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Baroness Blood – An Inspirational Woman

October 24, 2017

With thanks to Orla Bance, Director of Alchemy Business UK Group and OB Business Solutions

As part of my business journey, I am lucky enough to meet some inspiring individuals who can give strength and grit that you need to keep going through tough times. Having a small business can be a tough and lonely journey that you constantly question. This week, I was privileged to meet a lady who I will never forget – Baroness May Blood who makes our struggles in business fade into insignificance.

A Lifetime Peer

Baroness Blood is a lifetime peer in the House of Lords and kindly arranged for the Women’s Irish Network (WIN), of which I am member, to attend a question and answer session in the fantastic setting of the House. I have been to the Houses of Parliament many times but have not met someone who is so passionate and proud to be a member of what she truly understands as changing people’s lives.

Baroness Blood began her career in the combative and unsettled environment of Shankill area of Belfast. She became involved in the trade unions of a local linen mill and pushed up through the ranks of the extraordinarily chauvinistic environment of the Unions. Her belief is based around seeing people as people and not merely defined by their religion or gender. Her beliefs back then are still apparent now as she talks about integrated education and equality for all with passion.

Who do you know?

Whatever one’s political or religious belief, it is undeniable that Baroness Blood stood shoulder to shoulder with people who have altered the path of history. Her tales of Mo Mowlam, the Queen, Tony Blair, Martin McGuinness and even the paramilitaries within the Maze Prison are all told with such ease and simplicity that you realise that you are in the presence of greatness, albeit a very humble greatness.

Achievements

The achievements of her lifetime so far at the sprightly age of 79 are immense and sobering. I found that in the media circus this week of the Henry Weinstein cases and the underlying gender inequality within many industries, her approach is so relevant. We are further along to equality than we were but we are definitely not there yet.

She disagrees with quotas within the board room as do I – I will be there on merit as a person not as a woman.

She pushes back to women to make a difference by voting and supporting each other, not merely moaning about the lack of influential women. She demonstrated this in 1996 as she was a founding member of the Women’s Coalition Party in Northern Ireland.

In one of her first major Trade Union meetings, Reverend Ian Paisley asked her to go to make the tea as she was the only woman there. May describes that he was almost disgusted that she didn’t trot off to make the tea as it was deemed her job. She stood firm and affected change from the consistency of her approach and her dogmatic belief in what was right.

The title of her autobiography sums this struggle up; “Watch my lips, I’m speaking”. This came about as she sat in many meetings with all men and when she spoke, they ignored her. One day, this became too much and she shouted “Watch my lips, I’m speaking”. I found this a great anecdote as a woman in a predominantly male industry – sometimes, you just have to make sure you are heard! Even if it requires banging a table and shouting from the rafters.

Baroness Blood, you are a true inspiration for all people especially women. Thanks for your time and your openness and thanks to the team at WIN for organising. It really felt like you took us on a voyage akin to the start of your time as a peer experiencing both sides of the House of Lords – the Temporal and the Spiritual. It felt like we started to understand your journey with the temporal anecdotes and finished with the spiritual inspirational memories.

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  • ✨WIN Business Breakfast with Mairead Mackle, award-winning entrepreneur ✨
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📅 Tuesday February 11
🕰️ 8AM - 9:30AM
📍 Corrigan’s Mayfair
🎟️ For members via Eventbrite link in email .
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✨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:
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✨Founder @homecare_independent_living
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🏆Winner @irishTatler Entrepreneur of the Year
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✨ 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
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✨Founding partner of @LiftIreland which focuses on character and value-based leadership for future generations.
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🎗️ Finalist #EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award
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🏆 Winner of National Special Recognition Award for her commitment to family business and impact on the local community.
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🏆 Winner @NatWest Everywoman of the Year Award
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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!
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If you have not received your members invitation or to renew your membership please contact Alannah on enquiries@womensirishnetwork.com.
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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 ✨
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Slide over to see the highlights ➡️
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 @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! 🥂
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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.” ⚡
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 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! ➡️
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#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.
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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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