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"Be brave, be yourself and be courageous."  These were the words of advice given to over 200 female students by Aisling Keegan, Vice-President and General Manager of Dell EMC Ireland.

Aisling was speaking at the annual “Fantastic Females” event organised by W5 in partnership with Ulster University Business School during its Festival of STEM.  The aim of the event is to inspire, inform and encourage young women to engage with business and entrepreneurship on a global stage, whilst exposing them to the vast range of career opportunities available to them.

Highlighting the importance of science Aisling urged the sixth formers to embrace innovation and new technology in whatever careers they pursued.  “Innovation is the answer to the question the future is asking,” she said, “and will enable you to realise your dreams and in turn significantly contribute to local economic success.”

Aisling has spent the last 17 years working with Dell EMC where she has held a number of leadership positions across the small, medium and large enterprise customer segments.  Since 2012, Aisling has served as executive director and general manager of commercial business for Dell UK.  She is extremely well respected within industry, and in 2014, the Women’s Executive Network named her as one of the top 25 most influential women in Ireland.

Professor Mark Durkin, Executive Dean, Ulster University Business School, underlined the commitment of the School to improve the capacity and competency of young women to engage in entrepreneurship.

“We are in the business of creating possibility. Our mission is to be the leading centre for entrepreneurial education in the UK and Ireland by 2021.  A key focus is to ensure that women are an integral part of that ambition and that we help realise their entrepreneurial potential. We have already initiated an extensive range of research studies examining issues related to female entrepreneurship and the findings to be published in mid-2018 will hopefully positively influence gender related policy. Aisling is a wonderful role model and a living example of what is possible for every female, and indeed male, with drive and ambition.”

The event was closed by Roseann Kelly, Chief Executive, Women in Business.