Director, Abacus Talent Group

Justin is founder and Director of Abacus, a successful Belfast based group of companies that focus on recruitment, consulting and outsourcing.
Having worked with some of the biggest and smallest firms in Northern Ireland has, for the most part, been a great pleasure for Justin. The experience he has gained from working with some of the best and brightest in their fields has been enlightening, humbling and the cause of much pride.

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Entrepreneur and Dragon Investor

We will be joined by Chanelle, Lady McCoy, one of Ireland’s most successful businesswomen, winner of the All-Ireland Business Champion Award (2018) and recently ranked no 23 in the ‘50 incredible people shaping modern Ireland’. She leads Chanelle Medical, part of the multi-million-pound global company Chanelle Pharmaceutical Group based in Galway, which is now Ireland’s largest indigenous pharmaceutical company.

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CEO, SmashFly and Tech Commentator

Thom brings over 20 years’ of executive leadership experience in high growth companies and was most recently CTO for SmashFly. As CEO, Thom will drive execution of SmashFly’s product vision to support aggressive growth and drive innovation in the recruitment marketing marketspace. Thom’s mix of both technical and business experience will help SmashFly bring advanced personalization, intelligence and targeting capabilities unlike anything else seen in the marketplace today. His experience in building transformative teams has resulted in significant market success most recently at LogMeIn and Applause.

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Adventurer and Motivational Speaker

Debra Searle is a professional adventurer and serial entrepreneur. Her expeditions have included rowing solo across the Atlantic and sailing around Antarctica. She has also launched four companies, is a published author, has worked as a presenter for the BBC and is a trusted corporate speaker. Debra’s spirit of adventure gained her an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen and a place on the board of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. She was later awarded an MVO in the 2014 New Year’s Honours. In Spring 2015, Debra and her company combined her two passions for adventure and gender equality by organising and leading an all-female team on an expedition in the Arctic Circle. The movie of Debra’s Atlantic story is currently in development in Hollywood.

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EMEA Director of Insights, Indeed.com

Rob is Indeed’s lead EMEA evangelist and has over 10 years of digital recruitment experience. He joined Indeed in 2014 when the recruitment technology start-up he was a founding member of, MoBolt Inc. was acquired. Prior to this he spent 5 years at Monster Worldwide and was a member of their global advisory board.

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SAS: Who Dares Wins

Louise, originally from Northern Ireland, is a qualified orthopaedic surgeon who graduated from the University of Dundee in 2002. Through her career working in the North East of Scotland, her specialist areas of interest include trauma, orthopaedic oncology and sports injuries.

These interests led her to apply for the Channel 4 documentary SAS: Who Dares Wins. Over the eleven-day period, Louise and twenty-four other participants travelled to South America for gruelling physical and mental challenges and training typically used as part of army and special forces recruitment.

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Chief Economist, EY

Neil Gibson is EY Chief Economist in Ireland providing economic advice, commentary and modelling input across service lines. Current areas of focus include supporting firms to prepare for Brexit, forecasting the Irish economy and working with Government clients to ensure a policy focus on long term competitiveness.

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Managing Partner, Think People Consulting Ltd

Emer is Managing Partner of ThinkPeople Consulting and is recognised as a leading commentator on Business Transformation, Talent Management, Learning & Development and HR. Emer is an Occupational Psychologist who has held senior positions in the banking and energy sectors, her experience advising boards and leadership teams through times of significant change has meant she is highly regarded within her peer group.

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Global Head of Intelligent Automation at Pearson

Kieran Gilmurray is a ‘translator’ between technologists and the business, having worked on both sides.

A natural problem solver, business leader and team builder with 25 years experience in business, technology, analytics, education, and operations. d profiles many of the region’s finest sectors and industries.

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Executive Coach and Former Head of HR for General Electric

Áine Mitchell the founder and owner of The Coaching Suite is an Ashridge Accredited Executive Coach. She has extensive experience working in progressive fast moving environments at every stage of the business cycle, from start-ups to transformational change enabling business growth. Áine is a strategic and visionary thinker and in the corporate world she was known for translating vision and business goals into people strategies with pragmatic operational plans. Her background was results driven with a strong track record of adding value to business change and growth.

