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SBD Celebrates International Women’s Day. “Women Who Lead: Inspiring Voices” March 7th

SBD Celebrates International Women’s Day. “Women Who Lead: Inspiring Voices” March 7th

Sandyford Business District invites you to join us on Thursday March 7th from 12.30 to 2pm to celebrate International Women’s Day 2024.

This event is free to attend but spaces are filling up quickly so register your interest at operations@sandyford.ie

The theme is Women Who Lead: Inspiring Voices

Hear from inspiring and innovative women in a number of leadership roles.

Our MC will be Lorraine Higgins, Founder and MD of Rockwood Public Affairs

Lorraine is founder of Rockwood Public Affairs, with offices in Dublin and Brussels, and leading trade representative body, Digital Business Ireland. She is a former Senator, Barrister and CEO of a national representative body.

Lorraine is a highly experienced public policy professional, media commentator and strategist and has worked with a number of blue-chip multinational companies leading their communication programme development and government affairs function in Ireland or providing external strategic advice.

While CEO of Retail Excellence, she was instrumental in developing the public affairs function of the organisation which proposed and promoted the establishment of the Cross-Party Oireachtas Committee on Retail; establishing the organisation as a nominating body for the Seanad Éireann elections; and led the organisation to become one of the leading industry representative and lobbying bodies in Ireland.

In that role she interacted at all levels of Government and sat on four departmental advisory committees on business, retail, skills and Brexit; was a member of the Global Retail Council, addressed the United Nations in Geneva regarding Ireland’s eCommerce and digital development; worked closely with the largest lobbying body in the world, the NRF (USA), on the implementation of the GDPR for American retailers; and was appointed a Director of eCommerce Europe based in Brussels.

During her time as a Senator, she was a regular contributor on matters including business, entrepreneurship, and EU issues. In an independent study conducted in 2014 she was named the second most influential member of Seanad Éireann in terms of shaping public policy and opinion, and in December 2015, she was also named by the Irish Times as one of the Top 5 People in Politics to Watch, and one of the Top 50 People in Ireland to Watch.

She went on to found Rockwood Public Affairs which has offices in Dublin and Brussels. She is also the founder of leading national representative body, Digital Business Ireland which counts among its membership leading tech companies, and 8500 SMEs.

Lorraine is also Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic, having been appointed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2019. She plays a key role in the economic, educational and cultural development of the relationship between Slovakia and Ireland.

She previously worked as a Barrister advising multinational companies, SMEs, and individuals, and was a Lecturer of Contract Law and Tort Law to students undertaking the Law Society FE1 exams. She was also a former trustee of leading charity, Sightsavers International (Ireland)

She is a guest lecturer for the Public Relations Institute of Ireland and sits on the Department of Enterprise, trade and Employments, Digital Advisory Forum and Retail Forum.


She holds two qualifications in Law, to include a Barrister-at-Law degree. She also graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in law, economics, political science and sociology.

Denise Harris, Chief Executive Officer at Harris Group

Speaker Bio to be added..

Susanne Manning, Vice President Infrastructure Design Engineering at Mastercard

With over 15+ years of hands-on experience within the payments industry, I am a strong technical people manager who values culture, innovation and automation. I am a driver of change and have lead agile transformation initiates to reduce waste and drive operational growth.

Through my contributions in Infrastructure Service Delivery, Middleware and Operations I have developed insight and forecasting abilities that result in consistent positive project delivery. Leadership energises , I am currently managing large cross functional teams at a local, regional, virtual and global level.

With my strengths in continuous improvements, communication and solution development, I have consistently demonstrated my ability to utilise collected data to identify trends/key gaps to encourage closer alignment to organisational goals, and industry standards. What differentiates me from other managers is my technical understanding for infrastructure, my organisational and planning skills, my abilities for working in a local or global capacity and my desire for change and continues improvement.

Cllr Lettie McCarthy, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

Cllr. Lettie Mc Carthy has represented the Glencullen-Sandyford Ward since she was first elected to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in 2004.

Lettie was elected Cathaoirleach (Mayor) of Dlr on two occasions (2010 – 2011 and 2021-2022).

She served as Cathaoirleach of the Dublin Regional Authority in 2014 and is a former Chair of the Board of Management of St. Tiernan’s Community School.

Lettie set up the Stepaside Business Association and was the force behind the now successful Stepaside St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

She is a board member of Sandyford Business District.

Elaine Dunne, Regional And Sectoral Head of Business Banking Permanent TSB

I am an experienced business banker with 18 years’ experience supporting SME businesses in the Irish market. I have held a number of roles within banks including business manager, credit and sector specialist. I joined ptsb as part of team growing the business banking proposition to Irish SME businesses.


12.30: Registration

12.45: Panel discussion followed by Q&A

1.30 – 2.00: Tea/Coffee and light lunch with an opportunity to network

Location: Dynamic Space – 60 Holly Avenue Stillorgan Business Park. A94 X4P0