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There has never been a better time for the West of Ireland to renew itself. The last two years has opened a doorway for our diaspora and those searching for a better work-life balance to work in more regional locations, many of these leaving cities in Ireland or further afield to settle in towns and villages from Donegal to Kerry. As these new arrivals begin their lives here, start families and lay down roots, it will be the community they meet who will welcome them and help them find their way. This community is striving for a region that is a better place to live, work and invest in, now and into the future. This partnership spans our education bodies, our private sector, government agencies, chambers, digital hubs and community groups. At the heart of each, are the founders, the leaders and those who persevere.

Today, on International Women’s Day we’ve chosen 10 of the many incredible leaders across the region.

Dr Orla Flynn – Follow on social here 

Dr Orla Flynn took up the role of President of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) in March 2020, having been Vice President for External Affairs at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) for the previous six years. Orla has been just been appointed the first president of the new Atlantic Technological University.

Dr Orla Flynn

Mary Rodgers – Follow on social here

Mary Rodgers is the CEO of Galway City Innovation District and the Chief Executive Office at the Portershed, one of the most successful hubs in the country. Mary is also surrounded by a great team including Rosemary Gallagher, Programme Manager at Galway City Innovation District.

Mary Rogers

Gillian Buckley – Follow on social here

Our very own Gillian Buckley is Investment Manager with the Western Development Commission and was named as the first female chairperson of the Irish Venture Capital Association in its 35 year history. 

Gillian Buckley, chairperson, Irish Venture Capital Association and investment manager, Western Development Commission

Caroline Cawley – Follow on social here

CEO and board member of itag (Innovation Technology AtlanTec Gateway) since 2002, Caroline leads Ireland’s largest industry-led community of indigenous and multinational technology companies along the AtlanTec Gateway, Ireland. itag is a thriving community of technologists, innovators and influencers.

Caroline Cawley

Lilly Haskins Follow on social here

Lily Haskins is the Vice President of International Transformation at Diligent Corporation, the world’s largest GRC SaaS provider serving nearly 1 million users from 25,000 organizations. Lily relocated from New York City to Galway in March 2021 to set up Diligent’s new European Hub in Galway.

Lily Haskins

Dorothy Creaven Follow on social here

Dorothy Creaven is Vice President, Managing Director and site lead at the Rent the Runway European headquarters in Galway. She is an Electronic Engineering graduate from NUI Galway, and has over 20 years experience in enterprise software, tech startups, management and leadership for SMEs and multinationals alike.

Dorothy Creaven

Karina Kelly – Follow on social here

Karina is the CEO and co-founder of female-led start-up Content Llama. She and her co-founder Joleen Looney met while working in financial services and are now blazing a trail in the world of e-commerce.


Niamh Costello – Follow on Social here

Niamh Costello is Chief Executive of CREW, Creative Enterprise West, a brand-new collaborative initiative which supports the creative digital enterprise sector in the west of Ireland.

Niamh Costello

Fidelma McGuirk – Follow on Social Here

Fidelma McGuirk is founder and CEO of Payslip, see Payslip is a Global Payroll platform that automates the management of international payroll. Prior to Payslip, Fidelma has over 18 years experience in international business. Having worked in Irish telco eir in HR, she later led as Director of International Operations and as CEO.

10 leaders driving innovation and creativity in the West of Ireland – who just happen to be female

Elaine Murphy – Follow on Social here

Elaine Murphy is Senior Vice President and EMEA General Manager at LiveTiles, which specialises in drag-and-drop technology so businesses can create bots, dashboards, portals or corporate intranets, with personalised AI and analytics features.

Elaine Murphy

A few others from the long list…

While the list above outlines ten of the leaders across the region, there are countless names that could be added who support regional development, are pushing the boundaries of creativity and planning for a more sustainable future for the West. A few others we would like to mention include Mary McKenna from Awakenhub, Sinéad NíFhatharta, Head of Enterprise and Employment at Údarásna Gaeltachta, Maria Staunton Innovation Hub Manager at GMIT / Coordinator of EMPOWER Programme and Joann Hosey Director in Bank of Ireland, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon.