Left to right: Liam Hazel, Brian McCarthy and Sean Buckley.
Three West Cork entrepreneurs have joined forces with similar West Cork business people in Dublin to form a Dublin West Cork Network Group. John Bohane reports.
Sean Buckley, Managing Partner, STR Capital Partners, Liam Hazel, Chartered Surveyor, Valuation Office and Brian McCarthy, Estate Agent and Valuer, Martin and Moran Property Advisors have come together to establish this group, which they hope will connect West Cork people in Dublin, while also enabling them to connect back to West Cork from a business perspective.
The three businessmen are thrilled with their new initiative which they hope will go from strength to strength over the coming years. They have many objectives and targets they hope to meet through their network group, as Sean Buckley revealed. “The aims of the Dublin West Cork Network Group are multifaceted. However, at its core, we want people with an affiliation with West Cork to connect with a purpose. The main purpose for each individual attendee might be slightly different. For the younger attendees, their focus may be on personal development. They may seek to get inspiration from the more senior people, establish a network and source potential future employment opportunities. For the more middle-aged attendees, the focus may be more on the professional development, gaining industry connections and businesses referrals etc. Finally, for our more senior attendees, the focus may be more on giving back by helping build a conduit between West Cork and Dublin. We hope this network will showcase the best of West Cork in both Dublin and West Cork.”
The three lifelong friends who have been working in Dublin over a number of years, are very confident their new network group will prove a success, as Brian elaborated upon. “We expect all attendees to benefit personally, professionally and socially. We also want to use this first event as an opportunity to learn what attendees want from this network and what steps we need to take to achieve these goals.”
The Dublin West Cork Network Group aim to meet once every quarter revealed Liam. “Our initial view is that we will hold four events a year, with three events in Dublin with a possible event in West Cork during the summer. Again, the number of events we will organise will be driven by the response from attendees themselves.”
Their novel networking idea was generated by the three friends following one of their regular meetings in Dublin. With the numbers of people from West Cork working in Dublin significantly increasing in recent years, the business leaders decided to pool their numbers together and form a strong West Cork alliance, as Sean revealed. “The idea of a West Cork networking group was initiated recently. We all started secondary school in St Fachtna’s De La Salle, Skibbereen over twenty years ago and after many years living and working around the world, we all found ourselves working in Dublin about 15 months ago. We meet up as often as possible. We have also been able to steer some business towards each other. This spark of inspiration began a discussion about other networking groups that we were aware of such as Cavan and Mayo. We tested the idea of creating a networking group for West Cork people living in Dublin and the response was nearly universally positive. We decided to put together an event before Christmas to test real broader demand. In the last few weeks, we have been able to secure Google’s headquarters as a venue. We have lined up three very strong speakers who include Kinsley Aikens, former CEO of The Ireland Funds, Eoin Leonard from Caheragh who was a finalist in this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year and Marie Davis, from Lisheen. She is head of Google Marketing Solutions Ireland. Our network is for professional and personal development. However, we expect the core focus to be on professional development. Our hope is that with our strength in numbers and with the group displaying real unity, we will proceed with real confidence.”
The response from West Cork exiles now domiciled in Dublin has been very encouraging according to Liam who is very positive about the group going forward. “The feedback we have received to date has been exceptional and there seems to be a genuine hunger for a network like this. We are hoping to convert that interest into a club like feeling. We hope that attendees will get a sense of ownership of this network and will drive future events. The attendees include a large number of individuals working in senior roles across tech, law, finance, real estate, engineering and entertainment.”
With employment and industries getting stronger and more competitive in West Cork, the Dublin West Cork Network Group are hopeful of setting up fruitful and mutually beneficial partnerships with similar groups and societies in West Cork suggested Brian. “We would hope to link back in with groups based in West Cork in the foreseeable future. One of our goals is to act as a conduit for business and employment between West Cork and Dublin, so the more meaningful links we can create the better for all involved.”