'A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.
So let's all choose to challenge.'

International Women's Day has been running since 1911 and is a day where we celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness about women's equality and lobby for accelerated gender parity.

This year join all of the District Societies and the Diversity & Inclusion Committee on Friday 5 March for our first ever joint virtual International Women's Day Conference, hosted by Institute Vice President Sinéad Donovan.

We offer you three separate sessions which you can join, each with a range of high profile speakers and relevant themes; Sport, Education and Diversity & Inclusion.
Session 1: 09.30-10.30 - SPORT
Featuring Sonia O’Sullivan, Niamh Briggs, Nicola McCarthy
Session 2: 11.00 - 12.00 - EDUCATION
Featuring Dr Orla Flynn, Caroline McGroary, Emer O'Neill, Dr Michelle Carr
Session 3: 12.30 - 13.30 - DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
Featuring Baz Ashmawy, Louise O’Donnell, Sara Phillips














Nicola McCarthy is a sports broadcaster and presenter, with over 10 years experience working in sport - across TV, radio and online platforms.
She currently works for BBC 5 Live, BBC Sport and Manchester City TV among others, as well as hosting various events and running her own business – Rondo, which works with elite athletes on social media, content creation, personal branding, commercial partnerships etc. as well as curating niche sporting events.
She spent five years working at Manchester City TV, reporting and commentating on the first team domestically, in Europe and beyond - including coverage of three Premier League and three League Cup title wins. She has also reported and commentated extensively on Manchester City women in the Women’s Super League and in Europe.
She has also reported on other key events across various sports, including Rory McIlroy’s 2011 US Open win and Ireland’s 2009 Six Nations win.

Niamh Briggs is an Irish rugby player born in 1984 who plays as fullback for the Ireland women's national rugby union team. She made her debut for Ireland in 2008 against Italy. She played at the 2010- and 2014-Women’s Rugby World Cup. She made her international rugby sevens debut at the 2016 Rugby Europe Women's Sevens Grand Prix in Kazan, Russia. Briggs attended Waterford Institute of Technology and worked for the Garda Síochána, the Irish police force. She played for Dungarvan R.F.C., Clonmel R.F.C., UL Bohemians R.F.C. and the Ireland women's national rugby union team.
Briggs was credited with the winning points that brought a Grand Slam win for Ireland on St Patrick's Day in Milan in March 2013 and she captained Ireland for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World cup

Sonia O'Sullivan is one of the country's most successful athletes and undoubtedly one of the greatest Irish sports people ever. Born in Cobh in County Cork, Sonia spent many years running around the hills of Cobh before embarking on an Athletics Scholarship to Villanova University. Sonia followed a trail of Irish athletes to Villanova where she graduated in 1992 with a degree in Accountancy ahead of her first Olympic Games in Barcelona.She has been a regular contributor to RTÉ Sport analysing European and World Championship Athletic Events, has authored two books to date and writes a regular column in the Irish Times.Some of Sonia's proudest achievements include: Four time Irish Olympian, current World record holder over 2000m, three times World Champion, World Cross Country long & short course, three times European Champion, Twelve times All-Ireland Champion, and currently holds ten Irish records in every distance from 1000m to half marathon, as well as Dublin City Marathon Winner 2000. Sonia lives in Melbourne, Australia with her daughters Ciara and Sophie. Ireland will always be home to Sonia and she has spent a lot of time commuting from Australia.


With over twenty years’ experience in education management, Dr Orla Flynn commenced her role as President of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in March 2020, having been Vice President for External Affairs at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) for the previous six years. Prior to that she led the CIT Crawford College of Art and Design for 8 years following periods as Head of School of Humanities and Head of Department of Media Communications at CIT. She was a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Computing for 13 years before that at CIT. Dr Flynn holds undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in Mathematical Physics and Computer Science from University College Cork, an MA in Management in Education from WIT, and a PhD from the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick.

Dr. Caroline McGroary is a Chartered Accountant and Lecturer who is passionate about the role of education in transforming lives and society. Originally from Donegal in the North West of Ireland, Caroline trained as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte. Soon after qualifying, she joined Dublin City University (DCU) as a Lecturer in Accounting in its Dublin campus. In 2013, DCU entered a partnership with Princess Norah University (PNU), the largest women’s only university in the world. Driven by her passion for creating impact through education, Caroline moved to Saudi Arabia to be part of this ground-breaking partnership in the education of Saudi women. Over the last eight years, Caroline’s holistic approach to education has allowed her to successfully align her work in the classroom with burgeoning global social issues such as gender equality and sustainability. Her work has been recognised at international conferences and has been nominated for several awards for innovation, excellence in teaching and impact. Caroline recently received the Chartered Star Award from Chartered Accountants Ireland and will represent the profession at the One Young World summit in 2021. Here she looks forward to collaborating with other young leaders to create social impact.

