“Building a professional network is like weaving a safety net, a safe space where we can all be vulnerable and know we will get honest feedback and advice, a space where we have each other’s back.” QA Noreen McKenzie, National President of Network Ireland 2022

Noreen McKenzie, National President of Network Ireland 2022

Please tell us a little about yourself and your previous role in Network Ireland.

Currently Ex Officio of Network Ireland having led the organisation as National President in 2022. She is committed to supporting women in business, across all sectors.

She is a much sought after moderator, keynote speaker, panellist and MC on all topics around female entrepreneurship, networking and finance.

Noreen is an Associate Director with Sherry FitzGerald Financial Services responsible for the Regional Growth Strategy in 2023 and beyond. Having worked in Financial Services in the Broker Market for over 22 years she has held various sales and leadership roles gaining vast market knowledge. Her career and experience spans the private, public and charity sector and she is also a serial volunteer.

Noreen holds an honours degree in Public Administration from the University of Limerick, is a Qualified Financial Advisor (QFA), Retirement Planning Advisor (RPA), a Graduate of the Bob Proctor Institute on their “Thinking into Results” Programme.

Noreen lives in Galway, is married to Martin and mum to Lauren (13) and Ava (10). In her spare time, she can be found on the sidelines of soccer pitches and Gaelic pitches throughout Galway and beyond, cheering on her daughters and her beloved Mayo.

Since joining Network Ireland in 2015, I have been involved at the local branch and national executive level, holding the post of local Galway Branch President in 2017. In January 2020, I put myself forward for the position of Vice President Designate which meant if elected, I would be National President in 2022.

I was successful and was honoured to lead the National Organisation last year. Starting the year with 14 branches, we finished 2022 with 17 and with a Kerry branch also in its start up phase.

I believe this speaks volumes as to the importance of organisations like Network Ireland who Lead and Support their members while Collaborating with other organisations who do the same.

The year was an incredible success with record attendances at our in-person flagship events – our celebration of International Women’s Day in Glasson Lakehouse on March 8th and our Conference and Awards in Galway on 7th October.

I am particularly proud of the fact as well that as an organisation, we raised to almost €65,000 for 11 Incredible Charities in 2022, created new collaborations with Mentors Work & CIRDAS which add huge value to our members offering free courses and free mentoring.

Network Ireland was also invited to be a stakeholder for The Entrepreneurs Apprenticeship in conjunction with Griffith College which will hopefully launch in Autumn 2023.

Some other Network Ireland 2022 highlights:

  • Social Media Reached 415,079, an increase of 13,000 YOY.
  • 692 Online and Print articles published.
  • The audience reaches totalling more than 17.2 million people.
  • Advertising value over 1 million.
  • Translating to an editorial value of €3 million.
  • Not including any broadcast coverage, and Network Ireland had many features across local and National radio stations over the course of 2022.

What is your definition of a professional network? And what does it mean to build one?

A professional Network for me is building a tribe of like-minded individuals who are there to support you, believe in you and encourage you to face and surmount all challenges. There is nothing more powerful. With this type of support, we can achieve anything.

Building a professional network is like weaving a safety net, a safe space where we can all be vulnerable and know we will get honest feedback and advice, a space where we have each other’s back.

“Some days you will need the safety net and other days you will be the safety net, so build it big and strong”. (Borrowed quote from the amazing Lisa Fallon-NI National Conference, Galway Oct 7th 2022)

In your experience, do women and men network differently?

Absolutely, from my experience women are much more tentative when it comes to networking and are not as quick to put themselves “out there” and I believe this is why as women across all business sectors, we need organisations like GRIT and Network Ireland to provide these platforms, safe spaces for each other.

Women also tend to build much deeper connections and refer and recommend from a place of trust.

What is your top tips for ‘networking with purpose’?

Approach Networking from a place of “How can I help?” so many people approach networking from the perspective of “What can I gain from this?” Turn that on its head and just wait to see the magic happen.

Kingley Aikins, CEO of the Networking Institute described “Networking like an ATM – you need to lodge into it, in order to draw from it” and I subscribe to this.

As our MC and moderator, what do you hope speakers and attendees will get from attending the day?

I am hoping that speakers and attendees will all learn from each other and if everyone walks away with even one nugget of inspiration then the day will have been worthwhile.

With the incredible line up, I feel there will be loads of inspiration, with attendees leaving with a “fire in their belly” ready to evoke change.


Follow us:

Share this: