Gareth Chambers, CEO of Around Noon, was last year crowned Northern Ireland’s Young Leader of the Year at the annual Young Leaders Conference and has today launched the search for a 2018 winner.

Sponsored by Herbert Smith Freehills the “Young Leader of the Year” Award is presented to an outstanding young professional (under 40) who has shown exceptional leadership skills and demonstrated continued commitment to personal development (both their own and that of others). Nominations for the award must be submitted by 12 noon on Thursday 24th May. Entrants can be self-nominated or alternatively nominated by a third party who considers that the entrant meets the relevant criteria. Online entry can be done via or by emailing to request an entry form.

Speaking on his win last year, Gareth says: “Winning this award was a boost to the whole team at Around Noon and a validation of all of our efforts. The award has given us renewed confidence in our future. The event and experience was truly memorable and I would really recommend forward thinkers and inspiring young leaders to enter this award. It will add weight and credibility to your efforts.”

Judges noted that 2017 winner Gareth demonstrated his commitment to delivering outstanding service in his sector, and exhibited exceptional leadership qualities, including technical excellence and the commitment to nurturing and developing his team.

Speaking on the 2018, search Young Leaders NI Chair, Chris Fleming said: “Not only do these awards celebrate aspiring individuals at the forefront of leadership performance; they also shine a spotlight on best-in-class practices and so help inspire other business leaders. Each year the calibre of entries improves and it is great to see past winners go from strength to strength in their career.”

Lisa McLaughlin, Director of Herbert Smith Freehills’ Belfast office, commented, “We have been proudly following Gareth’s continued success after being crowned winner in 2017. The attributes demonstrated by Gareth, including his drive and commitment to delivering exceptional service in his sector are key leadership attributes which are core to our values at Herbert Smith Freehills.”

Lisa continued: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Herbert Smith Freehills Young Leader of the Year Award for the seventh successive year. We are always impressed by the high quality of the applicants and are looking forward to receiving nominations from this year’s nominees and learning about how they are developing as leaders of the future. Being shortlisted and indeed winning the Award is a fantastic opportunity for young entrepreneurs and business leaders to showcase their talents, raise their profiles and inspire our young leaders of the future.”

This year’s winner will be presented with the winner’s trophy at the Young Leaders Conference on 8 June and will have the opportunity to further develop their leadership skills by receiving a complimentary place on one of three leadership training programmes offered by Queen’s William J Clinton Leadership Institute

The 2018 Young Leaders Conference is sponsored by Herbert Smith Freehills together with reception sponsor Progressive and associate sponsor AKFP Group.

Tickets are now on sale for the conference and can be booked via