Emer O’Neill is a mother of two Kyan 6 and Sunny Rae is 9 months old. She was born and raised in Ireland and is Irish/Nigerian and a Bray Co. Wicklow native. Emer has a BA in Education and a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration. She teaches Physical Education and is the Transition Year Coordinator at North Wicklow Secondary School in Bray. In 2005 she received a scholarship to play basketball in the USA prior to which she represented Ireland for basketball from the age of 13. Emer is also a model and was the winner of the SimplyBe Plus Size Modeling Competition in 2014.

Emer is currently a presenter on Home School Hub on RTE with her segment “Exercise with Emer “. She is a huge advocate for promoting positive body image. She is the ambassador for a programme called Free Being Me which is a programme with the Irish Girl Guides to encourage children to love their body and the skin they are in. She has helped write the “Dare to Believe” programme which is part of the “Don’t Scroll By” campaign and is honoured to have helped write the Anti Racism CPD course with the INTO.

Dr Michelle Carr is a Senior Lecturer in Management Accounting in the Department of Accounting and Finance, Cork University Business School (CUBS), University College Cork (UCC). She is currently Discipline Head of Accounting and Academic Director of the M.Sc. Management Information and Managerial Accounting Degree at UCC. Michelle's research interests focus on performance measurement systems and management control. Specifically, she has investigated the use of performance measurement systems in organisations pursuing regulatory reform, the performance implications of management controls systems in crisis settings, and the use of management controls in complex professional dominated organisations. Her reputation for research excellence has been developed by publishing in journals recognised internationally as publishing the most original and best-executed research. Michelle is known for her ability to collect novel data and provide new insights on performance management and management control strategies, through her strong links with the industry. Michelle coordinates and lectures in the subjects Cost Management Systems and Performance Control Systems. She currently sits on the audit committee of the Cork County Council, is an external examiner at University College Dublin and is a member of the European Accounting Association VA taskforce.


Sara R Phillips is a Trans activist working in Ireland. She has been involved with trans activism for over 28 years. She is currently in her third 3-year term as Chair of the Board of Directors of Irelands national trans organisation, Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI). She is the founder, researcher and archivist of the Irish Trans Archive. Sara was one of the lead negotiators to the Gender Recognition Act 2015 and served on the Governmental review of the act in 2018.
Sara was honoured as Dublin LGBTQ Pride Grand Marshall in 2018. Sara is also a board member of the International Trans Fund in New York, a board member of Transgender Europe and recently was elected to the board of the National Women's Council of Ireland. Sara is currently the National Manager in Ireland for multinational construction materials manufacturer CPG-Europe.

Louise O’Donnell is the Head of International Operations, Strategy, and Legal & Compliance at Oman Insurance Company. She is based in Dubai, UAE and is responsible for the management of OIC operations in Turkey and Oman.  Louise also manages the key strategic partnerships which are long term relationships which have developed with well known international insurance companies.  In addition she oversees the Legal & Compliance teams.  She is part of OIC Executive Management Team and also a Board Member of two seperate entities which are owned by Oman Insurance Company.   Louise was awarded Women Leader of the Year in 2019 by the Middle East Insurance Industry Awards which was the inaugural year to celebrate the contributions that women bring to the insurance industry.

Baz  Ashmawy is  an Emmy  and  IFTA  Award  Winning TV  and Radio  Broadcaster  who  has  been  a  truly  exciting  Talent  on  our airwaves  for  over  ten  years. Most  recently,  Baz  presented ‘DIY SOS’ on RTÉ One. During this show, Baz and his team set out to renovate the  homes  of  deserving  families,  changing  their  lives forever. In  December  2020,  Baz  presented  the  documentary ‘Fungie’s  Kingdom’on RTÉ  One where  Baz headed  to  Dingle  to investigate further into where Fungie spent many years. His show ‘Wingman’ aired to phenomenal praise on RTÉ One. The show saw Baz  guide many  different  characters from  all  walks  of  life  on a journey towards making their dreams a reality. The show has been commissioned for a second series.