The conference is aimed towards ‘emerging’ directors who are aspiring, transitioning and developing.
‘Young directors’ are not defined by age as such; attendees include a mix of those who are in early-career leadership/management roles, or more generally those who aspire to progress in their careers.
This conference may also be of interest to any individuals wanting to improve their own personal work efficiency and brand. Additionally, it is a great conference for experienced leaders who need to upskill in certain areas or who want assistance in navigating their leadership journey.
Naomi McMullan, Host
Naomi is a former business journalist and broadcaster. She has worked in the business unit of CNN International in London and for UTV in Belfast. She was also part of a team that set up Northern Ireland's first podcast on entrepreneurship, to help share business knowledge.
Conall Laverty, CEO, Wia
Conall Laverty is the Founder & CEO of Wia, a leading platform for developers building Internet of Things hardware. Wia provides a simple way for people and things to talk to each other with just a few lines of code. The platform is now being used by 10,000’s of developers in more than 100 countries and has attracted €1m in venture capital funding with backers including Suir Valley Ventures, Enterprise Ireland and NDRC. He is a key figure in the global Internet of Things ecosystem and was recently listed on Forbes 30 Under 30.
Previously Conall was CTO of Big Motive, a creative technology company based in London and Belfast. There he architected and developed products for BBC, Net-a-Porter and Channel 4. He was also Technical Director of Woogie, an innovation consultancy who has worked with Cambridge Silicon Radio, Deezer and startups throughout Ireland. He attained a First Class Honours Masters from Queen’s University Belfast in Computer Games Development.
Gavin Halpin, Managing Director, Paper OwlGavin Halpin is the Managing Director of Paper Owl Films, which he co-founded in 2012. Since graduating with a 1st class honours degree in Film and Communications from the Dublin institute of Technology, Gavin has held almost every position in the industry and his experience has given him a unique perspective and appreciation for the hard work, determination, resilience and belief it takes to be successful. Having produced a wide variety of broadcast content for BBC, RTÉ and Netflix including over 45 documentaries and more than 100 episodes of children’s television, Gavin is a driving force in Paper Owl Films as the key business affairs contact. He has helped guide the business into a period of exponential growth and his ongoing planning and ability to foresee development opportunities, as well as his dedication to evolving management systems to help support the company’s growth, have been crucial to the company’s success.
Caroline Dowling, Advisor, Board member & Former Group President at FlexCaroline Dowling is current advisor to start ups, SME & large Enterpise as well as board member in various industry sectors. Caroline is former business group president at Flex, a $26 billion, industry-leading, Fortune Global 500 electronics manufacturing services provider with more than 200,000 employees and operations in 30 countries.
In this role, she led a $9Billion group, including the Communications and Enterprise Compute Business segments, comprised of an international team focused on design, manufacturing and services providing end-to-end solutions worldwide for the telecom, networking, server, storage, and converged infrastructure markets. She was also responsible for managing Flex’s Global Service & Solutions, a $1 billion business unit.
Dr Aislinn Rice, CEO, Analytics Engines
Aislinn is an IoD Chartered Director (CDir) and was awarded the IoD NI Director of the Year Award (Large Company category) in 2011.
Dr Aislinn Rice serves as CEO of Analytics Engines. A senior sales and marketing professional with an exceptional record in revenue generation and directing new product investment, Aislinn was previously an Executive Director for Andor Technology plc where she was responsible for delivery of £50 million revenue from sales operations across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.
Prior to this, Aislinn held the role as VP Global Sales and Business Development with Machine Vision Technology cumulating in the successful acquisition by Agilent Technologies.
She is a non-executive director on the board of QUBIS, the organisation which commercialises Queen's University research and development through the formation of spin-out businesses.
Aislinn is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at Harvard Business School, she also serves as an Ambassador for the NI Hospice. Dr Rice holds a PhD in Chemistry from Queen’s University Belfast.
Colin Walsh, Chief Executive and Founder, Crescent Capital
Mr Walsh is Chief Executive and founder of Crescent Capital NI Limited and has been an active venture capital investor in Northern Ireland companies for over 20 years.
An International MBA by background, Colin spent six years with Top Technology, part of Hambros plc, between 1988 and 1994. Top Technology was a London based fund manager responsible for the management of the successful Hambro Advanced Technology Trust family of venture capital funds including HATT plc, HATT II LP and HATT II (1993) LP.
