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Outstanding Women in Business – What to Expect: The Speakers

Griffith College and Network Cork will host its first Outstanding Women in Business event on May 2nd
5 min

Griffith College’s alumni network has partnered up with Network Cork to produce its first ‘Outstanding Women in Business' event.

On the evening, eight ‘Outstanding Women in Business’ will take to the stage to discuss two pressing topics, “managing stress in your role” and “future proofing your career”. Griffith College Alumni Officer Suzanna Doyle said, "Our alumni have been doing incredible things both in Ireland and beyond since graduating from Griffith College. It is their stories that we want to share at the 'Outstanding Women in Business' event. To inspire and encourage women to 'lean in'. 

Speakers include Griffith College staff, alumni and other inspirational women in business. Take a closer look at each of the speaker’s backgrounds:


Áine McManus – Head of the Faculty of Graduate Business School at Griffith College

Áine completed her Masters in Distributed Data Mining in UCD in 2001. Whilst there, she excelled, gaining a full scholarship and national publication of her work on algorithms. Her academic success secured her employment in Microsoft Ireland.

Whilst working at Microsoft, Áine went on to fulfil her passion for education by completing a part-time Masters in Third Level Learning and Teaching. Following this she became an expert lecturer in major institutions.

Áine joined our Graduate Business School in 2008 when she became programme director of our MBA/MSc in International Business. Since then she has successfully led the strategic academic development of several of our master’s programmes. Read more about Aine, here.


Remi Kolawole – Entrepreneur and Griffith College Alumna

Remi Kolawole was born in Lagos, Nigeria. She has been living in Ireland since 2002. She is an experienced Software Quality Analyst and currently works with Snap-On Diagnostics.

An entrepreneur, she co-founded Solid-Link Education Consulting with her husband.

Remi is a member of Africa Day Cork organising committee. She also founded "Africans Connect Ireland", a networking group for Africans and people of African descent living in Cork.

Remi is an alumna of Griffith College where she obtained a Certificate as an Accounting Technician in 2009 and completed a City & Guilds Software Development & Testing/Project Management course in 2013


Alison McSweeney – Cyber Incident Response Lead

Born and bred in Dublin’s fair city, Alison McSweeney is a 29-year-old Cyber Incident Response Lead for the EMEA region for Bank of New York Mellon. Alison started her career path with her undergraduate and Masters in Business Studies and e-commerce respectively. From there, she traveled to New York and began working in IT project management for Westpac. On her return home, she then moved into Cyber Security, and she has been in the industry ever since. Currently working in the city centre, Alison is one of the youngest women in senior management within the cyber security team and is a rising star in the sector. To top it off, Alison has also earned A CISSP associate and has both the GSEC AND GCIH certifications.


Linda Mellerick – Senior Commercial Executive and Griffith College Alumna

Linda Mellerick is a senior commercial executive with demonstrated successful expertise in leadership, business development, operations, corporate finance and stakeholder management. Since 2016 Linda has been the CFO of Selc Ireland - and was the key player in the 2017 acquisition of Selc Ireland by Xylem Inc, a US-based smart technology giant.

Linda has significantly developed Ireland-based business to prepare them for new international markets, including in Europe and the US. She was also responsible for the quick, significant turnaround and growth of GxP Systems and for its successful exit to a Fortune 500 company in 2015. Linda’s experience and instinctive ability allow her to make very good decisions in customer, market, operational, logistical and project management situations.

Linda’s professional success comes on the back of her extensive and successful camogie career. Today, Linda covers senior club and inter-county championship camogie games and writes a regular column for the Cork Evening Echo. She has done radio work for Ireland’s national broadcasting station, RTÉ.


Susan McCarthy – County Councillor and Griffith College Alumna

Susan McCarthy is an alumna of Griffith College Cork and has been a County Councillor in the Council since 2014, the largest local authority outside of Dublin. She sits on the Tourism SPC, Housing SPC, Audit Committee, the 1916 Commemorative Committee and the Historical Monuments Advisory Committee.

