This year, mac-group reached yet another milestone, as our CEO I have been shortlisted for the EY Entrepreneur of The Year award in the International Category. This award is sponsored by Ernst & Young in recognition of Entrepreneurship. I am among the 24 Irish finalists being recognised for our contributions to Ireland’s recovering economy. On the 16th of May, along with over 70 of the EOY alumni and 15 EY staff, we travelled to Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau for the 2019 CEO retreat. Not only was this trip an immense honour but also a great opportunity to network with other CEOs of leading Irish businesses and make some valuable overseas connections.
We received a warm welcome at Terminal 1 from the EOY team then boarded our Cathay Pacific direct flight to Hong Kong, by chance I was seated across from Ireland’s own King of Burgers Pat McDonnagh of SuperMac’s fame, so you could say 2 super Macs heading off to conquer Asia !
On arrival in Hong Kong we received an even warmer welcome by EOY Lead Partners Kevin McLoughlin and Roger Wallace, the tone was clearly set for the exciting week ahead. After checking into our luxury Sheraton Hotel and a little down time it was time to get down to business. Our evening event consisted of a private sitting with local CEOs in the fifth oldest stock exchange in the world, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX). Presentations on global and local markets were interesting and a very engaging questions and answers followed.
It’s safe to say that the presence of the largest group of CEO’s and business people ever to visit from Ireland added a few points to the Hang Seng … Afterwards, in the Grand Hall below the live ticker tape we engaged in a speed dating activity to help the finalists to get to know each other and the Alumni. This was a great way to kick off the retreat and to get to know some of my fellow finalists. A long day ended back at the hotel bar where in relaxed surroundings the days events were discussed and dissected. So just another 19 hour day when you add in the time difference for us all!