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The Annual Female Entrepreneurs Conference

Date: 08-Mar-2018

Be Bold for Progress

Causeway Enterprise Agency and Women in Business NI invite you to join us for The 2nd Annual Female Entrepreneurs Conference.

Hosted annually to celebrate International Women's Day this years conference, held in the award-winning Galgorm Resort & Spa, features 2 keynote speakers, a panel of local female entrepreneurs, 2 breakout workshops and networking gala lunch.

Date: Thursday 08th March 2018

Time: 9.00am - 4.00pm

Location: Galgorm Resort & Spa, 136 Finaghy Road, Ballymena, County Antrim BT42 1EA

Host: Sarah Travers

Key Notes: Grainne Kelly founder of BubbleBum and Norah Casey broadcaster, publishing entrepreneur, owner and chairwoman of Harmonia.

Cost: £45 + VAT

2018 Conference Theme

The theme of this year’s conference is “Be Bold for Progress” and has been designed to inspire all delegates by providing them with world class and high quality speakers and role models who will share their view on building your business for the future, what it will look like in the future and how we will work in it.

Our keynote speakers, panels and breakout sessions will explore the future of enterprise, ambition, business and leadership. 

Host and Keynote Speakers


Norah Casey

Norah is a broadcaster and publishing entrepreneur was formerly a Dragon in the popular television series Dragons’ Den and is a well-known radio and television personality.    

She is owner and Chairwoman of Harmonia, Ireland’s largest magazine publishing company, printing over four million magazines annually for the Irish, British and USA market and selling on average 2.6 million in the Irish market annually. She founded the company and was CEO until October 2013.

Harmonia publishes the top three best-selling women’s magazines in Ireland – Irish Tattler, U magazine and Woman’s Way – along with a range of lifestyle and consumer titles such as FOOD&WINE, CookBook, Irish Tattler Man, Eat Out, Auto Ireland and Ireland of the Welcomes. 


Grainne Kelly

Grainne is a mum-of-two and a former travel agent who revolutionized the child travel industry by inventing BubbleBum: the world’s FIRST inflatable booster seat. Her primary goal was to offer travellers a safe way to transport their kids.  

She was frequently travelling between her native Ireland and England to visit a sick relative, and always had to transport cumbersome fixed booster seats back and forth on the plane due to the lack of car booster seats available from car rental desks.

Grainne invented BubbleBum as an affordable, lightweight car booster seat that could travel easier than a child does. Grainne and BubbleBum also recently launched the Sneck backseat pillow and Junkie in-car organizer.


Sarah Travers

Our host, Sarah is an experienced broadcast journalist and TV presenter, with a keen interest in stories and the people that shape them. 

Sarah is a familiar face to many in Northern Ireland, where she was a news anchor in the BBC newsroom for 17 years. Sarah started her career with BBC Radio Foyle, and has presented lifestyle programming for UTV, Northern Ireland’s commercial TV channel.

As Director of Bespoke Communications, Sarah develops media and crisis communications training programmes for a range of different organisations in the public, private and third sectors.

Sarah continues to appear on-screen as a TV presenter on a range of programmes and documentaries. Sarah holds a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Nottingham Trent University.


Panel Members

Edel Doherty is the leading figure in Business Travel in Northern Ireland, an industry she is passionate about for the last 30 years. Edel was a director of Selective Travel management for 17 years before she started her travel management company BEYOND Business Travel 7 years ago. The Business under Edel’s leadership has grown year on year to the successful company it is now with a turnover of £13 million and a team of 20 people. Experts in travel management for ambitious companies BEYOND make sure everyone is at their best no matter where they are in the world delivering world class service and cutting-edge technology.

Edel understands the joy and pain of start-ups and believes there is an opportunity in every challenge. Edel is strong in sales, problem solving and helping people to work through challenges. Edel is also past chair of Women In Business, served twice on the NI Chamber of Commerce council and more recently on the Board of the NOW Group which helps adults with learning difficulties. Fitness and nutrition are important to Edel and recently she has taken up cycling. Edel believes we should never stop learning and is determined to fulfil her potential and help others fulfil theirs.


Therese Charles is a tech entrepreneur, educator and researcher and has successfully brought multiple commercial healthcare applications as well as iOS games and apps to market.

Therese started out in life as a professional rally driver but was involved in a serious road traffic accident in 1991 that prematurely ended her career. Whilst recovering from multiple spinal surgeries Therese went back to University and studied Computer Science and quickly became fascinated with the enormous potential of games to teach, inspire and to entertain. Therese went on to successfully complete a Computing Science PhD that harnessed the motivational qualities of games to enhance learning processes and published the Games Oriented Learning Framework (GOLF). This lead her to create several game-based apps for the iOS market based on the GOLF framework, and later, Therese translated her research into several healthcare applications to support doctors and nurses revalidate their licenses to practice.

Therese now focuses on consultancy and enjoys helping businesses harness bleeding edge technology, as well as help, improve business processes using game-based learning techniques. Therese also lectures part-time at Ulster University and is part of the Virtual Reality for Upper Arm Stroke Rehabilitation research team.


Tracy Hamilton established Mash Direct with her husband Martin, after they decided to diversify their farm business by adding value to their wholesale farming business.

Fourteen years on, Mash Direct is a flourishing farming and food production enterprise and exports its innovative range across the world. Tracy has been instrumental in turning Mash Direct into a household name and Brand Leader throughout the UK and Ireland, ranged in over 5,000 stores.

