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Nine trailblazers leading the way across Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

by | Mar 29, 2022

Of the 120,000 people working in STEM in Ireland, just a quarter are women. While female representation has improved over the years negative stereotypes and beliefs remain, which reduces female confidence in STEM early on in life. A cultural shift is needed to overcome these barriers. This year saw the launch by iQuest and Business Post Live of the first ever Women in Stem Summit at Croke Park – an opportunity to break industry biases and constructively challenge the current ways of thinking by offering new perspectives.

Lorraine Brady

Lorraine Brady
Pre-Construction Director, BAM Ireland

From government-sponsored projects to international clients, Lorraine Brady’s project management experience encompasses facilities valued from €20million to €3billion. Her expertise covers all preconstruction activities, working with bid teams to developing high-level programming, risk analysis, contract negotiation and project set-up. An expert in large-scale projects she has worked globally from Ireland to Singapore.

Lisa Cusack

Lisa Cusack
First Officer, Airbus 330, Aer Lingus

Lisa Cusack took her first flying lesson at the age of 13 and caught the aviation bug. Graduating with honours in Applied Physics she spent seven years working on Dublin Airport Ramp, before going on to achieve her dream of becoming a pilot. Her efforts to inspire the next generation – she has donated many flying lessons to help young girls on their journeys – have been recognised with numerous awards over the past three years. These include the AWAR Trailblazer Award and the Junior Chamber Ireland, Outstanding Young Person of the Year award.

Linda Doyle

Linda Doyle
Provost & President, Trinity College Dublin

In 2021, Linda Doyle became the first woman to hold the position of Provost and President since Trinity’s foundation in 1592. In her prior role as Professor of Engineering & The Arts her research focused on wireless communications, spectrum management and creative arts practices. She has raised over €70million in research funding and been published widely in her field. She is the founding Director of CONNECT, the world-leading telecommunications research centre.

Niamh Donnelly

Niamh Donnelly
Co-Founder, Akara Robotics

Niamh Donnelly is a co-founder of Akara, a robotics and AI spin-out of Trinity College Dublin. She has won national awards for her AI research and was recently named by Silicon Republic as one of the ‘20 women doing fascinating work in AI, machine learning and data science’ and recognised globally by Robohub as one of the ‘50 women in robotics you need to know about 2021’. A DCU Engineering graduate, she holds a Masters in AI and Machine learning from UCD and has held engineering positions at Etsy, Dublin start-up Syze and worked as an AI consultant at Krisolis.

Rhonda Doyle

Rhonda Doyle
Director of Operations, Services and Projects, Schneider Electric Ireland

Rhonda Doyle joined Schneider Electric in January 2021 having previously spent 17 years at eBay where she was the business sponsor for its Diversity & Inclusion Charter in Ireland. She supports Technical University Dublin with mentoring and an annual corporate-funded scholarship to help female students get into STEM careers. Doyle is also a WMB gender diversity ambassador. She drives strategy operations at Schneider where the majority of its 400 employees are based in Galway. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from DCU and a degree in Philosophy.

Gillian Harford

Gillian Harford
Country Executive, 30% Club Ireland

Culture, career, diversity and agile work are at the heart of Gillian Harford’s work. Sponsored by EY, the senior HR executive works directly with organisations to focus on workplace change as part of the 30% Club – a global campaign driving gender balance on boards and at C-suite. Harford is also a member of the Institute of Directors, a fellow of CIPD and the Institute of Bankers. She is on the board of the Central Remedial Clinic as well as the Government’s Advisory Group for Balance for Better Business.

Dr Jennifer Keenahan

Dr Jennifer Keenahan
Assistant Professor, School of Civil Engineering, UCD

Dr Jennifer Keenahan currently leads a fully-funded project on Formalising and Expanding Academic Advising practices in Civil Engineering at UCD. As one of the university’s faculty partners she is a facilitator for the National Forum digital badge on Universal Design for Learning. A ‘metacognition champion’ her research assesses the impacts of developing students’ metacognitive skills to enhance learning. She also teaches over 300 undergraduate Engineering and Architectures students each year.

Joanne O’Riordan

Joanne O’Riordan
Activist

Joanne O’Riordan is one of only seven people in the world living with a rare physical disability known as Total Amelia. This means she was born without all four limbs and even though there is no medical explanation as to why this happened, she has never allowed it to hold her back. Having studied criminology in UCC, O’Riordan is an activist for people with disabilities, a motivational speaker and a sports columnist. She has challenged the most advanced minds in the world to build her a robot that would become her hands and legs.

Susan Treacy

Susan Treacy
CEO, HealthTech Ireland

Susan Treacy has over 20 years’ experience and a proven track record in healthcare, holding executive positions with multinationals, SMEs and MedTech start-ups. Since 2021, she has been CEO of HealthTech IReland – the independent trade association for
manufacturers, developers and distributors of health technology products and solutions to the Irish health system. A member of the Women in Technology and Science (WITS) Ireland Executive and the policy sub-committee, she helps to drive improvements in STEM policy in Ireland at government level. She holds qualifications from Maynooth University, Queen’s University Belfast, the IMI and UCC.

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