Cork climate change activist scoops national STEM Businesswoman of the Year award

Kinsale-based Tara Shine from Change by Degrees won the STEM category of the Network Ireland Business Woman of the Year awards
Cork climate change activist scoops national STEM Businesswoman of the Year award

Tara Shine from Change by Degrees who won the STEM category and was the Overall Winner at Network Cork's Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2021. She went onto the national finals today and won the national STEM category. Picture: Darragh Kane

CORK'S Tara Shine who lives in Kinsale took home one of the national titles at Network Ireland's Businesswoman of the Year awards today.

Tara was named the national winner of the STEM category of the awards.

She won the title of Network Ireland Cork Businesswoman of the Year, earlier in the year - securing her a place at the national finals today.

Tara is the co-founder of the social enterprise that inspires people to live and work more sustainably, Change by Degrees. With a career of 20 years as an environmental scientist, climate change negotiator, former special advisor to the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice group, and currently holding a senior United Nations role to assess progress being made to keep the global temperature rise to below 1.5oC, she’s highly accomplished.

A total of 435 applicants put their names forward for this year’s national awards through 14 regional branches of Network Ireland - including Network Cork and Network West Cork. A hectic season of selection events across the country in recent months resulted in the selection of 72 finalists to go forward to today’s event. A self-published children’s author, a child sleep consultant and a business that helps schools and businesses reduce plastic waste are among the winners  today.

The results were announced during the business organisation’s annual conference at Waterford’s Theatre Royal. A 300-strong audience attended the gala event in person and online. Among the speakers were a number of global experts in their fields - immunologist Professor Kate Fitzgerald, conductor and composer Eimear Noone; and coaching expert and World Rugby representative, Su Carty.

The winners of the 8 categories are:

  • Solo Businesswoman: Lynda Sheehan, Rockbarton Garden Centre, Limerick
  • Emerging New Business: Erica Hargaden, Babogue Ltd, Kildare
  • Established Business: Ber Collins, Crystal Clear Springs Enterprises Ltd, Co Clare 
  • Employee Rising Star: Aisling Finn, Jaguar Land Rover, Co Clare
  • Employee Shining Star: Steffi Singh, Securitas, Dublin
  • Creative Professional: Emma-Jane Leeson, The Johnny Magory Company Ltd, Kildare
  • STEM: Dr Tara Shine, Change by Degrees, Cork 

  • Power Within Champion: Lorraine Lynch, Child Psychology Institute, Galway

This year’s ‘Trish Murphy Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution’ was conferred on Rebecca Harrison - who used to live in Cork and is a former Network Cork member. Rebecca has made a monumental contribution to Network Ireland over 20 years, serving on multiple branch committees and as National President in 2017. Rebecca is Managing Director of Fishers of Newtownmountkennedy Ltd, a Boutique Department Store, and founded Food at Fishers, an award-winning casual-dining restaurant. She mentors other small business owners and frequently speaks on-air and at events on retail, networking and entrepreneurship.

National President of Network Ireland Aisling O’Neill paid tribute to Rebecca and the award winners: “Rebecca has been a source of inspiration and guidance to hundreds of members of Network Ireland, including myself over the years and she is without doubt an integral part of our organisation - she’s a truly worthy winner of the Trish Murphy Memorial Award”.

“I want to congratulate every applicant, finalist and winner of today’s awards, for shining a light on the fantastic work being done by women around Ireland every day, particularly over the past 20 months. 

"I’m so proud of all our members who provide support and encouragement to each other every day, embodying the spirit of Network Ireland as the progressive, dynamic organisation we aim to be."

AIB is the official partner of Network Ireland and Head of Business Banking, Catherine Moroney was a judge in the Power Within Champion category this year. Catherine praised the calibre of all the entries: “The power of Network Ireland shone through every stage of this year’s awards once again. Members have demonstrated an inspirational level of creativity, resilience and teamwork throughout the past 20 months and it’s always a privilege to witness the impact they make - particularly at the annual awards ceremony. I would like to congratulate all the applicants, finalists and winners as well as the organisers. Aisling and her team have done a great job of preparing a wonderful event.” 

Enterprise Ireland was the official partner for the Awards and National Conference. Entrepreneurship Manager Sheelagh Daly highlighted the importance of organisations like Network Ireland. 

“The winners of this year’s awards are exceptional role models. We know that acknowledging and recognising the talent and expertise demonstrated daily by women business leaders contributes significantly to increasing women’s entrepreneurship. Network Ireland is a vital part of that process for this country and Enterprise Ireland is proud to support them in their activities."

All proceeds from streaming ticket sales for today’s event will go to Network Ireland’s charity partner for 2021, Focus Ireland.

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