It’s that time of year again where we bring you our third annual list of 38 talented Irish and Ireland-based technology women, all of whom are driving the tech and/or startup scenes in Ireland, the US, and around the world. (See also our lists from 2013 and 2012.) Let’s get started!
E. Alana James is the founder and CEO of DoctoralNet, a multimedia delivery system for PhD students that personalises the learning experience so that they can complete their research and dissertations. She was previously a consulting professor at the Colorado Technical University, and holds a Doctorate in Education (web-based technologies) from the Teachers College of Columbia University. Based in Cork, Alana is also the author of three books from Sage Publishing on action research and successful dissertation writing, and has received five faculty excellence awards from JIU.
Amber Brown is the founder and product/strategy lead at Upfront Analytics, a company that delivers timely market intelligence by mining responses from specially designed game play in mobile apps. She has worked as a senior research scientist at Walt Disney, running a large research group for the company that leveraged technology to positively affect consumer behaviour (and the bottom line). Upfront Analytics is based in Dublin, and Amber also holds qualifications in Music and Maths, Organisational Behaviour and Development, City and Regional Planning, and Experimental Psychology.
Andreea Wade is the founder of Brandalism, a startup strategy and product development agency, and also the founder of AskATon, a series of female-friendly events focused on entrepreneurship. She lectured on digital product management at Digital Skills Academy, mentored for NDRC, Wayra and New Frontiers, organised major concerts and festivals, and founded a national music magazine. Andreea is an organiser of the Dublin Startup Weekend, co-organiser of the Creative Mornings Dublin breakfast series, and a member of the Women in Technology and Science (WITS) executive team.
Ann O’Dea is the CEO, co-founder and editor-at-large of Silicon Republic, Ireland’s top online tech publisher, and creator of their Women Invent campaign that promotes the role of women in STEM. With interests in leadership, management and entrepreneurship, she was co-founder and director of Business and Leadership Ltd. and editor-in-chief of the Irish Director magazine they published. Ann is a member of the Institute of Directors in Ireland as well as a fellow of the Marketing Institute of Ireland, and holds a both a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Arts from University College Dublin.
Anna Scally is a tax partner and head of KPMG’s Technology, Media and Telecoms practice, and she also leads their Centre of Excellence for Emerging Technology Companies and Innovative Startups. She has worked for KPMG since 2000, and has served as a member of the Innovation Taskforce (and its implementation group) and on the board for the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland. Anna has spoken and participated at many tech events including F.ounders, the Web Summit and START San Francisco, and has a BComm in Commerce and Accounting from University College Dublin.
Brenda O’Connell is the director and head of business development for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at microblogging giant Twitter, where she has worked since the beginning of 2014. Previously, she was the director of partnerships and head of business development for Jolicloud, an OS oriented at users of cloud-based services, and was the director of music product dev at Orange. Brenda has also brought the Coder Dojo movement to Paris, as founder of the group there, and has both a Masters and Bachelors in European Studies from the College of Europe and UL respectively.
Carolan Lennon is the managing director of eircom’s wholesale segment, in charge of the division that provides and supports other telecommunications operators with access to the eircom network. She was previously the chief commercial officer for eircom’s consumer and small business segment for nearly three years, and has worked at Vodafone as consumer director and marketing director. Carolan is on the boards of the Irish Management Institute and Idiro Tech, and has an MBA from Trinity College Dublin as well as a degree in Information Technology from University College Dublin.
Caroline Dowling is the president of integrated network solutions at Flextronics, a large electronics design, fabrication, assembly, and test company with more than 200,000 employees worldwide. She has worked in various president-level roles at Flextronics since 2000, including their NOVO, retail and services divisions, and was previously a vice president at Dii Group (acquired by Flextronics). Based in San Jose and Cork, Caroline is also co-inventor and patent holder for a supply chain management system that aggregates global enterprise data and displays KPIs in a dashboard manager.
Catherine Egan is head of operations at FanFootage, a crowdsourced concert footage system that replaces fan-recorded audio with high-quality audio to create better fan videos of live music concerts. She was previously PR and social media manager for entertainment.ie, and has worked at Magnum Events, Daft, the St. Patrick’s Festival, the Theatre Forum, and the National Campaign for the Arts. Catherine holds both a Masters in Public Relations from the Dublin Institute of Technology and a BA in English, Political Science and Sociology from the National University of Ireland Galway.
Deirdre O’Leary is founder of IDME, an ID wristband for kids who are separated from their parents/guardians, which recently won a Nimbus Centre prize to connect IDME with the Internet of Things. She has received a US business development award from the Cork Foundation and a bursary from the Cork Chamber of Commerce for IDME, and also appeared as a contestant on RTÉ’s Dragons’ Den. Based at Cork Institute of Technology’s Rubicon Centre, Deirdre has over 20 years’ experience working in the sales and recruitment industry, and studied Mathematics and Computer Science at CIT.
