The Business of Possibility Podcast

A podcast series hosted by Wendy Austin and brought to you by Ulster University Business School.

Hosted by Veteran BBC broadcaster and journalist, Wendy Austin, The Business of Possibility podcast series takes a deep dive into the world of business in Northern Ireland. Wendy explores key themes and the latest research in business today with a host of dynamic business leaders, industry experts and leading academics.

Through thought leadership, stories and conversations, this podcast offers valuable insights and guidance on topics such as leadership, future of work, skills, resilience, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Episodes are available via all popular podcasts’ apps and the Ulster University Business School YouTube channel.

You can subscribe to the series on, or wherever you get your podcasts from.

Series Two

Episode 4 - Accelerate your Career with Postgraduate Study

From spotting gaps in our skills and knowledge to reinventing our careers entirely, the pandemic has prompted many of us to hit the pause button and reflect on our futures. Host Wendy Austin is joined by a number of remarkable UUBS alumni who have done amazing things following their time at UU. We hear about their interesting career journeys, personal successes and why postgraduate study is the ideal building block to help you maximise your career potential.

Episode 3 - So She Did | Championing Female Entrepreneurs

Whilst positive strides have been made in new business creation in Northern Ireland in recent years, studies show that entrepreneurial activity is typically lower for females than males, with men three times more likely to start their own business than women. In this episode, Wendy Austin speaks to Chris Shannon, Student Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Manager, UUSU Enterprise Centre, Leona Donaghy, Founder, Wholehearted Environments and Gabi Burnside, Entrepreneur Acceleration Manager, Ulster Bank. We hear of the work being done to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs and the inspiring start-up journey from one successful female business owner.

Series Two

Episode 2 - SMEs & Family Business: Planning for a Resilient Future

It's no secret that small-medium sized businesses form the backbone of the Northern Ireland economy, with family-run enterprises making up seventy-four percent of businesses across the region and contributing significantly to employment opportunities and the welfare of local communities. Wendy Austin is joined by Ian Smyth, Lecturer in Human Resource Management at Ulster University Business School, Darren McDowell, Senior Partner at Harbinson Mulholland and Paul Black, Chief Executive at Alpha Group, to discuss how SMEs, in particular family-owned firms, have fared over the last year and how business leaders can acclimatise to this new reality.

Episode 1 - Building a Highly Skilled Workforce for Economic Recovery

In the opening episode of season two, series host Wendy Austin is joined by Diane Dodds, Minister for the Economy, John Healy (OBE), Vice President & Managing Director, Allstate NI and Professor Mark Durkin, Executive Dean at Ulster University Business School to discuss how increased investment in skills development and research and innovation will help power Northern Ireland's rebuilding agenda.

Series One

Episode 7 - Brexit Special

In this special edition podcast, hear sectoral perspectives from NI business leaders; Stephen Kelly (UUBS Visiting Professor and Chief Executive, Manufacturing NI) Seamus Leheny (Policy Manager, Logistics UK), Aodhán Connolly (Director, NI Retail Consortium) and Dr Trevor Cadden (Senior Lecturer at UUBS) on the key implications on cross-border trade for NI businesses, practical steps that can be taken now to mitigate disruption in 2021 and potential opportunities in a post-Brexit landscape.

Episode 6 - Unlocking Creativity

The pandemic has challenged businesses across all sectors to think differently and create new value in imaginative ways. Wendy Austin speaks to Natalie Nixon, President Creative Strategist at Figure8 Thinking (and friend of UUBS) and Dr Michael Brennan, Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management at UUBS about how creativity can pave the way for innovation and open up a new world of possibilities for businesses.

Episode 5 - The Future of Hospitality and Tourism

In episode five, Wendy Austin talks to Ian Yeoman, Tourism Futurologist and Visiting Professor of Ulster University Business School, Marianne Hood, Chair of Institute of Hospitality NI and Una McMahon-Beattie, Head of Department for Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ulster University Business School to discuss the future of hospitality and tourism in light of COVID-19, the main challenges facing the industry and key trends that will help drive the sector forward.

Episode 4 - Women in Leadership

Wendy Austin is joined by Professor Karise Hutchinson, UU Provost Coleraine (Professor of Leadership at UUBS) and a host of Northern Ireland’s most influential and innovative female business leaders; Roseann Kelly, CEO of Women in Business NI, Kirsty McManus, National Director of Institute of Directors NI and Ann McGregor, Chief Executive of NI Chamber and Commerce to discuss how these inspiring leaders have risen to the Covid-19 challenge and the importance of diversity in Northern Ireland’s business sector.

Episode 3 - Future Skills with Deloitte and Marvel Marketers

Wendy Austin speaks to Jackie Henry, Senior Partner, Deloitte and UU Visiting Professor, Professor Gillian Armstrong, Director of Business Engagement at UUBS and Maneeza Aminy, CEO and Founder of Marvel Marketers about the profound impact the pandemic has had on the skills system, jobs and future of work. The podcast offers insight into the critical skills and capabilities needed to aid business continuity and economic recovery in NI.

Episode 2 - Innovate to Survive with Huhtamaki and Copeland Gin

Wendy Austin is joined by Ciaran Doherty, General Manager of Huhtamaki Foodservice UK, Gareth Irvine, founder of Copeland Gin Distillery and Dr Kristel Miller, Senior Lecturer at Ulster University Business School,  who share real-life experiences of pivoting business models and repurposing operations in an effort to survive.

Episode 1 - Leadership in a Virtual World

Overnight, business owners and managers across the world have been faced with the abrupt challenge of managing and leading a remote workforce. In the inaugural ‘Business of Possibility’ podcast, Wendy Austin speaks to Professor Mark Durkin, Executive Dean, Ulster University Business School and Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland about effective leadership in a virtual world and how leaders can engage and motivate their teams remotely.