Vodafone Ireland's Anne O'Leary, Paypal's Louise Phelan, Fionnuala Meehan of Google Ireland and Dell's Marie Moynihan were among the 25 award recipients, while Cathriona Hallahan, MD of Microsoft Ireland, was entered into the Hall of Fame for having scooped a top 25 award on two separate occasions
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About 650 people attended the celebrations to mark the Women’s Executive Network’s Ireland’s Most Powerful Women: Top 25 Awards in Dublin’s InterContinental hotel.

Female leaders who won or spoke at the event include: Her Excellency, Irish ambassador to the US, Anne Anderson; Ulster Bank NI’s head, Ellvena Graham; Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan; Vodafone Ireland’s Anne O’Leary; Paypal’s Louise Phelan; Glanbia’s Siobhan Talbot; Keeling’s Caroline Keeling; Bank of Ireland’s Julie Sharp; Tesco’s Christine Heffernan; Judge Fidelma Macken SC; Love Hate’s Suzanne McAuley; youth campaigner, Joanne O’Riordan and vocal legend Veronica Cross.

The Women’s Executive Network (WXN(1)) hosted both a leadership summit and an awards gala to celebrate the winners and allow attendees to learn from the experience and knowledge of these successful women. Some 225 attended the leadership summit which delivered advice on negotiation skills, how to perform under pressure and international leadership trends, while 425 attended the gala awards where Philomena Lee and Cathriona Hallahan gave keynote addresses.

“The gender pay gap in Ireland is 14.4 per cent and getting worse according to EU statistics(2). The stats also show that women with children tend to fare worse in the pay scale against male counterparts,” said Pamela Jeffery, WXN founder.

“Women need to be facilitated in their career progression and confident in their own value in the system. This is why we identify, promote and celebrate successful and influential women in Ireland,” she added.

The awards


WXN creates a list of winners through research and the counsel of the WXN advisory board. Ireland’s Most Powerful Women: Top 25 Award Winners are in the following categories:

HSBC Corporate Executives Award
This category recognises eight women who hold the most senior positions in Ireland’s largest companies by annual turnover and by number of employees. Candidates must be at director level or higher and report directly to the CEO/managing director.

  • Bronwyn Brophy, vice president, Early Technologies, Covidien Group, Medtronic EMEA (1);
  • Rosaleen Burke, MSVP Quality Assurance, Supply Chain and International, Boston Scientific;
  • Helen Dooley, group general counsel, AIB;
  • Christine Heffernan, corporate affairs director, Tesco Ireland;
  • Nicola McCracken, HR director, Talent Management & Reward, CRH plc;
  • Fionnuala Meehan, managing director, SMB Sales, North and Central Europe, Google Ireland;
  • Marie Moynihan, chief diversity officer & VP, Talent, Dell;
  • Julie Sharp, head of group human resources, Bank of Ireland.

Business Leaders
This category recognises four women who have made significant contributions to business in their leadership roles. Nominees must hold a position at the Director level or higher and report directly to the CEO/Managing Director. Nominees are judged on the following criteria: career accomplishments, management role, vision and leadership, and corporate performance.

  • Ellvena Graham, head of Ulster Bank NI & managing director of SME Banking, Ulster Bank Group;
  • Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone Ireland;
  • Louise Phelan, VP, Global Operations EMEA, PayPal.

Entrepreneurs Award
This category recognises three women who own and run some of Ireland’s largest independent companies. Nominees must actively manage the daily affairs and own at least 20 per cent of the shares of the company if it is private or at least five per cent of the shares of a publicly-traded company.

  • Anne Marie Caulfield, CEO, Caulfield McCarthy Group;
  • Bernadette Gallagher, chairman Pembase Holdings;
  • Caroline Keeling, CEO, Keelings.

Public Sector Leaders Award
This category recognises four women who hold senior positions and are making an impact on the public sector in Ireland and/or Europe. Winners cannot currently be elected by the voting public and must be Irish but do not have to be based in Ireland.

  • Her Excellency, Anne Anderson, Irish ambassador to the United States;
  • Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan;
  • Louise Richardson, principal and vice chancellor, University of St Andrews (soon to be first ever female vice chancellor at Oxford University);
  • Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland.

Trailblazers Award
This category recognises three women who have ignored boundaries and burst through barriers. Each Winner is the first Irish woman to achieve such a notable accomplishment. Winners may have furthered the cause of other women through their work, or they may have established a precedent for others to follow.

  • Philomena Lee, campaigner and founder, the Philomena Project;
  • Judge Fidelma Macken, SC;
  • Joanne O’Riordan, youth campaigner.

Arts & Culture
This category recognises three women who have added to and continued Irish cultural discussion through art, music, literature, broadcasting, journalism, film or the performing arts.

  • Dorothy Cross, artist, Kerlin Gallery;
  • Suzanne McAuley, producer, Octagon Films;
  • Veronica Dunne, soprano and founding member, the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition.

Hall of Fame
Two additional women will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. These women have won the Top 25 Award twice and have been selected for recognition of their noteworthy achievements.

  • Cathriona Hallahan, MD, Microsoft Ireland;
  • Ann Keenan, head of group human resources, DCC plc.
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About 650 people attended the celebrations to mark the Women's Executive Network's Ireland's Most Powerful Women: Top 25 Awards in Dublin's InterContinental hotel. Female leaders who won or spoke at the event include: Her Excellency, Irish ambassador to the US, Anne Anderson; Ulster Bank NI's head, Ellvena Graham; Garda commissioner Nóirín...