Final call for NI's best young leader

Young Leaders NI Chair, Chris Fleming with Lisa McLaughlin, director of Herbert Smith Freehill's Belfast office

THE FINAL call has been issued to find Northern Ireland's Best Young Leader.

The Herbert Smith Freehills “Young Leader of the Year” award winner will be announced at Young Leaders NI's annual conference on May 19, but young professionals have until just

The deadline for young professionals


The hunt to find Northern Ireland's Best Young Leader is heating up as Young Leaders NI issue a final call for young professionals to enter this year's awards by 12noon on Friday 5th May. The winner will be announced at the annual Young Leaders Conference, sponsored by Herbert Smith Freehills, on Friday 19th May.

The Herbert Smith Freehills “Young Leader of the Year” Award is presented to an outstanding young professional (under 40) who has shown exceptional leadership skills and demonstrated continued commitment to personal development (both their own and that of others). Nominations for the award must be submitted by 12noon on Friday 5th May. Entrants can be self-nominated or alternatively nominated by a third party who considers that the entrant meets the relevant criteria. Entry forms may be obtained via or by emailing

Last year's winner was Chris McVeigh, then Head of the Business Banking Unit in Ulster Bank Belfast. Since winning the award, Chris has further progressed his career at Ulster Bank, having been appointed as the Director of Business Banking in Belfast in December 2016.

Speaking about the search, Young Leaders NI Chair, Chris Fleming said: “Not only do these awards celebrate aspiring individuals at the forefront of leadership performance; they also shine a spotlight on best-in-class practices and so help inspire other business leaders. Each year the calibre of entries improves and it is great to see past winners go from strength to strength in their career.”

Lisa McLaughlin, Director of Herbert Smith Freehill's Belfast office, commented, "As sponsors of the Herbert Smith Freehills "Young Leader of the Year" Award for the sixth successive year, we continue to be impressed by the high quality of the nominees. We are delighted to once again sponsor this year's award, and look forward to learning from the personal leadership journey of this year's entrants". Lisa shared: "In a winning candidate, we look for someone who not only demonstrates leadership capabilities, but also characterises values which are core to the Herbert Smith Freehills way of working: collaboration, technical excellence and commitment to delivering outstanding service in their particular sector."

This year's winner will be presented with the winner's trophy at the Young Leaders Conference on 19 May, and, as part of an exciting new initiative this year, will have the opportunity to further develop their leadership skills by receiving a complimentary place on one of three leadership training programmes offered by Queen's William J Clinton Leadership Institute: Aspiring Leaders Programme; Mini MBA Programme or Executive Coaching (3 sessions, including a 360-degree Leadership feedback).

The 2017 Young Leaders Conference is sponsored by Herbert Smith Freehills with associate sponsors Abacus Professional Recruitment, Progressive Building Society and KPMG. Sahar Hashemi, founder of Coffee Republic, will be the keynote speaker heading up an impressive line-up of speakers that include, Alan Sugar's original right-hand woman on the Apprentice and Herbert Smith Freehills alumna, Margaret Mountford; founder of Peace Tech in Northern Ireland and the recently named top 25 most influential entrepreneurs in the Smith & Williamson Power 100, Henry Joseph-Grant; and leading NI fitness entrepreneur and author Phil Graham. Mentalist David Meade will also be returning as compere.

Tickets are now on sale for the conference and can be booked via or


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