Cork brings home awards
Network Cork provides a forum in which women in business, the professions and the arts can exchange business ideas and increase their business opportunities. It encourages women to achieve more satisfying careers and promotes women as worthy contributors to the Irish economy. It liaises with national and international organisations and creates links with Government and State bodies.
Last week saw Network Ireland hold its annual Business Women of the Year Awards. Valerie Cahill of Ikon Hair Design was Cork's only overall winner, taking home the award for Network Businesswoman (self-employed) of the Year.
In 1997 Valerie opened Ikon Hair Design in Cork, on the first floor at 10 Princes Street with three team members. Ikon is now a multi awarding winning salon and the team has grown to thirteen.
Valerie and her husband Decky are looking forward to opening their new salon in Cork in November 2011. She has been involved in the Irish Hairdressing Industry for the last 27 years. She started as an apprentice in Victor Franks in 1984 where she qualified and took up the role as trainer and manager till 1997.
Valerie believes that in an industry that is known for its creativity and flair, it is important to get the balance right between the creative and the business side of things.
It is something Valerie and the team have been working on over the past few years. In 2008/ 2009 Ikon embarked on a two year programme in London with Alan Austin Smith, The Ambassador / Salon Programme focusing on the team and the business and developing both. In 2011, Valerie took up the position as The Munster Educator for Joico, doing what she loves most and is incredibly passionate about, teaching the JCut and Colour System. In 2011 she became a member of the Irish Hairdressing Executive Committee. Valerie juggles motherhood (of Finn, 11 & Jack, 6) and business every day. Valerie is also involved in The Niall Mellon Township Trust Charity; this year will be her third trip to South Africa where she helps to build houses in the townships of Capetown.
The event was a huge success for members from Cork including Joan Walsh, Network Cork Business Woman of the Year, who was runner-up for Irish Business Woman of the Year.
Joan is Director of Cork-based company, Partnership Europe, and was delighted to be nominated in such a prestigious category.
"It was an absolute honour to be nominated for the award and even though I didn't win I was a runner-up and the awards night was great for Irish women in business.
"The great thing about Network Ireland and the awards is that it helps to promote your business on a national level. People have more confidence in you and your business if you have been recognised for your efforts with an award."
Joan says that being in business in the current economic climate has been challenging but business for Partnership Europe has doubled in the last year which also has a positive knock-on for other businesses, and Network Cork is all a part of that.
"It was great to meet other like-minded women at the Network awards who are focused and hardworking and who are bringing money in to the economy. there was a great attendance of Irish business women and in particular, business women from Cork."
Mairead O'Brien of Nash 19 was highly commended in the employee category for her work in one of Cork's best-known restaurants.
Network Cork holds monthly networking meetings where a guest speaker is invited to educate, inform and entertain on topics of interest to women. It also provides a forum for established women to develop professional and social contacts. Members can develop and pool their individual skills through interaction with ther women in a supportive environment which offers training, mentoringand an opportunity for women who call on other members with specialist expertise for help. The network is open to all business women in business whether you are in employment, running your own business or thinking of starting your own business. The branch meets at the Maryborough House Hotel at 6.15pm and the meeting usually takes place on the first Wednesday of every month. They also organise various other events and outings throughout the year. For more information visit www.networkcork.com