A Collective View: Female Entreprenuership

November 12, 2019

On a rainy November evening in West London, the Women’s Irish Network members gathered to hear the empowering stories of three of Ireland’s leading female entrepreneurs for A Collective View: Female Entrepreneurship.

Despite the gloomy weather, Killik. & Co shone brightly as guests, Darina Allen, Mary McKenna MBE and Jayne Roynane shared their journeys of success.

Marina Donohoe, Enterprise Ireland chaired the discussion with each panellist reflected on their careers. Each highlighted how they coped in the face of adversity and shared the lessons they learned along the way. Between every honest answer was plenty of laughter of the highs and lows of being a female entrepreneur.

Not only is Darina Allen a best-selling author and one of Ireland’s most iconic chefs, but she has also revolutionised Ireland’s relationship with food, was one of the earliest pioneers of farmers’ markets and has been a tireless champion of Irish food, both at home.

Her legacy continues across the globe as Ballymaloe Cookery School graduates carry on her teachings in restaurants and eateries across the around the world.

Darina discussed the value of finding your vocation in what you do.

Despite having few role models at the beginning of her career, Darina knew that she had no choice but to follow her passion for food. “All I wanted to do was to cook! I had no ambition to have a career.”

She explained that the Ballymaloe Cookery School was born from necessity rather than a choice and how despite all odds; she kept the doors open during the recession of the late ’00s.

Darina’s resilience, passion and love for food as seen her career reach new heights as she launches her nineteenth cookbook ‘One Pot Feeds All’ this Christmas.

Jayne Ronayne is one of Ireland’s brightest tech talents having co-founded her company Talivest straight out of University. Since then Jayne has been named as one of Ireland top 30 under 30 (twice!) and is listed as one of Ireland’s top 20 female entrepreneurs, while Talivest has opened offices in Dublin, Lisbon and New York, backed by leading global investors.

Jayne emphasised the importance of surrounding yourself with positive and kind people. She cited hiring her first employee as her greatest achievement because this meant that someone trusted her with their family’s income.

On investment, Jayne believes taking your time and finding a partner who shares your vision is fundamental to a long-lasting relationship.

Starting her entrepreneurial career a little later in life did not hold our third guest Mary McKenna MBE back. Since founding her first company Learning Pool at 43, Mary has become a leading global STEM entrepreneur, spent a spell as a Silicon Valley dot-commer and in 2014 Mary received an MBE for services to digital technology, innovation and learning.

Despite the social challenges that came with starting a business in Derry, Mary says helping her staff establish long-lasting careers is one of her personal entrepreneurial highlights. Mary advised us you are never too young or too old to follow your dreams.

Hearing these three inspiring figures speak candidly about the highs and lows filled the room with inspiration and left all attendees and WIN members feeling empowered, motivated and ready for their next challenge!

It was an honour to learn from these legendary women and we thank each of them for taking the time to share their experiences. We would also like to thank you to our superstar WIN member Kathryn Murrell captured key lessons learned, to share with those who could not attend on the night.

Mary discussed the social challenges that came with setting up a tech business in Derry but the pride she took in helping staff in the Northwest of Ireland establish long-lasting careers as one of her personal highlights. She stressed the point that you are never too young or old to start a business or career and that you have a burning desire to do something you must follow that passion. 

There was undoubtedly feeling for inspiration and awe among the WIN members as we heard from each speaker. It was energizing to have these three women speak so candidly about the highs and lows of their professional careers, reminding us that the impossible is always possible. 

Having these three inspiring figures speak candidly about the highs and lows of their professional careers left all attendees and WIN members feeling empowered, motivated and ready for their next challenge!

Thank you to our superstar WIN member Kathryn Murrell captured the key lessons learned, for those who could not attend on the night. 

This event was a part of the Women’s Irish Network members-only event series. If you would like to attend our next event or join the network, please click here.


  • ✨WIN Business Breakfast with Mairead Mackle, award-winning entrepreneur ✨
📅 Tuesday February 11
🕰️ 8AM - 9:30AM
📍 Corrigan’s Mayfair
🎟️ For members via Eventbrite link in email .
✨We would be delighted if you could join us at a private networking breakfast sponsored by Alexander Mann Solutions @weareams in partnership with the Women’s Irish Network.

@Maireadmackle_, CEO of Homecare Independent Living and Irish Tatler Entrepreneur of the Year, will be in conversation veteran broadcaster Maxine Mawhinney.

