Network Cork announces Cork Businesswoman of the Year 2018

Posted on: 11/05/2018

Network Ireland Cork Branch has announced the winners of the Cork Businesswoman of the year Awards (Friday 11, 2018) in the Fota Island Resort.

Six individual awards were presented to outstanding female business leaders in Cork at the gala ceremony in their respective categories. Irene Twohig of Educogym was crowned overall Cork Businesswoman of the Year 2018, with the judges commending her entrepreneurial spirit, passion for the business and willingness to take risks.

Irene also took the award for SME with more than 10 employees, sponsored by the Hayfield Family Collection, recognising her growth mindset and future business strategy while Emerging New Business of the Year, sponsored by the Montenotte Hotel, went to Karen O’Reilly of Employmum for her clear business plan and effective use of media. Maria Desmond of Enable Ireland was commended in the Employee of the Year category, sponsored by, for her distinguished contribution to the charity and impact on the lives of people who face challenges.

Fiona Kennedy was celebrated in the Arts category, sponsored by Fota Island Resort, for her perseverance and resilience, whilst Shirley Feeney of Shirley’s Beauty Clinic took the Best Small Business <10 Employees Award, sponsored by Contracting Plus and HerMoney, for their investment in the business and adaption to new trends. Joan Walsh of Partnership International was presented with the Award for Best Use of Digital, sponsored by Clayton Hotel Cork City, for embracing a range of new technologies in digital marketing.

Maureen Forrest of HOPE Foundation also received a special recognition on the evening which recognised her hard work and dedication to the charity over the past 20 years. Today the foundation runs over 60 projects including 11 protection homes, a lifeskills training unit, cafe and a hospital. Winners in each category will now go forward to represent Cork in the Network Ireland National Business Awards, which will take place at a gala ceremony later this year.

Speaking on the announcement of the winners, Network Cork President, Karen Fleming said: “The Cork Businesswoman of the Year Awards celebrate the exceptional achievements of women in business across Cork city and county. Both winners and finalists deserved to be recognised for outstanding contributions to their respective industries and companies.

“The calibre of entries for this year’s awards was extremely high and it was great to see a record number of submissions in 2018. We’re delighted to showcase the very best talent Cork has to offer and we’d also like to thank our sponsors and judges for their continued support of this fantastic event.”

Judging the awards were leaders in the Cork business community, Tricia Sheehan of Johnson & Johnson , Mark Fitzharris of AIB and Olive Guerin of the Local Enterprise Office.

Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Tricia Sheehan expressed her commendations to Network Cork, its members and award entrants, saying: “On behalf of the judging panel, I’d like to thank Network Cork for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing initiative. It is fantastic to see women’s achievements in business celebrated and also to witness the outstanding performance of companies here in Cork, which continues to impress us, year on year.”

Caroline Kennedy of Kennedy PR  was guest speaker at the event, recounting her journey in building a successful PR brand and developing her portfolio of elite clients. She was joined by  the inspiring Bríd Stack, Ladies Gaelic Player of the Year 2016, winner of 11 All Ireland Medals and recipient of 7 All-Stars. Bríd shared insights into growing her new business, MyCore Supplements. Pat Fitz provided the music for the evening.

Network Cork is affiliated to Network Ireland, a not-for-profit national organisation for women in business, the professions, and the arts.