Scissor Sisters Ana Matronic set for TEDxStormont Women event later this year

Ana Matronic from the world-famous band Scissor Sisters is set to address TEDxStormont Women taking place at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on 2 November.

The Scissor Sisters frontwoman and robot obsessive, Ana Matronic has written about her love of robotics in her book ‘Robot Takeover’ which looks at 100 of the most iconic robots from popular culture. The book also explores robots in music, art and fashion.

The third in the series of TEDxStormont Women events is organized and curated by CDPB’s CEO Eva Grosman. The theme this year is ‘Bridges’ and will bring some of the high profile speakers from varied backgrounds such as journalism, music, business and the arts to Belfast for the nearly sold out event. 12 speakers in total are lined up to take part with over 250 guests expected to attend on the evening.

Standing on the iconic red dot, speakers will have 12 minutes or less to share their ideas about the ways in which we build bridges, traverse them, and sometimes even burn them, for better or worse.

Other speakers announced so far include:

  • Elizabeth Filippouli, Founder & CEO, Global Thinkers Forum
  • June Burgess, Property developer, leadership coach and international equestrian
  • Maxine Mawhinney, International journalist, and broadcaster
  • Jayne Gallagher, Managing Director, Legal-Island
  • Rosemary Jenkinson, Writer, artist-in-residence, Lyric Belfast
  • Clare Mulley, Award-winning author, historian of women and war
  • Vanessa Woolf, Professional storyteller
  • Lyra McKee, Freelance journalist, writer, editor
  • Naomh McElhatton, Digital educator
  • The event will be compered by former broadcaster Sarah Travers.

    The event, which is locally and independently organised, brings the TEDx brand back to the iconic Stormont. Started as a four-day conference in California in 1984, TED and the TEDx programme has grown to support world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives.

    Tickets can be purchased at and further updates can be found on Twitter @TEDxStormont.


    Crans Montana Forum: Changes, Populist Upheavals and the World of Tomorrow

    On the occasion of the Crans Montana Forum’s 28th Annual Session, a Special Programme of the New Leaders for Tomorrow took place in Barcelona (Spain) on July 6th, 2017.

    CDPB Chief Executive Eva Grosman spoke at the special session on “Changes, Populist Upheavals and the World of Tomorrow”. Among the topics addressed were the European Union, the Brexit and the Turkish Situation as well as the first few months of the American Presidency.

    The Crans Montana Forum is a Swiss Non-Governmental International Organization established in 1986. Its oldest Forums are held each year in Crans-Montana (CH-VS) and Geneva (CH-GE). The Forum works with major international organisations, governments, businesses and NGOs.

    The Crans Montana Forum works to build a “more humane and impartial world” and encourages international cooperation and growth. It also works to promote best practices and to ensure a permanent dialogue between high-level stakeholders.

    The first annual Crans Montana Forum, in 1990, was dedicated to political and economic reconstruction in a Europe then open in the aftermath of the Cold War. The various Forums organised worldwide (Brussels, Geneva, Rabat, Dakhla, Vienna, Crans-Montana, Bucharest, Baku, Zagreb, Roma, Sarajevo, Tirana, Athens, Malta, Bahrain) represent exceptional opportunities for businesses and government officials to develop and strengthen relationships with partners across the globe.

    More information at:


    TEDxStormont is Back!

    TEDxStormont is back, taking place on Saturday, 17 September from 11am to 3pm at the MAC in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.

    Organised along the theme of “Imagine” and supported by lead sponsor Ulster Bank, the event will feature 12 leading thinkers, innovators, artists, philosophers and entertainers from the UK, Ireland and the United States representing such diverse fields as technology, entertainment, visual and performance art, design, politics, music and education, among others.

    Speakers will look forward and “Imagine” the kind of future we could have together as a society, here in Northern Ireland and beyond. The event will be compered by broadcaster William Crawley.

    This will be the third time that TEDxStormont has taken place and due to popular demand has been moved out of Parliament Buildings at Stormont and will now take place at The MAC in  Belfast city centre. Over 250 guests have signed up already with nearly 300 expected on the day.

    Some of the previous TEDxStormont speakers have included: Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol; Christina Lamb, Foreign Correspondent for the Sunday Times; former First Minister Peter Robinson; deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA; Kate Carroll widow of murdered Constable Stephen Carroll, Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA, Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA and Lord Alderdice.

    Eva Grosman, Curator of TEDxStormont said:

    “We are really excited for our third TEDxStormont. Due to the demand for tickets we have had to move from Parliament Buildings at Stormont to The MAC in the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast which means we can give more people the opportunity to come and listen to some of the best speakers and ideas generators around.”

    “The main thrust of TEDx is to develop ideas worth spreading. Since we started we have had over 50 speakers travel to Belfast to tell us what they think and give us food for thought about the society we want to develop in Northern Ireland.”