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Director at Radar Careers

Alan is Joint Managing Director of Abacus Talent Group and has primary responsibility for the new business Radar Careers.

Radar is NI’s first dedicated career platform for emerging talent including graduates, apprentices, placements and internships. Radar offers companies from all shapes and sizes, local and global to showcase a profile to attract, engage and hire fresh talent. The site offers graduates and students fresh content about career planning, insight on employer brands (articles, videos, podcasts) and profiles many of the region’s finest sectors and industries.

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Director, Strategy Lead For Advisory, Ireland at EY

Julie Browne is the Strategy Lead for EY’s Advisory practice in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Specialising in the delivery of strategy solutions, Julie has more than 19 years’ experience in delivering consultancy assignments for clients in the private and public sectors in the UK and Ireland. She has experience in working in a number of sectors: Government & Public Sector; Technology, Media and Telecoms; Power & Utilities; Agri-Food; Education; Ports & Maritime; and Financial Services.

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Associate Solicitor at A&L Goodbody

Andrew trained with the firm and qualified into the Employment department of the Belfast office. Andrew’s practice area is both contentious and non-contentious, and he has a wide breadth of experience including advising clients in respect of the operation and process of the transfer of employees pursuant to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 and/or The Service Provision Change (Protection of Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006. He also has recent experience of large scale structural reorganisations.

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Associate Solicitor at A&L Goodbody

Jill qualified as a solicitor in 2014 and joined the Employment team following successful completion of her traineeship with the firm.

Having gained a wealth of experience in HR advisory work, Jill regularly provides commercial and practical legal advice to organisations in relation to all aspects of HR matters and talent management, from recruitment exercises and equality of opportunity, to internal grievance and disciplinary procedures and employee exits.

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Creative Director, BlueSky Video Marketing

Peter is a Chartered Institute of Marketing Ambassador, Creative Director of BlueSky Video Marketing and Founder of the ‘Future of Marketing’.

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Head of Business, Diversity Mark NI Ltd

Christine White heads up Diversity Mark NI, a non-profit organisation enabling companies of all sizes to achieve a Charter Mark to recognise their commitment to Diversity in the workplace.

Christine believes that a balanced workforce is good for business: it is good for customers; for profitability; and workplace culture. Organisations embracing diversity & inclusion will have the competitive edge moving into the coming years and assist with attracting & retaining the top talent needed for high performing teams.

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Managing Director, Abacus Careers

Stuart is joint Managing Director of Abacus Careers, part of the Abacus Talent Group. Having joined the company in 2008 he offers over 16 years of specialist recruitment experience. Often considered the ‘go-to’ recruiter within NI’s Legal sector, he has developed and maintained an envious list of clients and trusted relationships over the years. In the office, he is regularly in front of the flip-chart putting in to practice his ILM and CMI qualifications.

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Managing Director, Jago Communications

Shona is Managing Director of Jago, a multi award-winning communications and PR practice that is highly experienced in developing and delivering a strategic, integrated corporate and employer brand communications.

With offices in Belfast and Dublin, Shona leads a highly skilled team that is committed to strategy, insight and creativity that delivers real impact, measurable commercial value and stand-out work for clients in a range of professional sectors.

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Managing Director, Intelligent Software Ltd

Shane McCusker is an authority on technology for sourcing and engaging with talent, he founded Intelligence Software Ltd in 2003 and has a base of customers across the world using his software every day.

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Senior Lecturer, Ulster University

Laura is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the Department of Global Business and Enterprise, Ulster University Business School and Programme Director for the BSc Hons Business Studies with Options programme. She is also Chair of the Ulster University Business School Employability Committee. Her research interests focus on the influence of technology on marketing decisions, specifically mobile and Internet, and the factors influencing the diffusion of innovation from an organisational perspective.

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