Northern Ireland Food and Drink is Tracy’s passion. Following on from the success of Mash Direct, she was the first woman to sit on the Board of NIFDA (Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association) and now also sits on the Board of Food NI.

Her tireless work led to her being named Outstanding Business Woman of the Year at the Women in Business Awards in 2015, another accolade to add to the 125 that Mash Direct has picked up in the last 10 years.

Paula McIntyre trained at Johnson and Wales University USA after which she ran a restaurant in Manchester before returning to NI to work as Head Chef in various restaurants. She then went on to teach in the catering college and is currently a lecturer in NRC.

Paula has also contributed to many TV and radio shows in her career including Ready Steady Cook, the John Toal Show and Summer Season with Eamon Holmes. She was also a judge on the Radio 4 Food Programmes awards for 4 years and was a regular contributor to The Kitchen Cabinet. Paula has also worked as a demo chef and writer for Borough Market in London, as well as working as a recipe developer for various companies.

She’s a regular columnist in Farming Life and has been rewarded the Farming Life Food Champion in 2015 and the Restaurant Association of Ireland’s Food Hero 2017.


9.00am: Registration & networking

9.45am:Welcome by Sarah Travers

9.50am:Opening Remarks - Councillor Cheryl Johnston, Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

9.55am:Keynote - Grainne Kelly “Do the right thing & only the RIGHT thing will happen”

10.35am:Networking session - Bespoke Communications – # “Be Bold for each other”

11.05am Refreshment Break & visit Sponsor’s Market Place

11.35am:Panel Discussion – “Be Bold for Business”

Edel Doherty, Tracy Hamilton, Paula McIntyre, Therese Charles

1.00pm Lunch

2.00pm Breakout 1 Session:

Group One: Make mobile work for your business in 2018 – Sand Marketing (see below for details)

Group Two: Designing for Difference – Coping with a Market full of individuals - Marks Design (see below for details)

2.35pm Breakout 2 Session: 

Group One: Designing for Difference – Coping with a Market full of individuals - Marks Design (see below for details) 

Group Two: Make mobile work for your business in 2018 – Sand Marketing (see below for details)

3.10pm Keynote - Norah Casey – “The Power of You”

3.50pm Remarks by Mayor Councillor Joan Baird OBE, Causeway Coast & Glens Council

3.55pm Closing Address - Roseann Kelly and Jayne Taggart

4.00pm After Conference Drinks




Breakout Session One: Make mobile work for your business in 2018

Debbie Rymer & Caroline Fleck of SAND Marketing

Did you know that 50% of the UK population reach for their smartphone immediately after waking up to check social media, messages and emails? That leads, bookings and sales on smartphones are up 64% compared to desktop and that 57% of customers say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website? In this breakout session by SAND Marketing Debbie and Caroline will help you to understand how to include mobile in your marketing strategy, the options and tools available and how to create the content to succeed in your first mobile marketing campaign.

Hold on to your seats for what will be a high energy session packed full of practical tips and marketing magic.

Debbie Rymer: Founder and Director of SAND Marketing & East Coast Marketing Academy a CIM Accredited Study Centre

Debbie is a self-confessed marketing addict who loves making confusing things clear and complicated things simple. She is passionate helping entrepreneurs to grab the marketing reigns and raise their game by making marketing easy and actionable. Debbie has a passion for marketing that translates in an energised and motivating training experience. While this breakout session is only 30 mins long you can be assured that it will be packed full of practical takeaways.




Caroline Fleck: Broadcaster and Senior Associate at SAND Marketing

Caroline has 19 years’ experience in the broadcast media in Northern Ireland and has a proven track- record in presenting, producing, directing and researching high profile mainstream programmes across the province – from news and current affairs to features / magazine. Caroline is the lead tutor at The Bauer Academy and The East Coast Marketing Academy and brings with her a wealth of communications experience. Caroline really knows her stuff when it comes to raising your profile so be prepared to be inspired and motivated.


Breakout Session Two: Designing for Difference - Coping with a Market Full of Individuals.


Marks is a global design company that just happens to be based in Belfast. Liesa Johnston, Sara White and Catherine Minford are going to share some unique insights into local and global brand creation and shelf activation and discuss the way forward in a world where consumers increasingly hate to be labelled, lectured and lied to.

Liesa Johnston is Director of Marks Marketplace, a unique service encompassing research, insights, operations, sales, NPD and marketing, that helps small food companies to set themselves up for sales.








Sara White is a London based Global Client Director for one of Marks’ key clients, RB, a global owner of brands like Durex, Nurofen and Clearasil.








Catherine Minford is Director of Content for the Belfast site, responsible for creating brand names, creating brand stories and writing narratives for all forms of content.









Galgorm Resort & Spa Conference Packages

As a special treat for conference attendees Galgorm Resort & Spa have put together a range of unique spa and accommodation packages if you would to extend your visit beyond the conference. 

  • Accommodation in a Resort Guestroom with access to spa £65.00 per person sharing (minimum 2 adults)
  • Accommodation in a Resort Guestroom plus 3 course dinner, with access to spa £95.00 per person sharing (minimum 2 adults)
  • Thermal Village Access & 3 Course Meal in Gillies or Fratelli £55.00 per person
  • 60-minute Spa Treatment £69.00 per person (bookings for spa treatments will close on 23/2/18)

Accommodation and Thermal Village access is subject to availability at the time of booking.

To avail of these special rates, guests may contact Louise Nicholl directly on


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