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20th Dec 2016

The Most Powerful Women In Ireland Part II


Last week we released part one of The Most Powerful Women In Ireland. The reason why I felt it was important to highlight these incredible women was because in business and especially in Ireland, we have quite an obvious imbalance of male-female ratio in senior roles. But there so many women who deserve honourable mentions and who are the best of the best in their chosen fields. So here is part two of the two part feature which includes the 50 most powerful women in Ireland. Some are empire builders. Others are hired guns. So here are the next 25 in no particular order:

1. Ali Hewson- Activist & Co-Founder

Ali has been an anti-nuclear activist since the Chernobyl disaster in the late 80’s. She’s also co-founder of two businesses- one is a fair-trade fashion company and the other is Nude Skincare. LVMH have invested heavily into both companies.

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2. Saoirse Ronan- Actor

She’s only 20 but Saoirse Ronan is one of the best actors in the world. She shot to prominence in 2007 with Atonement. Since then she has featured in 14 other films with 2 more due for release this year. She works closely with the Irish Blue Cross and the ISPCC chairties.


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3. Rhona Holland- Director Of Global Consumer Marketing

Rhona is a blue-chip marketer with over 15 years experience managing food and beverage brands for both Unilever and PepsiCo in global markets. Previously she managed the HB Ice Cream brand for Unilever. Holland is also a Non-Executive Director of Bord Bia, The Irish Food Board and Chairman of Bord Bia’s Consumer Foods Board.


4. Leonie Doyle- Director of Brand Marketing Britvic Ireland Ltd.

Responsible for brands like Ballygowan Water, Club Orange and 7UP in Ireland, the Trinity graduate also previously worked for DIAGEO and Unilever. Leonie is pictured below, second from the left.


5. Cera Ward- Country Manager Google Ireland

Cera has been working with Google for the past three and a half years. She’s a regular keynote speaker at various business and marketing events across the country. The DIT graduate previously worked in Newstalk and 98FM.


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6. Orlaith Blaney- CEO McCann Blue

Orlaith, one of the most prominent women in advertising has been with McCann for nearly two decades now she’s also President of Institute of Advertising Practitioners. McCann Dublin merged with BlueCube Dublin in July 2013 to create a brand designed to deliver creative solutions to solve today’s business and brand challenges.


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7. Stephanie Roche- Footballer

Stephanie is a striker for the Irish women’s national football team. The Shankill native shot to fame this year after her October 2013 goal in the WNL for Peamount United was the runner-up for the 2014 FIFA Puskás Award for the best goal of the year.

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8. Bernie Gallagher- Chairman The Doyle Collection

Bernie is part of one of the most successful hotel groups in Ireland with hotels in Ireland, the UK and the USA. She and her partner John recently won the bid to buy the Bord Gais Energy Theatre- an incredibly smart move for their company Crownway Entertainment.


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9. Catherine Heaney- MD DHR Communications

Before setting up DHR Communications, Catherine was Chief Executive of the Irish Family Planning Association and served as Press Officer for the Labour Party. She also held press office positions with the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed and the Irish Farmers’ Association. Catherine is Chairperson of the business-to-business charity, Connect Ethiopia. She also serves on the Heritage Council, and chairs its audit committee.


10. Una Mullally- Journalist & Campaigner

Una has just released her first book “In The Name Of Love” which took her over two years to write and is an oral history of the social movement, the movement for marriage equality. Una writes for The Irish Times and has a strong online presence and following.


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11. Laura Whitmore- Broadcaster

The Bray native is a TV presenter for MTV Europe and also presents ITV2 show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.


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12. Derval O’Rourke- Former Olympic Athlete, Author & Player Dev Manager

Derval is an Irish former sprint hurdles athlete. She competed internationally in the 60 and 100 metres hurdles, and is the Irish national record holder in both events. She participated in two Indoor World Championships, the last five Outdoor World Championships and the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympics. She is also author of “Food For The Fast Lane” published last September. Derval is also the Player Development Manager for IRUPA working in Munster.


