The Chief Executives Club at Queen's University hosted a lunch event jointly with Women in Business, on Thursday 18 January 2018, in Riddel Hall, Queen's University Belfast.
The 'Spotlight on Success' event featured two inspirational women who shared their stories, including their own career highlights and what influenced their individual journeys.
The guest speakers for this lecture were Margot Slattery, Country President for Sodexo Ireland and Elspeth Beard, founder of her own successful architecture practice and the first British woman to ride a motorcycle around the world.
Margot informed a diverse audience on how she rose to the rank of Country President in Sodexo Ireland; which is part of the French-owned Sodexo Group, the world’s largest multi-services company. Margot began by studing a culinary degree in Galway and now has corporate governance and directorial responsibility for all Sodexo’s divisions operating in Ireland, where the company employs 3,700 staff with a turnover of €118m in 2016. In 2016, Margot was Image Magazine’s CEO of the Year and Irish Tatler’s Businesswoman of the Year. She appears on the Out at Work/Telegraph’s 2016 list of Top 50 LGBT Executives, the OUTstanding/Financial Times’ 2016 list of Top 100 LGBT Business Leaders and Cranfield University School of Management’s list of 100 Women to Watch in 2016.
Elspeth has just published her first book, 'Lone Rider' in which she describes how in 1982, aged twenty-three, and halfway through her architecture studies, she left London and set off on a 35,000-mile solo adventure around the world on her 1974 BMW R60/6. Elspeth excited the audience as she described that with no sponsorship or support, and in the age before the internet, mobile phones and sat nav, she successfully completed the gruelling two-and a half year trip to become the first British woman to motorcycle around the world. When she returned to complete her studies in the UK and she began running her own award-winning architectural practice in Surrey – including appearances on ‘Grand Designs’. Elspeth captivated the audience by telling them of her personal and professional challenges, and how the trip that defined her a person helped define certain aspects of her career path.