Connecting Business – Growing Opportunities

Spring Forward - Co-Chair's Update

An update from Causeway Co-Chair Brigid Whoriskey as we approach St Patrick's Day 2022 and a brighter 2022 for business.

Spring is in the air, and we’ve got the year off with a bang with three events already under our belt. I’m excited about what’s in store for Causeway: Ireland Scotland Business Exchange for 2022, and beyond. It’s been an honour to step into the co-chair role at the start of the year, with my talented colleague Judith O’Leary. Our huge thanks go to David Greenlees who led Causeway for the past three years and been involved since its inception. In that time it has flourished.

Judith and I did not take on the co-chair roles lightly – knowing the time and commitment it will take to lead this growing network. Our enthusiasm for the mission of Causeway, coupled with a shared excitement about its potential for growth, sealed the deal for us. It’s a privilege to play a role in stimulating business and professional networking across the Irish Sea and helping to form valuable connections to collaborate and do business. The talent, energy and connections of our management board and our small staff team, Aoife O'Sullivan and Megan Harkins – who all punch above their weight time and time again - make it all possible.

Continued membership growth and new connections, across geographies and sectors

Above all, it is our members who make Causeway what it is. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, more members than ever before have joined our network from a wide range of organisations, geographies, and sectors. Having slightly nervously hosted our first online event in May 2020, we now have a busy and diverse schedule of online events, engaging members and potential members from Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

The one thing they all have in common is a desire to connect and collaborate, with networking playing a key part in all our events. We facilitated over 250 business and professional connections across the Irish Sea in the past year, and there is potential to for even more and ever deeper connections in the year ahead. It’s all about people meeting people and finding common ground.

My biggest hope for Causeway in the next year is that we help more people to make meaningful connections, and for those connections to ultimately help their businesses and professions to flourish. It’s as simple as that.

Our priorities as Co-chairs of Causeway are to:

  • Host engaging events

We will continue to deliver a programme of events that engage and stimulate our members.  In 2022, we want to continue our successful online programme of events and get back to some face-to-face events, it’s time to shake hands and see each other without a screen.

  • Make more introductions

Let’s create even more opportunities for people to meet people they might not otherwise come across. Once you make that connection the rest takes care of itsel

  • Grow our membership 

When members join Causeway, they often talk about how open, friendly and ego-free we are. There is a genuine interest in learning about people and businesses that shines through.  We need to raise our profile and give more people the opportunity to join us. We’re extending our reach to include remote, coastal and island regions, as well as the towns and cities across Ireland, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.  Our members are our greatest asset, and we will be calling on them to spread the word.

  • Support Government aspirations 

We appreciate the support of the Scottish and Irish governments, and in particular we will harness the power of the Causeway network to support the aims of the Bilateral Agreement, which commits to deepening Irish-Scottish cooperation and nurturing those close political, economic, community and cultural ties. We will achieve this by continuing to foster the development of business and economic relationships between businesses and agencies in Ireland and Scotland. We are also proud to promote cultural links between Scotland and Ireland, celebrating events such as St Patrick's Day and Burns Day and hosting events on the intersection of sports, culture, and business.

  • Nurture strong partnerships

We won’t achieve all this working in isolation. We are fortunate to already have a strong set of partners and we want to grow this further. We are forging ever stronger linkages with the British Ireland Trading Alliance – planning joint events and strengthening the benefits for our joint members.  Agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, Scottish Development International and the Chambers of Commerce are friends and partners – we share common goals in striving to create opportunities for development and growth and supporting businesses to prosper.  Our collaboration with LIFT Ireland gives our members an opportunity for personal growth in a set of leadership values. We plan to grow our partnerships in 2022 – achieving more together. 

  • Amplify young voices

The growth of our Young Professional membership has been one of my personal joys in Causeway in the past year. From tentative beginnings, we now have a strong and growing network, with its own Committee and series of events, and an effective mentoring/reverse mentoring programme – the Causeway Professional Partners. We are inviting a Young Professional to join our management board and I’m excited to see the influence, energy, and potential these members bring to our network.

  • Gain in financial strength

Finally, for Causeway to be successful in the future we need financial stability. We volunteer our time as co-chairs, as does our management board, but to reach our potential we need the financial strength to invest in the infrastructure and resources that will support our growth. Thankfully our diverse range of events offer great opportunities for sponsorship – and a growing membership base brings in additional membership fees.  

Connect with us in 2022

I look forward to meeting more members in 2022 and hope you will join us in spreading the word about this great Causeway network. It’s a privilege to bring business and professions together from the cities and remote regions of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland - to share insights, knowledge, and experience – to connect, collaborate and do business.

I hope to see you soon at our forthcoming St Patrick's Eve social networking event  on 16 March or at our flagship, Annual Awards Celebration later in the year in October 2022. Reach out if you’d like a chat or if you have any ideas regarding events or roundtables that would help you and your business.  And please join us at some of our forthcoming events.

Here’s to a great 2022!

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Author: Brigid Whoriskey

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