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13. Amy Huberman- Author & Actor

Amy has starred in numerous productions since beginning her career in 2002 on RTÉ’s On Homeground. Her first novel was called Hello Heartbreak which was a best seller. Most of us would be familiar with Amy’s hilarious tweets. She also owns a footwear line called Bourbon.


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14. Marissa Carter- Creative Director & Founder Cocoa Brown Tan

The entrepreneur has smashed all expectations of her since she was just a beauty salon owner several years ago. Marissa has developed one of the fastest selling self tanners in Ireland. Cocoa Brown is now sold in thousands of retailers across Ireland and the UK including Penneys/Primark, Superdrug, Boots, Tescos and Sam McCauley Chemists to name a few.


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15. Joan Burton- Tánaiste

As we all know Joan has served as Tánaiste since 2014 and as Minister for Social Protection since 2011. She is also the Leader of the Labour Party.


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16. Sharen McCabe- MD McCabe’s Pharmacies

The McCabe’s Pharmacy chain have been in business for over thirty years now in Ireland. The three of four McCabe sisters including Sharen are involved in running over 20 pharmacies in Dublin, Limerick, Wexford and Louth.

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17. Elaine Carey- CCO at 3

Elaine manages all the consumer commercial areas in 3 where she has worked for over 8 years. Elaine previously worked for Eircom, Digicel and Esat Digifone.


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18. Margaret Ward- Entrepreneur & Broadcaster

Margaret E. Ward is a well-known entrepreneur, journalist and broadcaster based in Dublin. She has worked in the The Irish Times, Sunday Times and as a presenter on Newstalk radio. She’s currently CEO of Clear Ink and Broadly Speaking.


19. Marian Keyes- Author

Marian Keyes is Ireland’s most famous novelist and non-fiction writer. Over 22 million copies of her novels have been sold worldwide and her books have been translated into 32 languages. She became known worldwide for the best-sellers, Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, and This Charming Man.

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20. Heather Ann McSharry- Director, Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC

Heather Ann McSharry has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2013. She also serves as a non-executive director on the boards of directors of several public and private companies, including Greencore Group plc, an international manufacturer of convenience foods, and CRH plc, an international building materials group. Previously Managing Director of Boots Healthcare Ireland Limited. the UCD graduate also serves on the board of directors of the Industrial Development Agency in Ireland, where she is Chair of the audit and finance committee.


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21. Hilary Weston- Director & Former Lieutenant Governor

Dublin born Hilary Mary Weston was the 26th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, serving from 1997 to 2002. During her five-year tenure, Weston focussed on issues related to women, volunteerism, and young people, drawing public attention to people working with the homeless, in hospices and as mentors to at-risk youth. Since her retirement as Lieutenant Governor she has spearheaded the most successful fundraising campaign in Canadian cultural history, which raised more than $250 million for the Royal Ontario Museum. Weston also devotes a significant proportion of her time, as well as her business and fashion expertise, to Selfridges, the London department store of which she is a director.

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22. Claire Byrne- Broadcaster

Claire is a presenter with RTE and just got her own show commissioned called Claire Byrne Live which is a current affairs show.


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23. Emily O’Reilly- European Ombudsman

The Trinity and UCD graduate is an author and former journalist and broadcaster who became Ireland’s first female Ombudsman in 2003, succeeding Kevin Murphy.


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24. Ramona Nicholas- MD & Co-Founder Cara Group

Ramona Nicholas is a self-made, award winning entrepreneur and also a Dragon for RTE’s The Dragon’s Den. The Cara Group has won several awards including: Deloitte Best Managed Company 2012 & 2013, Company of the Year finalist at the Retail Excellence Ireland Awards and reaching the final 3 in the eCommerce site of the Year 2012. Ramona herself has been awarded the huge accolade of the Queens University Belfast ‘Graduate of the Year 2013’ and has also been shortlisted for Image Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year 2013.


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25. Dearbhla Walsh- TV & Film Director

Dearbhla has worked on drama series for several television channels in Ireland and the UK, including episodes of the famous soap opera EastEnders, Shameless and drama The Tudors. She won the 2009 Emmy Award.