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Irish karate star Caradh O’Donovan is announced as 30% Club UCD Diploma in Corporate Governance Scholarship Winner 2022.

  • Date: Fri, May 27, 2022

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Smurfit Executive Development is delighted to announce the award of the 2022 30% Club scholarship to Caradh O’Donovan. Caradh is a former World and European Champion Kickboxer and was a member of the Irish Kickboxing Team for twenty years. She is a multiple National Karate Champion and represented Ireland at Senior World and European Karate Championships. Caradh now works for Boardmatch Ireland as the Premium Search Manager.

She works with charity and not-for-profit Boards liaising with CEOs and Chairs to recruit the necessary skillsets and diversity onto their Boards with the goal of improving their governance. Caradh completed her BSc in Sports Management UCD before continuing to a MA Sport & Exercise Psychology at Waterford Institute of Technology. Caradh O’Donovan’s impressive sporting pedigree both on the field and thereafter in representing sporting bodies and her experience in working with not-for-profit Boards will further enhance the profile of participants on this prestigious programme. 

She co-founded Global Athlete in 2019; an organisation established for athletes, by athletes bring about positive change in global sport. In her application and interview, Caradh demonstrated her passion for both sports and good governance. Her work with Global Athlete has given her an  excellent experience and understanding of the best (and worst) practice in relation to governance as well as identifying the skills gap for her to fulfil her duties as an athlete representative in the Olympic movement. This motivated her to apply for the prestigious UCD Smurfit Executive Development Diploma in Corporate Governance. Caradh looks forward to promoting the core values and aspirations of the 30% Club and that of the UCD Centre for Corporate Governance as a scholarship recipient.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be this year’s winner! This is a massive opportunity for me to up-skill and bring new learnings to my work in the not for profit and sport sectors. I will embrace this opportunity to study at the prestigious UCD Smurfit Executive Development and gain important knowledge from the Diploma in Corporate Governance. I am also honoured to be an ambassador for the 30% Club ” Caradh O'Donovan

Alongside the growing emphasis on education and training of company directors and governors, is an increased emphasis on diversity in boardrooms. Following the banking crisis, the Stock Exchange’s Corporate Governance Code added forceful material on the need for diverse boards, including gender and race. That Code advocates diversity as a means of avoiding “groupthink”, encouraging different approaches and experiences around boardroom tables. Under the State Code, due regard for diversity is required in making state board appointments, with chairs and government departments required to consider the benefits of diversity on boards, including gender diversity. 

To advance the objectives of the code, UCD Smurfit Executive Development, in association with the 30% Club, offers one scholarship per annum to a female student on the fully accredited postgraduate Professional Diploma in Corporate Governance. The 30% Club was launched in January 2015 and has the objective of improving gender balance at all levels in Irish business, with a focus on gender balance on boards of directors and in senior executive leadership positions.

To date seven scholars have completed the programme including Stephanie Manahan, former CEO of the not-for-profit charity, the Central Remedial Clinic, and now CEO of Pieta House; Katherine Licken, Secretary General of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media;  Niamh Duddy, Company Secretary of the Irish branch of Investec Bank plc; Georgina Gray, Superintendent in An Garda Síochána; Sinead Ryan, Director of Governance, National University of Ireland; Cora Sutton, Director of Cronin and Sutton Consulting Engineers; and Marie Gleeson former Lieutenant Commander in the Irish Navy and now a Leadership Consultant and Motivational Speaker.

We are proud of our 30% Club scholarship recipients, and of their range of backgrounds from not-for-profit, to Government department to private sector financial services and non-executive director positions.  Each class comprises participants with a diverse range of expertise. Executive development involves learning from the lecturers on the programme, and even more valuable, peer-to-peer learning, from the depth and range of expertise in each class of senior, experienced executives.

For more information on the September 2022 intake of our UCD Diploma in Corporate Governance programme click here.

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