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Irish Chamber

2019 Finalist - Olwyn Connolly

Irish Australian Business Awards Peoples Choice 2019

I am a professional accountant who in the last 12 months has overseen the delivery of the largest global conference for the accounting profession with almost 6000 attending in Sydney; established a tech start up in APAC growing business by 35% in the first quarter; connected countless Irish professionals to work or career development opportunities in Australia, and Australian and New Zealand businesses to opportunities to establish and grow in Ireland.

I have been incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to represent my profession on the global stage over the last number of years, whether that’s been through delivering initiatives to further education and development of third-world countries in Asia, Africa and beyond, or facilitating dialog amongst global business leaders around the importance of climate change becoming a business imperative for everyone.

Over the last 18 months I have spoken on stages in Africa, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Each time I have delivered addresses that speak to the need for the global accounting profession to collaborate for change and progression. And each time my speeches have left no doubt in the minds of the audience that I stood in front of them as a proud Irish professional, advocating for change in the profession I work in; my name badge just happened to reflect an Australian employer.

In everything I do I bring an enormous level of passion, innovation and logic and I would attribute my successes to these skills. However, I think it’s my unapologetic display of Irishness that has set me apart from my peers. I recognise the need to bring humour, storytelling, and a smile to even the most high-stress of situations. I’d even go so far as to acknowledge that Irish irreverence is often the make or break of a successful meeting. But above all else it’s my ability to join dots and connect people that is my biggest asset; I love nothing more than being able to connect one idea or individual to another, seemingly unrelated, one, and facilitate the conversation to spark ideas and solutions, that otherwise wouldn't have been possible.

I see these awards as being a recognition of Irish business success on a global stage, and furthering Ireland Inc in the process. If my small steps of wearing my Irishness on my sleeve in all that I do in Australia and overseas has helped raised Ireland’s profile, then I would be in good company on that shortlist.