In March I was appointed to a new role as Head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland. As an Ulster Bank "lifer" I want to play my part in restoring the organisation to its rightful place as a leading financial institution supporting Northern Ireland 's long tradition of entrepreneurship.
THE STRONG AND SILENT TYPE
One of the most high profile events in Northern Ireland is the Balmoral Show where the Ulster Bank has been proud sponsor for many years. This year was very special as the show moved to the site of the old Maze prison. It's a really fantastic site and the weather was fairly kind. The buzz and the sunshine on such a historic site represents a new Northern Ireland facing the future with confidence. I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Arlene Foster and Owen Brennan in my first high profile public engagement. It was great to be there with our farming customers who despite a hard start to the year, remain confident about the future. I must confess to being much more nervous sharing the stage with Hector the bull, who weighed over a ton! The strong, silent and broody type.
WOMEN IN BUSINESS NI
This week has been a total contrast. Early in the week I was in Amsterdam presenting to staff and came back to help open the Ulster Bank Sponsored WIBNI conference. In fact I opened it alongside David Thomas who heads our Corporate Bank. David and I have worked together on many external events to encourage female entrepreneurship across the island and to promote a more diverse Ulster Bank. Aligning strong internal values, social aims and good business are key themes as we build our business to be sustainable for the future. It was a really fantastic conference opened by Secretary of State Theresa Villiers and with a great line up of speakers. It's an organisation that Ulster Bank is proud to be associated with.
IN THE MEDIA
This week I did my first radio interview in my new role for BBC Ulster which was followed by an interview for the Belfast Telegraph. Topics covered were support for small businesses, last year's technology issues, support for farmers and our sponsorship of The Balmoral Show and WIBNI. I want Ulster Bank to be out there talking about the key issues and being part of the solution. We have a key role in society and we must do that job well.