Ann O’Dea chosen as WMB’s 2016 Empowering Women Award winner

3 Oct 2016

Inspirefest founder Ann O'Dea opening Inspirefest 2016. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

Inspirefest founder Ann O’Dea has been chosen as the winner of this year’s Women Mean Business (WMB) Empowering Women Award from a shortlist of highly regarded Irish women.

After hosting two successful Inspirefest events, Silicon Republic CEO Ann O’Dea is being commended for her efforts to bring inclusion and diversity to sci-tech across the board.

The WMB Empowering Women Award recognises the initiatives made by companies and/or individuals to facilitate and encourage the progression of women in their careers through mentoring schemes, training supports, networking events and personal development.

This year’s award ceremony was held at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin and covered six different individual awards, continuing the WMB’s efforts of highlighting Ireland’s best and brightest women in business.

O’Dea was one of six women to make the Empowering Women Award shortlist that included:

  • Mary Carty, co-founder of Outbox Incubator
  • Deirdre Waldron, president of Network Ireland
  • Natalie Walsh, programme manager at Blackstone LaunchPad, NUI Galway
  • Liz Grace, partner and director of communications strategy, Matheson
  • Christine Barrett, director for consumer support EMEA, Microsoft Ireland

Some familiar Inspirefest faces also win

Another award winner at the event was Inspirefest speaker and renowned astronomer, Susan McKenna Lawlor, who won the Women in Technology award.

Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien from FoodCloud – who have previously helped out at Inspirefest – were awarded the Social Entrepreneur Award this year, which includes a prize of €5,000-worth of radio advertising.

Elaine Cohalan from The Dublin Cookie Company had a sweet victory, being named the winner of WMB’s Female Newcomer Award. Another Inspirefest contributor, Cohalan catered at the festival’s family fringe event earlier this year.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic