The IoD Academy NI Alumni Network aims to help directors from across Northern Ireland fully benefit from being part of a cohort of graduates of its professional development programmes.
The launch event, at Fratelli’s restaurant, Belfast, brought together dozens of industry leaders, many of them Chartered Directors, that have previously taken part courses with the IoD including the Certificate and Diploma in Company Direction.
During a panel discussion, some of the more than 60 business leaders in Northern Ireland that have achieved Chartered status, told those in attendance the value of the qualification.
They included, Bonnie Anley, Chair, Foyle Port, who said the process of becoming a Chartered Director, “creates a story, potentially that could be taken forward to governance roles in the future”.
She said: “You do get a real sense of achievement, of joining a club that holds some prestige and shows others that you have an ongoing relationship with professional development and have a level of knowledge that makes you an expert.
“All of those come with the Chartered Director status which will help you in relation to networking, IoD events and shaping the future of your career commercially.
Colin Coffey, who holds a number of Non-Executive Director roles and is Deputy Chair of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, sits on the interview panel for those seeking Chartered status.
He said: “I get so much out of it because I am always learning. Some seriously impressive people come through the interview process and you are always learning about how they’ve approached the same problem and how they’ve dealt with it in their sector.
“I think it is a very exciting time for the Chartered Director programme with governance at the centre of the IoD and I am excited to see the level of investment that has gone in to serve that in Belfast and Northern Ireland through the launch of the Academy.”
Dr Elaine O’Neill, Programme Director at IoD NI, leads the IoD Academy NI, added: “One of the main benefits of taking part in professional development programmes with the IoD is not only the training itself, but also being part of a cohort of other business leaders throughout the course.
“We hear many stories of directors meeting for the first time on an IoD course, and going on to secure new business and access to a unique form of support because of that relationship.”
The group aims to expand that networking opportunity beyond individual cohorts to the wider alumni.
Elaine added: “The network is designed to meet the needs of the alumni that have come through the IoD’s professional development schemes over many years.
“Through a range of events and insights sessions, we want to help directors make the most of their qualification and the combined knowledge of the alumni community.”
The IoD Academy NI professional development programme continues with the Leadership for Directors course, running from 3rd-4th September. It, along with all IoD Academy courses, can be taken in isolation and also acts as one of four modules that make up the Certificate in Company Direction, the first step towards achieving Chartered Director status.
For more information about the IoD Professional Development Alumni Network or the IoD Academy NI, visit iod.com/academyni or contact Dr Elaine O’Neill on 028 9091 2826.