Sarah Keane is President of the Olympic Federation of Ireland and CEO of Swim Ireland. She has been the highest-profile woman in sports administration in Ireland for more than a decade and has been ever-present on this list through its nine iterations.
The way in which she managed the rehabilitation of the Olympic movement here in the wake of the Rio scandals that engulfed the organisation, was exemplary, and all the time in a voluntary capacity while maintaining the ‘day job’ as CEO of Swim Ireland.
Managing the difficulties of an indoor sport that was effectively shuttered for long periods during the lockdowns and the pandemic must have felt familiar in terms of being in the firing line of fate but the sport has survived and emerged stronger again in both participation and performance.
To get Team Ireland to the Tokyo Olympics was a mammoth task, one that Keane, as part of a strong team she has built, was ready to step up to. That we performed to such a high standard was a bonus but also a reflection of where the sports ecosystem is now in Ireland.
Sarah Keane is one of the most important elements in that.
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