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Sunday, September 19, 2010

The show must go on...

I attended a regional conference organised by the Enterprise Boards in the South East today for women in Business. Some would say I was going into the lions den. I found it to be an enthralling conference full of enthusiasm and optimism. The panel of speakers included women who are proven entrepreneurs and the best at what they do. The contributions were of the highest quality with an excellent opening address by the Mayor of Waterford Cllr Mary Roche.

What was most impressive was the positive nature of the gathering and the energy and enthusiasm of the delegates. One of the main speakers was Sean Gallagher of Dragons Den fame. He gave a powerful speech about the future of the Irish economy and the opportunities open to us. He spoke about the need for positivity, confidence and leadership in business, communities and politics. He said now is the time for people to lead from the front. I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. Now more than ever we need civic leaders stepping up to the plate, be they entrepreneurs, employee representatives or community leaders.

His speech got me thinking. We have a dearth of leadership at national level from our Government. They are hanging on to power by their fingertips, doing more damage to themselves and the country as they do. I think one of the biggest failures of this Government is their distance from where ordinary people are at. They have lost touch with reality and seem to live in a bubble. They see people as being there to serve them instead of them serving the people. They have forgotten what politics is really about – public service.

Most of the conference speakers spoke about the need to have a plan and a strategy. To succeed in business you have to have a plan and a strategy on how to get there. Hope is no substitute for a strategy. The same goes for running the country. Hoping the problems will go away is not good enough. We need a strategy out of recession and into recovery. We need real leadership.

On a visit to Waterford last week Martin McGuinness spoke about his optimism about the future and the ability of the people of this country. We are in the midst of a bad recession but as the Mayor of Waterford reminded us – there is no recession of the mind. If you could bottle the enthusiasm, energy and confidence of the women at today’s event and bring it into every boardroom and our national cabinet Ireland would no longer be in recession. As the theme of the conference proclaimed, despite our problems – the show must go on.

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