AIB Masterclass for Women in Business

I cannot believe it was this day last week I attended this Masterclass in the Maryborough House, Cork.

As soon as I heard about the next AIB business training course, I greatly anticipated another great day. After all, I had an inspiring encouraging time at the previous Entrepreneurs Bootcamp that was held in November in the Tower Hotel, Waterford. The Entrepreneurs Academy have 290 years combined experience and trained some 30,000 people, so yes, I had every confidence I was in good hands. 

So, the 31st of January arrived, and I had my ticket reserved for this Masterclass since December.

AIB I have discovered did it in style. The Maryborough Hotel, Cork is a beautiful Hotel for an intense yet fun afternoon training session. Registration went quickly, and tasty refreshments were available.  The cabaret-style room and tables had gifts, and admittedly I was slightly overwhelmed. There were some very experienced business women in this room and with strong business acumen. 

AIB gifts – the multi- phone charger was an excellent gift.

All the speakers approached leadership from different angles and from their own unique experience.

Muireann Fitzmaurice (no relation) was the main MC for the afternoon.  In her introduction, she said that by gaining better leadership you can achieve a competitive advantage. Undoubtedly, a better run business under greater leadership would give you a better competitive advantage.

Catherine Moroney

Catherine Moroney, Head of Business Banking, gave insight on her experience with women in business. Stating that women want mentoring and coaching and that their compelling information for the sheer stamina needed. Also, she emphasised the importance of growing the business by working on the business and in the business. I could not agree more. We often forget about the bigger picture and tend to focus on a certain area. The only way to achieve scalability is look at the business as a whole.

Lorraine Bowen

Lorraine Bowen, Head of Business Development & Programme Design defined leadership as a bottomless well.  Also that as leaders, we should have influence and impact on everyone we encounter. John Maxwell was the deemed to be the best Leadership Guru from which the training was inspired.

“You’ll never change your destination over night, but you can change your direction” 

Mairead Hoctor

Mairead Hoctor focused on the spiritual side of leadership. Being thankful, grateful and happy that today is a gift, and this is a gift Mairead wanted to share. Daily gratitude is something I practice already (thankfully!). I am grateful for my business, my family and my health, so I am pleased it was highlighted. What surprised me was that we as humans have 60,000 thoughts a day, with 85% of which being negative. We need to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. Being true to ourselves, our values, whilst quenching that limiting belief that tends to hold us back. What I learned from Mairead was, not to look too far down the road. I, as a business owner, always prioritised planning and goal setting. Dreaming, visualising, milestones. Perhaps very long-term planning can cause stress and set ourselves up for failure when we did not achieve x in year 10. Planning should be fluid, and forecasts are exactly that – forecasts. They are not actual events, situations or revenue. Furthermore, setbacks should be viewed as opportunities and let us rely on our innate gut instinct more.  It never seems to fail us.

Five characteristics of leadership

Noel Davidson

What about communication skills and connecting? Noel explained all. Noel declared that connecting increased influence in every situation. Difficulty networking – well just see yourself as the host of the party. Now you wouldn’t leave a guest on their own, would you?

Connecting is a skill, requires energy, is about others and is about how you make them feel. Leaders effectively communicate ideas persuasively and establish buy in and attract followers.

How to get a higher likability score in real life is quite easy. People tend to like people who are similar, who compliments and cooperates. Applying this to a business situation, you are bound to have a more favourable response from a prospective customer or when establishing a new partnership deal with a supplier.

Muireann Fitzmaurice

Good leadership is about positive impact and we need to turn up the dial on our leadership all the time. Our leadership can get stagnant, so by looking under the bonnet of what actionable steps I can take, will turn up that dial and hone my skills. If we make incremental improvements on our knowledge, attitude, skills, and habits, we can ‘do it better’.

Surprisingly we all guessed what the biggest impact on happiness was. Family, money, childhood, career. When told it was relationships, we were taken aback. Especially when we were reminded that leadership is fundamentally all about relationships.  This makes sense now.

So how we create new habits are by goal setting, being results orientated, becoming people orientated, staying health orientated, with a truthful character and maintaining self-discipline.

Remember that a high standard of work is an output, but an input is enabling that quality.

New habits are formed, and maintained through repetition. By tracking habits and having accountability to others, will help establish new goals.

I am now in an accountability group in WhatsApp with several lovely ladies I met. My new ‘firelighters’.


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