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Outstanding Women in Business: CEO Junior Achievement Ireland - Helen Raftery

CEO of JAI Dr Helen Raftery will speak at Griffith College's Outstanding Women in Business seminar
3 min


In the lead up to Griffith College and Network Cork’s first Outstanding Women in Business event, we spoke to the keynote speakers


Profile: Dr. Helen Raftery

CEO of Junior Achievement Ireland Helen Raftery is one of eight speakers at the Outstanding Women in Business event organised by Griffith College and Network Cork. Prior to CEO of JAI, Raftery taught across the public, private and voluntary sector. This included roles in two National Governing Bodies of Sport and at the Irish Sports Council. Raftery secured her Doctoral status through studies surrounding the work of volunteer directors/board members in non-profits with an acute emphasis on the governance of sport and the role of voluntary leaders in non-profit organisations.

Q. What is your relationship with Griffith College?

A. Our Cork-based team are tenants of GC. When we were looking for new office accommodation I approached David Woods in Dublin and as we are a non-profit working with both education and industry partners to inspire young people to value their education and optimise their potential, so we were delighted to be able to ‘set up shop’ on an educational campus and as our aims are very well aligned.

Q. What comes to your mind when you hear “Outstanding Women in Business”?

I think of women who are well-known like Breege O’Donoghue of Penneys’/ Primark fame in the corporate sector, women like Myrtle Allen who lead the development of small family affairs into multi-million Euro operations, and people like Julie Sinanmon a committed public servant who leads an organisation, which helps others succeed in business.

On the other hand, I think of women like my own late mother who will never be mentioned in dispatches and yet they do extraordinary work in juggling family responsibilities and coping with business demands – to me those women are even more extraordinary.

Q. What would you like to see stem from this event?

I hope people can take away the importance of role models in encouraging young people to follow their dreams, find their passion and develop the essential skills they will need to navigate an unpredictable future. Even if you can’t volunteer to facilitate a JA programme, find a way to complement the work of educators in reinforcing those key messages.

As Paulo Friere wrote: “Education does not change the world. Education changes people. People change the world!”

Q. What is your advice to all the “Outstanding Women” in the crowd?

Celebrate your achievements! 

Griffith College in partnership with Network Cork will host its first Outstanding Women in Business event that will take place on Wednesday 8th May. 

Outstanding Women in Business

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