Mairead is a remarkable entrepreneur, philanthropist and mother of seven. Here are a round up of just some of Mairead’s achievements:
✨Founder @homecare_independent_living
🏆Winner @irishTatler Entrepreneur of the Year
✨ Founder @icarecharity01 - a progressive solution focused on improving the delivery of social care for the future .
✨Founder of @evolvewomen_ _ whose aim is to inspire and support strong female leadership across the community
✨Founding partner of @LiftIreland which focuses on character and value-based leadership for future generations.
🎗️ Finalist #EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award
🏆 Winner of National Special Recognition Award for her commitment to family business and impact on the local community.
🏆 Winner @NatWest Everywoman of the Year Award
Join us for an energising morning of networking with other WIN members, a delicious cooked breakfast at Corrigan's of Mayfair and insights from a woman at the top of her field. No better way to start a Tuesday!
If you have not received your members invitation or to renew your membership please contact Alannah on
#London #Womeninlondon #womensnetwork #womensirishnetwork #irishnetwork #irishabroad #womeninbusiness #womenintech #londonevents
  • We wish all of our incredible #WINWomenUK members a very happy #NollaigNamBan today! 🥂
Cheers to you & all the other strong women out there 💪 ▪️May we know them 👯‍♀️
▪️May we be them ✨
▪️May we raise them 🙌
  • 2019 was an amazing year for WIN, with lots of changes & lots to look forward to for 2020 🍾To celebrate, we’ve put together a special round-up of our favourite moments from 2019 ✨
Slide over to see the highlights ➡️
 @trishoftheday joined us for our Jan #BusinessBreakfast, kicking the year off in style✨ As a seasoned fashion editor, Trish told us about her glamorous career, sharing some secrets to her success in the fashion industry 👗

In Feb we visited the @irishembassyuk to celebrate #StBrigidsDay. Dozens of trailblazing women from the arts, politics & business took part in a series of performances & interviews to showcase the amazing creativity of #IrishWomen.

We kicked off our #MonthlyMeetup's at the @PorterhouseLDN. It was lovely to meet so many of you there & welcome to all those who have joined WIN since then! 🥂
Lecturer, broadcaster, author & all-round phenomenal Irish-woman @emmadabiri left us in awe at the #InternationalWomensDay celebrations at the @irishembassyuk ♀ Our favourite quote was “A win for women is a win for all of us.” ⚡
 At our May #BusinessBreakfast 👩‍💼 Bridget Walsh, Senior Partner, EY, discussed her rise to the top of the corporate ladder. "You don't get promoted for doing a good job." 👏

In 2019 we awarded bursaries of £3,000 for a postgrad student & £3,000 for an individual working in the arts 🎓🎭 This initiative will return in 2020 so stay tuned for more details!

Oriole Cullen charmed us as she took us on her journey of curating Dior’s Designer of Dreams exhibition at @V_and_A during our Sep #BusinessBreakfast. 👗

We heard from @MMaryMcKenna, @jaynesara20 & @darinaallen share their empowering stories of success as female entrepreneurs 🙌

At the @IYFUK & WIN annual reception, we announced we’ve donated £25,000 as part of our ongoing partnership. We also saw our friends at ICAP take home the much-deserved Quality Award. 🏆

We welcomed onboard our new Chair @angelabradyobe who takes over from @ceciliagallagher1 after 6 incredible years. Thank you for everything Cecilia, you will be missed! ✨

We would like to thank everyone who joined us on this incredible journey & here's to making more memories in 2020 🍾
  • To all the WIN members, followers and supporters we wish you a Merry Christmas from all at the Women's Irish Network 🎄✨🎄
  • It was lovely to see so many of you at this year's the Irish Youth Foundation (UK),and WIN Annual reception at the Embassy of Ireland.

Thank you to the @iyf_uk and the @irishembassyuk for a wonderful evening of celebration.

We are over the moon to announce that this year the Women's Irish Network donated £25,000 as part of our ongoing partnership with @iyf_uk. We raise this money through memberships, kind donations and sponsorship from our members, so thank you all for your ongoing support 
We are very proud of our friend's at ICAP for taking home the much deserved Quality Award.

We would also like to say thank you to our incredible chair @ceciliagallagher1 who announced she will be stepping down after six amazing years leading WIN. We all know how hard Cecilia has worked on growing and evolving WIN during this time and we hope she'll continue to be a part of WIN family for many years to come.

We wish to extend a warm welcome to @angelabradyobe who is taking over Celilia's role as chair. Angela will bring fresh perspectives on how we can continue to grow the Network  We look forward to implementing these ideas in 2020.

Finally, we would like to announce that board member @durkingeraldine will now serve as Vice-Chair and will support Angela on her mission, alongside Alannah McGhee who has recently joined as Community Manager.

We are working on an exciting event series for 2020 which we look forward to sharing with you all very soon ✨

Slide over to see some of the highlights of the night! ➡️
#London #Womeninlondon #womensnetwork #womensirishnetwork #irishnetwork #irishabroad #womeninbusiness #womenintech #londonevents
  • ✨ Today is the day ✨

We can't wait to see all of the amazing #WINWomen at tonight's Irish Youth Foundation and Women's Irish Network Annual Reception at the Embassy of Ireland.
This is a members only event and you must have RSVP'd directly to your Embassy invitation. And please remember there are no plus ones for this event. .
All details will be on the invitation you received from the Embassy of Ireland, however here is a reminder of the logistics: .
🕰 6pm
🏦 Embassy of Ireland, 17 Grosvenor Pl, SW1X 7HR

We look forward to seeing many of your there this evening!


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