Barbara McCarthy and Vodafone Ireland among winners at Women in IT Awards

28 Nov 2019

Barbara McCarthy receiving the award for Woman of the Year. Image: Women in IT Awards

The Women in IT Awards recognised winners in 16 categories at this year’s ceremony in Dublin.

Barbara McCarthy, CTO of international mobile top-up platform Ding, was named Woman of the Year at the Women in IT Awards, which were held at the Mansion House in Dublin last night (27 November).

The Women in IT Awards were launched in 2015 to showcase women in technology in London, New York, Ireland and Silicon Valley. It aims to highlight women in tech fields who are paving the way for others.

The award judges said: “The winner of this category is a true trailblazer. During her career of more than 20 years, she has often been the only woman in the teams she has worked in and earlier this year she was named CTO of her company.”

The judges also noted how few women are represented in the role of CTO, adding that McCarthy is “a pioneer in software development and has also spearheaded initiatives for gender parity and diversity across the industry”.

“She has also been a mentor to young women seeking a career in technology and endeavours to do her bit for the pipeline of STEM talent in Ireland.”

McCarthy added that she was “honoured to have received this award” and said that she is looking forward to doing “all I can to encourage diversity in the technology industry”.

The news comes just a month after McCarthy received the Grace Hopper Award at the annual Women in Tech Awards.

The Grace Hopper Award, named after the pioneering computer scientist, pays tribute to women in STEM whose exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions have made a lasting impact on technology, society and their profession.

McCarthy, who previously worked as HubSpot’s EMEA director of engineering, was one of the speakers at Silicon Republic’s annual sci-tech event earlier this year, where she spoke about how businesses should be appealing to the passions and values of Generation Z.

Digital leaders and innovators

In total, there were 16 categories at this year’s Women in IT Awards ceremony. Advocate of the Year was awarded to Coral Movasseli from Girls in Tech Dublin for her “impressive impact on getting girls and women in Ireland closer to technology”.

Judges said: “While holding down a day job she has managed to win countless corporate partners to share in her vision. For her, inclusivity is just as important as diversity and she realises, from her own experiences working in tech, how important the access to career mentors and sponsors is.”

Healthcare company McKesson was awarded Innovator of the Year for its successful adaptation to the digital world. The judges said: “Throughout this change, they have also taken the opportunity to ensure that the culture at the company is one of inclusivity and fairness.”

Rising Star of the Year was awarded to Ericsson’s Aine Usher, who the judges described as “an ambitious and self-motivated person who has a bright future ahead of her”.


The winner of Business Leader of the Year was Irish Life’s Brid Quigley, who judges noted is “one of the very few senior female role models in the business at her level”. Business Role Model of the Year was awarded to Mastercard’s Sarah Cunningham, who has spent the past two decades of her career mentoring and guiding people who are just starting out in the industry.

Accenture was awarded Employer of the Year, and Vodafone Ireland won the E-skills Initiative of the Year award, for its Code Like a Girl project.

In the category of Entrepreneur of the Year, Fidelma McGuirk scooped the prize for her work with Payslip, her global payroll software company.

Meanwhile, Young Leader of the Year was awarded to Citi’s Caoimhe Kennedy. Judges said: “The winner’s drive for innovation and process improvement is reflected in the initiatives she has launched or participated in since joining her company as a graduate two years ago.

“Though relatively young and new within the industry herself, she has already made meaningful contributions to projects, provided guidance to more junior members of her team and proven herself to be a reliable and diligent member.”


CIO of the Year was CareDoc’s Michelle Kearns, for her “ability to bring internal and external stakeholders along with new projects and innovative thinking”, while this year’s Data Leader was Hilary Delany from Bank of Ireland, who was recognised for her work in analytics.

Future CIO of the Year was awarded to Ciara Tobin of Mercer. Judges said: “This year’s Future CIO has shown great leadership in a global role and has set out to not only improve and find new ways of working with the team she directly manages, but has also brought on board many other departments so the company can standardise their processes.”

Digital Leader of the Year was awarded to Maria O’Loughlin from the Health Service Executive for her work in driving healthcare innovation and reforming the organisation’s existing platform.

This year’s Security Champion award was presented to Vodafone Ireland’s Edel Briody for her technical work and her work in transforming the culture at the company. When she took on the role, her team was 100pc male and in five years she has seen her team grow to being 60pc female.

Finally, Transformation Leader of the Year was awarded to Ruth Kennedy of Revenue. The judges noted the enormous task that Kennedy was faced with when transforming a system that had not been reformed in any significant way since the 1960s, adding that her work had an impact on more than 2.6m people in Ireland.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic