Mary O’Connor is the CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport.
Over the past two years, she has been a strong and steady advocate for the need for sporting bodies to be heard at the Government level.
The wins in terms of resilience funding that kept sport going during the times of the darkest lockdowns will always stand to her credit.
She is strong on detail and accomplished in bringing together one voice from many, a requirement of heading up the representative body for our sporting bodies.
Since stepping into the role in December 2017 O’Connor has led the way in relation to support for the 20X20 campaign, the revival of the Volunteer in Sport and Sport Industry awards and the implementation of the National Sport Policy.
Prior to that, she had been Development Director and, for a spell, acting CEO of the Camogie Association.
She represented her native Cork with great distinction both in Camogie and Ladies Football winning a total of 12 All Ireland medals over a 16-year dual inter-county career.
She was captain of the 2009 Cork Ladies Football team that completed five titles in a row. An All-Star in both codes she was Player of the Year in 2006.
She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from University College Cork in recognition of her contribution to sport and in particular to Women’s sport.
In 2018 she joined the Advisory Board of the Dublin City Council Sport and Wellbeing Partnership where we have worked alongside her and seen at close quarters what an intelligent and committed advocate she is for sport in all its forms.
Check out the others who have so far joined the list right here.
This is the ninth edition of our Sport for Business listing of 50 Women of Influence in Irish Sport.
We are proud to do so this year with a new partner in AIG, an organisation that have pledged their commitment to equality in their partnerships with Gaelic Games, Tennis, Golf and more, for whom “Effort is Equal” and with whom we have ambitious plans to extend the reach of this annual celebration of the Women who are making a difference.
They are drawn as before from the worlds of leadership, partnership, storytelling and performance.
We began this journey in 2013 when challenged that we would never be able to produce a list of twenty Influential Women in Irish Sport. The 20 stretched to 30, then 40 and 50 and it still does not do justice to the talent that is out there.
This year once more, to keep things fresh we will introduce at least 30 per cent of fresh names from last year. That will be the hardest part to have some names replaced but if it was too easy it would be of less value.
The list we will build over the coming weeks is a snapshot of those women who are making a mark on how sport is played, consumed, grown and delivered.
They are part of making the role of women in sport unexceptional by being exceptional in what they do.
Recognition of their contribution is rarely asked for but is fully deserved, and we want your help in identifying those who you feel should be among them.
We will start to publish the first of this year’s list on Sport for Business next week, and share them for all across social media in parallel.
So, who do you think should be on the list for 2021?
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Sport for Business Partners