Atlantic Bridge Capital
Elaine Coughlan is co-founder and general partner at Atlantic Bridge Capital, a $450M growth equity fund focused on technology investments with offices in Dublin, London, Silicon Valley and China. She was previously co-founder of GloNav, sold to NXP for $110 million, CFO for Parthus, VP of finance and group controller for Iona Technologies, and a senior audit manager for Ernst and Young. Elaine is on the board of Enterprise Ireland, is a director of and investor in FieldAware, Swrve and Sophia, and has qualifications in Corporate Governance, Company Direction, and Accountancy.
Elaine Reynolds is CEO and founder of Simteractive, a developer of casual, free-to-play games for tablets and smartphones that allow players to design, create and manage their own simulated worlds. She was previously a game designer at Lionhead Studios, working on titles such as Fable: The Journey, Fable 3, Milo and Kate, and also developed games for Traveller’s Tales and Star Cave Studios. A past participant on Enterprise Ireland’s iGAP programme, Elaine has an MSc in Computer Games Tech from Abertay Dundee, a HDip in Computer Science from UCD, and a BA in Psychology from TCD.
Fidelma Healy is the COO at the international headquarters of Gilt Groupe in Dublin, one of the leading online fashion and travel retailers in the US which was established just seven years ago. She has worked for a variety of financial, software and ICT firms in director roles, including Postbank Ireland, Standard Life, Cognotec, Novell Ireland Software, Friends First, and System Dynamics. Fidelma also holds both a HDip in Education and a BA in Psychology and Irish from University College Dublin, but retrained in computing and HR after discovering a scarcity in teaching positions.
Fidelma Russo is a senior vice president in the Enterprise Storage Division at EMC, enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver IT as a service through the cloud. She has held a series of senior leadership roles, including COO of Sepaton, SVP and general manager for network storage and software at Sun Microsystems, and before that again she was a VP at EMC. A board member of the US National Center for Women and Information Technology, Fidelma holds a Masters in Computer Science from Boston University and a BE in Electrical Engineering from UCC.
Fionnuala Healy is the co-founder and CTO of Gotcha Ninjas, a cloud-based social learning rewards platform that encourages positive behaviour, motivates students, and engages parents. She is also the managing director of Garavogue Consulting, a boutique IT and telecoms consultancy, and has worked in technical roles for Capgemini, Hutchinson Whampoa, Ericsson and Sun. She is a Privacy by Design Ambassador for the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, a member of the IEEE, IET and ICS, and holds an MBA, Masters in IT and BE in Telecommunications.
Virtual Office Worx
Jenny Brennan is the founder of Virtual Office Worx, providing social media marketing management, bookkeeping, and virtual assistant services to many companies since its inception in 2011. She worked as a social media manager with Team BDS, was event coordinator for the Irish Executives Summit, and held positions at companies including Canada Life, Finavera Renewables and Eventive. Jenny is a past winner of the JCI Mayo outstanding young businessperson award and of the Network Mayo Business Woman of the Year, and she also holds a BA in Tourism and Business from the DBS.
Jill Holtz is the founder of ClearBookings, an online private-labeled event ticketing service, and of Mykidstime.ie, an online site for parents in Ireland where they can find and book local kids events. She has consulted and lectured in strategy at the National University of Ireland Galway, and held positions as an analyst with Metis Solutions, Quadstone, RBS Advanta, Oscar Faber TPA and British Gas. She received the Diageo / IMI Sir Charles Harvey Award for outstanding academic achievement while doing her MBA at NUI Galway, and holds an MSc in Operational Research and a BSc in Mathematics.
Neelie Kroes Young Advisor
Julie Cullen is one of EU Vice President Neelie Kroes’ young advisors, where 24 young people from around Europe were selected to advise the Commissioner on all things digital and technology-related. She also serves as the Irish ambassador for EU Code Week, and is an English, German and European Studies teacher in Drogheda where she is also regularly involved in CoderDojo Drogheda events. Julie holds an MSc in Education/Elearning and Management from Dublin City University, and a BA in English, German and Philosophy from University College Dublin (Erasmus at the University of Trier).
Kathleen McMahon is vice president and general manager at SoundHound, a music search and discovery service that allows users to hum, sing or play a track, and that now has over 200 million users. Prior to SoundHound, she was VP for business development at Shazam, was founder and CEO of Westport, worked for Japan Communications Inc., and also for Hibernia Capital Partners in Dublin. She is on the board of directors for wireless charging company uBeam and the board of trustees for Lawrenceville School, and has a BA in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia.
