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Irish Chamber

2019 Finalist - Ciara Gaffney

Irish Australian Business Awards Peoples Choice 2019

I think I would be a worthy winner of an Irish Australian Business award because of the difference I have made and continue to make to people’s lives through my professional work, human rights work and community volunteering.

In my current role as a Senior Legal Counsel at First State Super, one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds with almost $100 billion in funds under management, I help our members save for their futures. Given the size of the Fund, I help First State Super’s positive impact on the environment and the community through impact investing. I was recognised for my contribution to the superannuation industry when the Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian presented me with one of the four Women in Super/Australian Graduate School of Management Leadership scholarships in 2017. I am an active member of Women in Super and support the ‘Make Super Fair’ policy.


My human rights work includes: researching crimes in Sri Lanka, which contributed to a submission by the International Crimes Evidence Project to the United Nations on the impunities in Sri Lanka; helping a significant number of refugees with their safety visa applications to remain in Australia supporting the Refugee Advice & Casework Service; and mentoring teenagers from a disadvantaged school in Sydney and contributing to their growth and development. Being able to help all of these people has been one of the most satisfying parts of my career. As a result, in a video for University College Dublin on International Women’s Day in 2018, I encouraged students to participate in human rights work.

I am actively involved in the community in Australia being a volunteer lifesaver and patrol member at North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club. I love to be able to give back to the community doing something I am passionate about having started lifesaving in Ireland as a teenager and also teaching swimming for years. I also actively contribute to the Irish Community in Sydney as the Chapter Lead of the UCD Alumni Sydney and co-organiser of the first financial services panel event, and as a mentor in the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce mentoring program last year.

I feel like I developed the resilience to be able to make these contributions through my training and hard work to achieve the minimum qualifying standard for the Olympics in sport. The learnings I gained from representing Ireland have been instrumental in helping with the contributions I am making through my professional life, human rights work and community volunteering.

When asked why I would be a worthy winner of this award, David Midolla, Head of Legal and Compliance, Fidelity International outlined that:

“I think that Ciara’s hard work, dedication and commitment make her an outstanding representative of the legal profession and the financial services industry. Ciara has a strong sense of community, justice and giving back which is evidenced by her extensive work in the pro bono area and is typical of Ciara’s Irish culture and heritage.”