Michelle Carpenter


Michelle Carpenter is the CEO of Rowing Ireland. Appointed to the role in May 2018 she has been a strong leader maintaining momentum in the sport through the challenging times of Covid and delivering for Team Ireland at Tokyo 2020, in 2021, with a Gold for Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy and a Bronze for Eimear Lambe, Emily Hegarty, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh.

Membership at Rowing Ireland had grown by 25 per cent in the year leading into lockdown and the sport was one of the first to get back to action after the first closure in 2020.

Success at the European Championships foreshadowed the team performance in Japan and the sport has become firmly established alongside Boxing as out number one sport when it comes to Olympic competition, performance and medal prospects.

The fact that Fintan McCarthy never sat in a boat until he was 15 is a testament to the growth in appeal of the sport among younger athletes, something that Carpenter has guided and developed all the way from her conceiving the Get Going Get Rowing Programme as a development officer.

Originally from Limerick, she was one of the first registered female rowing members of Shannon Rowing Club, rowing in their first winning women’s championship crew of 1988.

She is actively engaged at the international level within World Rowing and was the sports nominee to a 2017 IOC Women in Leadership Forum in Lausanne.

Before becoming involved in the world of sports administration Carpenter was part of the team that launched the Euro currency while working at the European Central bank in Frankfurt.



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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