We're just days away from our highly anticipated 2016 IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards, and we can scarcely?wait to honour such an incredible group of women at our special anniversary event. All those shortlisted across?the nine categories have accomplished incredible things in their careers, from breaking boundaries to smashing ceilings as well as overcoming any bumps along the way. Each year, it's a privilege?to witness so many talented, successful women come together to genuinely support one another, and we remain in awe of the accomplishments of all our nominees.
As we get ready for the big night, we spoke to some of last year's winners to see the impact that winning Businesswomen of the Year had on them personally and professionally:
Young Businesswoman of the Year: Chupi Sweetman-Durney, Creative Director, Chupi
Winning Businesswoman of the Year was incredible; I gave up a sensible job to be a jeweller, and it was amazing to be able to say that it was worth it!
Fiona Flannery, CEO, DEPFA Bank plc
It had a really positive impact on my personal outlook on my career. It made me appreciate what I have achieved so far and gave me the assurance to continue to share my experiences with other women looking to make the next step in business. I was very touched by the positive reactions received from people both inside and outside the company.
?Bernadette Kinsella, CEO, worldBOX.ie
[Winning] has been an amazing experience. It gave the business the confidence it needed, a seal of approval for our customers and the coverage and PR has been invaluable. IMAGE plays a huge part in supporting Irish Business.
Sara Mitchell, co-owner, Poulet Bonne Femme
Winning Businesswoman of the Year had an incredible effect on my career, but primarily on my confidence as a businesswoman, which in turn, has allowed me to grow the business. Even though I didn't realise I needed it, to be recognised for all the hard work and sacrifice was overwhelming. It is such a fantastic event and so necessary for women, particularly because they often don't put themselves out there enough. I met so many other amazing women through the event who I am now doing business with. After winning, I was approached by Paula Fitzsimons from Going for Growth which has been an ongoing incredible journey for me, and for Poulet Bonne Femme. Being mentored by Caroline Keeling, I have learnt so much about how to grow my business. I've so many exciting upcoming plans that I think 2017 is going to be a great year for us.
Sandra McKenna, Co-Founder, Sheology Digital
I was so honoured to win the Image Digital Businesswoman of the Year award. I am not one for the spotlight or indeed celebrating the success I have achieved in any public fora, however, thanks to a nomination by a colleague I was forced to pause and reflect on all that I have accomplished together with my co-founder and husband, Cormac, in establishing our female-focused digital publishing business. I am so grateful for all the people who continue to support me personally and professionally.