Effective business leadership is key to the future prosperity of the Northern Ireland economy, delegates at the Institute of Directors Northern Ireland (IoD NI) Annual Lunch have heard.

The event, sponsored by Rainbow Communications, took place today at the recently launched Titanic Hotel, Belfast.

More than 250 business leaders and guests representing companies from all sectors gathered for the event which had taken the theme Leaders on Leadership.

Speakers included Bombardier’s Bill Molloy and Belfast City Council CEO Suzanne Wylie, who shared the lessons gained through their careers that had informed their leadership.

IoD NI Chairman Ian Sheppard said:

“As an organisation, we believe strongly in the importance of mentorship and professional development through learning best practice from others.

“The stories of Bill and Suzanne’s careers are each marked by significant success across both the private and public sectors so their insight was particularly valuable to those in attendance at the Annual Lunch.

“The lunch provided a welcome opportunity for members and non-members alike to network in the new surroundings of the Titanic Hotel. As the IoD’s final large function of the year, our attention now turns to 2018 for which we already have a strong calendar of events planned.”

The sold-out lunch was among the first large corporate events to take place at the recently opened hotel.

The panel session was facilitated by BBC broadcaster Mark Carruthers.

Bill, who is based in Canada, is Vice-President of Aftermarket Sales and Commercial Strategy for Bombardier Business Aircraft.

He said: “The responsibility that comes with being a senior leader can be daunting and I have found ways to use some of my insecurities to my advantage.

“I’ve tried to harness my commitment and perseverance to make my teams more successful.

“For me, the sign of a truly great leader, is one who can show that they have cultivated and developed others and furthermore, liberated them, so that they can lead outside the organisation.”

Suzanne became the first female Chief Executive of Belfast City Council when appointed in 2014.

She added: “Leadership is as much about knowing what you are not good at as knowing what you are good at so being self aware is a number one priority.

“Surrounding yourself with a strong group of people with complementary qualities and different strengths and working collectively as a team to deliver in this ever more complex business environment.

“Leaders also need to be mentored and in my career, I have benefited significantly from such guidance from the very beginning. I believe strongly that leaders should also provide mentorship to others from day one, rather than wait for somebody to show signs that they are beginning to shine.”

David Beatty, Rainbow Communications said:

“As ever, the IoD NI Annual Lunch presented an invaluable opportunity for business leaders to gather and learn from one another.

“Belfast, and Northern Ireland as a whole, is often said to punch above its weight, especially when it comes to business success on a global scale.

“Both Bill and Suzanne are tremendous examples of that, having each achieved significant business goals during their respective careers. We thank each of them for taking the time to impart some of their knowledge to IoD members and other business leaders during today’s event.”

For further information, or to view IoD NI’s calendar of events for 2018, please visit www.iod.com/ni.