The 2021 Women in Finance Awards Ireland saw recognition of the mentors and supporters making a difference in financial services. At the awards, EY FS Ireland was recognised as the home of both the Accountant of the Year and the Male Ally of the Year winners.
The summit event and the awards are a showcase for innovation and creativity, and shine a light on the women and men transforming our industries and promoting a more inclusive sector. They are a celebration of the advocates, role models and allies who make a difference in Ireland’s finance industry, working to support the pipeline of great future female leaders.
According to 2018 figures from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office, employment in the Irish financial sector comprised “roughly even numbers of men and women, with men accounting for 53,300 and women accounting for 53,700.” But 2021 figures show that men remain over-represented in senior roles such as Chairperson and CEO positions compared to women.
Acknowledging the individuals and employers in Ireland’s finance sector who are furthering the position of women as industry influencers is one way to show support for the cause, and is why the Women in Finance Awards Ireland matters.
The essence and ethos of the awards mirror our own commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. That was underscored by Country Leader Colin Ryan’s introduction to the event, in which he said:
“We can’t deny that financial services is, and has been a male-dominated industry. The statistics show that although there is positive representation in broad terms, few women reach senior and executive positions. While women make up a third of all board positions in the UK’s FTSE 100 companies, just 15% of finance directors in these companies are women. Female representation on executive committees in major financial services firms stands at around 20%.
“Leaders in our industry need to remain aware of those facts. We acknowledge the gender divide and need to act to close it. We need to build relationships and expand professional networks, enable leadership development and our commitment to support women in reaching the pinnacle in their professions.
“This is hugely important for us in EY. Like every organisation, we have diversity ambitions, and we know why it matters. We know, like all of you here today, that although a lot has been done, there is so much more that needs to be done.”
Accountant of the Year
Accountant of the Year this year was our very own Sinead Colreavy. Sinead is an FS Ireland Tax partner, and the People Partner on the Irish Leadership Team. In her role as People partner, Sinead is passionate about encouraging people to be themselves and achieve their best, attributes that led to her recognition at this year’s awards. Sinead believes it is important to empower people to allow them to achieve their full potential, offering opportunities to help people stretch and develop skills, to push outside of their comfort zone with encouragement and support.
Male Ally of the Year
Furthering female participation and creating the leaders of the future in the finance industry requires allyship from male colleagues. That is why Male Ally of the Year is such a significant award, and this year’s winner was Danny Buckley. The judges described Danny as a proactive ally who has actively participated in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives by acting as a mentor in the Triple FS – the Female Fast Forward in Financial Services cross-organisation mentoring programme.
Danny is also a mentor, advocate and spokesperson for programmes developed by the 30% Club, a global campaign led by Chairs and CEOs taking action to increase gender diversity at board and senior management levels.
Our congratulations go to every one of this year’s winners and shortlisted nominees, working to advance women in the Irish financial services sector. Your impact matters.