Kathryn O’Donoghue is the director of ads policy operations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa with Google, where she has previously worked as a director for insights and senior manager for ads. She has held positions including CIO for GE Money South West Europe, having worked at GE from 1997 to 2008, and as a senior manager in IT consulting at both Ernst and Young and PWC. Kathryn was listed by the Women Executive’s Network (WXN) as one of Ireland’s top 25 most powerful women in 2013, and she holds a BA in Economics and Sociology from Trinity College Dublin.
Lynsey Duncan is a senior user experience (UX) and service design consultant based in Dublin, whose specialities include workshop facilitation, design research, usability and service design. She worked as lead UX designer at web services company iQ Content for almost four years, and prior to that held usability analyst and insights designer positions at Orange and live|work respectively. Also a speaker at IxDA Dublin events, Lynsey holds an MSc in Business Development and Innovation from the University of Ulster, and a BSc in Innovative Product Design from the University of Dundee.
Mairtini Ni Dhomhnaill
Mairtini Ni Dhomhnaill is senior vice president for national business outsourcing at Accretive Solutions, where she works with venture-backed startup companies in a consulting CFO capacity. She has consulted with Asana, Airtime, Big Switch Networks, Causes, Path, Quora and Facebook, and is a board member for the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network and the Cleantech Open accelerator. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mairtini holds a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant qualification from the ACCA and graduated from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in Business Studies.
Margaret Molloy is CMO for Siegel+Gale, a leading strategic branding firm, where she heads up global marketing, sales and business development using a combination of analytical and creative skills. She has been listed by Forbes as one of the top five most influential CMOs on Twitter and as a must-follow marketing mind, and has been recognised by Irish America magazine in their top 100. An advisory board member for Sightsavers International and a board member for the IIBN, Margaret also holds an MBA from Harvard and a BA in Business and Spanish from the University of Ulster.
Dublin Commissioner for Startups
Niamh Bushnell is the Dublin Commissioner for Startups, a new position which has been privately funded though the Ryan Family and Dublin City University’s Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs. She recently worked as an entrepreneur in residence at Talent Tech Labs in Manhattan, is CEO and co-founder of the IDIRUS mentor-matching solution, and was also co-founder of TechResources.us. An angel investor at the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, as well as a member of the strategic advisory board for Rising Tide Capital, Niamh also has an International Business Degree from UL.
Niamh Shaw is an artist in residence at Cork Institute of Technology and Blackrock Castle Observatory where she is focused on making a new lecture performance piece about space for SFI and ESERO. She regularly contributes to popular science and technology-related topics on national media, and has spoken at TEDxUCD, the Space Expo in TCD, and the Festival of Curiosity with Dara Ó Briain. A member of Engineers Ireland and one of their STEPS/Smart Futures volunteers, Niamh holds a PhD in Food Science, and a Masters and BE in Biosystems Engineering from University College Dublin.
Rosheen McGuckian is the chief executive officer of NTR, a leading investor in renewable wind/solar energy internationally, that began life by developing and operating road infrastructure in Ireland. She has worked as group director at NTR, as CEO of Greenstar, as CEO of GE Money Ireland, as director of communications for GE Consumer Finance Europe, and as head of strategic change at the ESB. Rosheen received a PhD in change management from Dublin City University in 2000, holds a Masters from the same university, and graduated with a Bachelors in Science from Trinity College Dublin.
Centre for Irish and European Security
Sadhbh McCarthy is director of the Centre for Irish and European Security, which carries out EU- and private-funded research into the implications and societal impact of security policy and technology. She is a strong advocate of women in technology, was chairperson of Women in Technology and Science (WITS), and has also been involved in the European Platform of Women Scientists (EPWS). Sadhbh worked as a consultant in the public services and infrastructure domain for five years, also worked for IBM as a project manager for four years, and is a graduate of University College Dublin.
Sandra Maguire is the managing director of EduBills, an online payment and ordering system that allows parents to pay school bills (directly into school’s accounts) and order school supplies securely. She is founder and organiser of CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire, and worked as an administrator with NCB Stockbrokers, Davy Stockbrokers, US Trust (on Wall Street), and Ulster Bank Dublin Trust Company. Sandra was a participant in DIT’s Hothouse, where she also completed a Postgraduate Diploma in New Business Development, and she has a qualification in cyberpsychology from Dun Laoghaire IADT.
Sarah Bourke is the chief executive of Skytek, creator of several software applications that assist astronauts in controlling and managing emergency situations on board the International Space Station. In 2014, Skytek announced that it was launching a new weather division to monitor solar storms, and has also developed tools for aircraft maintenance, security and emergency response industries. Sarah founded Skytek with CTO Paul Kiernan in 1997, and supported by Enterprise Ireland they developed technology that was part of an ISS payload in the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-114 mission.