Susan came to politics after five-plus years in community development on a voluntary basis and 10 years as the owner/operator of a language school, the latter of which gave her great insight into the problems faced by small businesses. These experiences gave her the ability to be balanced and objective while being passionate about instigating reform.

In addition to her work as County Councillor, Susan is also a board member of Crawford Art Gallery, which is a designated National Cultural Institution under the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. In addition, she is a Director and served as Chairperson on the Board of Management of Midleton Family Resource Centre, Midleton Community Forum, and sat on the South Regional Forum. She also served as a Voluntary Board Member on the board of the Family Resource Centre National Forum and currently sits on the Board of Youghal Socio-Economic Development Group and St Coleman's Community College.

Susan is a member of the National Women's Council of Ireland. Susan completed her HDip (Hons) in Journalism and Broadcast Media from Griffith College Cork in 2008.


Zara King – Journalist and Griffith College Alumna

Zara King is a journalist, currently working as a News Reporter with Virgin Media Television (formerly known as TV3).

She began her broadcasting career at the age of 15 in local radio, before completing the BA in Journalism at Griffith College Cork and studying her final year at Griffith College Dublin.

Now 30, Zara has spent half of her life working in broadcasting between radio and television, previous employers include Newstalk, Today FM, and UTV.

Describing herself as a ‘storyteller’, Zara has reported on hundreds of live breaking news stories. In the last twelve months alone she has closely covered everything from the ongoing cervical check scandal, to the Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan in Windsor. Zara also covered the Papal Visit to Ireland, working with the Vatican Press Corp travelling on board the Papal Jet.

Last Summer she was recognised by the Law Society of Ireland for her work in the area of Social Justice and Human Rights Journalism.


Alpa Agrawal – Chemical Engineer and Griffith College Alumna

Alpa is a chemical engineer and after completing her MSc with first class honours in Innovation, Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship she started her own company, Allmin.

Her company provides consultancy and handles the global supply of raw materials in various chemical industry sectors including Pharma, Detergent, Construction Chemicals, Snow Melting chemicals and Agri Fertilizers.

Alpa was elected to be a part of the judging panel at the "Built In Cork" event in 2017 and was part of the mentorship and judging panel at the Regional Finals of the South Cork Schools Enterprise Programme in 2016.

Alpa was awarded the “10 Outstanding Young People” award by JCI (Junior chamber International, Cork Chapter and is part of the executive committee of Irish India Business Association, Cork Chapter.

In 2018, Alpa was selected to be the Brand Ambassador of the “WE ARE CORK” campaign launched by Cork City and county council in collaboration with Local Enterprise boards and was named by Irish Examiner as one of the “TOP 5 BLOW-INS IN CORK” in 2018 alongside Hotelier Ray Kelleher and the Japanese chef Takashi Miyazaki who relieved Michelin star for his restaurant Ichigo Ichie.

Alongside running her company, Alpa is a lecturer on the MSc. in International Pharmaceutical Business Management at Griffith College Cork, where she completed a Certificate in Training & Education.


Helen Raftery – CEO

Helen is CEO of Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI), working with 30 staff and 3,000 business volunteers each year to inspire and motivate young people to realise their potential by valuing education and gaining an understanding of how to succeed in the world of work.

Before assuming her current role, Helen enjoyed opportunities to teach and to work across the public, private and voluntary sectors, including roles in two National Governing Bodies of Sport, and at the Irish Sports Council, in the eight years spanning its emergence from a voluntary committee to a statutory agency.

Her doctoral studies focused on the work of volunteer directors/ board members in non-profits, with a particular emphasis on the governance of sport and the role of voluntary leaders in non-profit organisations.

Her clarion call is the need to ensure young people get every opportunity to participate, enjoy and excel in the area of their choosing – be it technology, sport, cultural or academic pursuits – wherever their passions and talents lead them we need to contribute to an environment in which young people can follow their dreams.


Griffith College will welcome students, staff and alumni alike to its Wellington road, Montenotte in Cork to its first Outstanding Women in Business event. The event will take place from Wednesday 8 May.


Outstanding Women in Business