A host of directors from successful businesses across a wide range of industry sectors have been announced as finalists in the Institute of Directors NI 2018 Director of the Year Awards, sponsored by First Trust Bank.

A strong panel of leading businessmen and women has reviewed the nominees and produced a shortlist of finalists.

The winners of the Director of the Year Awards, which recognise leaders across the private, third and public sectors who have set exceptional standards of leadership and demonstrated good corporate governance, will be announced at a ceremony at The Merchant Hotel, Belfast on Friday, 18th May.

Category winners will then be considered for the national Director of the Year Finals in London, where Northern Ireland-based business leaders have received the Overall Director of the Year accolade in two of the last three years.

This year’s shortlisted Directors are:

  • Director of the Year – Family Business – sponsored by BDO
    • Jack Hamilton – Mash Direct
    • Joanne Molloy – TS Foods Ltd
    • Ashley McCulla – McCulla Ireland Ltd
  • Director of the Year – Emerging – sponsored by Carson McDowell
    • Victoria Patterson – Kali Ltd
    • Paddy O’Hagan – Neueda
  • Director of the Year – Global – sponsored by Invest NI
    • Grainne Kelly – Bubblebum
    • Paula Kennedy – Convergys
    • David Meade – David Meade Ltd
  • Director of the Year – Corporate Social Responsibility – sponsored by IoD NI
    • Barry Smyth – MCS Group
    • Ray Hutchinson – Gilbert-Ash
  • Director of the Year – Early Stage Business – sponsored by Ulster University Business School
    • Nuala Murphy – Moment Health
    • Katie Matthews – Excel in Education Tutoring School Ltd
    • Stephen McDowell – Hayward Hawk
  • Director of the Year – Inclusivity – sponsored by William J Clinton Leadership Institute, QUB
    • Gary Thompson – Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service
    • Sinead Dillon – Fujitsu
    • Hew Campbell – Axiom Law
  • Director of the Year – Non-Executive – sponsored by Deloitte
    • Jim Henry CBE – Henry Brothers Ltd
    • Carmel McKinney OBE – Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service
    • Mary McKenna MBE – Elemental Software
  • Director of the Year – Innovation – sponsored by PGR
    • Rich Dale – Flowlens
    • Denis Lynn – Lynn’s Country Foods
    • Cara Macklin – Macklin Care Homes
    • Roger McCracken – Foods Connected Ltd
  • Director of the Year – Public Sector – sponsored by Capita Managed IT Solutions
    • Anne Donaghy – Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
    • Stephen Gillespie – Derry City and Strabane District Council
    • Heather McKee – South Eastern Regional College
  • Director of the Year – Third Sector – sponsored by Capita Managed IT Solutions
    • Bill Atkinson – USEL
    • Cara Cash – Nexus NI
  • Additional awards to be distributed at the ceremony include Director of the Year – Young Enterprise NI – sponsored by Concentrix, and the Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice – sponsored by 4c Executive Search.

Lisa Maltman, Business Development Manager, Institute of Directors NI, commented:

“Once again the standard of nominations for the IoD NI First Trust Bank Director of the Year Awards has been of the highest quality and provides a further endorsement of the stellar pedigree of directors within the Northern Ireland business community.

“The judging panel had an extremely difficult job in choosing the shortlist and all finalists deserve huge congratulations. We look forward to announcing the winners in May as we honour the outstanding leadership they have displayed within their organisations.”

Brian Gillan, Head of Business and Corporate Banking, First Trust Bank, added:

“Strong leadership is an essential attribute when it comes to growing any business. When it is effective, it is not only keenly felt within an organisation, but by the Northern Ireland economy as a whole. From judging this year’s entries, we are seeing a commitment to innovative, open and honest leadership as local directors focus on nurturing and enhancing those qualities that make an exemplary leader in today’s ever-changing business environment.

“We commend all those who entered this year’s awards and together with the IoD, we look forward to celebrating the leadership journeys making an impact on both Northern Ireland’s business community and our economic fortunes.”