Commercial Manager, Aer Lingus
Valerie has wide-ranging experience in the airline and travel industries and has been a key member of the Aer Lingus commercial team since 2007 having worked in a variety of roles including Sales Manager Ireland and Business Manager Europe for Tour Operators and Online Travel Agents.
A languages and marketing graduate, Valerie completed an MBA, at Queen's University Belfast, in 2010. Valerie has spent her career in the travel industry, and prior to joining Aer Lingus, worked as Sales Manager Ireland for Travelport, and worked in both Dublin and Belfast as Sales Manager Ireland for BMI.
Editor, Ulster Business
Symon Ross joined Ulster Business as editor in July 2010. A business journalist for more than a decade he has worked on daily newspapers, newswires, magazines and trade journals in Belfast, London and New Zealand.
Prior to joining Ulster Business he spent two years working on the business desk of the Belfast Telegraph and before that was a reporter in the Wellington bureau of Dow Jones Newswires, publisher of the Wall Street Journal. He began his career with specialist business publisher Informa in London and has also written articles on travel, movies and sport on a freelance basis. He is married to Jayne and has two children.
Chief Executive, Women in Business NI
Roseann has over 20 years experience in business, mainly as a marketer. She graduated from the University of Ulster with a BA Hons Degree in History. She cut her teeth in business in her family pub and her first full time role was as a Marketing Assistant in a Window Manufacturers.
Furthering her development she then completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Export Marketing which included 6 month relocation to Toronto.
Back in Belfast Roseann then joined a large FMCG where over a period of 6 years she moved from Marketing Assistant into the Senior Management Team.
Taking the next step Roseann became self-employed and set up Common Sense Marketing, a marketing consultancy with a select client list with whom Roseann worked on a 6 month project basis.
During this time she joined the Board of WIBNI and since March 2003, her support for WIBNI has seen her take on roles such as Vice -Chair, Treasurer, Coordinator, and Company Secretary.
In October 2009 Roseann took on a project which lead to her current role as full-time CEO of Women in Business NI Ltd. Her passion and vision for the network coupled with a determined, conscientious and hard working style has brought results beyond expectations. Women in Business NI Ltd has grown to over 850 members, is an independent self sustaining network and has gained recognition and profile within the business community.
A Belfast Top 50 Award holder and in 2012 she was recognised for her Services to Enterprise at the Young Entrepreneur Awards by the enterprise Minister.
She is Chair of the CO3 Special Interest Group on Social Enterprise and a member of the Steering
Managing Director, Innovation and Capability Development Group
Tracy is one of four Managing Directors in Invest Northern Ireland who, together with the Chief Executive, drive the agency’s work to help stimulate local economic growth by helping businesses succeed.
She heads up Invest NI’s Innovation and Capability Development Group and has played a central role in creating a strong and focused direction for Invest NI’s work in this key area, which covers support for a wide range of business operations from product development through to international trading.
Tracy’s background in marketing and business development has given her a keen sense of the challenges that businesses face and an appreciation of the type of support that companies need to help them maximise their potential.
She has substantial experience of local economic development at a strategic level having previously worked in the Industrial Development Board (IDB) heading up its Information and Communication Technologies Division. Before joining IDB Tracy worked in a number of marketing and public relations roles.
Tracy has a BA from Trinity College Dublin and an MBA in International Business and Industrial Development from the University of Ulster. She also has a Diploma in Marketing from the Institute of Marketing and a Certificate in Communications Studies from the CAM foundation.
Tracy is married with three sons. In her spare time she enjoys relaxing with her children, travelling, walking the dog and reading.
Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce
Ann McGregor (BA Hons, MA Marketing) was appointed as CEO of the Northern Ireland Chamber in June 2008.
She was formerly Chief Executive of Enterprise NI - the network of local enterprise agencies and a director with Business in the Community. She commenced her career in the private sector working in production/materials management with Roche Manufacturing, Schering Plough and Bird’s General Foods before moving into local economic development with the Local Enterprise Agency network specialising in small business development and support.
Ann is a current member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Fellow of the Institute of Business Consulting. She is also a Trustee of the Grand Opera House, a member of the Arena Network Steering Committee and a Director of Young Enterprise. She also represents the Chamber in the OFMDFM Cross Sectoral Advisory Forum, the Organised Crime Taskforce and the Green New Deal Group.
In November 2011, Ann won the Best Senior Marketing Professional in Northern Ireland at the Chartered Institute of Marketing Awards and has been shortlisted for the UK Awards in February 2012. She also won the Award for Outstanding Management/Leadership at the Irish News - Women in Business also in November 2011.
Business Editor, News Letter
Adrienne McGill is a member of a long established academic family in Northern Ireland. She holds a BA (Hons) degree in Political Science and an MSSc in Irish Political Studies from Queen's University, Belfast.
Adrienne gained a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism from Falmouth College of Journalism in Cornwall following her studies at Queen's University. Upon completing her studies, Adrienne worked as a news reporter for the East Antrim Gazette and then as a business reporter with the Irish news.
For the past 12 years she has held the position of Business Editor with the News Letter. Adrienne is the recipient of numerous awards for her business and personal finance reports.
Business Editior, Irish News
Gary McDonald has been business editor of the Irish News since January 2000, having previously spent nearly four years as editor of Ulster Business magazine.
He began his career in journalism as a trainee reporter with his home town newspaper, the Banbridge Chronicle, in 1979 before moving to the Ulster Star in Lisburn in 1986.
He served as editor of the Mid-Ulster Mail in Cookstown between 1989 and 1996. He also had a stint as Ireland sub-editor of the Press Association.
Gary has been named by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) as Northern Ireland's Business Journalist of the Year on four separate occasions - 2000, 2006, 2009 and 2010 – a feat which is unequalled in the history of the awards.
In both 2008 and 2009 he also won the Northern Ireland category in the UCD Smurfit School Irish Business Journalist Awards in Dublin.
Married to Jayne with two teenage kids (aged 19 and 16), he lives in Banbridge, Co Down.
Aside from his role at the Irish News, he also commentates for BBC Northern Ireland radio on the sport of men's hockey.
His hobby since a teenager is playing the highland bagpipes, where he has competed at World and European Championship level.
The highlight of his musical career, however, was performing at the opening ceremony of the World Special Olympics in Dublin in June 2003 before a televised audience of 500 million, when he shared a stage with U2 at an event attended by Nelson Mandela, Muhommad Ali and Arnold Schwarzenegger among others!
Managing Partner, Arthur Cox
Alan Taylor is managing partner in Northern Ireland of Ireland’s foremost corporate and commercial law practice, Arthur Cox, one of Europe's Top 50 legal firms with 600 staff in Belfast, London, New York and Dublin.
With a total staff of almost 100 Arthur Cox, Belfast provides services to an international client base ranging from large multinational organisations in a wide range of industrial sectors to public sector bodies and new players in niche and emerging markets.
Alan deals with a broad range of corporate finance, corporate and commercial work on behalf of international and domestic clients. He advises private companies and individuals on private equity, investment, mergers and acquisitions and disposals.
His exposure in many different sectors to a wide range of businesses through his transaction work and providing due diligence to private equity houses and investors makes him uniquely placed to understand commercial enterprises throughout the world.
Alan is very interested in the corporate and social responsibility side of business and sits on the board of Business in the Community Northern Ireland.
He is passionate about the role business leaders play in the community and their ability to be a force for change socially as well as economically. He is an active participant in the IoD Northern Ireland committee which seeks to promote leadership and develop the economic leaders of the future.