Wednesday, 2nd October 2024
The Round Room at The Mansion House, Dublin

2024 Judges

Judging Process

Maintaining the integrity of our Awards’ Ceremony is crucial to us as an organisation and we make sure that all aspects of the event are fully transparent.

Firstly we provide entrants with a summary of what we expect from them, along with details on how their entry will be judged including eligibility requirements, how the judges will assess the entries – criteria and weighting. The 17 categories are divided up amongst the judges so each judge is typically judging 3 categories.

Members of the judging panel are chosen because they are outstanding experts in their field, and this often means they are an active participant in the industry. It’s not uncommon for a judge to have a conflict of interest with the entry or entrant. Perhaps they were once a mentor of the entrant, or know them personally. They might also be a sponsor or work for a competitor of the entrant. The company they work for may have entered the Awards. Nominations for judges will not be accepted.

Given that Ireland in particular is such a small country we anticipate conflicts of interest and we encourage the judges to declare these before and during the judging process. In this case we ask the judge to recuse him/herself from the particular category. We encourage openness and honesty from the outset and find that this avoids any issues that might arise.

Keeping integrity at the forefront of our Awards’ programmes and processes is paramount to the programme’s success and longevity and it ensures that the outcomes are trustworthy.

David Howard

Deputy Director, Financial Services Ireland (FSI)

David Howard is Deputy Director of Financial Services Ireland (FSI) group, the Ibec trade association representing the interests of the financial services sector in Ireland. In his role, David is a member of the CBI’s Financial Industry Stakeholder Forum. In Ibec, David has previously served as Director of the Building Materials Federation and as Senior Policy Executive with Property Industry Ireland. Prior to joining Ibec in 2013, David worked with Kellen Europe, a trade association and management consultancy based in Brussels.  

Sinead Halhed-Moran Walsh

Senior Legal Advisor and Branch Lead, Electronic Money Association

Sinead works and advises in the fintech world, following a period in banking after her qualification as a barrister. She led teams in the legal, compliance and risk divisions of a global fintech organisation during its unicorn days, holding a CBI approved CRO role, before moving into the role of Senior Legal Advisor and Irish Branch Lead for the Electronic Money Association (EMA).

She has a passion for well-being, providing mentoring and coaching in the innovative financial services sector. She founded Financial InnovateHER, a Group promoting Mentoring, Networking and Learning amongst women in the sector, in 2024.

Sinead acts as Secretary to the Fintech Intelligence Taskforce (FIT) with the FIU, and holds the seat representing EMA on CBI Financial Forum sub-groups. She is a member (previous Secretary) of the Ethics Committee within the Compliance Institute, holds the LCOI, and is registered on the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA).

She also holds an LLM and Diploma in management studies. She went on to qualify as a Notary Public, then moved into studies and qualifications as a Personal, Leadership, Corporate Wellbeing and Team Coach in 2020.

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

Founder & CEO Penny Financial Service Technologies

Lesley is an entrepreneur and designer, with a deep passion for fixing the future.

She is Founder and CEO of Penny FS Technologies which incorporates behavioural science to help women better understand their financial personality and accelerate their journey to financial wellness and freedom.

Lesley, formerly Head of Design Thinking for Bank of Ireland, has worked extensively in the financial services, fintech, agtech and insurtech. Whilst at Bank of Ireland Lesley was Chair of the Gender Task force and Director of International Women’s Day for Bank of Ireland Group (Ireland + UK). She is a frequent speaker on Design Thinking and adjunct lecturer at Trinity College Dublin Business School and UCD Smurfit Business School.

Lesley holds MPhil from Goldsmiths (London) and Trinity College Dublin and Bachelor of Design from Institute of Art, Design and Technology. She sits on the Board of Governors for National Museum of Women in Washington and previously National Gallery of Ireland and Institute of Designers in Ireland.

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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