Bank of Ireland Announces 2020 Gold Sovereign Awardees Recognising Leaders in Inclusion and Diversity

Entrepreneurs, Katie and Annie Madden; Women in Business Northern Ireland CEO, Roseann Kelly and 30% Club Founder, Brid Horan are the 2020 Gold Sovereign awardees.

Bank of Ireland has announced the latest recipients of its Gold Sovereign Award for leaders in society who are promoting Inclusion and Diversity. Entrepreneurs, Katie and Annie Madden; Women in Business Northern Ireland CEO, Roseann Kelly and 30% Club Founder, Brid Horan are the 2020 Gold Sovereign awardees.

The gold sovereign is symbolic for Bank of Ireland. In the past, employees getting married were sometimes gifted a sovereign to mark the significance of the occasion. However, for women getting married during the ‘marriage bar’, introduced in 1932 and abolished in 1973, this also signaled the end to their professional career.

In recent years, the sovereigns have been repurposed and are now used to recognise outstanding achievement and leadership in the promotion of Inclusion and Diversity, either through awardees’ chosen career or by advocating for the cause.

The inaugural Gold Sovereign Awards were made in 2019. An external panel of international and Irish business leaders have independently identified and nominated the 2020 awardees. The awarding panel is made up of Alastair Blair, Accenture; Margot Slattery, Sodexo; Carol Andrews, BNY Mellon; Sean Crowe, Bank of Ireland and Cora Phelan, Bank of Ireland.

Francesca McDonagh, Group Chief Executive at Bank of Ireland said, “Diversity in all its guises – gender, background or ethnicity – is important to us at Bank of Ireland, which is why we have committed that 50% of all new appointments to senior management roles will be female by 2021. This has never been truer than now, in the face of a global pandemic when we need diversity of thought to navigate this unchartered terrain. The Gold Sovereign is a powerful symbol to recognise those who are promoting inclusion and diversity and our 2020 awardees represent outstanding women championing this cause in Ireland today.”

Sean Crowe, CEO of Markets and Treasury at Bank of Ireland and Group Sponsor for Inclusion and Diversity said, “We believe that continuing to develop a more diverse workplace and fostering a truly inclusive environment for that diversity to flourish, will result in more engaged and fulfilled colleagues. We have been presenting the sovereigns to colleagues who have been driving this agenda in the Bank. But in order to recognise the commitment at a national level, we’ve asked a panel of business leaders to select inspiring leaders who are advocates for inclusion and diversity.”

Previous recipients of the Gold Sovereign Award include Dame Helena Morrissey who is founder of the 30% Club, Sharon McCooey of LinkedIn, Ann Prendergast of State Street Global Advisors, Vicky Phelan, campaigner, and Dee Forbes of RTÉ together with a range of Bank of Ireland personnel.

Note to Editors

Biographies of 2020 Bank of Ireland Gold Sovereign Awardees

Brid Horan

Brid has over 20 years’ experience in senior executive roles and on boards of public and private sector organisations. She is former Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the ESB and her non-executive experience includes IDA Ireland, PM Group, FBD Holdings plc, National Pension Reserve Fund and Dublin City University. Brid is a co-founder and advisory board member of the 30% Club. The 30% Club are firm believers in encouraging more young women to study for careers in STEM -science, technology, engineering and mathematics and are investing in initiatives in this area.

Katie and Annie Madden

Kate and Annie Madden from Meath started their own business, FenuHealth, after their project about equine health won a prize at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in 2015. They were awarded the 2017 New Frontiers Award at The Irish Times Innovation Awards, and the 2017 Women Mean Business Sodexo Newcomer Award. They have recently established the Irish, British and American Junior Chamber of Commerce to help young entrepreneurs.

Roseann Kelly

Roseann joined Women in Business NI when it was formed in 2002. She has lead Women in Business as CEO over the last 10 years from an organisation of 80 members to over 2500. It is now a leading business network, delivering for and projecting the voice for women in business in Northern Ireland. Outside of Women in Business Roseann is vice Chair of Women’s Tec NI Ltd and a director on the Board of Diversity Mark NI Ltd, a company founded by Women in Business. She is a member of the Department for Economy’s Strategic Advisory Forum.