Ulster Society conference aims To help business ‘bounce back’

Nov 20, 2020
Vicky Davies Maeve Hunt

A virtual conference run by the Ulster Society in partnership with Danske Bank yesterday aimed to help local businesses to ‘bounce back’ from the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis.

The ‘Bouncing Back Virtual Conference’ focused on the importance of leadership and resilience as businesses, advisers and their clients look to recover and rebuild the local economy.

The half-day event was chaired by speaker and broadcaster David Meade and featured a range of speakers on the theme of leadership and resilience.

First on the schedule was James McSporran, Learning & Development Consultant, who asked the question ‘What sort of leader do we turn into when things don’t go our way?’  In a fascinating presentation, James challenged delegates to honestly examine their mindset in adversity and how it might be causing more harm than good.

Next up Vicky Davies, Deputy Chief Executive of Danske Bank spoke about how both the bank and some of its clients had addressed the COVID-19 health crisis – and the key lessons that she had taken from that.

Following the coffee break Conor Houston, Houston Solutions Ltd took an overarching view of some of the main leadership challenges facing business and society, covering some major issues such as COVID-19, Brexit and Sustainability.

Next, the conference welcomed Chartered Accountants Ireland President, Paul Henry who spoke about the support that the Institute has offered to members during the pandemic and introduced and Dee France, Member & Student Support and Wellbeing Manager at Chartered Accountants Ireland who talked about CA SUPPORT.

The morning concluded with a panel of local business leaders and advisers talking about their experiences during the pandemic. Panel members who were quizzed by David Meade included Kieran Kennedy of O’Neills Sportswear; Miles Canning of athletic equipment supplier BLK Box; Marianne Hood, Chair of the Institute of Hospitality NI; and Brian Ambrose of Belfast City Airport.

Maeve Hunt, Chair of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society said: “The challenges for business throughout this year have been plain to see. The qualities of leadership and resilience have never been needed more. Throughout this conference we’ve aimed to look to the positive and to examine ways in which businesses can successfully adapt and recover.

“We’ve enjoyed a strong line-up of expert speakers, a panel of business leaders who have faced unprecedented challenges over the last year and taken some valuable insights from our partner Danske Bank. I hope that delegates have come away motivated and thinking positively about how they can take their business forward despite the lingering challenge of COVID-19.

Guest speaker Vicky Davies, Deputy Chief Executive of conference partner Danske Bank said: “We’ve really enjoyed the ‘Bouncing Back Virtual Conference’ and hearing from some excellent local business people about how they have adapted and transformed their businesses over this difficult year. Despite tough times still to come, I believe that the stories we heard at the conference should give us all a sense of hope for the future.”

Pictured are (from left) Vicky Davies, guest speaker and Deputy Chief Executive, Danske Bank; and Maeve Hunt, Chair, Chartered Accountants Ulster Society.