Boden Park coffee shop owner wins first Lean In Belfast scholarship

Boden Park Coffee Company William J Clinton Leadership Institute Lean In Belfast
Michelle Murtagh, William J Clinton Leadership Institute; Orla McKeating Boden Park Coffee Company and Fergus McGrath, Business Development Manager, William J Clinton Leadership Institute.

Lean In Belfast has partnered with the William J Clinton Leadership Institute at Queen’s University Belfast to award a scholarship to south Belfast businesswoman Orla McKeating, who owns Boden Park coffee shop on the Ormeau Road.

Orla was the winner of a place on the Grit & Grace leadership course which started at Riddel Hall this week.

Members of the Belfast circle of the global organisation Lean In were eligible to apply for the scholarship, the first initiative of its kind for the group which was set up in 2014.

Lean In groups have been set up all over the world to encourage women to pursue their ambitions, following the 2013 publication of the bestselling book of the same name by Facebook Chief Operation Officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

Leader of Lean In Belfast Nuala Murphy explained: “We were excited to give one of our almost 1,000 members in Northern Ireland the opportunity to benefit from top leadership training. We received lots of applications from women who are keen to pursue leadership roles and make a positive impact across a wide variety of sectors but the panel was most inspired by Orla’s story and we wish her luck as she embarks on her training to help her achieve her goals!”

Orla McKeating said: “I am beyond thrilled and delighted to have been selected for the Grit & Grace Programme. Like most small business owners, I am supported by a brilliant team who are so eager for success.

“I owe it to them to continue to work hard a creating a sustainable business. Completed the leadership programme will help me to step away from day-to-day operational running of the coffee shop and provide me with the time, space and learning to improve my leadership skills, make key strategic business decision and develop new ways for the business to grow.”

The course is designed to make participants feel more confident as a leaders because it is built on the belief that everyone can learn to be a better leader, and there is no ‘ideal’ profile.

Using various psychometric tools and training activities, those taking part strengths, values, and a unique leadership brand that is authentic for them as well as how to engage effectively with
others by flexing their style.

Fergus McGrath, Business Development Manager of the William J Clinton Leadership School at Riddel Hall, Queen’s University Belfast, said: “We are delighted to be involved with Lean In Belfast. “The Belfast Lean in community has built a fantastic reputation in a very short time and we couldn’t be happier to welcome such an outstanding member of this community to our prestigious Grit & Grace Programme. I know that Orla will find the programme challenging and inspiring. Our programme director Michelle Murtagh has designed a programme that gets right to the heart of the issues facing many female leaders today.”