Pictured is Aisling O'Neill President Network Ireland, Fermoy woman Louise Bunyan who received the 'Shining Star' Highly Commended Award, and Katherine O'Sullivan President Network West Cork. (Picture: Patrick Browne)

Two West Cork businesswomen, one of them a Fermoy native, received a ‘Highly Commended’ accolade at the Network Ireland National Conference and Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2021.

Network Ireland West Cork member Louise Bunyan, received her ‘Highly Commended’ award in the Employee Shining Star category. The event took place recently at the Theatre Royal in Waterford city. 

Louise, who now lives in Clonakilty, works with VMware as a talent marketing specialist and is also the founder of SmartFox.ie, Irelands only dedicated online LinkedIn school. 

Speaking of the awards, Louise said she was ‘delighted’ to have received the ‘Shining Star’ Highly Commended award for VMware and the Network Ireland West Cork Branch.

“I’m also so proud to represent my fellow solopreneurs who have returned to being employees. In November 2020 I made a big decision to take a step back from self-employment and instead to explore job opportunities.  

“Luckily, it’s all worked out very well and I am very fortunate to work alongside a fantastic Employment Brand team and Talent Acquisition team in VMware in recruitment marketing, which has always been my passion. And because of our ‘Work Here. Transform Everywhere.’ initiative, I can work in a global role from home in Clonakilty and from the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen. 

“And don’t worry, SmartFox is still going but nowadays as a side hustle through my online school and evening webinars,” Louise said.

Founder and principal consultant at Argideen Communications, Jacinta Collins has been championing science for over 25 years. 

Jacinta’s pioneering work, in helping society gain a greater understanding of how science can improve our quality of life, has gained her ‘Highly Commended’ recognition in the STEM category at the National awards. 

“The Network Ireland Businesswoman of the Year Awards shine a light on the many talented and courageous women whose businesses are helping create a thriving community. It’s a privilege to be in the mix and bring a STEM twist to what is already a diverse and vibrant network. 

“I was delighted to bring a Highly Commended Award back to West Cork, particularly one for STEM as it helps bust some myths about the breath of STEM careers.  This national recognition is a great boost for my business and I hope it will bring about many new business opportunities,”  Jacinta said.

Network Ireland West Cork President, Katherine O’ Sullivan, congratulated all the finalists saying that the event had been ‘amazing and inspiring’.