Aflac Northern Ireland, home to Aflac Incorporated’s global IT and Cybersecurity innovation centre, has announced that Keith Farley has been recognised as a Belfast Ambassador, securing an honorary medal for his work promoting the city and contributing to its development. Farley is the vice president and managing director of the fast-growing tech and cybersecurity company Aflac NI.
The Belfast Ambassador Awards marked the finale of the annual Belfast International Homecoming 2021 event, which is designed to strengthen and build bridges between the city and the Irish diaspora.
Keith, a native of Atlanta, Georgia (USA), received the award at a ceremony at Belfast City Hall on 4 November and was one of only 15 people from around the world who was recognised for their standout contribution to the city.
Awarded for “going the extra mile” for the city, each winner was invited to share their experiences, explain why they chose to live and work in Belfast, and tell how they helped to enhance local life.
“We are extremely proud of Keith and the entire Northern Ireland team for their commitment to excellence, both in the job they are doing for Aflac and the care they are taking to acknowledge and return the warm welcome that we received from the Belfast community,” said Aflac Incorporated President Frederick J. Crawford. “From the moment Aflac arrived in Belfast, we have been struck by the talent of the people in a resilient city that is firmly future-focused, innovative and ready to succeed. Belfast has quickly become an important part of Aflac’s global footprint and family.”
Under Keith’s leadership, in 2019, Aflac NI, a subsidiary of U.S.- based supplemental health insurance giant Aflac, chose Belfast as its preferred location to establish a new IT and cybersecurity hub. In spite of having to adapt worksite plans due to the global pandemic, the company has built a team of more than 130 local staff, and expects to continue adding employees in 2022 as well.
In addition to the Ambassador Medal, Aflac NI was recently recognised as Belfast’s Best Place to Work at the Belfast Chamber Business Awards 2021, in recognition for its unrivalled commitment to its employees, its culture and community involvement.
Last month, the company brought its award-winning My Special Aflac Duck® to Northern Ireland in a unique partnership with The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity. My Special Aflac Duck is a robotic, interactive duck specifically designed to be a comforting companion for children dealing with cancer. Aflac NI is making the duck available free of charge to cancer patients age 3 and over.
“It is initiatives like this that demonstrate the depth of Aflac’s commitment to community,” Keith said. “We are a company whose mission is to be there when our policyholders, our employees and our communities need us most.”
Local Makeup Artist Celebrates New Studio With Empowering Event
County Armagh professional Makeup Artist Aisling O’Connor hosted an afternoon to remember at the Seagoe Hotel in Portadown to celebrate the launch of her new Dream Beauty Studio.
The all-female event, ‘Look Good, Feel Fabulous’, took place on November 14 and showcased empowering motivational speakers, a Fashion show featuring local boutiques, a live makeup demo, a cocktail reception and afternoon tea.
During lockdown, Aisling hosted a “Makeup and Mindset” Zoom makeup tutorial alongside guest speaker Claire O’Hanlon which focused on strengthening the mindset – something Aisling based her own event on.
Launching her own business in 2018, with a website and new branding launched 2020 before the pandemic began.
Aisling spent the majority of lockdown developing her brand and then launched her custom beauty space, Dream Beauty Studio in September 2021.
Aisling said: “The main concept underpinning my business is that of ‘The Lipstick Effect’, the psychological phenomenon where putting on your makeup is proven to increase self confidence, and boost self esteem.
“I just love what I do and love empowering women to feel better about themselves.”
The mum-of-three is a strong advocate of encouraging women to use makeup as a powerful tool to enhance self-confidence which was the inspiration behind her in-person event.
“My main goal was to get a room full of women and have them leave that afternoon feeling uplifted, encouraged and above all, realising that it’s ok, and in fact of extreme importance, to put themselves first every once in a while.” she said.
The sellout event featured an impressive lineup of inspiring speakers including Life Coach Michelle McAuley, personal stylist Samara of Evolve By Samara and fashion blogger Caroline Currie of ‘Principal of Fashion’ who hosted the uplifting masterclass.
Besides giving confidence, on the day £1000 was raised through raffle prizes for Little Forget Me Nots Trust, a local charity dedicated to helping families cope with child loss.
“I advocate strongly supporting local and female owned businesses. I believe in empowering others, which is what sets Dream Beauty apart. It’s more than just makeup, it’s all about leaving you feeling like you on a really good day.”
Currently, Dream Beauty studio offers a variety of beauty and cosmetic treatments including makeup, brows, nails, lashes, sugaring, tanning and massages and the studio is also big enough to offer group workshops and lessons.
Growth North West Workshop to Focus on Selling Skills
Businesses in the North West are being invited to attend a workshop focused on how to refine their selling skills in a changing market place.
The ‘Selling Effectively’ seminar, which will be delivered by Michael McIntyre of The Sales Practice Ireland, will take place via Zoom on Tuesday 30 November, from 11am to 1pm.
The workshop will be the last in a series of six bespoke seminars that have been organised as part of the Growth North West initiative, focused on companies that are interested in moving into new export markets. The seminars are offered to all businesses in the North West, either as existing exporters or those new to exporting.
The workshops are being delivered in collaboration with Derry City and Strabane District Council, the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Invest Northern Ireland, InterTradeIreland, and Enterprise NW, to give companies advice and direction on how to export their product or their service and to help support business recovery across the North West region.
The ‘Selling Effectively” workshop by Michael McIntyre will provide key tips and techniques on how businesses can refine their selling skills in an ever changing marketplace. The workshop aims to improve confidence to help win sales and improve profit margins.
Following the workshop, one-to-one appointments with Michael will also be available for attendees. Businesses looking at new opportunities and new markets are being encouraged to avail of the opportunity to get invaluable advice from a leading expert in the sales industry.
Commenting on Invest NI support for the workshops, Invest NI’s North West Regional Manager, Des Gartland, said: “We are delighted to support The ‘Growth North West’ initiative which is supporting North West businesses grow sales in export markets. Exporting can be transformative for a business and the final workshop in the series will support companies in the North West to improve their sales techniques and learn new skills to ultimately win sales.
“Whether you are a skilled exporter or new to exporting, I would encourage companies in the North West to take up this opportunity and attend this workshop, build their confidence and refine their sales skills.”
John McGowan from Enterprise NW said: “This seminar is an excellent opportunity for local businesses to avail of improving their sales pitch and learning from the experts on how they can make their company or product really stand out in the market place. The seminar will help companies to look at new ways of securing sales and securing new customers.”
Previous seminars in the Growth North West initiative have included The Export Journey, Export Documentation & Logistics, Sales Prospecting for Export Growth, Maximising Social Media and Perfecting your Pitch.
To register for the ‘Selling Effectively’ session on Tuesday 30th November, please visit https://londonderrychamber.co.uk/event-page/
If you would like to schedule a one-on-one appointment with Michael McIntyre, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Slots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.