The performing highlight of the year was sitting in with Vince Gill and the Timejumpers in Nashville, what an honour to sing with those incredible musicians!
I’m also thankful for a wonderful St Patrick’s Day concert at the University of Arkansas, a sold-out gig in my hometown, and other appearances in Nashville and UK/Ireland/Switzerland. See the home concert here.
While in the US, I was privileged to attend a business conference and then a mastermind event, both in Las Vegas. I met some brilliant people while there and gained new insight and inspiration for my businesses. At one of these events I was invited to speak at the Chamber of Commerce back in Kentucky.
Speaking at the Chamber of Commerce/Small Business Incubator in Kentucky was my first ever speaking gig and I absolutely loved it! I spoke about being proactive in business if we want to achieve our goals – what are the right things for you to focus on in your business for optimum results? I was inspired to meet the business owners who came along and greatly encouraged by their feedback on the talk.
In September I was honoured to be the special guest at Rainey Endowed School’s annual Prizegiving ceremony. The Sunday Times recently announced my former school as Best Northern Ireland Secondary School and I was especially proud to be there, knowing the outstanding achievements of many of the school’s current pupils. In my address I spoke about saying yes to opportunities, and about pursuing excellence, rather than good, or good enough. Read the full speech here.
Then in November I was guest speaker at the Rainey Alumni’s annual dinner dance. I built on what I had said to the pupils, encouraging my peers to step up as leaders in their work, communities, and in society. I shared how a particular remark in my student days had helped me make the decision to go into business for myself. A friend had asked me, If not you, then who? I took this to heart at the time and am grateful for his and others’ influence in my life. And I believe it’s our place to lead and to encourage the next generation.
My last speech of the year was at a Christian retreat in Geneva, Switzerland. I was asked to speak on the subject of Leaders. The premise of my talk was that each of us is a leader, it’s not a part we can choose or not choose. I talked about how to find our own unique gifts, and how we can identify and overcome the things that might stop us from sharing these in our everyday life, in order to thrive as the best version of ourself.
I was delighted to have several articles published in the Huffington Post this year, including one about How I Got to Sing with Vince Gill: 12 steps to getting my business to work FOR me, and making the decision to be on top of the world.
The best thing about 2016 was the wonderful people that I met and got to spend time with in my travels especially in the US, at home in Northern Ireland and in Switzerland. Thank you all xxx
I was reminded at the end of the year of the importance of giving of yourself and living life on purpose. I attended the funeral of a former teacher, Vice Principal and Senior Mistress from my old school, Miss Dorothy Madden. Miss Madden retired from teaching in the first year I enrolled, but she never retired from her tireless service of the school. Although with this job offer she had come to Northern Ireland from England as a young woman with no family or friends in her new town, she quickly put down roots and made herself indispensable in caring for and maintaining connections to the school with literally thousands of alumni, now all over the world. I thought how wonderful it would be if we all aspired to live a life that touches people like Miss Madden’s.