Over 60 future leaders began their journey on the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme this week at an interactive opening session facilitated by Michael Stafford of The Chapter Coach and Futureneerz.

The participants were joined by a number of the programme mentors and together they enjoyed Michael’s insights, networking opportunities and a delicious lunch at Faithlegg.  

Speaking to those gathered, Niall Harrington, Waterford Chamber President thanked Bausch + Lomb for their ongoing support and guidance and Waterford Chamber Skillnet for funding it. “The Regional Leaders Programme is your programme. It is designed by the business community for the business community, we are just the conduit who makes it happen. This is what makes this programme unique. And we couldn’t do it without the support of our partners Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Chamber Skillnet. 

“I have been lucky to have great mentors throughout my career, most especially Nicky Fewer who encouraged me to embrace my talent and drive to succeed. At the time Nicky was President of Waterford Chamber and here I am today, at my first official event as President. 

“It is a proud time for me and my family and an honour to fill the big boots that came before me. This is your programme now – embrace it, enjoy it and make it work for you.”  

During the event, Michael Stafford reminded participants of the importance of networking by building your network and coming prepared to your mentor sessions, asking questions like "what success looks like and what goals you have in mind to help you get there". 

“You get as much out of the programme as you put in and remember the partnerships you are creating is one of co-creation and collaboration and an opportunity to have a professional relationship which could last a life time.” 

Derek Lowry of Almega Business Consultants spoke of his journey from being a participant on the programme to now being a mentor and how be benefitted not just from the mentoring, but from the monthly speaker sessions and most especially from the relationships he formed with his peers. 

Over 40 experienced business leaders from across the country have also joined the programme and will work with the participants over a seven month period. The Regional Leaders Programme boasts an alumni of over 450 past participants, a powerful network who will drive the region forward for many years to come.