Women in Leadership

Venue The Address, Old Naas Road, Citywest
Date Wednesday, March 8th , 2023
Time 11:30 am - 2:00 pm

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Our Women in Leadership series returns in 2023 with another excellent panel of inspiring speakers.  Fittingly, the first event of series takes place on March 8th – International Women’s Day!  Our guest speaker is Dr Sally Cudmore, Director of Innovation with University College Cork – the first woman to have held this role.   Sally has had a very interesting route to her current role, moving from research to pharma where she led the cell biology division in Elan and then moved over to a world-leading research company – APC – where she was General Manager for many years.  She’s also had some time as a entrepreneur setting a clinical trial company which is still in operation in Cork and the US.    We’re looking forward to chatting with Sally about her journey to date, some lessons learnt and challenges she’s faced and what drew her to the role with UCC. 

Please note that this series is not a women only event!  All members are most welcome to these inspiring and thought provoking leadership events. 


Dr Sally Cudmore, Director of Innovation – University College Cork

Sally is currently the Director of Innovation in University College Cork, the first female to hold this role in UCC. She is responsible for technology transfer, entrepreneurship programmes, consultancy, and the management and commercialisation of UCC’s intellectual property (IP) portfolio. This includes capturing and licensing IP, the creation and support of start-ups, establishing research relationships with industry, entrepreneurs and the financing community, and encouraging a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the University. Sally also plays a leadership role in partnering with enterprise, in co-ordinating consultancy, and engaging effectively at the academic – industry interface.

Sally has a BSc in Biochemistry from University College Cork, and a PhD in Cell Biology from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Germany. She carried out postdoctoral research at EMBL and University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in virology and cytoskeleton. She then moved to pharma where she established and led the Cell Biology division in Elan and managed a gene-delivery joint venture with Targeted Genetics in Seattle. She also completed a part-time MSc in Technology Management in UCD.

She was the General Manager of the world-leading SFI Research Centre APC Microbiome Ireland for 18 years, which studies the human gut microbiome and its influence on health.  APC has over 300 researchers and clinicians from diverse backgrounds who mine the microbiota to identify functional components (potential functional foods or therapeutics) which can promote health and treat disease. This is of relevance to disorders such as obesity, cardiovascular health, inflammation and colon cancer. Under Sally’s management APC won over €200 million in competitive funding, collaborated with more than 70 food and pharma companies, trained 600+ alumni, spun-out 4 companies, and published over 3,000 research articles. APC is ranked #1 globally for research in antimicrobials and therapeutic microbes. Sally also had a brush with entrepreneurship as the founding CEO of the UCC/APC start-up company, Atlantia Clinical Trials Ltd, in 2012, which employs over 80 people in Cork and Chicago today.



Our MC for this event will be Caitriona Walsh, Country President and Managing Director – Novartis Ireland

A proud Galwegian, Caitriona studied Biotechnology in National University Ireland, Galway before completing her PhD in Immunology in Trinity College Dublin. 
Caitriona joined Novartis in 2006, holding several medical, marketing and sales roles in Novartis Ireland, before moving to Novartis Headquarters in Switzerland and working in a number of roles as Region Europe Brand Director and Head Business Operations and Strategic Projects. 
She joined Novartis UK in 2019 and has held leadership positions as Franchise Head Immunology, Hepatology, Dermatology and UK Business Unit Head (Immunology, Neuroscience, Ophthalmology) in 2021, before returning to Ireland as Country President, Novartis Ireland Ltd in Sept 2022.

Caitriona is a leader who enables successful performance by working collaboratively with customers and her teams and is passionate about how innovation can improve the lives of patients and the wider healthcare system.


The Women in Leadership series is proudly supported by:



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Date: 08/03/2023