High Flyers: Michele in drive to make east Belfast a better place

Michele Bryans

In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Michele Bryans, chief executive of EastSide Partnership, the regeneration charity celebrating 25 years of transformative projects in east Belfast.

What was your first job?

In 2005, working in the community and voluntary sector in east Belfast as a part time youth worker. I wanted to become a teacher and discovered the impact youth work can have on young people’s lives.

What qualifications do you have?

BA degree in European Studies at Queen's University, which included one semester of study at the University of Maastricht, degree in counselling studies and an ILM (Institute of Leadership Management)5 in Leadership and Management.

What do you attribute your success to?

Being positive, optimistic, having a strong inner drive. I have been fortunate to work in places that have promoted autonomy and encouraged new ideas which is important for development.

How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?

Resilient, passionate and determined.

Who do you look up to in business?

I am very fortunate to have worked with many inspirational people who have a passion to ‘make east Belfast a better place.’ I am also inspired by Maeve Monaghan, chief executive of Now Group, an award winning social enterprise that supports people with barriers to employment and learning into the workforce.

How do you get the best out of people who work for you?

EastSide Partnership is a small team delivering transformative projects across arts, education, greenways, tourism and urban renewal. It’s vital to listen to the ideas and needs of all individuals in the team as well as provide a platform for growing talent by testing out new ideas and opportunities.

If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?

People are always up for helping others out, building on relationships and connections across a wide range of sectors. Let’s keep doing more of this!

What website or app could you not do without?

EastSide Partnership website All our projects feature: EastSide Arts, EastSide Learning, EastSide Property, EastSide Greenways, Scaffolding Project and EastSide Tourism. Also our Twitter @EastSidePship.

What was the last book you read?

Dr. Edith Edger ‘The Choice’, a true story about her survival in Auschwitz. I am also a big fan of Brené Brown and recently read her book ‘Dare to Lead’, a great book on leadership and learning to live with our strengths and our weaknesses.

What car do you drive?

I am very fortunate to live and work close to the Comber and Connswater Community Greenways, I am a big advocate of cycling and do this as much as I possibly can.

Tell us something interesting about yourself

I love second hand fashion and a pre loved bargain. Last year, a second hand clothing shop called The Wardrobe opened close to C.S. Lewis Square. It’s fantastic for a great pre loved bargain.

What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?

Walks especially by the sea – they are very therapeutic.

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