Co-Founder of Cartmill Stewart & Co Chartered Accountants in Lisburn, Claire Stewart, was awarded Herbert Smith Freehills Young Leader of the Year 2019 at the recent Young Leaders Northern Ireland Conference. The calibre of this year’s shortlisted candidates impressed the judges and Claire’s achievement as winner of the award is truly deserved.
Claire’s request for a flexible working arrangement following the birth of her first daughter was unsuccessful, and Claire embraced this challenging situation as a new opportunity. She launched her own business, a daunting prospect at any time and even more so as a new mum. After creating and developing her business, Claire merged with her now business partner, Gilbert Cartmill, to form Cartmill Stewart & Co Chartered Accountants.
Over the last number of years, Claire has demonstrated a forward-thinking approach to embracing technology, investing in people and volunteering to support the development of others. Claire’s leadership style is to look for solutions and encourage a positive approach and inspire those around her.
The presentation of the award to Claire, in the presence of 220 young leaders, concluded an inspirational conference. The delegates heard from a range of motivational and inspirational speakers who have excelled in their specialty areas, each sharing their personal experiences of overcoming adversity to succeed. Keynote speaker Welsh International and Heineken Cup rugby referee, Nigel Owens shared honest and thought-provoking accounts of overcoming adversity in both his personal and work life. David Meade returned to entertain the delegates as compere and additional speakers included: Leadership and motivational speaker Andrew Toogood from Proclaim Consultancy; Emma Sinclair, businesswoman, serial entrepreneur and journalist; and Hannah Shields, a local dentist who was Northern Ireland’s first woman to summit Mount Everest.
Chair of Young Leaders NI, Jenna Mairs said: “We are thrilled with the success of this year’s conference. The standard of entries for the Young Leader of the Year Award was exceptional and testament to the standard of young people here in Northern Ireland. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, Herbert Smith Freehills, AKFP Group, VANRATH, EY and The William J Clinton Leadership Institute at Queen’s University. Without their contributions and support, the quality and scale of the event we deliver would not be possible. Thanks also to the Prince’s Trust for their continued role as our charity partner; we are delighted to be able to champion their fantastic effort.”
Lisa McLaughlin, director of Herbert Smith Freehills’ Belfast office commented: “Claire is a very deserving winner of this year’s award and she demonstrates the values that are at the core of Herbert Smith Freehills. Claire displayed personal resilience by evolving during times of adversity and identifying the exciting new opportunities she could embrace in those challenging times. Claire is clearly a positive influence within her team and the wider business community. She brings great energy and enthusiasm to everything she does, and she leads by example. As part of her award, Claire will receive a place on one of the executive courses at The William J Clinton Leadership Institute at Queen’s University, which will present a fantastic opportunity for Claire to continue to develop her leadership skills and continue to support and motivate those around her.”
The announcement of this year’s winner was made at the Young Leaders’ Northern Ireland Conference ‘Leading through Adversity’ at Riddell Hall, organised by Young Leaders NI.
Young Leaders NI is a group formed by the Junior Chamber International Belfast, the Northern Ireland Young Solicitors’ Association, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Northern Ireland and the Chartered Accountants Ireland Ulster Society Young Professionals Group.