Networking can be the best way back into the workforce when the traditional application route is not working, Network Galway President Ciara O’Callaghan tells Lorraine O’Hanlon
Each business organisation has its place but women face different challenges to men and national group Network Ireland offers supports on that basis to its female members in business, the professions and the arts.
That’s according to Network Galway President Ciara O’Callaghan, who took on the role from Lorraine Scully in January.
“Business people in general face challenges in our current economy on a funding basis, be it from semi-State agencies, banks or private investors.
For women, there is the added challenge in that career breaks can negate against career progression,” she says.
Network Galway currently has around 60 members across all age groups, including retired business professionals, and family backgrounds, and from across a wide range of sectors, including finance and banking, pharmaceutical and health care, engineering and environment, ICT, retail and local government.
Ms O’Callaghan says the Galway branch, which links in with Network Ireland’s membership nationally, encompasses a large variety of disciplines and members include both employers and employees.
The group provides a forum for members to develop professional and social contacts, which is particularly important for members who are self-employed.
Unemployed women can also avail of Network Galway membership at half the normal rate, with Ms O’Callaghan suggesting that networking can often be the best way back into the workforce after a break when the “traditional CV and cover letter route” is not working.
“Sometimes job opportunities are not advertised. By networking among business and professional people, you may learn of a career opportunity,” she says.
The solicitor, who has been involved with Network Galway for five years, says there is also a monthly networking lunch or breakfast with an opportunity for members to showcase their business and create new links and market opportunities.
The group also holds monthly meetings where inspirational speakers deliver business tips and management ideas on various topics, making it invaluable for both those starting out in the business world and established professionals. Previous speakers include economists David McWilliams and Susan Hayes and Nicola Byrne, Founder and Managing Director of 11890.
Network Galway’s next monthly meeting is this evening, Wednesday 6 March, and the guest speaker is productivity coach Ciara Conlon, author of ‘From Chaos to Control’.
Members can also attend the national event being held for International
Women’s Day this Friday, 8 March, in Cork. The guest speaker is creative consultant Jane Maas.
In addition, Network Galway recognises success amongst its members and its annual business awards will be held on Friday 25 May, honouring the achievements of local businesswomen in three main categories: Employee, New Business and Businesswoman of the Year. The winners will go through to national awards being held in Cork this year on 5 October.