Celebrating the 2014
Irish America Business 100 (Photos)
By Adam Farley, Deputy Editor
December 15, 2014
The 2014 Annual Irish America Business 100 Awards Luncheon was held Friday, December 12th at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan, with the keynote address given by Shannon Deegan, Google’s director of Global Security Operations. All Photos Nuala Purcell.
Now in it’s 29th year, the Irish America Business 100 aims to recognize the top business professionals from all industries for their innovative contributions to the corporate climate in the U.S. and abroad. Ranging from Irish-born entrepreneurs to fifth-generation Irish American, the honorees are united in their shared passion for their heritage and acknowledgement of the influence their Irish antecedents in their daily lives.
Speaking on the relationship between his Canadian Irish heritage and Google’s humanist corporate philosophy, Deegan’s keynote was a funny and impactful speech, made all the more prescient for being in the presence of his father Brendan and mother Katie, who came from Montreal to the event.
“In Canada we hold to the idea of a mosaic, in which each culture retains a distinct identity and is still conscious of the nation as a whole.”
That theme of the integration of distinct cultures has carried over to Deegan’s thinking about the culture at Google, where small teams work together and managers act less as supervisors than as “resources,” he said. “All our office space is designed with this goal of ensuring employees can and should innovate. Because innovation is the reason for our success and is key to our continued survival.”
Deegan was presented with the 2014 Irish America Business 100 Keynote Speaker Award, a House of Waterford Crystal Kings Bowl by Patricia Harty, Irish America editor in chief, and Irish America founding publisher Niall O’Dowd.
“His enthusiasm for Google and everything they do is infectious,” Irish America founding editor Patricia Harty said in her introduction of Deegan.
“I know that part of the reason Shannon is here is that just two 80-year lifespans ago his ancestors made that trip to Montreal, so he is very proud of his Irish heritage, as all of you are. His ancestors endured and today, one of their son’s, Shannon Deegan is in a top position with the top company in the World,” she said.
Legendary singer and songwriter Judy Collins also performed a stirring rendition of one of her latest releases, the Irish-themed “Moon Rise Over the Hudson.”
Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America also spoke on new initiatives to expect in the coming year and the importance of the tourism industry in the country. And Irish Ambassador Anne Anderson touched on the subject of celebration.
“Look at [Ireland] right now,” she said. “Almost five percent growth this year, jobs are being created, the country is getting back on its feet again. Is it perfect? Of course not. Have we reasons for complacency? Of course not. But we are the envy of every country in Europe with the growth rates we’ve been having,” she said.