    “This year we have some first rate speakers from as far as California and Boston, and also closer to home, so we will have a blend of experiences that will create a fantastic event.”

    “The event has been made possible with the support from our sponsors and we must give a particular thanks to our headline backer Ulster Bank who has had the vision to support TEDxStormont. We also have to send out a massive thanks to our other sponsors who include leading law firm Mills Selig, Politics Plus, Lagan Construction, Digital DNA and Uber.”

    Richard Donnan, Head of Northern Ireland at Ulster Bank, the lead sponsor of TEDxStormont said:

    “Our ambition is to be the most trusted bank for customer service, trust and advocacy – and one of the ways we’ll seek to achieve that is by encouraging the development of new and creative thought leadership in our local communities. That’s exactly what TEDxStormont will promote and it’s why we’re really pleased to be playing our part. There is an exciting and diverse range of speakers who are positioned to give real insight and so it is a great fit.”

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    An Invisible Tribe: Improving our relationships and public discourse

    Remarks by Eva Grosman (CEO, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building), Europa Hotel Belfast, 27 November 201relationships5.

    Eva was speaking having been presented an inaugural ‘Spirit of WIP’ Award at the WIP Ball by WIP Alumna and Junior Minister, OFMdFM, Emma Pengelly MLA.

    An Invisible Tribe: Improving our  and public discourse

    Almost every day of my working week I interact with ministers, MLAs, business and civic leaders and other remarkable individuals, who took part in the Washington Ireland Program.

    WIP’s values are very much aligned with what I aspire to: humility, empathy, respect and integrity

    Being a change agent, working among people like you, often feels like being part of an invisible tribe.

    When Seamus Heaney passed away, Gary Lightbody wrote a wonderful piece to honour his hero.

    He talked about Heaney as a Chieftain of an “invisible tribe” – a tribe of people that touch others on a level that beds deeper into our souls and hearts.

    People of profound light, love and kindness that simply and maybe even without their knowledge make us and the world around them better. People that make us feel safer, happier, stronger, more centred and less confused.

    The Washington Ireland Program is like of a boot camp for the members of the “invisible tribe” – a school of better living for the warriors of good.

    I was asked to share with you and idea for brighter 2016. So, I thought why not focus on improving a quality of our relationships and quality of public discourse.

    I’m sure that you all watched CSI Miami or one of the similar programmes. I’m sure that you are well aware that every human contact leaves a trace. And it goes beyond the DNA.

    While encountering others we leave not only physical, but also emotional traces. Someone said that“people often forget what we said, but they never forget how we made them feel.”

    In recognising qualities of good leaders, we are now moving from IQ to Emotional Intelligence and from Emotional Intelligence to a Cultural one.

    Cultural Intelligence is the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures.

    It is something which we continuously improve and develop. We do this through our experiences, but also with knowledge shared by other people whom we trust – and who trust us; via networks such as Washington Ireland Program.

    President Clinton spoke last year at the Riddel Hall, here in Belfast about the need for new creative networks of cooperation – cooperation between public, private and community sectors.

    To achieve this we need leaders who can cross boundaries and cross cultures, leaders who can communicate effectively and build diverse networks necessary to solve “wicked” problems. We need leaders who don’t just shy away from difference but gravitate towards it. Those are the leaders with Cultural Intelligence and these are the members of the invisible tribe.

    Being a member of the invisible tribe it’s not only a privilege – it is also a responsibility. We have to lead with our words and our deeds.

    So let’s think about the words – words are powerful – they can start arguments, even wars, and they can bring forgiveness and peace; words can hurt and words can heal.

    George Orwell in “Politics and the English Language” said that “the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When the general atmosphere is bad, language suffers.”

    With elections coming up, both in the Republic of Ireland and here in Northern Ireland we have a perfect opportunity to challenge and change the quality of political discourse. Perhaps we can focus on positive agenda, positive ideas and our shared future.

    On Thursday, 21 January WIP and the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building will be hosting a workshop in partnership with Twitter to develop a campaign to re-frame conversations and to challenge folly, evasions and hatred in our political and public discourse.

    The project will be underpinned by a sense of hope, possibility and respect, as well as sense of a personal responsibility.

    We have to be good stewards of our gifts. We have to protect our time, avoid too much noise and be ourselves and at our best as often as we can. We shouldn’t let people pull us into their storms, but we should pull them into our peace and joy.

    We have to collectively be bold enough to raise standards of everyone around us, so I invite you to join us in this new project. We will need to tap into your talents, ideas and networks.

    So let’s make 2016 a call to arms for the invisible tribe. Let’s work hard, play hard, do some good and hope for a “great sea-change”.

    And most of all – let’s think before we speak.


