Salon Sessions Speaker Biographies

Join our incredible line-up of guest speakers and find out what’s new, how to stay ahead of the competition and boost your business for a successful 2023. This is the perfect opportunity for you to discover what will be shaping the beauty, hair, and wellness industry in 2023, allowing you to unlock new opportunities for your business.

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Melanie Morris

Journalist, Beauty Influencer, Founder of Genius Ideas Inc and Director of Image Media

Melanie Morris was destined for a life in media since, at aged 7, she insisted on wearing her tie-dye pyjamas to school. After completing a b.Comm in UCD, Melanie’s first job was in London, working in fashion PR with Lynne Franks, the original inspiration for TV comedy ‘Absolutely Fabulous’.

She returned to Ireland in the 1990s to begin a career in journalism and media. She published and edited dSIDE, a style magazine, for a decade before working with Ashville Media, and writing freelance on beauty and popular culture with The Irish Times, The Sunday Tribune and The Examiner.

In 2005 she was appointed editor of IMAGE Magazine, and in 2013 was promoted to Editor-in-Chief. In that time, she also established, oversaw and MCd the successful events division and founded the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards, and the IMAGE Business of Beauty Awards.

In 2018 Melanie founded Genius Ideas Inc, a marketing and branding consultancy. Melanie remains a board member and contributing editor with IMAGE Media.

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Sophia Hilton

Award-Winning Colour Expert, ‘Not Another’ Brand Founder, Educator & Global Hair Industry Star

Sophia Hilton is the founder/owner of the Not Another brand which has completely disrupted the industry over the last 6 years. Starting with the much talked-about Not Another Salon, Sophia has gone on to open three more businesses including the biggest selling in-person academy in the UK, a social media consultancy and a retail company. Her Not Another Academy online learning platform has over 4000 students across 52 countries worldwide and is now being translated into 5 languages.

Her whopping 14 business awards have put her in the Creative Head awards hall of fame (meaning she can no longer enter!), and these go alongside a further 4 awards in hairdressing and colour at the British Hairdressing awards and Creative Head.

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Liza-Jo Gee

Professional Educator, Life Coach and NLP Practitioner

Liza-Jo is a Professional Educator, Life Coach and NLP Practitioner who is passionate about learning and supporting the development of people to enhance their life chances. Over a career of over 25+ years in schools, colleges and higher education, Liza-Jo has coached, mentored, and trained thousands of professional educators, business owners and senior leaders.

She has a deep knowledge of vocational learning and has led and managed across many sectors including hair & beauty, health care & well-being, science, and engineering. She is a motivator and leader who is passionate about Inclusion and Diversity, and with that in mind is committed to helping peop Save le be their best selves!

Liza-Jo now runs her own Coaching and Consultancy Business as well as being a Trainer for the Irish Centre of Diversity, training private and public sector organisations. She is also the Chair of Trustees for AIM Awards and Qualifications – an education awarding body in the UK – and is a Black Country Enterprise advisor for a Special School for the neurodiverse.

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Nadine Reid

Make Up Artist, Trainer for MAC cosmetics, TV presenter (Xpose), Plus Size Fashion & Beauty Influencer

Raised in Birmingham, Nadine worked for over 10 years as a Trainer for Mac Cosmetics in London, Birmingham and Edinburgh before moving to Paris to fulfill her freelance fashion dreams. After a year of fashion weeks and magazine editorials, she returned to Birmingham to be with her mother who was ill at the time. Then the notion came to move to Dublin. After just two years working in a prestigious Dublin salon as a MUA & Now Eyebrow artist, Nadine was offered a role as presenter on the leading fashion and beauty TV show Xpose. When the show was cancelled 2019 Nadine worked as an ‘Ugly Sister’ in the Olympia Theatre Pantomine.

After a year of pandemic and the passing of her 94 year old friend Minnie Byrne, Nadine decided to move to Donegal where she currently resides, working as an online Plus Size Fashion & Beauty Influencer and Audiobook Narrator. Nadine enjoys the beaches and views of the beautiful county Donegal with her puppy Missy-Grá!

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Millie Kendall

Ground-breaking Cosmetic Entrepreneur, PR & Marketing Consultant, OBE recipient, and Founding Member/CEO of the British Beauty Council

During her career as a retail maven and brand creator Millie has been instrumental in the success of cult brands including Shu Uemura, Aveda, Tweezerman, L’Occitane and Ruby & Millie.

In 1998 with Ruby Hammer, she launched Ruby & Millie, the first mid-priced make-up brand to cut across existing price and brand perception barriers – back then a completely unique concept. In 2007, both women were awarded an MBE for their services to the cosmetic industry, and Millie was awarded an OBE in 2022 for services to the hair and beauty industry.

Next, frustrated that the method of retailing beauty products hadn’t changed in decades despite
very different consumer trends, Millie teamed up with ex-Vogue beauty editor Anna-Marie Solowj to launch BeautyMART – the first beauty boutique in store and online, curated by an editor, featuring a mix of globally-sourced products from across multi price points to offer a more democratic choice for the customer. BeautyMART paved the way for a new retail approach now emulated across the globe.

In 2015, again with Solowij, Kendall launched BRANDstand Communications, offering services from business planning and strategy right through to retail launch, PR and marketing.

In 2018 with Solowij and Kate Shapland, Millie founded the British Beauty Council, a non-profit organisation that aims to support a successful, innovative, and inclusive British beauty industry.

