Skillnet Ireland hosts 2020 International Women’s Day Event

Mar 6th, 2020

Skillnet Ireland hosts 2020 International Women's Day Event

L-R: Dave A. Barry, Founding Director, Conexion; Olivia Caslin, Communications & Marketing Manager, Skillnet Ireland; Maxine Hyde, General Manager, Ballymaloe Foods; Dr. Celine Mullins, Adaptas Training and Rachel Maher O’Brien, Talent Acquisition Manager, EMEA, McAfee Ireland.


Skillnet Ireland today celebrated International Women’s Day by hosting an event to highlight the importance of ongoing workplace learning and development for Irish women and business.

Over 130 representatives from local business in Cork and Kerry attended the event at The Kingsley Hotel in Cork, the theme of which was ‘Collectively, we can make change happen.’

Attendees took part in a workshop on ‘Maximising brain potential for learning and change’, delivered by CEO and Founder of Adaptas, Dr. Celine Mullins.  Dr. Mullins also moderated a lively panel discussion with representatives from the Cork business community including Dave A. Barry, Founding Director, Conexion; Margaret Howard, Quality Operations Leader, Pfizer Global Supply; Maxine Hyde, General Manager, Ballymaloe Foods and Rachel Maher O’Brien, Talent Acquisition Manager, EMEA, McAfee Ireland.

Executive Director of Skillnet Ireland, Tracey Donnery, said: “Skillnet Ireland recognises the importance of empowering women, which supports diversity and reaps rewards for business by driving greater innovation, productivity and growth. We are constantly promoting higher standards of gender equality, diversity and inclusion with the businesses we work with, and even in our own organisation where female representation at board level is at 54%, which is significantly higher than the national average of 31%. Events like today not only give us an opportunity to celebrate these achievements, but it’s also a great occasion for businesses in our networks to connect and engage with one other.”

Speaking at the event, Caoimhe O’Donnell, Development Advisor at Skillnet Ireland said: “At Skillnet Ireland, we are fully committed to empowering and supporting the career development of women in business and across our workforce in Ireland. Our 70 networks offer a wide range of innovative learning solutions in medtech, financial services, agri-food, retail and animation. I’m delighted that the interest in these learning and development initiatives is growing year-on-year.” 

Speaking at the International Women’s Day event, Maxine Hyde, General Manager of Ballymaloe Foods said: “Women in business have come a long way in the last decade but have a long way to go yet. Business communities need to work together to strive for a more equal gender balance in management, on boards and in leadership teams. All types of workplace diversity can help companies to grow and I am committed and excited to do my part to make positive changes happen in the next decade. It’s about collectively making change happen.”

In 2018, 44% of Skillnet Ireland learning and development participants were women working across a diverse range of sectors and regions.  Skillnet Ireland programmes include Women ReBOOT for experienced ICT workers returning to work after a career break, and Rejuvenate for upskilling women working in the agri food sector.

To find out more about Skillnet Ireland and to find your Skillnet Network, visit

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