A senior health professional turned social entrepreneur was the winner of the 4K Pitch at the IoD Women’s Leadership Conference, securing £4,000 funding for her fledgling business.

Glenda Burns of Breathe NI which provides support services to parents impacted by trauma, was one of four female entrepreneurs to pitch for delegates’ votes at the annual summit, held to coincide with International Women’s Day.

Around 510 business women and men attended the conference, sponsored by Herbert Smith Freehills, at Crowne Plaza Belfast.

Gordon Milligan, Chairman, IoD NI said:

“Huge congratulations go to Glenda, this year’s winner of our 4k Perfect Pitch competition.

“Without a doubt, the pitches from four exceptional female entrepreneurs represented a major highlight of our Women’s Leadership Conference, and it was incredibly heartening to see and hear some of the amazing new businesses that are growing in our local economy.

“It was tremendous also to join with so many other leaders, as we learned new leadership lessons and skills, that I’m sure will make a real difference as we return to our own organisations.”

Glenda, a multiple-trauma survivor herself, uses her background to provide various services including workshops and support groups to people who believe past trauma is impacting their parenting, helping them to “be the parent they want to be”.

Other finalists in the 4k Perfect Pitch competition included Aílis McCaul, ESTHER, Sarah Scullion, Integra Bookings, and Claire Colvin, Simple Scaling.

The conference, which took the theme ‘Leading the Way’, heard from a host of local and national speakers including acclaimed astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, renowned diplomat Anne Anderson, and disability rights activist Joanne O’Riordan.

Lyn Harris of Herbert Smith Freehills added:

“As headline sponsor, it was a great privilege to once again support the IoD Women’s Leadership Conference as the flagship local event to mark International Women’s Day.

“The impressive line-up of speakers assembled for the conference did not disappoint, with sessions proving to be as inspirational as they were thought provoking, showing that they really are ‘Leading the Way’.”

For further details about the IoD, included a full list of upcoming events, visit www.iod.com/ni.