In 1995 Colin, sponsored by Hambros, established Hambro Northern Ireland Venture Managers Limited, now known as Crescent. Between 2004 and 2009 Colin was Chairman of Trafficmaster plc, a company which he was instrumental in floating on the London Stock Exchange in 1994. To date Crescent has raised three separate venture capital funds totalling £67m and has completed investments in over thirty companies based in Northern Ireland.
Colin was also instrumental in Andor Technology plc’s IPO on London’s Alternative Investment Market in 2004 and was Chairman until its sale for £176m in early 2014. He is currently chairman of Acheson Holdings Limited and also holds directorships at NiSoft Limited, Fusion Antibodies plc, Replify Limited, Acheson Glover Holdings Limited, Belfast Power Limited, Lynns Country Foods Limited, Regen Waste Limited and Right Revenue Limited.
Colin previously served a two year term as CBI chair for Northern Ireland and also as trustee for NI on the UK board of Barnardos. He currently chairs Barnardos NI Committee and serves as a member of the Committee for Ulster Garden Villages.
Naoimh McAteer, Group Director , MJM Group
Naoimh is a Group Director at MJM Group, a business which incorporates MJM Marine, a leading marine fitout company; Mivan, specialist high end fitout company; MJM Prime- an extensive retail, commercial and development property portfolio; Topglass- an architectural glass company and Ballykelly, a multi-use development site at the former Shackleton Barracks site in Limavady, Co. Derry. Naoimh has a finance background who has been fulltime in the business for more than five years. Naoimh currently heads up the Group Strategy including M&A and Business Transformation. Naoimh was recently named as Young Director of the Year at the IOD Director Awards, Northern Ireland.
Julia Goodman, Founder and Senior Coach, Personal Presentation
Julia founded Personal Presentation Ltd. in 1989, after a long and successful career as actor, director and producer in television, film and theatre. She trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and has a degree in drama from UCL.
Her You brand coaching process is rooted in the science, psychology and techniques of the professional Theatre. It gives people the confidence to be authentic, individual and compelling wherever they go. The company has a blue chip client list that reflects the real competitive edge that the work brings. It has been described as “life changing” and “transformational”. Julia and her team have very much enjoyed working in Dublin with the Bank of Ireland for the last three years and would like to work here more – Brexit notwithstanding!
As a small business owner of 30 years (and initially a reluctant entrepreneur!) Julia understands the fear, buzz and satisfaction of the SME world. She found early on that having an effective personal brand is important in managing any challenging situation, rather than simply coping. This all starts with First Impressions!
Her book You brand: be confident anywhere by learning how to perform yourself will be published later this year.
David Whelan, Managing Director, Clarity Telecom Cara Macklin, Founder, Cara Macklin Coaching
David Whelan is Managing Director of Clarity Telecom where he has been leading the revolution in the telecommunications industry since 2000, through product innovation and communicational entrepreneurship.
The firm provides lines, calls, broadband, telephone systems, and hosted services to businesses throughout Ireland and across the UK. Clarity is driving change within the telecoms industry by developing products that will transform the sector ensuring client infrastructure is fit for purpose and for the future.
A born entrepreneur, David launched the UK’s first baby wipe product in the 1980s and later founded Clements Coffee which had six shops across Northern Ireland when he sold the business.
He is also a director at Water Wipes, an Irish headquartered company that manufactures, in Ireland, the world’s purest baby wipes. They are the leading premium wipe in USA, UK and Ireland and are sold in over 100 countries around the world.
Both an entrepreneurial leader and coach, Cara Macklin, worked as a Director of the multi award-winning Macklin Care Home group and Malone Lodge Hotel, which has grown to become a multi-million pound organisation from 3 businesses with 250 employees to 7 businesses and 600 employees. Cara’s held various positions including Operations director, Strategic Development, New Business Opening, Sales & Marketing, Head HR & Transformation and Procurement Director.
After graduating with an MBA from Cass Business School London and working internationally Cara returned to NI and opened NI’s first Lifestyle Care Home, cited by IoD chair as a “world class concept.” Having trained as a professional coach, Cara now runs her own business combing her hands on business experience and training, coaching successful leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit develop themselves, their team and ultimately grow their business. Being recognised Cara has achieved WIB Young Business Woman of the Year 2011, NI Top 40 under 40, WIB Outstanding Innovation award 2018 and IoD finalist Director of Innovation 2018.