Belfast Telegraph

Role models leading the way for women in business

Two Northern Ireland-born female directors are to headline a conference in Belfast next month focusing on the importance of advancing and developing women in leadership.

The Women's Leadership Conference organised by the Institute of Directors in partnership with the Chief Executives Forum is taking place on March 7 in the Ramada Plaza Hotel, where hundreds of local female business leaders will come together in one of the largest women's networking opportunities in the province. This year the theme of the conference is 'Leading with confidence' and delegates will be addressed by Belfast-born founder and president of globally renowned cosmetic retailer Space NK, Nicky Kinnaird MBE.

Joining the line-up is Helen Kirkpatrick, non-executive director of UTV Media plc and Kingspan plc. Helen, who was the winner of the 2013 IoD Lunn's Award of Excellence, was recently named as the UK's Non-Executive Director of the Year. "The aim of this conference is to inspire women through high achieving role models and to provide lessons for success in leadership positions," said Linda Brown, director of IoD Northern Ireland.

"Nicky Kinnaird is an international success story. When you think that Space NK started out from one small shop in London, to now having 62 stores in the UK and 23 in the USA, her story and business journey is remarkable.

"At last year's conference, nearly 70% of the 300 delegates voted against the compulsory imposition of quotas for the percentage of women on boards.

"That demonstrates to us that women want to be appointed on merit and the value they can add to a company, and not simply because businesses ought to have more female representation.

"We want delegates to come away feeling encouraged and inspired by hearing from these leading directors in the private, public and third sectors."

Belfast Telegraph