IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2016

Elaine Dorgan 29.11.2016

The IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2016 took place on Monday evening November 21st, I was among 800 guests at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dublin.

I was fortunate enough to attend this fabulous event with KBC and my colleague Lisa O’Riordan to witness so many talented successful women come together, it was a glittering celebration recognising Women in Business.

Now in its 10th year, the much anticipated IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards champion’s trailblazing businesswomen’s contribution to Ireland’s economy and their vital role within the Irish business community. The competition was fierce for these highly coveted accolades and there were many categories in which a whole host of fantastic Irish business women were recognised.

We heard many women speak throughout the evening, the creativity, passion and hard work that they have put in to each of their businesses is truly remarkable. We heard of how these successful women started out in business and talk through how they got to where they are today.

It was a privilege to witness so many talented, successful women come together to genuinely support one another, and to recognise the accomplishments of all nominees.

Freda Hayes, CEO of The Blarney Group, accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award; she is truly an inspiring lady. Freda who received the most prestigious honour spoke about her career over the last 50 years. At the age of 16, she left school to work with her father to run a small thatched cottage on wheels outside the gates of Blarney Castle. She spoke of how this was her first step into the world of retail and also through the challenges that she faced.

Freda Hayes oversees the development of two iconic Irish brands, Blarney Woollen Mills and Meadows & Byrne. The Group employs over 500 people between three Blarney Woollen Mills stores and thirteen Meadows & Byrne stores throughout Ireland.

Awards that were presented on the night included:

  • Overall 2016 IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year: Pamela Quinn, Managing Director, Kuehne + Nagel
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Oonagh O’Hagan, Founder and Managing Director, Meaghers Pharmacy Group
  • Young Businesswoman of the Year: Marissa Carter, Founder and CEO, Cocoa Brown
  • Start-up of the Year: Kasha Connolly, Director, Hazel Mountain Chocolate
  • Creative Businesswoman of the Year: Debbie O’Donnell, Series Producer, Xposé, TV3
  • Management Professional Businesswoman of the Year: Kay Connolly, COO, St. Vincent’s University Hospital
  • Social Entrepreneurship: Marian Carroll, Volunteer CEO, Ronald McDonald House
  • Overseas Businesswoman of the Year Award: Fiona Dawson, Global President, Mars Food
  • Digital, Science & Technology Businesswoman of the Year: Fiona O’Brien, Director, Lenovo
  • CEO Businesswoman of the Year Award: Margot Slattery, Country President, Sodexo


What I have taken from this event is that we have many mentors throughout Ireland in which we can look up to and take inspiration from. We are very fortunate to have so many successful women support one another and this had made me think that if you have the determination and support then you can succeed and be successful. 

Overall it was truly was an inspirational evening listening to so many women speak and I hope to return next year if I am lucky enough

IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2016


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