Skillnet Ireland Host Event to Celebrate Women in Business

Skillnet Ireland Host Event to Celebrate Women in Business

Mar 8th, 2019

(L-R: Debra O’Loughlin, Managing Director, Advant Medical; Patricia McCrossan, Managing Director, Goldenegg Productions; Paul Healy, Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive; Joanne O’Connor, Cyber Security Training Program Manager, HP Enterprise)


  • Business community join forces to celebrate International Women’s Day in Galway
  • Skillnet Ireland believes more needs to be done to promote women in the workplace
  • Speakers urge men and women to feel a greater sense of responsibility to ensure women have a seat at the top of the table


To mark International Women’s Day, Skillnet Ireland the national agency responsible for the promotion and facilitation of workforce learning brought leading business people together at the Harbour Hotel in Galway City today.

Over 100 people attended the lunchtime event which showcased several local business people, who shared their inspirational stories and insights into what drives contemporary female business leaders to succeed.

The event also provided an ideal opportunity for both men and women in business to promote professional development and encourage mentoring for women in the workplace.

Tracey Donnery, Executive Director of Policy and Communications at Skillnet Ireland officially opened the event, believes this event provides an excellent platform for local business leaders to learn more about the important need to support female employees to succeed in the workforce.

“There is growing recognition that increasing women’s representation in leadership positions is critical to having better-run, more-effective companies that can respond to the diverse demands of an ever-changing business environment.

Progressive companies that value diversity and inclusion, lead the way when it comes to attracting and retaining female talent within their workforce. Companies that actively provide women with opportunities for growth through both experience in key roles and learning and development make for more successful companies today.

We are delighted to mark International Women’s Day by bringing together a diverse line-up of inspirational business leaders in Galway, to discuss the challenges women face today, explore innovative solutions to these collaboratively, and to celebrate the wider achievements of women in business.”

The event’s keynote speaker was Patricia McCrossan, the co-founder and Managing Director of the popular GalwayNOW magazine. Patricia shared her journey from commercial management to the tough world of publishing and the lessons she learned along the way.

“From a very young age, I was involved in our family business, which helped me understand the importance of building strong relationships with the people I work with, which is ultimately the key to any successful business.

Over my career, I’ve also worked to build resilience in dealing with challenges and adversity, especially being a woman in a primarily male-dominated environment.

This led me to want to get involved in various business networks and groups that actively support women in business, and I encourage more business leaders to invest in their female employees’ career progression as the result can be exponential.”

There was also a lively and engaging panel discussion hosted by panel moderator Loretta Ní Ghabháin, founder and director of Lorg Media who brought together senior leaders from across the medical, IT and training sectors.

The panellists included; Debra O’Loughlin, Managing Director, Advant Medical; Joanne O’Connor, Cyber Security Training Manager, HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) and Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnet Ireland. Each contributor shared stories about the challenges and opportunities women faced in their careers, and the lessons learned on how to support and encourage women to have the confidence to want to take a seat at the top of the table.

Also, speaking at the event, Paul Healy, Chief Executive of Skillnet Ireland said; “Ireland draws a great competitive strength from its workforce. However, there are many challenges to confront not least of which is low female participation in the workforce versus our peers in the EU and OECD.

Skillnet Ireland are designing innovative solutions to support women’s careers through engaging in lifelong learning. Our Networks have developed many leadership programmes for women and supporting women returners with the skills, experience and confidence to develop new careers through innovative new programmes within the tech sector in particular in Dublin, Cork and Galway with both our ITAG Skillnet based in Galway and the Technology Ireland Software Skillnet ReBoot programme.”

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8. The day has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911. The day is not country, group or organisation specific – and belongs to all groups collectively everywhere to celebrate women’s rights.

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