WOMEN IN BUSINESS: Network Ireland West Cork record TWO National winners in space of three years

15 June 2020
By Elaine Murphy

Pictured centre, Katherine O’ Sullivan of O Donnell Furniture, Skibbereen receiving the Network Ireland Award for Shining Star Employee 2019 with Rose-Marie Kennedy, Deloitte (Award sponsor) and Helen Wycherley, 2019 Network Ireland President.

Since its launch in January 2018, Network Ireland’s West Cork branch has gone from strength to strength. In the 3 years since forming, this branch has seen incredible growth and successes, becoming the fastest growing branch Nationally in 2019 and can boast of 2 National Award Winners, which is an incredible achievement for such a newly formed branch.

President of Network Ireland West Cork, Caroline Murphy was the first West Cork member to win a National Award in September 2018 in the ‘New Emerging Business’ category for her company West Cork Eggs. Caroline tells us how winning this award has meant so much to her personally and to her business. “The Network Ireland Business awards literally changed me and my business and I had no idea that it would do that when I first completed my application form. To win at a national level is a game changer for a small business such as West Cork Eggs and the press coverage was amazing. We are a West Cork company, that are now recognised nationally. But it is more than that, it gave me a confidence I didn’t have before, in myself and the business.”

When Katherine O Sullivan, General Manager of O’ Donnell Furniture won the 2019 Employee Shining Star award at the Network Ireland awards ceremony held at Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery last September, she was genuinely shocked. Since winning the accolade Katherine explains how it has boosted her confidence, “I have grown in confidence and learnt a lot about myself following the process of entering and being privileged and humbled to win a National Award. I was hesitant entering the awards as I would see many other people as being much more progressive and having achieved so much more than me. But through encouragement from my fellow members, I entered and I simply told my story.”

By just filling out the entry form, it allows businesses to reflect on how much they have achieved, review their current offerings and plan for the future. Both Caroline and Katherine are proof that by taking that first step, it can be the start of an amazing journey both personally and for your business. Entries are now open for the awards process, which encourages women in Business to celebrate the power within. The focus of the award categories for 2020 is on the professional women as a whole entity, looking at the totality of their professional and community work. These categories are new and designed to reflect the vastly altered working world in which we all find ourselves. 2020 has become a time for reflection, drawing on the power within ourselves to transform and create a new way forward. The new categories are : Online Business Transformation, Business Innovation, Emerging Business, Solo Businesswoman, Transforming Employee and The Power Within Champion. Choose a category that best fits your primary area, your businesses, the work you do and any other contributions – these awards are to recognise.

Caroline Murphy encourages all women in business to enter the awards saying “I cannot encourage any business woman out there strongly enough to apply for these awards. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain by this process and we are here to help you.” Network Ireland West Cork will host online workshops to support it’s members through the application process, for more details follow @NetIrlWestork on their social media channels.

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