Event empowers and inspires local women

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council collaborated with Cartmill Stewart & Co Chartered Accountants for a Female Entrepreneurs' Network celebration of International Women's Day.

Celebrating International Womens Day are (l-r) Mayor Tim Morrow; Claire Stewart, Cartmill Stewart & Co Chartered Accountants; Dr Theresa Donaldson, Chief Executive, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council; Carmel McKinney OBE, NIFRS; Samara Prentice, Evolve by Samara Personal Styling Consultancy, and Alderman Allan Ewart MBE, Chair of the councils Development Committee.

Sixty women were in attendance at the event, which was held at House of Vic Ryn, Lisburn last month.

Welcoming people to the #PressforProgress-themed event, council Chief Executive Dr Theresa Donaldson said: “The fact that so many women are here today for this event celebrating empowerment is encouraging.

“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the council to give our commitment to growing networks, mentoring, building confidence and supporting women in developing their businesses.”

Samara Prentice, who runs Evolve by Samara Personal Styling Consultancy, shared how she had helped many women discover a new-found confidence in themselves, by helping them to look and feel their best. She explained the importance of colour, of developing a time capsule wardrobe, and of having self-belief.

Carmel McKinney OBE explained what empowerment actually means – about changing an ‘I can’t’ to an ‘I can’.

She shared her own experiences of being the first female chairperson of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, and how the challenge of being a female leader in a male world had not daunted her.

Alderman Allan Ewart MBE, Chairman of the council’s Development Committee, added: “For several years now, the council has been working to empower and support those women who take a chance and decide to branch out on their own by giving them advice, training and funding to help their businesses thrive and grow. I would encourage local entrepreneurs to keep talking to the council and let us know what support and advice you need.”

Closing the event, Mayor Tim Morrow said he was pleased to have had the opportunity to back the celebration of International Women’s Day.