Network Ireland Conference & Awards 2020

Network Ireland is Ireland’s longest established and leading female focused business network. It is the go-to national women in business organisation to promote, support and lead women in business at all levels and to drive their professional and personal development.

Network Ireland will host its flagship event virtually this year from the Powerscourt Hotel on Friday 2nd October 2020.

The theme of this year’s annual conference is “Power Within”.  A host of international world-class speakers will ensure women in business have the resilience, motivation, insights and know-how to fulfil their potential and lead and inspire others.

Our MC & Keynote Speakers

Elaine Crowley - Host

TV Presenter and Journalist

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Elaine Crowley is a TV presenter and Producer with over 20 years experience in the industry. She began her career in C103 and 96FM in Cork, then joined the News Team in TV3 to work as a reporter and news anchor.

She went on to become the first female producer/presenter on Irish Daytime TV on taking over the reigns on TV3’s Midday in 2012. For the last 3 years she has presented and produced her eponymous show on Virgin Media One.

In the last Irish Film and Television Awards ceremony, Elaine was nominated in Ireland’s Favourite TV Presenter category, and for the last two years has been nominated for a VIP Style award as Ireland’s Most Stylish Woman. Elaine is one of 10 siblings from Newtwopothouse, Mallow, Co Cork.

Louise Phelan - Speaker

CEO, Phelan Energy Group Ltd; previously Vice President at PayPal

Talk Title: Pivot to Survive

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Louise spent 13 years as Vice President at PayPal leading and developing the business, taking a large performance team from 200 people to 3000 people, across multiple geographies and established green field sites in Berlin, San Paulo, Chandler and Dundalk.

Louise has delivered outstanding results for PayPal, leading a global team that processed 7.8 billion payments worth US$451billion, supporting 125 markets in Continental Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Prior to joining PayPal, Louise held several leadership positions in General Electric, in the areas of compliance, credit, sales and risk assessment & customer service. Louise started her career in James Crean Mars Distribution Limited. Louise is a board member of Ryanair and sits on the board advisory committee of Voxpro.

Adam Harris - Speaker

Founder and CEO of AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity

Talk Title: Empowering potential - The Autism-Friendly Community

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Founder and CEO of AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity. Adam founded the organisation based on his own experiences growing up on the autism spectrum.

A Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awardee, Adam is a frequent contributor to media and conferences in Ireland and overseas.

From Greystones in Co Wicklow, Adam was appointed to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in July 2020.

Pedro Angulo

Head of Leadership Development in AIB and Motivational Speaker

Talk Title: Unleashing the Power Within

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Pedro Angulo is Head of Leadership Development in AIB where he leads the design and implementation of enterprise-wide leadership development initiatives.

He is also a Programme Director of the Diploma in Strategic HRM at the IMI (Irish Management Institute), Board Member of Green Sod Ireland and member of the HRD UK advisory Board.

Pedro is passionate about creating more human, purpose led and customer-centric workplaces. A motivational speaker and regular presenter at HR, coaching, change and business conferences and events.

Keith Barry

The world’s leading TV Hypnotist, Mentalist and Brain Hacker

Talk Title: Redefine the Impossible

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As the world’s leading TV hypnotist, mentalist and brain hacker Keith Barry has been blazing a trail across the globe for many years. His mind-blowing skills have been showcased in over forty international television shows. Keith also worked as chief mentalist and hypnotist consultant for the blockbuster movies, Now You See Me 1 & 2.

Keith has written, produced and performed many of his own stage shows over the last fifteen years and has sold out venues across the globe. He has presented his keynote speech ‘Mind Magic’ at places such as The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and his TED Talk has been in the top twenty-five TED Talks of all time.

As a mind coach Keith has also worked with many world class athletes, business people, influencers and actors to assist them in achieving peak performance.

Caroline Casey

Founder #valuable & The Valuable 500

Talk Title: Defined By Nothing

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Caroline Casey is an award-winning social entrepreneur and founder of The Valuable 500 – a catalyst for an inclusion revolution that exists to position disability equally on the global business leadership agenda.

Committed to building a global movement on inclusive business for the 1.3 billion people in the world with a disability, over the past two decades she has set up several organisations and initiatives centred on disability business inclusion.

The Valuable 500 is a campaign to get 500 businesses to commit to put disability inclusion on their leadership agendas. Launched in 2019, Casey succeeded in bringing disability inclusion onto the main stage at DAVOS for the first time ever with the support of global business leaders.

Samantha Barry

Editor in Chief for Glamour Magazine

Talk Title: Overcoming your Imposter Syndrome

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Samantha Barry is the editor-in-chief of Glamour where she oversees content, development, and consumer experiences across the brand’s digital, social, video, and print verticals.

Under her leadership, Glamour emphasizes a digital-first focus on original reporting, exclusive features, and unique perspectives impacting women today across financial, interpersonal, fashion, beauty, wellness, and political topics.

She has also strengthened Glamour’s commitment to body positivity by showcasing size-inclusive brands and models across all channels, and has transformed the annual Women of the Year Awards into an inspirational multi-day event, celebrating Glamour’s diverse community of women.

Jim Lyng


Talk Title: Resilience

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Jim has a PhD from Bangor University in the UK and has worked as a psychologist in adult mental health services for nearly twenty years where he provides assessment, counselling, group therapy and supervision.

He is also the an adjunct assistant professor of counselling psychology at Trinity College Dublin and previously worked as a lecturer at the School of Nursing at Dublin City University.

He also trains clinicians in the UK, Ireland and Europe in a type of counselling called dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) which is used to treat self-harm and suicide, and he has published a series of research papers and book chapters on DBT.

He recently took a two year career break from adult mental health services and was employed as a programme manager for a global tech company where he helped build out scalable resiliency resources for staff.

