Met chief Marie-Thérèse tops list of inspirational women recognised for business achievements

 From left, Irish News business editor Gary McDonald, guest speaker Lady Chanelle McCoy, Irish News sales operations manager Sinead Cavanagh, Women In Business chair Imelda McMillan and Women In Business chief executive Roseann Kelly at the awards ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in south Belfast last night

AN 'outstanding' woman, who carved out her own niche in business and education in Northern Ireland received the top award at the seventh annual Women in Business Awards.

Marie-Thérèse McGivern, principal and chief executive of Belfast Metropolitan College, received the accolade for Outstanding Business Woman of the Year at the gala event in the Crown Plaza Hotel.

As head of the longest established further and higher education college in Northern Ireland, she has led the institution from the edge of corporate collapse to a state of financial stability, strong satisfaction levels and restored pride.

Recently she became the first FE principal from outside England to join the influential '157 Group', which represents 29 of the most influential colleges in the UK's further education sector.

Away from her main day job she holds various roles in civic and corporate society, including being a director at the Titanic Foundation, a member of the CBI NI Council, a non-executive director of the Strategic Investment Board, and has honorary membership of the City and Guilds of London Institute.

In recent years she has amassed a clutch of top industry awards, including the Inspiring Leader of the Year Award, the IoD Director or the Year Award and in 2015 was UK Public Sector Director of the Year.

A well-deserved winner, Ms McGivern has spoken all over the world on the issue of urban regeneration and held numerous advisory, visiting and honorary posts.

Eleven inspirational women, together with two organisations, were acknowledged for their outstanding contribution to business in Northern Ireland, with a record number of entries recorded in 2017.

Finalists and guests were addressed on awards night by leading business woman Lady Chanelle McCoy, co-head of Ireland’s largest pharmaceutical company Chanelle Medical.

She praised the many "inspirational" female role models recognised at the award ceremony.

"I have met so many inspirational, motivated and dedicated women who have set out to chase their dreams and achieve their goals. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate their achievements and acknowledge their drive, grit and determination.

"Without these women, businesses would not be thriving as they are, girls would no longer have inspirational female role models and workplaces would be a much duller place."

“As women and women in business, we must continue to strive to reach our goals and lift each other up by celebrating each other’s achievements, of which there is an abundance, clearly demonstrated by the level of entrants, finalists and winners here tonight," she added.

Women in Business chair Imelda McMillan congratulated the winners and praised them for their "tenacity and determination".

"We are delighted to honour these women this evening, they have demonstrated not only high levels of skill and business acumen, but the tenacity and determination required to succeed in their area of business. I would like to congratulate each one of our winners."

Among last night's other winners were:

• Young Business Women of the Year - Rachel McCully, BTY Cosmetics.

• Outstanding Innovation - Katie McKinley, axial3D.

• Best in Professional Services - Maurica Mackle, Mackle Communications

• Outstanding Management and Leadership - Carmel McKinney OBE, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.

• Excellence in IT - Joanne Kearney, GlowMetrics.

• Best Exporter - Celine Grant, Re-Gen Waste Ltd.

• Best Customer Service - Cathy Coomber, axial3D.

• Best Small Business - Irene McAleese, See Sense.

• Best New Start Up - Laura Briggs, Jack Straws Ltd.

• Best Small Business Marketing Campaign - Lora White, Budget Music Videos.

• Best Corporate Marketing Campaign - Visit Belfast.

• Advancing Diversity in the Workplace - Deloitte.

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