Professional Irish women’s network boasts nearly 300 members on first anniversary

Professional Irish women’s network boasts nearly 300 members on first anniversary

A NETWORK set up to connect professional Irish women living in the North of England has racked up nearly 300 members since it was launched a year ago.

The Women of Irish Heritage (WIH) Professional Network in the North of England was first launched on March 8, 2022 – International Women’s Day – by Consul General of Ireland for the North of England, Sarah Mangan at an event held at the Peoples History Museum in Manchester.

Fiona Flood, Embassy of Ireland in London, Sarah Mangan, Consul General of Ireland for the North of England, Elaine O’Brien, Co-operation Ireland, and Marcella Wilkinson, President of the Mayo Association of Manchester, pictured at the WIN launch in 2022

Yesterday marked the organisation’s first anniversary, and it has released a series of videos this week featuring members celebrating the success of their first 12 months.

WIH CEO Carla Stockton-Jones, who is the Managing Director of Stagecoach UK, is one of the members to record an anniversary message.

“I’m really proud to be the Chair [of WIH] as Irish heritage is really important to me,” she said.

“My mother came over [to Britain] from Galway in the 1950s to train as a nurse and so my roots are firmly set in Ireland,” she explained.

“And the network lets me celebrate this heritage in my professional life too.

“It is great meeting other professional women who share my heritage and background while sharing experience and knowledge, and we all know that building a good business network has become essential to business success.”

Ms Stockton-Jones added: “Whether you are a manager needing support as you forge your way up the corporate ladder, or you are that entrepreneur who is embroiled in the daily challenges of finding clients for your own business, a network where you all share a common heritage can be a very very powerful tool.”

The WIH Network has been developed by Fréa, a banner charity for three Irish charities in the North of England, Irish Community Care based in Liverpool, Irish Community Care Manchester and Leeds Irish Health and Homes.

The work of the charities provides vital support and services to those most in need and vulnerable in the Irish community across the north of England.

Since the launch of the network, WIH has grown to more than 280 members.

It holds networking events across the north of England, and money raised at these events directly support the work of the Fréa charities.