The sixth annual WXN Leadership Summit recognising women in business took place at Dublin's Intercontinental Hotel on Wednesday.
The event celebrates the 25 most powerful business women in Ireland from across the business spectrum in everything from agri-food, to social enterpise and multinational pharmaceuticals.
Sherry Stephens , the CEO and owner of the WXN Network kicked the event off with a rallying cry-cajoling attendees to get out of their comfort zone in the workplace. She said that women need to grab the initiative if they are to progress to the levels which they aspire to.
"You have to want it. You have to desire it. You'll never be 100pc ready...so ask for that promotion, ask for that wage increase."
A panel discussion chaired by Marguerite Sayers of ESB Networks heard that Ireland needs to invest heavily in infrastructure in the years ahead if the country is to insulate itself from potential external shocks.
Rosaleen Burke, Multi-site vice president of Boston Scientific, said it was a relief for Ireland that Donald Trump had been "ineffective" in his bid to reform US tax codes for multinationals. She said that the strength of the country's educational offering was a key strength that was recognised internationally. All of the panellists were in agreement that nurturing talent in specific areas important to the economy from second level onwards is vital if the country is to continue to attract large businesses from abroad in the future.
Catherine Duffy, partner and chairman of A&L Goodbody, said that parish pump politics in Ireland could threaten the long-term benefit of infrastructure investments. "Politicians tend to think of where the next vote is coming from. That is something that is a problem and we need to look at the bigger picture," she said.
Catherine Moroney, Head of Business Banking at AIB, was effusive in her praise for the IDA for the manner in which the State body has attracted companies to Ireland. "They have developed a really strong ecosystem and are the envy of the US and other countries in the EU."
Ms Moroney said that the ecosystem which allows businesses to avail of Ireland's talented workforce, its low tax rate and Governmental support provides an ideal package for businesses looking to locate here.
She added that investment in infrastructure could act as a bulwark against possible future downturns.
"Economic downturns will come. But the infrastructure will have to cope. You can't build infrastructure that is totally recession proof, but what you can do is optimise the outcomes for when they do occur," Ms Moroney stated.