Women In Business Awards: Top honour for Belfast's 'unelected first woman' Suzanne Wylie

Gary McDonald Business Editor
18 November, 2016 01:00

BELFAST city's "unelected first woman" has been honoured with one of this year's top business accolades.

Suzanne Wylie, chief executive of Belfast City Council, scooped the coveted Outstanding Business Woman of the Year crown at the sixth annual Northern Ireland Women in Business Awards.

Since taking up the key administrative post in July 2014 she has steered the city council through Local Government Reform, the most significant change the organisation and the sector has experienced in decades.

The judges said "her business acumen and energy know no bounds".

She was among more than a dozen winners at the Alexander Mann Solutions-sponsored ceremony in the Ramada Plaza, a night of glitz, glamour and high entertainment attended by more than 400 people from the north's business community.

Ms Wylie is responsible for a budget in the hundreds of millions of pounds and oversees the delivery of services to more than 330,000 residents within Northern Ireland's largest local authority, which she has served for more than 25 years.

She stepped up into the top role from that of director of the council's Health and Environmental Services, and prior to that she worked in the development department has head of urban development.

In addition to her onerous council work the mother-of-three sits on a number of boards including Belfast City Centre Management and The Simon Community, and she also holds an honours degree in environmental health and a masters degree in administration.

She has been front and centre of a range of initiatives to help propel Belfast into a major European force, and earlier this week she was in London presenting proposals to give Belfast more powers and to seek a "City Deal".

Stormont Junior Minister Megan Fearon said it was a pleasure to celebrate the hard work and achievements of female business leaders and entrepreneurs in areas including export, customer service, marketing, innovation, IT, management and leadership.

She said: “Everyone taking part, not just the winners, are inspirational and the awards highlight how much home grown talent we have and the valuable contribution women are making to our economy.”

Guest speakers were former Tanaiste Mary Harney - who discussed some of the challenges and successes experienced during her career in Irish politics and the world of business - along with Rosaleen Blair, founder of one of the world’s leading provider of talent acquisition and management services Alexander Mann Solutions

Winners of the 2016 Women in Business Awards were:

:: Advancing Diversity in the Workplace (sponsored by Equality Commission) - Sharon Martin (Terex GB)

:: Best Customer Service corporate (sponsored by Diamond Recruitment) - Sinead McCann (Corick House Hotel and Spa)

:: Best Customer Service small business (sponsored by Diamond Recruitment) - Sarah Mackie (Larchfield Estate)

:: Best Exporter (sponsored by QA Travel) - Sinead Murphy (Shnuggle)

:: Best in Professional Services corporate (sponsored by The Progressive) - Sinead Dillon (Fujitsu)

:: Best in Professional Services small business (sponsored by The Progressive) - Jayne Taggart (Causeway Enterprise Agency)

:: Best Marketing Campaign (sponsored by Pierce Communications) - Zoe McCullough (Suki Tea)

:: Best New Start-Up (sponsored by Go for It) - Niamh Taylor (Digital Twenty Four)

:: Best Small Business (sponsored by Danske Bank) - Alicia Peyrano (Little Citizens Boutique)

:: Excellence in IT (sponsored by The Irish News) - Sue McLaughlin (Bluebird Care Coleraine)

:: Outstanding Innovation - Kerry Nevins (Babocush)

:: Outstanding Leadership & Management (sponsored by Belfast City Council) - Ursula Lavery (Moy Park)

:: Young Business Woman of the Year (sponsored by Department for the Economy) - Yolanda Cooper (Vita Liberata)

:: Outstanding Business Woman of the Year (sponsored by Alexander Mann Solutions) - Suzanne Wylie (Belfast City Council)

18 November, 2016 01:00 Business