YLNI- Fit to Lead!

On Friday 8th June we were proud to be associate sponsors of the Young Leaders Northern Ireland conference held in Riddle Hall, Stranmillis.

Young Leaders NI is a group formed by the Junior Chamber International Belfast, the Northern Ireland Young Solicitors’ Association, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Northern Ireland and the Chartered Accountants Ireland Ulster Society Young Professionals Group. It is aimed at encouraging and inspiring the leaders of tomorrow from industry and professional services across the province.

This years theme was “Fit to lead” and focused on personal wellbeing.

We arrived at the beautiful Riddle hall in glorious sunshine excited to meet everyone, find out who the winner of the Young Leader of the year award is and listen to the speakers. Some of the team even managed to grab UTVs Claire McCollum for a quick selfie!

What a line-up of truly inspirational and motivational speakers were on offer!

Lady Chanelle McCoy (Entrepreneur, Dragons Den Ireland) emphasised the importance of perseverance in business and not taking the first, second or even third

rejection as the final answer. She encouraged our young leaders to find a healthy work life balance, to make time for family events and to recognise that success comes from finding happiness in all aspects of life, not just in our career. We strongly share these beliefs here at AKFP and we were honoured to be in attendance.

Alison Canavan (Health and Wellness Coach and Author) spoke open and honestly about the challenges that she has faced in life and her journey to overcoming a history of addictions, depression, anxiety and trauma. She encouraged our young leaders to look within themselves, to realise that happiness comes from you and only you, not from the next big job, relationship or party. Alison held nothing back and we admire her determination to use her own experiences to help others.

Andrew Trimble (Ireland/Ulster Rugby Player) talked about transferrable skills and how he uses the skills that he learnt during his rugby career in his new life. He shared memories of the leaders that inspired him and helped to make him the person that he is today. Andrew spoke about situations, such as when he gained captaincy, that were intimidating and overwhelming at first and how he dealt with those initial feelings to rise to the challenges he faced. The young leaders in attendance will face many challenges in their journey and we think that Andrew did a great job of helping them understand that formidable situations are not necessarily bad.

My Sister’s Closet (Fashion Entrepreneurs and Lifestyle Bloggers) encouraged the young leaders to believe in themselves and to listen to their own thoughts and gut feelings. They spoke about how others had told them that they weren’t going to make a successful business by blogging about fashion and advertising on Facebook. Their belief in themselves and their passion for their brand saw them through the negativity and now those who had doubted them initially are copying them. It was fantastic for us to see two young women from Northern Ireland become trend setters, not only in the fashion scene, but also in the business and sales world.

Robert Herdman (Clinical Hypnotherapist and Success Coach) had our young leaders walking over broken glass! Yes, really! Robert gave us an insight into the saying “mind over matter” and how negative thoughts can affect our behaviours and those behaviours can then become habit. Robert spoke about breaking old patterns and beliefs and reprogramming the mind for new change, fresh ideas and a new belief system. We found Roberts address fascinating and highly entertaining.

The speakers were just the tip of the iceberg! We were privileged to be amongst the rising stars of the future. From Business owners specialising in manufacturing and agriculture to solicitors and accountants and everything in between. The calibre of the young leaders was world class and we enjoyed meeting every single one of them! They showcased the talent, entrepreneurial spirit and drive to succeed that Northern Ireland has to offer.

The winner of the Young Leader of the year award was Greg Bradley from Blk Box fitness. Greg and his team have gone from operating out of a garage to doing business on a global scale from their 20,000 sq foot HQ in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter where they design & manufacture all their own fitness equipment. Greg has a young and forward-thinking team that is constantly in touch with many key stakeholders to ensure continuous business development. They have a 3000 sq foot fully functioning showroom which acts as a testing and training institute for the team to ensure they can constantly innovate and try new concepts. All of this has been achieved in 5 years! Congratulations Greg!

The future certainly looks bright indeed with these fantastic young professionals and business owners at the helm. What a great day we had. The ladies of the office may have suffered in their heels all day but it was certainly worth it!