Tonight's the night for another Titanic celebration of people power
THE plush banqueting suite at Titanic Belfast has reverberated to the sound of glammed-up guests tucking into sumptuous fayre at hundreds of black-tie dinners since it first opened its doors seven years ago.
The world-renowned venue has hosted more than 2,000 business and leisure events, including G8 Summit Reception, BBC Sports Personality of the Year, BBC's Biggest Weekend, the Giro d'Italia Big Start and conferences across an array of sectors including Routes Europe 2017, European Federation of Animal Science to the World Conference of Credit Unions.
It has also served special guests including Her Majesty The Queen, Oscar-winning Titanic film director James Cameron and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Yet there's no night quite like the Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards . . .
Now in its 12th year, our initiative broke the mould in terms of putting people and their workplaces at the front and centre.
Tonight will be another spectacular gig in Titanic, when a record-breaking 630 guests will join in a rousing evening of fun, food and celebration, as well as the serious side of formally recognising a clutch of the most phenomenal companies and organisations in Northern Ireland.
As always, our night is about the people part of businesses, those who've been disruptors, who refuse to stand still, who've resisted and questioned the status quo.
Everyone in the room tonight will have pushed the boundaries, raised the bar and risen to the many herculean challenges an incredible last year has thrown at them.
And by 11pm the winners (and those highly commended) in nine different categories - including Managing Talent, Career Inspiration, Workplace Excellent, Entrepreneurial Spirit and Workplace Wellbeing - will have been crowned and feted.
Before then, guests will sit down to a specially-created bespoke menu devised by Titanic Belfast's executive head chef Alastair Fullerton.
They'll start with wildmushroom Scotch egg Arancini, truffled celeriac, pickled mushrooms, Parmesan and black sesame tuile.
The main course is Northern Irish beef fillet, sweetcorn puree, young buck gratin potato and summer seasonal vegetable parcel with thyme-scented jus.
To finish is dark chocolate and hazelnut with carrot cake, salted caramel, meringue and orange gel.
The evening will start with a drinks reception courtesy of Diageo, and after a welcome by Irish News editor Noel Doran, the remainder of the evening will be handled by co-hosts Karen Patterson and Tim McGarry.
The much-anticipated after-dinner speaker is Tim Dorsett from Innocent Drinks, while the after-show entertainment is courtesy of Q Radio's Ibe Sesay.
The Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards are once again supported by venue partner Titanic Belfast and key business partners Mount Charles, Henderson Group, Carson McDowell, Phoenix Natural Gas, Ulster University, Queen's University and the Public Health Agency.
Irish News marketing manager John Brolly said: "We congratulate everyone who took part in our awards, as they have clearly recognised the importance of focusing their organisational strategy on their key asset - people.
"It is people who drive and add value to any organisation. Tonight is a celebration of the exceptional standards they demonstrate in different aspects of economy – from education into the workplace."
:: A full list of the 2018 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards winners will be published in tomorrow's Irish News.