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Norah Casey

Broadcaster, Entrepreneur & Human Rights Campaigner

Broadcaster, entrepreneur and human rights campaigner, former ‘Dragon’, author, educator, SME mentor, publisher, former nurse and all-round incredible mind… we’re thrilled to announce Norah Casey as our next Salon Sessions speaker!
Norah’s business expertise is extensive, having acquired and grown multiple businesses to multi-million euro global success stories, as well as a wide range of SME investments in Ireland and internationally. She has mentored leading global business leaders, politicians and public figures. Her corporate expertise includes leadership, corporate team-building, mentorship, innovation and strategy.
Her digital learning platform Planet Woman seeks to empower women, and much of her life is devoted to mentoring SMEs and female founders globally.
Join us at the Tullamore Court Hotel, Monday Oct 3rd for a day of open conversation, motivational talks and business inspiration that will make a real difference to your business.

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Peigín Crowley

GROUND Wellbeing brand founder, Spa & Wellness Consultant and Brand/Product Development Expert

Having spent over 25 years in the Spa and Wellness Industry, Peigín’s contribution to all facets of Spa and Wellness can be seen and felt throughout the industry in Ireland. She has mastered an innovative and engaging style of development and design that creates a fluid path to transformative experiences and intuitive wellness.

Carving out a reputation as someone who delivers seamless experiential spaces in authentic, luxurious environments – Peigín has stood at the forefront of the wellness evolution for the majority of her design career. Her portfolio of 5-Star, award-winning properties include Adare Manor, The Cliff House Hotel, The Merrion, Mount Juliet, and The Old Head of Kinsale.

A creative brand strategist at heart, Peigín’s true passion lies in spa treatment and product development, collaborating with partners to deliver high end retail and professional lines including Well at Cliff for The Cliff Group, MOSS of the ISLES and Modern Rose for MINK, Dublin.

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Oonagh O’Hagan

Qualified Pharmacist and Owner/MD of Meagher’s Pharmacy Group

Oonagh is a driven Entrepreneur and was named as Image Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016 and was one of the 24 finalists in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year program in 2021. She loves to promote and champion other female business entrepreneurs and is a Lead Entrepreneur on the Going for Growth programme, which supports Irish female entrepreneurs.
Oonagh is also a member of the SME and Enterprise task-force and was recently appointed Chairperson for Taste the View group which is an Irish Artisan foods distributor. She credits the open and honest culture in Meaghers together with proactive engagement with her customers as the two most significant factors in the rapid growth of the business, and was delighted to have Meaghers recognised as one of Ireland’s Great Places to Work for the past three years, reaching the TOP 30 for 2022.

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Gerry Hussey

Motivational Coach & Author

Dubbed ‘The Soul Coach’, Gerry is a performance psychologist who has been in the human health and performance field for almost 20 years, at the forefront of building high performance teams and individuals in Olympic and professional sport as well as corporate organisations.
In the corporate space, Gerry excels in creating a dynamic, innovative and high-performance organisational culture and behavioural focus that encourages people to achieve excellence in performance and leadership. He brings an unrivalled wealth of honesty, experience and infectious passion to everything he does, and the ability to awaken, unlock and connect people and teams in a truly powerful manner!
Gerry’s wisdom will help strip away learned behaviours and thinking patterns, and to unclutter, clarify and overcome your internal and external obstacles and challenges to ignite the best version of yourself!

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Jim Power

Economic Analyst

Waterford native Jim Power is one of Ireland’s leading and best-known economic analysts. Jim has a wealth of experience in delivering insightful economic analysis, forecasts and commentary to both Irish and international audiences.

Jim writes regularly for national newspapers and is a frequent contributor to radio and TV debates, and podcasts like The Stand and Win Happy. We’re delighted to announce him as our next Salon Sessions speaker.

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Neil McDonnell

Chief Executive, ISME

Neil joined ISME as Chief Executive in 2016. He previously served as an infantry officer in the Irish Defence Forces, as a staff officer in Defence Forces HQ, and in operational roles in Lebanon and Cyprus.

Neil managed petroleum distribution operations for 12 years in Ireland for ExxonMobil, Topaz and smaller domestic customers.

Since joining ISME, Neil has been especially active on the issues of insurance costs for small business, the introduction of a perjury act to tackle white collar crime, and the need for a comprehensive reform of Irish indigenous industrial policy.

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Katrina Kelly

Educator, Artist & Salon Owner

Katrina has been working in the hair industry for 23 years and is the proud owner of Cut Social, and Katrina Kelly Education. She is an educator, artist, salon owner and mother to two beautiful children!

Katrina is passionate about the industry and loves working and collaborating with other inspirational people. She loves instilling confidence and teaching new skills to students with a calm and patient approach.

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Victoria Brownlie

Chief Policy Officer, British Beauty Council

Victoria has 15 years experience effecting political change from animal welfare to local government. She is the former Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the National Hair & Beauty Federation and the current Chief Policy Officer at the British Beauty Council.

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Andrea Horan

Entrepreneur, Broadcaster & Activist

Andrea Horan is the founder of Tropical Popical, The Hunreal Issues, No More Hotels, and co-presenter of Don’t Stop Repealin’ and United Ireland with Una Mullally. She worked in strategic communications for 15 years, gave a Tedx talk on ‘Escaping the Economy of More’ and held the exhibition ‘Renailssance’ at the National Gallery of Ireland in 2019. She was named the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year 2019 in the Influence category.

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