    Female entrepreneurs make colossal contribution to commerce – Pengelly and McCann

    Junior Ministers Emma Pengelly and Jennifer McCann today addressed an event to mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day at the Lyric, Belfast.

    The Breakfast was hosted by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and Ulster Bank and included students embarking on the working world, those starting up a business, established business owners, employees and stakeholders.

    Speaking at the event Junior Minister Emma Pengelly said: “We have to break down the hurdles that many women encounter in bringing their talent, determination and skills to the fore for the benefit of all the citizens of Northern Ireland. Throughout history many of our key moments have been dominated by men, now is the time for women to write the future. Let us change this world for the better. We must harness our collective intelligence, passion and compassion to make positive changes that will shape this world for good. 

    “I want women to step up and realise their full potential. Judging from the energy and enthusiasm of those here today I know we are well on the way to building a better future for all women in Northern Ireland.” 

    Junior Minister, Jennifer McCann added: “Today’s event on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day recognises the colossal contribution women make to commerce. 

    “Commerce like politics needs diversity, fresh ideas and contributions from a wide range of people. We must not frustrate or waste the talents of women; instead we must harness talent and inspire women. 

    “We must all work hard to eradicate any social or economic barriers women face. If we increase the economic and social opportunities for all women we increase the collective economic potential of society.

    “I thank the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and Ulster Bank for making today’s event happen. Events like today will excite women empowering them to be confident, ambitious and our future entrepreneurs.”

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    Female Business Experts Mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day With Special Mentoring Breakfast

    TEN Northern Ireland female business experts will host a series of mentoring sessions this week to mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.

    Hosted by the The Centre for Peace and Democracy and Ulster Bank at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast on Thursday November 19, the Business Breakfast is part of a series of global events.

    Running across 144 countries worldwide Women’s Entrepreneurship Day celebrates the unwavering positivity women bring to the global economy, as well as empowering and supporting future generations.

    Northern Ireland Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and CEO of The Centre for Peace & Democracy Eva Grosman said: “The breakfast event this Thursday will bring together influential business leaders, entrepreneurs, change-makers and social innovators to empower over 120 women in business and inspire the next generation across Northern Ireland.

    Speakers at the event include media consultant Sarah Travers, Junior Ministers Emma Pengelly MLA and Jennifer McCann MLA, Shauna Burns from the Commercial Banking section at Ulster Bank and a special keynote address from a high profiled legal expert.

    Shauna Burns, Head of Mid Ulster & Fermanagh Business Centre at Ulster Bank, said: “Ulster Bank is committed to supporting female entrepreneurship and this event has provided a welcome showcase for some best-in-class local businesses.

    “I’d encourage anyone who has an idea to talk to us about how we can help turn their ambition into a reality. We have the people and the products in place to support women-led businesses across Northern Ireland and help to foster a culture of entrepreneurship – as we’ll see in the Women-Led Business Category at our upcoming Business Achievers Awards.”

    Mentors who will be taking various sessions throughout the morning include Cathy Martin (PR and Fashion), Ellvena Graham (Banker), Jackie Henry (Accountant), Maeve Monaghan (Social Entrepreneur), Maria O’Loane (Lawyer), Nisha Tandon (Arts and Culture), Sarah Travers (Media), Suzanne Wylie (Public Sector), Sue McAllister (Prison Service) and Tina McKenzie (Business).

    Find out more about Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on Thursday November 19 by logging on to, follow on Twitter @WomensEDay or join the conversation using the hashtag #WomenWOW



    Belfast to mark the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

    Northern Ireland will join 144 countries across the globe to mark the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on the 19th November 2015 as Eva Grosman, CDPB CEO has recently been appointed as NI Ambassador for this initiative.

    Women’s Entrepreneurship Day celebrates the unwavering positivity women bring to the global economy, as well as empowering and supporting future generations.

    To mark this occasion, The Centre for Peace and Democracy and Ulster Bank are hosting an exciting breakfast event which will bring together influential business leaders, entrepreneurs, change-makers and social innovators to empower women in business and inspire the next generation across Northern Ireland.

    Following breakfast and networking at the impressive Lyric Theatre, an inspirational keynote address will be delivered by our special guest. There will be a unique opportunity to partake in our exciting ‘speed mentoring’ sessions, led by some of Northern Ireland’s most successful female leaders.

    Guests will also be treated to the first screening of a specially commissioned video, which showcases talented female entrepreneurs from across Northern Ireland, sharing their advice and learnings.

    There will also be an opportunity to find out more about some of the organisations who support women in business and female entrepreneurship across Northern Ireland.

    Connecting us globally, inspiring us locally.


    What: Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

    When: 19th November 830am – 1030am

    Where: Lyric Theatre, 55 Ridgeway St, Belfast, BT9 5FB

    Book your tickets:



    Eva Grosman talks TEDxStormontWomen

    NI Business Now spoke to Eva Grosman, Chief Executive of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, ahead of the TEDxStormontWomen event which will take place in Belfast later this month.

