A Belfast businesswoman is heading to California this week to take part in a worldwide event to promote female leaders in the workplace.
Marketing expert Nuala Murphy is the founder of Lean In Belfast, part of an international movement inspired by the book Lean In, published by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg in 2013.
The organisation, which aims to inspire and support women, has thousands of members across the world and more than 350 in Northern Ireland from backgrounds including business, law, medicine, construction, digital and the charity sector.
The Lean In regional leaders' conference will be held at Facebook headquarters and Stanford University this weekend. Around 40 women will take part in workshops covering issues such as gender diversity and leadership.
"Attending this conference is the opportunity of a lifetime both for me personally and for Lean In Belfast," said Nuala, who is managing director of Malone Marketing in Belfast.
"I'll be networking with corporate and community leaders and learning how they are pushing the boundaries to encourage gender equality across all industries, as well as offering women, and men, the peer support they need to advance and grow. I want to share how far the Belfast chapter has come in such a short time, creating a support network where we help each other achieve our goals, as well as our plans for the future which includes launching the wider Lean In Ireland chapter."
The conference is being co-hosted by Facebook and Nuala hopes to meet its high-profile boss.
"Our goal for the year is to get Sheryl Sandberg to visit us in Belfast," she said. "That would be so inspiring. She is a supreme businesswoman, instrumental in the success of Facebook over the past eight years as the company's COO and the first female board member elected in 2012.
"I also admire how she uses her position of influence to call out gender inequality in the workplace and through the team at the Lean In Foundation offers strategies to organisations and individuals on how to make a change. Her belief is that it's not only the right thing to do but it's good for business and the economy too."
Nuala is also hoping to connect with individuals to help take forward her female heath tech venture, Happy Mummy Happy Baby, an app to help women with perinatal depression and anxiety.
"This is a real passion for me and it's a major issue both globally and locally," said Nuala. "I experienced very bad anxiety during pregnancy but I was lucky that I had a great team around me, but what about all those women who don't have that support? I've uncovered a real opportunity to develop something that will serve an unmet need. I'm working with some local groups and charities and we're at a very early stage, but I think there's great potential."