Shannon Duffy is the head of marketing for direct response products at Facebook, where her specialities include marketing strategy, corporate communications, lead generation and nurturing. She was previously VP for global marketing at Salesforce.com, having worked as director of marketing at Jigsaw (later Data.com, bought by Salesforce.com) and as director of marketing at SourceForge. Shannon was recognised as a Salesforce.com Marketing MVP in the fourth quarter of the 2013 FY, has a Salesforce.com PR certification, and holds a BA in Communications from Boston College.
Sinead O’Sullivan is an aerospace engineer at the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory of Georgia Institute of Technology, where she is also a project manager at NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center. She also serves as co-lead on Space Technologies for Disaster Management for the Space Generation Advisory Council, and has worked at Danske Bank in Ireland and at Morgan Stanley in New York. Sinead studied internet access provision and environmental monitoring via microsatellites at the International Space University, and graduated in Aerospace Engineering from Queen’s University Belfast.
One Fab Day
Susan Gallagher is co-founder of One Fab Day, a leading wedding media brand in Ireland, and is an entrepreneur and web technologies expert with ten years of multinational and startup experience. She previously spent five years as a software engineer with IBM, developing cutting-edge web tools for their Rational, WebSphere and Lotus Workspace brands, with a strong focus on user experience. Susan received the highest academic achievement award for her BA in Design and Interior Architecture from Griffith College Dublin, and has a first class honours BSc in Computer Science from DCU.
Space Technology Ireland
Susan McKenna-Lawlor is founder and managing director of Space Technology Ireland Ltd., an Irish-based provider of instrumentation systems for space experiments by the ESA, NASA and Russia. She developed instruments to monitor the Martian solar wind on the ESA’s Mars Express mission, and is also an emeritus professor in the Department of Experimental Physics at Maynooth University. She received an honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) degree for her significant contribution to astrophysics from the University of Ulster, and was also elected to the International Academy of Astronautics.
Sylvia Leatham is coordinator of STEPS at Engineers Ireland, a non-profit programme that promotes science, engineering technology and maths (STEM) careers to primary and second-level students. A co-founder of popular Irish science podcast Scibernia, she was previously editor and director of operations at ElectricNews.net, and was also a content editor and writer for Intrade and Rondomondo. An avid fan of online and social media as well as a science journalist with extensive writing, editing and marketing expertise, Sylvia also holds an honours BA degree from University College Dublin.
Tara Dalrymple is the founder of Mission Possible, a reward and recognition SAAS platform which works with companies to improve and enhance their health and wellness offering to employees. She is also founder of Busy Lizzie, providing pay-as-you-go secretarial services, virtual personal assistants, appointment management and digital marketing to small businesses with lesser resources. She has worked with Marks and Spencer, Lepus, Financial Dynamics, Dorling Kindersley and Staniforth PR, and holds a BA in Human Geography and Business IT from the University of Gloucestershire.
Science is Delicious
Triona O’Connell is a PhD researcher in bioanalytical methodology and technology at Dublin City University, and also writes the Science is Delicious blog (where science meets cooking and baking). She is an active member of the TOG hackerspace in Dublin (teaching LaTeX, squishy circuits, and more) and the Irish Linux User Group (acting as chairperson in 2013), and is a contributor to Scibernia. Triona has a MSc in Biomedical Diagnostics from DCU and a BSc in Biomedical Science from DIT and CIT, and interned during her courses at Arrow Generics, Medipure and Cork University Hospital.
Vanessa Liston is co-founder of CiviQ, a startup focusing on providing opinion knowledge and conflict management tools to local governments, the public sector, social organisations and industry. She has worked in a variety of research and development roles at Trinity College Dublin, General Electric Global eXchange Services, Cambridge Technology Partners, Accenture, and GOAL Ireland. With interests in democratic theory, the Social Web and emerging technologies for enabling innovations in political systems, Vanessa has a PhD, MSc (Multimedia Systems) and BSc (Music) from TCD.
Vicky Twomey-Lee is the founder of EventGeekie, advocating community spirit and diversity in tech by running workshops and events, and providing event management services for tech groups. She is also co-organiser of PyCon Ireland, PyLadies Dublin, Python Ireland, the GameCraft Foundation, Coding Grace, and is a board member of the EuroPython Society and Python Software Foundation. She has worked as a researcher at the Science Gallery, an engineer at Propylon, a senior engineer at Sun Microsystems, and has an MSc in Multimedia from DCU and a BSc in Computer Systems from UL.