2023 Judges

Patricia Callan

Director of Financial Services Ireland (FSI) Group and Head of Sectors, IBEC

Patricia Callan is an Ibec Head of Sectors and is also the Director of Financial Services Ireland (FSI) Group, the Ibec trade association representing the interests of the financial services sector in Ireland. In her role, Patricia provides the secretariat to the Industry Advisory Committee of the Government’s “Ireland for Finance Strategy 2026”; is Chair of the Government’s “Women in Finance Charter” Steering Group; and is a member of the CBI’s Financial Industry Stakeholder Forum, leading the industry input into its Innovation sub-group, with a keen focus on Fintech.

Previously, Patricia was Director of Drinks Ireland (2017-2022) and Director of the Small Firms Association (2006-2017). She has been a voluntary Director of IASIO since 2016, becoming Chair in 2020; and before that was a voluntary Director of Business in the Community (Ireland) from 2007-2014 and of Clondalkin Enterprise Group from 2000-2006. Patricia holds an MA in International Studies (UL), BA in Economics (TCD), Diploma in Management (TUD), Diploma in Employment Law (NCI).

Sarah-Jane Larkin

Director General, Irish Venture Capital Association

Sarah-Jane has been Director General of the IVCA since Jan 2018. The IVCA is the representative body for venture capital and private equity firms on the island of Ireland, it’s full members are the venture capital and private equity firms that provide equity funding to growing unquoted companies.

Sarah-Jane was formerly commercial director of MSD and Johnson & Johnson Medical. She has worked at director level in the healthcare and medical device sectors for over a decade for organisations including J&J, Sisk Healthcare and the Irish Medical & Surgical Trade Association.

A graduate of UCD, she holds an MBA from the Smurfit Business School.

Brid O’Connell

CEO, Guaranteed Irish

Brid O’Connell, MMII, MMPRII, MSc (Hons), was appointed as CEO of Guaranteed Irish in July 2016. Brid has a long career in marketing, branding communications and PR.

She has welcomed the opportunity to add value to Guaranteed Irish members through her revitalising and repositioning of the organisation to reflect modern Ireland and global economy.

Michael Browne

Senior Development Adviser, Financial Services, Enterprise Ireland

Michael Browne is a Senior Development Advisor in Enterprise Ireland’s Fintech & Financial Services Department. He has a portfolio of clients across the fintech spectrum at every stage of development from innovative early-stage start-ups to unicorns who are leading global players in their marketplace. He also leads Enterprise Ireland’s Global Fintech team, which has representatives spanning the world from Sydney to San Francisco. Previously, he worked in Enterprise Ireland’s Equity and Commercial Evaluation Departments. Prior to joining Enterprise Ireland, Michael worked as an Equity Analyst in the Research Department of Goodbody Stockbrokers. He has completed a summer internship in the Taxation Department of Arthur Andersen. Michael has a Bachelor of Business Studies degree from Trinity College and a Masters in Investment & Treasury Management from DCU. He is a CFA Charterholder and a Fellow Member of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. He is currently studying for a certificate in ESG Investing.

Lesley Tully

Founder/CEO, Penny FS

Charlie Taylor

Technology and Innovation Editor, Business Post

Charlie Taylor is Technology and Innovation Editor with Business Post.

Previously, he was a business journalist at The Irish Times, where he reported on business and technology.

He co-founded Hyphen in Dublin, a specialist content agency providing editorial and marketing content. He has previously worked at The Irish Times from July 2005 to October 2012, covering national and business news for online and print. There, he also contributed to the Opinion, Science, Sport, Health and Technology sections. He has also worked freelance for various outlets, including the Sunday Business Post, Irish Daily Mail, Business and Finance, The Register, Business Plus, The Market and more. Taylor graduated from Dublin City University.

Derek Foley Butler

CEO of GRID Finance and Chairman of the GRID Foundation

Derek Foley Butler is CEO of GRID Finance and Chairman of the GRID Foundation. Derek has spent his life between the private and third sector working for PwC, GOAL, Goodbody Stockbrokers and EY before founding GRID Finance in 2013. He was an early advocate for peer to peer lending. Derek founded the SME recovery campaign in 2020 which advocated for a government response for SME’s to the pandemic. He sees a vital need to recognise the best of Irish Fintech that are contributing to building a better financial system in Ireland and will Chair the awards.

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