8 March 2018
Department for Communities events on International Women’s Day to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918 came to a close with the Successful Women event. Celebrating the success, drive and determination of women in Northern Ireland, this event brought together participants and presenters to share challenging questions, insights and solutions.
The event was hosted by Tracey Magee and started out with a segment entitled ‘Stepping into the Light’ in which women spoke for one minute on a topic to uplift and encourage the group.
Debbie Mehaffey, life coach, spoke on the topic of ‘Your Greater Self’, encouraging the women assembled to stop listening to the small doubting voice and be open to the magnificence that is possible. She ended her section by speaking to the poem ‘And still I rise’ by Maya Angelou.
Under the title of ‘Madame Speaker will take the chair’, Eileen Bell talked of the worries of taking on the role of the first female Speaker in the Assembly and what she did to rise to meet the challenge.
Shirley McCay, Senior Irish hockey player and the most capped female sports star in Ireland, took the floor to talk of how personal dedication mattered but could not flourish without team work under the title of ‘Players play, teams win’.
‘Looking forward’ was identified by Mandy Patrick MBE, director of the Park Avenue Hotel, in making changes, being confident of choices and an effective leader
Finally, the Programme Director of Politics Plus, Joanne Jennings, spoke of the forthcoming work of The Next Chapter.
The event moved on to a panel discussion which threw a spotlight on success, growing future female leaders in all areas of society and shaping a future built on equality.
Panel members consisted of Paula Bradley MLA, Chair of the Assembly Women’s Caucus; Laura Briggs, Entrepreneur and owner of Jack Straw’s Board Game Café; Megan Fearon MLA, Deputy Chair of the Assembly Women’s Caucus; Prof Deirdre Heenan, academic, author and political commentator; Breedagh Hughes, NI Director or the Royal College of Midwives; Laure James, sports journalist and UEFA consultant; and Dr Jennifer McKinley, Director of Research at QUB, President of the International Association of Mathematical Geoscientists and STEMinist.
The illustrious panel of women shared their experiences and advice in achieving excellence and a panel of expert women – from sports, academia, health, media, STEM, politics and business will invite questions from the audience.