Linda takes overall award at virtual awards

2020 Network Ireland Cork Businesswoman of the Year winner Linda O'Connell of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Ireland, with Network Ireland Cork's president, Marguerite O'Sullivan and other award winners. Linda, who was announced the 2020 overall winner on 28 August at a virtual awards ceremony, also won in the Transformative Employee category. (Picture: Darragh Kane)

The Society of St Vincent de Paul Ireland’s national Online and Media Coordinator has been named as the overall Network Ireland Cork Businesswoman of the Year.

Linda O’Connell was announced the 2020 winner last Friday at a virtual awards ceremony, along with the six category award winners for the 2020 Network Ireland Cork Businesswoman of the Year Awards.

Linda, who has over 15 years’ experience working in the non-profit sector as a communications specialist, also scooped the award for Transformative Employee. 

The judges outlined that Linda “demonstrated in both her career and in her personal life a remarkable ability to dig deep and confront major life challenges through developing extraordinary self-awareness”.

Category winners on the night, were: Power Within Champion – Trudy McQuaid, Enable Ireland; Transformative Employee – Linda O’Connell, Society of St. Vincent de Paul Ireland; Solo Businesswoman – Maeve Lankford, Kaleidoscope Coaching and Facilitation; Emerging New Business – Madeleine Murray, Change by Degrees; Business Innovation – Jenny Murphy, Red Balloon; Online Business Transformation – Eveanna De Barra Kumar, Himalaya Yoga Valley.

In the Emerging New Business category, Louise Bunyan from SmartFox, Fermoy was a finalist.


Speaking on the winners, Network Ireland Cork’s president, Marguerite O’Sullivan said: “From migrating to an online business to designing sustainability solutions, the 2020 winners of the Network Ireland Cork Businesswoman of the Year Awards are hugely diverse but are linked through their exceptional leadership, creativity and resilience. This has been a year unlike any other.

“The pandemic has been an epic test of character and determination for so many – the pressure has been daunting and the need to pivot while staying energised and focused never more important.

“In the face of certain challenges, our winners have looked outwards, and showed great strength. A huge congratulations to each and every one and we look forward to them all representing Cork at the national finals next month.”

The Awards’ judges were Ernest Cantillon of Electric Bar and Kinsale Spirit Company; Sharon Corcoran, Director of Economic Development & Tourism at Cork County Council and Elmarie Kelleher, Branch manager of AIB. The virtual event was compered by Jonathon Healy.

The winners across all categories will go forward for the Network Ireland Business Awards on 2 October. The event was sponsored by Brown Thomas. For more information see