DCU Ryan Academy in association with ThousandSeeds is delighted to host and welcome the launch of the 2014 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards
on Monday 3rd February in Citywest.

Date: Monday 3rd February 2014
Time: 5.30pm – 8.30pm
Venue: DCU Ryan Academy, Citywest

Who is the Cartier Women’s Initiative?

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards are an international business plan competition created in 2006 by Cartier, the Women’s Forum, McKinsey & Company and INSEAD business school to identify, support and encourage projects by women entrepreneurs around the world.

The mission of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is threefold:

  • To identify and support initial-phase women entrepreneurs through funding and coaching
  • To foster the spirit of enterprise by celebrating role models in entrepreneurship
  • To create an international network of women entrepreneurs and encourage peer networking

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards aim to encourage the most vulnerable category of entrepreneurs in their most vulnerable phase: women entrepreneurs starting up. Since their inception in 2006, they have accompanied over 100 promising female business-owners and recognized 32 Laureates.


  • 5:30pm Registration
  • 6:00pm Welcome – Ann Horan – CEO, DCU Ryan Academy
  • 6:10pm Welcome to the speakers – Mary Cronin – ThousandSeeds
  • 6:20pm Introduction to the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards – Olivia Lazare – Programme Manager, The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards
  • 6:50pm Kresse Wesling – Co-Founder, Elvis & Kresse – 2011 UK Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards Laureate
  • 7:10pm Leonora O’Brien – Founder & CEO, Pharmapod – 2013 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards Laureate
  • 7:25pm Raomal Perera – Co-Founder, ThousandSeeds
  • 7:35pm Jean O’Sullivan – Manager, Female Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland
  • 7:45pm Q&A session with Cartier, Kresse Wesling and Leonora O’Brien
  • 8:00pm Networking and finger food

About the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards:

Thousandseeds - Cartier Womens Iniative Awards - Recognising Talented Women In BusinessThese awards are an international competition created in 2006 by Cartier, INSEAD business school, the Global Women’s Forum and McKinsey & Company. They identify, support and encourage business by women entrepreneurs internationally.
The competition is run over 6 continents. Three finalists are picked from each continent & six overall final winners are selected. The value for Irish entrepreneurs is to help them grow their business internationally through brand association, international networking opportunities and operating at an international business level. ThousandSeeds have run the entrepreneurial workshops for the Cartier awards finalists for the past 4 years.

Award Criteria:

Award CriteriaThe Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is looking for committed female entrepreneurs heading initiatives with the potential to grow significantly in the years to come. The selection of the finalists and laureates of the competition is done by an independent international Jury of entrepreneurs, investors, business executives and other profiles engaged in the support of female entrepreneurship.

The eligibility criteria for the project to be considered must be an original for-profit business in the initial phase (1- 3 years old) led by a woman, for-profit. For more details on the criteria to apply see
The announcement of the Laureates from the six continents takes place in October each year at the annual Global Women’s Forum in Deauville, France.

Speaker Bios:

Olivia Lazare – Programme Director – Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards

olivia-lazareOlivia Lazare leads the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards in Paris. Prior to this role, she worked for the French Permanent Representations to the United Nations headquarters in New York on environmental issues. Also for the French Permanent Representations to UN. Working on public-private partnerships for economic growth in developing countries, she joined a company focusing on marketing biofuels and agricultural products in Africa and Southeast Asia. She holds an M.A in International Relations and B.A. in French Literature from the Sorbonne University, France.

Kresse Wesling – Cofounder – Elvis & Kresse

KresseKresse Wesling has a rather extraordinary passion: waste! Her company ‘Elvis & Kresse’ creates stunning life-style accessories by re-engineering waste and turns them into luxury goods. Today, Elvis & Kresse accessories are sold in the world’s most luxurious department store, Harrods, alongside famed luxury labels, and have recently gone Stateside to New York. 50% of all profits are donated to charities. Kresse grew up in Canada and studied at the International Baccalaureate in Hong Kong. She holds a Political Science & East Asian Studies degree from McGill University. In 2009 Kresse was named as one of Britain’s 100 most entrepreneurial women.

Leonora O’Brien – Founder – Pharmapod

Leonora O'Brien.jpegLeonora O’Brien is an award winning pharmacist and the founder and CEO of Pharmapod, an innovative company that has developed ‘pioneering’ software to promote the safety of patients worldwide. Leonora has 16 years’ experience in pharmacy practice, policy development and regulatory affairs at a national & EU level. Leonora’s past roles include working for the Pharmacy Regulator in Ireland and across 7 European countries as European Manager for an international pharmacy group, implementing pan-European professional standards & anti-counterfeit programmes. She has also held the position of Chief Pharmacist for the largest pharmacy chain in Ireland. Leonora was honoured to be the awarded the title of Laureate for Europe in the Global Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards 2013. She was also named as the Top Digital Health Influencer in Ireland in 2013.

Mary Cronin – Cofounder – ThousandSeeds

Mary_CroninMary Cronin has over 20 years experience transforming businesses. She focuses on stimulating entrepreneurship, developing leadership strategies and enabling change. Mary helps companies accelerate and transform their ideas and products to create successful, sustainable and scalable businesses. Mary is a Lean and Disruptive thinking advocate. Mary co-founded ThousandSeeds in 2009, which was set-up to stimulate entrepreneurship and develop business opportunities. ThousandSeeds have garnered a reputation as ‘thought leaders’ on Lean thinking and have an established international footprint, working with entrepreneurs globally. She passionatley works to improve the pedagogy of entrepreneurship education and innovation/disruption in organisations because new venture creation is the engine of society.

Raomal Perera – Cofounder – ThousandSeeds

Raomal PereraRaomal Perera has over 30 years of experience in the IT, Communications and related technology industries. He is a serial entrepreneur having been the co-founder of two technology companies; Network365/Valista and ISOCOR. Raomal is an Adjunct Professor, in the Entrepreneurship department at Insead. Raomal has been a guest speaker at the University College of Dublin (UCD), Trinity College, Dublin, Grupo Guayacán Programme (Puerto Rico), SalesForce.Com and at a number of international conferences. Raomal won the Irish Software Association’s (ISA) Outstanding Software Achievement Award in 2003. Raomal is also a finalist in the Ernst & Young ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ awards. He was one of 40 entrepreneurs worldwide chosen to join as a technology pioneer the prestigious World Economic Forum (WEF).

Jean O’Sullivan – Manager Female Entrepreneurship – Enterprise Ireland

Jean_OSullivan_3As Manager of Female Entrepreneurship, Jean manages Enterprise Irelands key initiatives to support Female Entrepreneurs. These initiatives are part of a drive to boost the number of innovative, export-oriented businesses being set up and led by female entrepreneurs. Jean has worked for Enterprise Ireland since 1999 in various roles, which include Industrial relations, Human Resource Specialist, Manager of HR Services and most recently as Senior Development Advisor with the High Potential Start up Team. Jean’s previous work experience ranged across included roles at Bank of Scotland, ANZ bank and Bank of Ireland. Jean has studied extensively in Universities abroad including; Edinburgh’s Napier University, Melbourne’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and America’s Idaho State University from which she holds a BA in International Marketing. Jean also holds an MBS in Strategic Human Resources from Dublin City University.