Our Panellists – Panel 1

Moderator: Keith Barry

Panellists: Audrey Boyd, Sheelagh Daly, Vibeke Delahunt, Helen Smyth

Audrey Boyd

Head of Business Banking - Branch Network, AIB

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Audrey Boyd has 38 years banking experience across AIB Group and is Head of Business Banking – Branch Network.

Her business experience includes Corporate Banking, Sectorial Banking, Credit Risk, Retail & Business Banking, Head of Business & Credit Performance and Enablement for Local Markets. She also held the role of Head of Restructuring in Financial Solutions Group where she managed a lending portfolio of €10.9bn and led a team of 380 colleagues.

Audrey was previous a director of AIB Commercial Finance Limited and a Board member of the British Chamber of Commerce. She is also a director of Microfinance Ireland.

Sheelagh Daly

Entrepreneurship Manager, Enterprise Ireland

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Sheelagh worked in hotel management in London and Ireland for over a decade after graduating from Shannon College of Hotel Management, including running her family business.

Her career changed direction in 1998, entering the field of community development and from there moving into the public sector focused on economic development, entrepreneurship and enterprise through her role at both national and local level with the Local Enterprise Offices.

Sheelagh also holds a degree in Training & Education and a Masters in Project Management, and has been a Director on a number of boards including Microfinance Ireland. In her current role as Entrepreneurship Manager in Enterprise Ireland, Sheelagh is particularly focused on increasing participation by women in entrepreneurship

Vibeke Delahunt

Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Wicklow

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Vibeke is passionate about helping entrepreneurs start small business  and grow. As Head of Enterprise, she manages the delivery of state supports to micro-enterprises through the Local Enterprise Office Wicklow.

Originally from The Netherlands, Vibeke settled in County Wicklow in 1997 after graduating with an MA in Arts and Heritage Management from Utrecht University and UCC. Through experience in the tourism, hospitality and film sector as well as the Economic Development Team in Wicklow County Council, Vibeke has built up a strong background in economic development, strategic planning and project management.

Helen Smyth

Head of Ireland, Global Business Group, Facebook

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Helen Smyth is Facebook’s Head of Ireland for Small and Medium Business. She is responsible for advertising sales and service for Irish businesses who use Facebook’s family of apps and services.

Helen joined Facebook in 2010 and prior to her current role, she managed market teams in the Community Operations division. Previously she spent four years with a gaming sector start-up and also worked in France Telecom’s gaming division.

Helen is dedicated to helping small and medium businesses grow and showcasing how mobile can accelerate business success. Her focus, as SMB Head of Ireland, is to continue building Facebook’s presence in Ireland and develop opportunities for businesses to engage with customers.

Our Panellists – Panel 2

Moderator: Nancy Spears

Panellists: Margaret Hoctor, Elaine Geraghty, Rebecca Harrison

Nancy Spears

CEO and founder of genconnectU

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Nancy Spears is the CEO and founder of genconnectU, an online learning platform built to advance the careers and lives of women. gcU is based in NYC and Dublin.
Prior to founding genconnectU, Nancy was the founder of a US based marketing and branding agency which she sold to the Interpublic Group. Her experience includes marketing, branding, and promotions for numerous Fortune 500 Clients including Nike, Eli Lilly, Coca Cola, Master Card, Johnson & Johnson, and CNN.

Nancy has filmed and spoken at a variety of global conferences including: the Digital Innovation Summit, Berlin, the Cannes Lions Marketing Conference and the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Nancy published, Buddha: 9 to 5: The Eightfold Path to Enlightening Your Workplace and Improving Your Bottom Line in 2010.

Margaret Hocter

Personal Development Coach, Lecturer, Trainer and Co Owner of Kilmullen Farm

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Margaret is an inspirational business woman, guest lecturer in UCD’s Innovation Academy, trainer with the Entrepreneurs Academy and a sought-after speaker nationally on the topics of resilience and minding the mind in business.

Having faced redundancy from a Senior Director role in 2013, she found herself reviewing her situation and decided to build the farm business with her husband. Fast forward seven years and they have diversified into lamb directly with their ‘farm to fork’ model, produce their own apple juice and sweetcorn and run a full horse livery business.

With Covid 19, they’ve had to review their business model and look at their business differently with what Margaret calls ‘Realistic optimism’.

Elaine Geraghty

New Chief Executive For Ardmore And Troy Studios

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Elaine is currently CEO with Screen Producers Ireland and is joining the Studios later this autumn as Chief Executive.

She has had a rich career and one that has seen her manage several large organisations with over 30 years’ experience in the audio-visual and media sector. She has held a variety of senior management positions in Communicorp Group, The Sunday Tribune and 98FM.

In her role as CEO of Newstalk, she led it from being a local Dublin radio station to securing its licence and to becoming Ireland’s first independent national talk radio broadcaster.

Rebecca Harrison

Managing Director, Fishers of Newtownmountkennedy Ltd & Food at Fishers Ltd

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Rebecca is an award-winning business owner, retailer, networking champion and small business advocate.

She is Managing Director of Fishers of Newtownmountkennedy Ltd, Boutique Department Store and founded Food at Fishers award-winning café. Both located in the heart of county Wicklow. She works with other small business owners as a mentor, speaks at events on retail, networking, and entrepreneurship. She can be heard in a regular feature on East Coast FM.

She sits on the Small Firms Association National Executive Council, Network Ireland’s Advisory Council, Retail Excellence’s Ireland Member’s Council and is a member of the government’s Retail Consultation Forum. She and her businesses have won several business awards at regional and national level, most recently an All-Ireland Business All-Star.

She lives in County Wicklow with her daughter, where they make the most of all the Garden County has to offer.

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