How Can We Address Women’s Under-Representation in Positions of Leadership – at Work and in Wider Society?

This is the final event in The Solutions Series, taking place as part of the 2020 WorkEqual campaign.

The event will be introduced by Sonya Lennon, founder of the WorkEqual campaign.

Dermot Ryan, Principal of Dermot Ryan Advisory, consultant with the National Democratic Institute and Women for Election will then MC a panel discussion on how we can address women’s under-representation in positions of leadership – at work and in wider society. Our panel will be comprised of:

  • Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation.
  • Eamonn Crowley, CEO of Permanent TSB (co-sponsors of the WorkEqual campaign).
  • Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland.
  • Helen McEntee, Minister for Justice.
  • Regina Doherty, Senator and Leader of the Seanad.

The WorkEqual campaign is an initiative of the Dress for Success Dublin charity, and is sponsored by Permanent TSB and SOLAS.


26 Nov 2020


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

More Info

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  • Deirdre Mortell
    Deirdre Mortell
    CEO of Rethink Ireland

    Deirdre Mortell is CEO of Rethink Ireland, and Social Entrepreneur in Residence at CONNECT, Trinity College Dublin. She has 20 years’ experience of changing the world one step at a time – sometimes by leading and sometimes by contributing in a team setting to delivering high growth or a step change in impact in Ireland’s leading non-profit organisations.

    Deirdre was CEO of ONE Foundation, which pioneered venture philanthropy in Ireland and Europe. While a Board member of the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), she co-authored “Establishing a Venture Philanthropy Fund in Europe – A Practical Guide”, one of EVPA’s most popular publications. She has held senior roles in fundraising & communications in Oxfam and Barnardos, and multiple Board directorships. Deirdre is also a founding board member of Women for Election.

    Uniting all this is Deirdre’s passion for social change, both globally and locally in Ireland, and the power both of philanthropy and the ordinary citizen to change things – often faster than we think. She especially loves working with start-ups, having worked with seven in the last 10 years.

  • Dermot Ryan
    Dermot Ryan
    Principal of Dermot Ryan Advisory; former Chief of Staff of the Transport Workers Union in Australia and former Head of External Affairs and the National Director’s Office at Amnesty International Australia

    Dermot Ryan has over 25 years’ experience working in key advisory roles to leaders of not-for-profits, public sector bodies and private companies in both Ireland and Australia. Over the course of his career, he has worked in politics directly, and has also worked with government and opposition politicians in both the Irish and Australian political systems.

    He set up Dermot Ryan Advisory when he returned to Ireland in 2018 after seven years in Australia, where he served as Chief of Staff at the Transport Workers’ Union and Head of External Affairs and the National Director’s Office at Amnesty International Australia.

    Dermot now offers advisory and implementation solutions for organisations, helping them to deliver their board and wider stakeholder needs. He has facilitated discussions on the participation of women in politics in Romania for the National Democratic Institute (NDI), which works to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide. He also provides training for Women for Election, an organisation that supports women across Ireland to run for political positions.

  • Eamonn Crowley
    Eamonn Crowley
    CEO of Permanent TSB

    Eamonn started his career in 1987 with Irish Intercontinental Bank (now KBC Ireland). He moved to American International Group (AIG) in 1991 and spent 3 years in both Dublin and London. Eamonn moved back to Dublin to join AIB International Financial Services (“AIBIFS) in 1994 and was promoted to Finance Director in 2000 before moving to Warsaw, Poland in 2002 to work in AIB’s Polish Subsidiary, Bank Zachodni WBK S.A. (“BZ WBK”).

    In 2011, Eamonn moved from AIB to Banco Santander and was appointed Chief Financial Officer and Management Board Member of BZ WBK. During his period as CFO, Eamonn executed the merger of BZ WBK with Kredyt Bank (a KBC subsidiary) to form Poland’s number three bank, placed over 20% of the bank on the Warsaw Stock Exchange through a Euro 1.2bn secondary IPO and led the acquisition of a controlling stake in Poland’s number one Consumer Bank.

    Eamonn joined Permanent TSB at Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director in March, 2017. Eamonn was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in June 2020 and for an interim period, and pending the appointment of a new CFO, he will continue to perform the Company’s Chief Financial Officer duties. In the first few weeks of his new role as CEO of Permanent TSB, Eamonn has set out a new Purpose for the organisation centered on building trust with customers and reconnecting with the Bank’s community heritage.
    Eamonn is a fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, a member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers and holds a MBA from University College Dublin.

  • Helen McEntee
    Helen McEntee
    Minister for Justice

    Helen McEntee TD is the Minister for Justice. She was appointed to this role in June 2020.

    Helen was elected to Dáil Éireann in a By-Election in March 2013, and re-elected in the February 2016 general election. Deputy McEntee was appointed by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD to be Minister for Mental Health and Older People at the Department of Health in May 2016 as part of the new Partnership Government.

    In June 2017, as part of a government reshuffle by newly appointed Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, Minister McEntee was promoted to the position of Minister of State for EU Affairs.

    She previously served on the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications, and was also a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht.

  • Regina Doherty
    Regina Doherty
    Senator & Leader of the Seanad

    Regina Doherty was appointed as a Senator and Leader of Seanad Éireann on the 27 June, 2020.
    Regina previously served as Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection from the 14th June 2017 until the 27th June 2020. Before that, she served as Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach from the 6th May 2016. She entered the Dáil in February 2011 having served as a County Councillor on Meath County Council since 2009. She was previously the Chairperson of Meath’s Joint Policing Committee and sat on the board of three educational institutions; Meath VEC, Ratoath College and Gaelscoil na Mi, as well as sitting on the Special Education Committee of The National Parents’ Council.
    Regina has previously been a Member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children, a Member of Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform and a Member of the Constitutional Convention.
    Regina is currently a member of the Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs, and Chairs the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party sub-group on Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and the Good Friday Agreement.
    Before entering political life, Regina worked successfully in the IT sector for 20 years. Regina is married to Declan, they have four children and have lived in the village of Ratoath for the past 20 years.

  • Sharan Burrow
    Sharan Burrow
    General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation

    Sharan Burrow is General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, representing 200 million workers in 163 countries and territories with 332 national affiliates.

    Previously President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) from 2000 to 2010, Sharan is a passionate advocate and campaigner for social justice, women’s rights, the environment and labour law reforms, and has led union negotiations on major economic reforms and labour rights campaigns in her home country of Australia and globally.

  • Sonya Lennon
    Sonya Lennon
    WorkEqual campaing founder

    Sonya Lennon has thirty years’ experience in business as a creative director, designer, broadcaster, entrepreneur and strategic consultant. A multi award winning Social Entrepreneur, Sonya founded global not for profit initiative Dress for Success in Ireland seven years ago and has successfully supported over 3,000 women into employment and economic independence.

    Through her advocacy work, she has campaigned at a European level for equality in the workplace for women by addressing the Gender Pay & Opportunity Gap.

    Her womenswear brand Lennon Courtney, now sells Internationally through a licensing agreement with Dunnes Stores and has seen exponential growth. Sonya is a founder and board member of LIFT Ireland, Leading Ireland’s Future Together who’s mission is to improve the levels of leadership in Ireland by reaching 10% of the population with its roundtable model.

    Sonya is solution focussed, iterative and innovative but always grounded by a value in human relationships and understanding how to unpick and maximise the potential of business and people.
    Her podcast with business partner Brendan Courtney, Lennon Courtney Left Alone tackles big issues like Money, Age, Purpose and Love. It is a window into a world of conversations they have when they’re left alone.