Meet the judges for the IMAGE PwC Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2023
With less than two weeks left, we're excited to announce the renowned judges on this year's awards panel.
The IMAGE PwC Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2023 is set to be our most exciting ceremony yet! Hosted by expert entertainers Melanie Morris, IMAGE contributing editor, and Richard Chambers, author and Virgin Media news correspondent, join us as we celebrate Ireland’s most influential businesswomen.
We have a fantastic evening lined up with a gourmet dinner, delicious drinks, great networking opportunities AND special musical performances from Irish Women in Harmony, Daddy Sax and violinist Aoife Kelly.
Just under two weeks away, we can’t wait to welcome you to the IMAGE PwC Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2023 on April 14 at The Clayton, Burlington Road in Dublin.
In the meantime, the judges will be tasked with the truly difficult job of narrowing down the shortlist to a single winner (or team) in each category. Here’s a bit more about the highly esteemed judging panel, who you can look forward to meeting on the big night.
Chair, CEO, IMAGE Media
Clodagh’s passion for media, innovation and disruption means she was always destined for a career in publishing. As the chief executive officer of IMAGE Publications since 2015, Clodagh has reinvented an iconic brand, developing it from one entirely founded in print into a modern, relevant media business that boasts leading digital, video, social and experiential channels. Under Clodagh’s dynamic leadership, IMAGE is now Ireland’s leading female-first multi-platform publisher and a renowned innovator in the events and digital space.
Contributing editor, IMAGE Media
With backgrounds in PR, event management, publishing and journalism, Melanie joined as the editor of IMAGE Magazine in 2005, and since then her role has taken many shapes and forms. Promoted to editor-in-chief in 2013, she founded the company’s now thriving events division and has since been the catalyst for many of IMAGE’s broad-spectrum offerings.
Creativity has always been at the heart of everything Melanie does, she enjoys the thrill of building and connecting long-lasting relationships. Inherently curious, Melanie is always scouting out the next big thing… she loves a challenge. Melanie’s close personal and professional relationship with IMAGE Media CEO Clodagh Edwards sees the two constantly hatching plans, usually over Diet Cokes and coffee.
She continues to hone her skills as a wearer of many hats, including journalist, brand strategist, beauty influencer, founder of Genius Ideas Inc and contributing editor of IMAGE Media. When she’s not brainstorming, you can usually find her chatting with some of Ireland’s top businesswomen on and off stage at business events.
Group editor at large, IMAGE Media
Laura George has worked in publishing as a content creator, editor and mentor for 35 years and has been chair of the board of IMAGE Media for the past four years. A passionate supporter of Irish crafts and design, she is always on the lookout for new talent.
Editor-in-chief, IMAGE Media
With over 25 years’ experience in magazine publishing, Lizzie has edited almost every type of magazine, from interiors, food and travel to bridal and lifestyle. Her career in magazines has taken her from House & Garden in Cape Town to GQ, London before returning to Ireland to edit a number of different titles, including Cara, Food & Wine, IMAGE Brides – and most recently IMAGE interiors and IMAGE.
In 2018, Lizzie took the helm as editor-in-chief and head of IMAGE Media’s print department. In 2021, she was tasked with the challenging job of protecting the company’s revered print titles in response to the ravages of Covid-19. Under Lizzie’s direction, both IMAGE and IMAGE interiors magazines have been reimagined and rebranded as quarterly and bi-annual titles respectively, with a renewed vision to produce less, produce better, and continue to be the most highly regarded magazine titles on the Irish market.
Lizzie is also an experienced food writer (active member and former chair of The Irish Food Writers’ Guild), cookbook editor and journalism lecturer. She sits as a judge on a number of various industry award panels.
Business editor, Sunday Independent
Samantha McCaughren has been the business editor of the Sunday Independent since September 2016 and is responsible for driving the business coverage of Ireland’s biggest selling newspaper. An award-winning journalist, she was previously business correspondent and columnist with The Sunday Times for several years and chief business correspondent with The Sunday Business Post.
As well as personally breaking major business and news stories and carrying out must-read interviews with Ireland’s leading CEOs, she oversees the Sunday Independent business team and shapes the weekly Sunday Business section. She also produces and edits the very widely read Sunday Independent annual Rich List alongside writing a regular column. Samantha is a member of the Press Council of Ireland and a regular broadcaster, contributing to both radio and television programmes like RTÉ, Today FM, TV3 and others.
CEO, The Currency
Tom Lyons is a decorated business journalist and chief executive of The Currency, an online publisher offering insightful, dynamic and brave stories, commentary and investigations with a focus on business, finance, economics and public policy. Named Business Journalist of the Year on three occasions, Tom won plaudits and respect for his unflinching coverage of Ireland’s boom, bust and recovery.
