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Ulster University Business School is celebrating International Women’s Day with a series of business events and workshops welcoming the female thought leaders, change makers and game changers making meaningful impact across the region.

Launched on Friday 1 March in Coleraine, the University is welcoming the public in to encourage and support women from all sectors, at all stages in their career, to come together to share experiences and support like-minded peers.

Hosted by Caroline O’Neill, founder of Digg Mama, the Digg Podcast and co-founder of the NI Social Media Awards, the event series features celebratory events across Northern Ireland, including an evening with three female CEOs and business network leaders in the North West.

Last week the University, in partnership with Enterprise Causeway, brought together over 300 women at Ulster University in Coleraine to celebrate International Women’s Day on the North Coast.

On the theme of Inspire Inclusion, host Caroline O’Neill facilitated an engaging day with input from local entrepreneurs, community champions, Ulster University researchers and trailblazers in women’s rights, all challenging the audience to unlock their own self-belief and entrepreneurial spirit.

The wide and diverse group of women heard from keynote speaker Ailbhe Keane, co-founder of Izzy Wheels, the fashionable wheelchair cover company led by entrepreneurial Galway sisters Ailbhe and Izzy. Annette Kelly, founder of lifestyle and wellness brand Little Penny Thoughts also delivered a keynote before a session in conversation with Minister of Finance, Caoimhe Archibald MLA.

Celebrating International Women’s Day across Northern Ireland

Following last week’s event, Ulster University is preparing to host further sessions that celebrate the impact and achievements of female trailblazers across Northern Ireland.


On International Women’s Day (Friday 8 March), Afghan artist and musician Alina Gawhary will visit Ulster University Belfast to tell of her year and a half process to secure safe passage to Bangladesh.

From Kabul, Afghanistan, Alina chooses musical instruments as the subjects of her paintings after being unable to play music due to the safety situation in Afghanistan for many years. Having secured an art scholarship to a university in Bangladesh in 2023 with the help of composer Sadie Harrison, Alina and Sadie will be in Belfast on International Women’s Day for an inspiring panel discussion about Alina’s journey and work, facilitated by Professor Brandon Hamber.


Next week, guests at the sold-out Derry~Londonderry event will hear from three female business network leaders in the North West during an evening of celebration championing all things business and entrepreneurship.

Taking place on Monday 11 March in the Great Hall, Ulster University Derry~Londonderry, Caroline O’Neill will be joined by Londonderry Chamber of Commerce CEO Anna Doherty, Causeway Chamber of Commerce CEO Karen Yates and Claire McDonagh, Vice President of Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce.

Shining a spotlight on local female entrepreneurs, a number of local business owners will platform their products and services at the event’s exhibitor space.


Moving to Mid-Ulster on Tuesday 12 March, Ulster University Business School’s International Women’s Day celebrations will examine workplace wellbeing and mental health, as well as looking at the region’s strengthening manufacturing and engineering sector.

Also sold out, the afternoon event at the Burnavon Arts and Cultural Centre will feature local entrepreneur Emma Weaver, founder of Mental Health International and author of ‘Mental Wealth’, MEGA Project Director Maria Curran, and MEGA Mentor and Support Officer Uná McCabe.

Visit to find out more about the Ulster University Business School International Women’s Day event series.

Alongside the workshops, Ulster University is hosting a number of events for staff including a session with Monica McWilliams organised by the Ulster University Women’s Network, and an event with Dr Jenny Pyper, Pro Chancellor and Chair of the Ulster University Council, organised by the School of Geography and Environmental Sciences.

Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean, Ulster University Business School, Professor Sandra Moffett said:

“As a Business School, we have a special responsibility to foster an inclusive environment that nurtures future leaders and entrepreneurs. By inspiring and empowering women, we will create a more diverse and innovative business landscape where everyone feels valued and supported.We are excited to bring our events to different locations within the province, reaching a wide and diverse audience. Through these events, we aim to inspire and motivate others to recognise and value the importance of women's inclusion, creating a sustainable future for all.”

Founder of Digg Mama, The Digg Podcast and Co-Founder of the NI Social Media Awards Caroline O’Neill said:

"I am so honoured to be asked to host such an inspiring series of events organised by Ulster University. Celebrating women and all we have achieved is something we should be doing on a regular basis. It is clear the University is committed to doing this with the roll out of such an amazing line up of events across the country. I am so excited to meet women from all walks of life and hear their stories. We need to lift each other up and events like this give us an opportunity to do just that."

University Provost, Ulster University, Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan said:

“At Ulster University, we are shining a spotlight on the female thought leaders, change makers and game changers who are delivering meaningful impact across the region with this series of events marking International Women’s Day. We were delighted to welcome the return of CelebrateHER to Ulster University Coleraine last week after a successful inaugural event last year and look forward to the celebrations across Belfast, Derry~Londonderry and Mid-Ulster in the next week. These are inclusive events, and we encourage women from all sectors to come together to hear from these inspiring entrepreneurs, share their experiences, and support like-minded peers.”