    Describe your daily role:

    By working with people in other areas of conflict we hope to contribute to rekindling momentum in the Peace Process and by linking with partners in political and civil society here, bring some fresh approaches to understanding conflict and addressing the legacy problems which still stand in the way of a stable, shared and inclusive society.

    A think-tank component of the Centre’s activities is developed through collaboration with local academic institutions and with Oxford, Harvard and other universities. The Centre also promotes local initiatives and campaigns, such as ‘Unite Against Hate’ – a programme challenging prejudice and hate crime.

    What is the best part of your job?

    I work with fantastic individuals, who share similar values and vision of building a better future for the next generations, here in Northern Ireland and beyond. My job allows me to travel, to work with people from different backgrounds and cultures. I also enjoy the freedom, flexibility and independence.

    Outside of your 9-5 you work on another project – tell me about that?

    Yes, I’m an organiser and curator of TEDxStormont events. I’m a massive fan of TED. It is a great way to get inspired, to explore interesting concepts and to connect with people and ideas from across the globe.

    What led you to start this?

    I was also lucky enough to attend the TED Global conference few years ago and meet Chris Anderson, Head of TED and Bruno Giussani, European Director of TED. I applied for a free TEDx licence while working on Politics Plus at the Northern Ireland Assembly. I thought it would be an excellent way of becoming a part of the global conversation.

    What events are in the pipeline?

    I’m currently curating TEDxStormontWomen event, which is part of TEDWomen 2015 that focuses on women and women’s issues. The overall theme is “Momentum. Moving forward. Gaining speed. Building traction”. We’ll explore some bold ideas that create momentum in how we think, live and work. Our event is one of many TEDx events happening around the globe. It will include 10 live speakers/performers and we will also stream videos from TEDWomen in Monterey, California (including talks by Mary Robinson, Jimmy Carter and many others). The event will take place in Stormont Castle on Friday, 29 May from 2pm to 5.30pm followed by the networking reception from 5.30pm to 7pm.

    How do you manage to find the time to accomplish so much?

    It is all about good time management and delegation. And of course being passionate about what you do and having fun, too.

    What has been your biggest achievement to date?

    One of the extra special achievements was definitely Gary Lightbody’s support for TEDxStormont. I had e-mailed him about getting involved – not only did he agree to speak at our event, he also wrote a song, which he performed with a younger generation of Northern Ireland finest musicians, including SOAK, David C Clements, Silhouette and the Wonder Villains. He then donated all proceeds from the record sales to the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Fund. Gary often speaks of the invisible tribe – organising TEDx is like bringing the invisible tribe together.

    What is your goal for the year ahead?

    I want to continue to spark exciting conversation, to reach out to wider audiences, to inspire future generations and attract TED Global to Belfast in the near future.

    If you had to give one piece of business/life advice, what would it be?

    Work hard, do some good and have fun!


    We cannot begin to tackle hate crime and bigotry without a shared vision

    A young Lithuanian woman has been left to pick up the pieces of her business – a nail bar in east Belfast – following a racially-motivated arson attack, which left the small business burnt to the ground.

    This sickening attack follows on the heels of incidents in north Belfast, where Polish residents were targeted because of their race.

    A few days ago, the local media reported a 43% increase in hate-related crime incidents, following the attacks on members of the Polish community; it went almost unnoticed.

    During his first historic visit to Northern Ireland the then US President Bill Clinton said: “Countries are just like people with their personalities, hopes and nightmares.”

    So, using his analogy, I tried to imagine Northern Ireland as a person – an insecure teenager, rather aggressive on occasions, who finds it extremely difficult to take responsibility for his own actions and is constantly blaming others. He is spoiled rotten by the rich uncles in London and an older, not rich, aunt in Dublin. He is driven, fun-loving with a great sense of humour. He even shows major potential, yet he is still unsure about his own identity, worth and future.

    The question I have now is this: as a society attempting to evolve from the dark days of the Troubles into a more multi-cultural country, how can we try to mature together? We cannot begin to address hate crime, bigotry and other social problems here without a vision or a shared sense of commonality. Differences are important, but common humanity matters more.

    The problem is in Northern Ireland so much is fragmented. There is so much talk about “multi-agency approach” involving strategies and action plans, but it seems that very little progress is being made. I suppose it’s part of our fledgling society which is still trying to grow up.

    Perhaps we all need to take a leaf out of President Clinton’s book. He did not talk about the old, bureaucratic and mediocre networks, but a new, creative approach to leadership.

    We need a new approach if we want an inclusive society here. The world is changing – and so, too, is Northern Ireland.

    Together, perhaps, we can turn the immature teenager into a tolerant and responsible grown-up.