player.
After opening talks from Euronext CEO Daryl Byrne and Matheson Managing Partner & Guaranteed Irish Chairperson Michael Jackson, the panel were given the opportunity to share their expert opinions and experiences relating to business management, when to sell and when not to sell, how sports management influences business, and the benefits of IPOs to Irish SMEs.
Niall Jones, Euronext said of IPOs when asked if an Irish SME should pursue the option: "absolutely do it". Bernard Jackman told fantastic stories about his own experiences in the world of professional rugby and how good managers and leaders can make a world of difference: "I was fascinated by the difference leadership can make to a group...we [Leinster] were the same team in 2008 as 2009, but we won the European Cup in 2009 with better leadership".
Eleanor McEvoy said of selling a business: "never become too emotionally attached to a business", and went on to say that the best time to sell is before the business peaks in capacity and potential, because you "have to leave something for the next person to achieve".
After a delicious lunch break in Wren, the second panel, this time MC'd by Guaranteed Irish CEO Brid O'Connell, took their seats to talk about the Irish Diaspora, and the Value of Irish. Joining Brid were Kinglsey Aikins, The Networking Institute; Melíosa O'Caoimh, Northern Trust; John Moran, RHH International; and Rosemary Steen, DCCI.
Kicking this off, Kingsley Aikins spoke wonderfully about the power of the Irish Diaspora worldwide, stating over 60million people across the globe claim Irish heritage. He has been involved in setting up organisations all over the world to promote Irish, and even recently worked with organisations in Zambia to promote their own diaspora. He said, "Zambia look to Ireland as world leaders in connecting the diaspora".
Addressing the elephant in the room of an ongoing lack of female leaders in Irish Business, Melíosa O'Caoimh spoke about her work with the 30% Club, an organisation that works towards a goal of having more than 30% of business leaders be female. She said Ireland is a great example of how the business world has changed, "in 2015, 12.5% of exec boards were female, in 2022 its 33%", although she stressed there is still more to be done and that "the reality is, more diverse teams come up with more innovative ideas".
Speaking on the value of Irish, Rosemary Steen stated: "the amazing thing about doing business in Ireland is you can expand so quickly if you access the right supports at the right time. We're still a society based on family and contacts and connections."
Guaranteed Irish would like to thank all of our panelists for joining us and sharing such inspirational stories and ideas, and to all our Awards winners for joining us for this inaugural Alumni Event. With the 2nd Guaranteed Irish Business Awards just around the corner in March 2023, we are excited to watch this Alumni Event grow year on year and look forward to welcoming even more fantastic Irish business leaders to join us next year