The TWIG networking lunch took place recently, with a topclass panel of speakers, on the theme ‘Embracing Change’
THE legendary Today’s Women In Grocery (TWIG) networking lunch was back with a bang recently at the InterContinental Hotel, the first live event since 2019, as a top class panel of speakers addressed the theme of ‘Embracing Change’.
The stellar panel of business leaders from the FMCG sector and beyond shared their inspiring stories with 470 senior figures in Ireland’s grocery, food and drink industry. All monies raised go to the Irish Grocery Benevolent Fund (IGBF), which helps those most in need in the industry.
Now in its sixth year, the luncheon is the most influential gathering of its kind to put female empowerment and networking in the grocery, food and drink sector in firm focus. The event is renowned for its ‘wow’ factor and this year, once again, did not disappoint.
Entrepreneur, broadcaster & thought leader, Sonya Lennon, compered and skilfully navigated the panel discussion on the topic of ‘Embracing Change’. The panellists included: Aimee Connolly, founder and CEO of Sculpted by Aimee; Oonagh O’Hagan, owner and Managing Director at Meagher’s Pharmacy Group; Fiona Mathews, Managing Director, ROI, Applegreen Ireland; and Evelyn Moynihan, CEO of Kilkenny Group.
This theme explored those moments in the panellists’ careers when they had to navigate change, probed how they chose to lean into that change, and how it shaped them and those around them. The experiences shared were both inspiring and deeply authentic and provided a fitting moment of reflection after the unprecedented change, caused by the pandemic, in all our personal and professional lives.
Exceptional panel of speakers
Aimee Connolly, Founder and CEO of Sculpted by Aimee - who was named Young Businesswoman of the Year at the recent Image PwC Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2022 - spoke about building a brand and trusting the journey. She explained how she deals with change and said that while challenges will always arise in business, “it’s all about how you adapt and react to those” that ultimately has the most impact.
Oonagh O’Hagan, Owner and Managing Director at Meagher’s Pharmacy Group, shared her personal experience of forced change, and how the financial crash in 2008 enabled her to better cope with pivoting the business in a pandemic. “Whether you can or can’t do something – both are true – so it’s about your mindset in determining that,” she told the audience.
Fiona Mathews, Managing Director ROI, Applegreen Ireland, discussed her relationship with change and how she has learned to lean into change, become a magnet for it, and has even grown to love such an environment. She spoke about how her peak happiness occurred when she leaned into change, and she challenged the audience to “back yourself, trust yourself and lean into people that trust you - and most of all, embrace the journey”.
Evelyn Moynihan, CEO, Kilkenny Group, revealed her own experience, honing in on what she called “career speedbumps” and the huge and progressive transition the Kilkenny Group business underwent as a result of Covid-19: “We accelerated e-commerce and delivered three years of growth in six months.” She also provided a unique insight into the value of coaching and how it shaped her career development.
Building new connections
Michelle Darlington, Chair of TWIG, described the panel of speakers as “formidable”, and noted how it had been an absolute delight to reconnect and build new connections with peers from across the industry.
“What we heard from the panel is that change is inevitable and how we choose to embrace that change will define us, personally and professionally, and those around us,” she said. “We have been lucky to get a very personal account of the journeys of each of the panel and practical advice on how to navigate change, staying true to our values and maintaining an opportunity mindset.”journeys of each of the panel and practical advice on how to navigate change, staying true to our values and maintaining an opportunity mindset.”
She went on to thank the TWIG committee for all their support in putting the event together, an event which has gone from strength to strength since 2016, and also paid a special tribute to the sponsors for continuing to support the event, and ultimately the IGBF charity: Diageo, Musgrave, Suntory Beverage & Food and CPM.
The TWIG networking event was created by the Irish Grocers Benevolent Fund (IGBF) as a platform for women in grocery to grow their connections and learn/be inspired by leading women. It aims to encourage more female participation events and initiatives, by providing focused professional networking forum that recognises the role women will play in the industry’s future development.