InterTradeIreland Business Summit – An Insightful Extravaganza

Category : Ann Marie McSorley

I was honoured to be invited on the panel last week to the inaugural InterTradeIreland Business Summit. Its purpose is to bring together industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and experts to discuss and explore key topics and trends in the business world. The summit aims to provide valuable insights, knowledge, and networking opportunities for attendees to navigate the evolving economy successfully. It focuses on fostering innovation, embracing technological advancements, promoting sustainability, and inspiring leadership.

Topics such as Ambition and Leadership, Sustainability and the Global Business Opportunity, and Embracing Tomorrow’s Economy were covered by the wonderful line-up on the day, from economists to entrepreneurs and everything in between.

What became abundantly clear was that as advancements in technology and shifts in societal expectations occur rapidly, businesses must adapt to stay relevant and competitive. This is particularly relevant in the area of sustainability.

Margaret Hearty, CEO of InterTradeIreland, kicked off the event and gave an overview of InterTradeIreland’s vision to create a globally competitive all-island business ecosystem that advances both economies in the years ahead. Simon Coveney, TD, although not there in person, celebrated the achievements of InterTradeIreland over the course of its history.

Paul Grocott, Deputy Secretary at the Department for the Economy, quote showed the potential for the North of Ireland:

‘A once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform Northern Ireland into an elite small advanced economy, with sustainable pathways for people and places to be part of the innovations reshaping how we live.”

David McWilliams gave a highly engaging speech on economics. His claim that the country is run on gossip raised a lot of eyebrows but also a lot of discussion, which is a hugely beneficial outcome for a conference like this.

InterTradeIreland Panels

Panel number one saw the subject of Embracing Tomorrow’s Economy being broached. The forward-thinking SMEs and thought leaders included Bobby Healy, founder of Manna Aero; Stuart Harvey, CEO of Datactics; Brian Caulfield, Chair of Scale Ireland; Cormac Diamond, CEO of Bloc Group. My favourite speaker on this panel was Joan Mulvihill, a powerhouse of Digitalisation and Sustainability at Siemens, an artist, and also a really practical solutions-focused speaker that resonated with my journey around customer centricity.


After a little coffee break, we returned to the second panel focused on Sustainability and the Global Business Opportunity. This panel featured Brian Reid, CEO of Deli Lites; Criona Turley, CEO and Co-Founder of Capella Workplace Solutions; Richard Kennedy, CEO of Carbon AMS. I had a great chat with Sean Dobbs, founder of Forged Innovation, who is a passionate disruptor when it comes to Climate action in the Agri arena.

Then came my own panel, which I shared with Tina McKenzie, CEO of Staffline Ireland; Martin McVicar, CEO of Combilift; Mark Dowds, CEO of Responsible. The topic was Making it Happen – Ambition and Leadership. Being asked “What Kind of Leader are you?” in front of 1000 people was a good exercise in self-reflection. My answer: A lucky Leader – lucky because the time of my opportunity was when I, as a single parent, was able to throw everything into the business. Secondly and most importantly, luck because of the team that I have been able to build for their loyalty and capacity to enable our client’s success in environmental, sustainability and digital projects.


After my panel appearance, I was able to take a breath and really enjoy the keynote speech from rugby international, Brian O’Driscoll. A great place to finish is on his tips: coming out of your comfort zone, understanding your own voice, taking inspiration from other leaders, and always being a team player.

The InterTradeIreland Business Summit proved to be an enlightening and inspiring event, bringing together industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and experts to discuss crucial topics in the business world. The focus on innovation, sustainability, and leadership highlighted the need for adaptation and collaboration in an evolving economy. With thought-provoking speakers and valuable networking opportunities, the summit provided a platform for growth and learning, leaving attendees with valuable insights to apply in their respective fields.