Finalists Are Revealed For Women In Business Awards Following Record-Breaking Entry

Nearly 50 of Northern Ireland’s most inspirational individuals and companies have been included on the short-list for the eighth annual Women in Business Awards, taking place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Thursday November 8.

The impressive list ranges from the sole-trader operation through to representatives from corporate giants such as BT, Danske Bank and PwC.

The clutch of finalists was arrived at following a marathon judging session in the Irish News boardroom, chaired by Women in Business chief executive Roseann Kelly.

She was joined on the panel by Seamus McCorry, head of sales and presales Northern Ireland at Virgin Media; Irish News business editor Gary McDonald; Ellvena Graham, president of the NI Chamber of Commerce; Nicola McCleery, head of marketing at Danske Bank; Judith Totten, managing director of Upstream Positive Working Capital; Shirley-Ann Hazlett, senior lecturer at Queen’s University; and Nial Borthistle, business development manager for Glandore.

“It was a daunting task, given that we had an all-time high entry representing more companies than ever before,” Ms Kelly said.

“But we believe our jury has come up with a quite exceptional short-list which will acknowledge Northern Ireland’s most successful business women and recognise the valuable economic contribution they make.”

More than 500 guests will attend next month’s gala awards bash, which allows all sectors and industries to come together to recognise the best in home-grown talent and celebrate the success of female entrepreneurs, business leaders and senior managers at the only ceremony of its kind in Northern Ireland.

As an additional benefit, finalists have now been invited to an exclusive one-day retreat in Dublin to visit the Virgin Media Television Studios for a day of workshops and networking with special guest Tracey Jane Cassidy, founder and chief executive of Junior Einsteins and winner of Voom 2018.

This event is a key element of the Women in Business Awards, offering finalists an opportunity away from their hectic schedules to meet with like-minded women, make new connections, take stock of their achievements and learn from each other’s successes and create excitement in the run up to the awards.

Full list of finalists (details at is:

• Advancing Diversity in the Workplace (corporate), sponsored by Queen’s University Belfast – Allstate Northern Ireland; Citi Belfast, First Trust Bank; NI Fire and Rescue Service; Sensata Technologies

• Advancing Diversity in the Workplace (individual) – Denise Hart (PwC NI); Lisa McLaughlin (Herbert Smith Freehills); Louise Hull (Fujitsu); Pamela Dennison (WS Dennison Ltd); Vicky Davies (Danske Bank UK)

• Best Customer Service (corporate), sponsored by RSA – Donna Armstrong (First Trust Bank); Eithne Angelone (DXC Technology); Noreen Courtney (Bombardier Belfast); Paula Kennedy Garcia (Convergys).

• Best Customer Service (small business) – Brigid Duggan (BD Consultancy); Claire Stewart (Cartmill Stewart & Co Chartered Accountants); Olga Lynch (Transfer Tutor Online Quizzes); Sara McClimond (Larchfield Estate).

• Best in Professional Services (corporate), sponsored by Grafton Recruitment – Ciara Lagan (Tughans Solicitors); Hilary Griffith (Cleaver Fulton Rankin); Orla Carew (Turner & Townsend); Tracey Schofield (A&L Goodbody); Vicky Davies (Danske Bank UK).

• Best in Professional Services (small business) – Aideen Duggan (Keenan Healthcare); Amanda McConkey(Todd Insurance NI)’; Jayne Gibson (Insight.Out Financial); Katey Dixon (Forde Campbell LLC); Sara Callanan (Elevator Promotional Marketing).

• Best Marketing Campaign, sponsored by Kaizen Print – Deborah Loughran and Sharon Doran (MJM Group):Kerry McGarvey and Tierna Byrne (Catalyst Inc); Olga Lynch (The Transfer Tutor Online Quizzes).

• Best New Start Up, sponsored by Go For It – Barbara-Anne McMullan (Ooh & Aah); Bronagh McGarrity (Premier Health & Safety); Katie Matthews (Excel In Education Tutoring School); Natasha Rodgers and Kirsty Finney (Rodgers & Finney); Nicola Wolsey (Lean Logistics Ireland); Olga Lynch (The Transfer Tutor Online Quizzes).

• Best Small Business, sponsored by Danske Bank – Claire Hunter (Marine Hotel Ballycastle); Conna Nagle (Enhanced Hair Studio); Leona Kane (Broighter Gold); Nuala Campbell (Titanic FX); Sonia McCay & Gillian Duggan (Belfast Pilates & Physiotherapy Clinic).

• Outstanding Innovation, sponsored by First Trust Bank – Cara Macklin (Macklin Care Homes & Malone Lodge Hotel); Irene McAleese (See.Sense); Michelle Connolly (ProfileTree/LearningMole); Nuala Campbell (Titanic FX); Olga Lynch (The Transfer Tutor Online Quizzes).

• Excellence in IT, sponsored by The Irish News – Adrienne Hanna (Right Revenue Ltd); Marion Rybnikar (Danske Bank); Olga Lynch (The Transfer Tutor Online Quizzes).

• Outstanding Management and Leadership, sponsored by Fleet Financial – Anne Donaghy (Mid & East Antrim Borough Council); Caroline Rafferty (Homecare Independent Living); Helen Moody (BT); Lorna McAdoo (Version 1); Maeve Monaghan (NOW Group); Paula Kennedy Garcia (Convergys).

• Young Business Women of the Year, sponsored by Ulster Bank – Deirdre Lynch (Vector Improvements); Holly Wilson (Belfast Cathedral – The Cathedral Church of St Anne); Laura Quinn (Monkey Blue Press); Louise Cunningham (First Derivatives); Sarah Lavery (Dudes and Divas Entertainment).