BUSINESS owners and managers were celebrated at a virtual graduation ceremony.
Hosted by Bangor Business School, the online event marked the success of more than 35 learners on the ION Leadership ILM Level 5 Leading Growth and ILM Level 3 New Leaders programmes.
Honorary Fellows and celebrity well-wishers including singer Beverley Knight, former Wales rugby international Rupert Moon and TV farmer Gareth Wyn Jones joined the successful cohort – who met in person – for a ceremony which also featured drone footage of participating organisations from across north and mid-Wales.
Bangor University Vice Chancellor Professor Iwan Davies, Anglesey MP Virginia Crosbie and Anglesey MS Rhun ap Iorweth were also in attendance.
Among those to achieve the qualification was Paralympic medallist Mark Williams, from Rhyl, the founder and CEO of Bylchau-based prosthetic leg cover design and manufacturing firm, LIMB-art.
He said: “From my perspective the course exceeded my expectations, and the best part was not only the critical learning – which enabled us to continually look at our practices, so we always have a clear vision and a plan B – but the contacts I developed that have helped and continue to help drive the business forward.”
Elin Aaron, owner of Gallt y Glyn hostel and restaurant in Llanberis, reinforced those comments, and added: “I run the business by myself and thought during Covid this would be a perfect way to network while developing my confidence as a leader.
“I’m a people pleaser and sometimes found it difficult to tread the line between being the boss and being a friend to my staff, so this helped with that.
“Like many hospitality companies we have faced challenges during the pandemic but are on our way back and growing again. Graduating from the programme will certainly have a positive impact as we look to recruit new workers and approach our busiest time of the year.”
The ION Leadership programme is accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and delivered by Swansea University with funding from the European Social Fund through Welsh Government.
Lorraine Hopkins, Manager for the Leading Business Growth programmes at Bangor Business School, paid tribute to the alumni for their dedication during a difficult time for all industries.
“We were thrilled to be able to celebrate business success at this time, when there have been and are still, so many economic challenges ahead,” said Lorraine.
“The programmes are contributing to a more confident economy by developing our leaders and sharing established business drivers for growth. The team couldn’t be prouder of our delegates.”
Event sponsor Celtest, a pioneering material testing and drilling company based in Bangor, also joined proceedings, namely Jason Chinery, who himself graduated from the programme three years ago.
“We are privileged to support ION Leadership and congratulate all of the learners for achieving this qualification during such unprecedented times,” he said.
“The course helped me to develop my leadership capabilities and gave me a broader insight into different management styles and how they impact organisational performance, productivity, and communication.
“I would encourage all business owners and managers to explore the Leading Business Growth suite of programmes at Bangor Business School; it certainly made a difference to how I approach my role, which in turn has had a decisive effect on my personal and professional life – I wish all of the graduates the best of luck for the future.”