Prior to The Currency, he worked with The Sunday Business Post for four years, serving as deputy editor and then as executive editor. In these roles, he was crucial to the revival of the newspaper, both commercially and editorially. He is the co-author of two bestselling books, The Fitzpatrick Tapes and Fingers, and a presenter of Inside Irish Nationwide, a full-length television documentary.
MBA programme director, Michael Smurfit Business School
Before taking up her position as MBA programmes senior manager at UCD Smurfit School, Edel O’Leary had a decades long career in various marketing and communications roles. She sees this switch from industry to education as something that helps her in her day-to-day interactions with the MBA students.
“Because I was in industry for so long I can find a natural empathy and understanding with all of the students – I have had experiences that are akin to their own careers.”
Sales manager, UKI Tech (Global Business Group), Meta
Stha Banks has over 14 years of experience working in digital marketing – from strategy right through to implementation, analytics, and reporting. She has recently been appointed sales manager for UK and Ireland, services industries in meta working across multiple verticals including fintech, tech and healthcare.
As an advertising professional, Stha has delivered award-winning campaigns with local and international brands, helping them connect with their customers using digital platforms. In her previous role, she headed all of paid social activity for Core (part of Publicis). During her time in that role she doubled her team; developed processes and best practice frameworks; and drove strong revenue growth for that part of the business.
Stha also served as board director of the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) until January 2022, where she had led the diversity, equality and inclusion projects such as the first-ever global diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) census in the marketing and advertising world. As a passionate advocate of diversity and inclusion, Stha continues her DEI work in meta through internal resource groups.
Entrepreneur, presenter, Newstalk Down To Business
Bobby is formally co-owner and chairman/ CEO of Insomnia Coffee Company (which he exited in 2018), Ireland’s largest independent coffee chain, which at that time had over 140 shops, employed over 500 people and sold over 14 million cups of coffee a year.
Best known in Ireland as an original Dragon on the Irish TV version of Dragons’ Den, Bobby is an experienced broadcaster and public speaker. He is a presenter on Down to Business, the popular Newstalk radio business show with 115,000 listeners, and co-hosts an SME slot called “#open4biz” on Lunchtime Live on Newstalk. His 2016 eight-part maritime TV documentary, Along Home Shores, saw Bobby circumnavigate Ireland, looking at life, history, sport and business with water being the common theme.
Bobby is passionate about small business. He sat on the board of Microfinance Ireland (MFI) for three years, a not-for-profit lender that provides loans to small businesses, and is a member of the Small Business Advice Programme – a targeted programme set up to provide free advice and support to SMEs. Recently, he joined the board of healthy food delivery business DropChef, which is a rapidly growing meal distribution business across Ireland.
Founder, Kennedy PR+Brand
Caroline Kennedy is the founder of Kennedy PR+Brand, one of Ireland’s leading communications agencies specialising in premium and luxury consumer brands. The company has an impressive reputation over 25 years as a leader in the beauty, hospitality, fashion, property, interiors and lifestyle sectors.
Caroline and her team regularly work with blue-chip companies and brands such as Louise Kennedy, Brown Thomas, Hermes, Jaguar, Landrover, Nespresso, The Merrion, Sheen Falls, Zalando, Waterford Crystal, Ballyfin Demesne, and the FX Buckley Group, amongst others.
She is a board member of the Ireland Funds and is passionate about media and the consumer marketplace. She has also been responsible for the inception of the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards and has been a judge at the awards each year.
Fiona Dawson CBE
Global president, Mars Food, Multisales and Global Customers
Fiona Dawson CBE has been working with Mars Foods since 1988, rising through various management and leadership positions including general manager Ireland, president of global retail, and Mars Chocolate UK and European marketing vice president before taking on her current role.
Fiona also has a strong track record in sustainability and health and wellbeing, particularly women’s entrepreneurship and human rights. She currently chairs the Women’s Business Council in the UK and sits on a number of advisory boards, including Trinity Business School.
Fiona is currently the non-executive director of the Lego group and has recently joined the Board of Marks and Spencer. In March 2021, she was awarded an Honourary CBE for services to women and the UK economy, and last year, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the IMAGE PwC Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2022 ceremony.
We will announce the winners on the evening of April 14th across 11 categories, alongside the presentation of the overall IMAGE PwC Businesswoman of the Year. The very special Lifetime Achievement Award will also be presented to Mary Robinson on the night, which marks the 15th annual ceremony.
Tickets are almost sold out so if you would like to join us, please purchase below or email our events team at [email protected] without delay.