On Oct. 25, CIM welcomed 18 women business executives from Northern and southern Ireland for a two-week program. The executives returned home last weekend, after a series of lectures from BC faculty and special guests, and visits to local industries which are characteristic of CIM programs.
Earlier this fall, 12 executives from small and medium-sized businesses and community enterprises from counties on the border of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic came to CIM as the first participants in the center's Ron Brown Business Development Program. Named after the late US commerce secretary, the program is a collaboration between CIM and the International Fund for Ireland.
Center for Irish Management Director Sean Rowland is flanked by Irish Consul General Orla O'Hanrahan (right) and Norma Smurfit, who addressed a reception for businesswomen in Burns Library on Nov. 7. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
"The center's primary mission is to create more jobs and encourage economic development within the island of Ireland," said CIM Director Sean Rowland. "However, the center also believes this mission - coupled with the personal, educational and corporate exchanges it facilitates - serves to promote peace in Northern Ireland."
The Women's Executive Business Program is aimed at executives who hold senior management positions or oversee small businesses in a variety of industries, including communications, catering, education, sales, publications, travel, health and beauty. Besides improving their business and organizational skills, and establishing ties with the local business community, participants can gain an insight into professional support systems for women executives in the US, and explore ideas for further strengthening the position of women in the workplace.
During their two-week stay, the executives heard lectures from Carroll Graduate School of Management Dean Hassell McClellan and CSOM faculty members on such subjects as marketing strategy, legal issues, information technology, leadership skills, balancing career and family, and organizational management.
The participants made site visits to the Small Business Administration, US Export Assistance Center, Massachusetts Export Center and several local companies and women's business groups. They also traveled to Washington, DC, where they had an opportunity to meet with representatives of the National Association of Women Business Owners and Women in Governmental Relations, among other activities.
"This was a wonderful opportunity to step back, and in a different environment, to analyze our business and careers," said Fran Murrin, managing director of With Taste Banqueting Services of Dublin.
The executives in the Ron Brown Business Development Program were matched with mentors in the local business community, enabling them to experience American management, distribution, marketing, information technology and human resources management techniques. They also heard lectures on topics such as financial and marketing management, professional development and the global marketplace.
Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern praised the program at a farewell reception for the participants held in September at CIM's Dublin office.
"[It] is a wonderful example of the US government making a worthwhile contribution to the development of the Irish business community," he said. "It offers senior Irish executives an opportunity to benchmark their own operations among their American peers, while providing an opportunity to develop joint partnerships."
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