Ever since she has been appointed as CEO of Vodafone five years ago, Anne O’Leary has made a point of bringing gender balance at the heart of the world of telecommunications.

As a strong advocate for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and as board member of University College Cork, O’Leary aims to empower young women to study technology and make use of their talents - whether it be as engineer or in HR - to the benefit of an industry historically dominated by males. After all, aren’t we all engaging with technology nowadays?

Related read: The (Tech) Future Is Female.

The cork-native is only the second woman to fill this role since Vodafone’s arrival in Dublin ten years ago. Yet, with her at its helm, the telco company has become a leader in the Irish corporate word with women making up 63% of senior leadership teams, 39% of senior leaders and 48% of middle management.

Eager to represent the diversity of the company’s customers, O’Leary has not only put the emphasis on gender balance, but also developed an LGBT network, promotes age, culture and background representation as well as well-being in the workplace, so much so that Vodafone has been deemed one of the top ten places to work in Ireland. This focus is not surprising coming from this experienced triathlete, a living embodiment of the Latin mantra of mens sana in corpore sanum.

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Responsible for Vodafone’s operations and its 2000 employees across the country, O’Leary has navigated smoothly her key role in this complex and fast-evolving industry, working on making of Ireland a gigabit society where everyone, whether they live in a village, town or city, has access to world class connectivity. O’Leary’s skills have also served the Board of Directors at GOAL and in an-all Ireland work group on behalf of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and the Dublin Chamber of Commerce as chairwoman. After two years as Deputy Vice President of the latter, O’Leary was nominated as its President in 2018, a role which has embraced with energy and with the ambition to create a thriving environment for sustainable growth in Irish economy.

The Business Award of WOTYA18 is sponsored by Green&Blacks