Leaders Awards 2020

it@cork Leaders Awards 2020

Physically Distanced, Virtually United 

For the 15th year running, the it@cork Annual Leaders Awards acknowledge the best of Cork’s thriving ICT community which encompasses renowned multinationals, disruptive start-ups and emerging companies. The Leaders Awards recognise all those who have gone further than most in the use of technology in their respective organisations and businesses. Over the last few weeks, the nomination and judging process took place virtually and we are delighted to announce this year’s winners as follows:

  • Company of the Year Award: Global Shares
  • One to Watch Award: GuardYoo
  • Smart Technology Innovation Award: Flexiwage
  • Tech Person of the Year Award: Ruth Buckley (Chief Information Officer Cork City Council & co-Founder iWish)
  • it@cork Chairperson Community Award: Liam Casey (PCH)

Anthony O’Callaghan, Chair of it@cork said, this year’s it@cork awards are more important than ever, all the nominees in this year’s awards have demonstrated that it’s the people that ensure our sector is resilient. The standard between this year’s finalists was incredibly high and each year the selection process gets harder and harder which is testament to the innovate culture which is so prevalent across the region. O’Callaghan added that this year’s process was special as we wanted to ensure that the navigation of the covid crisis featured strongly in the judging process. Leadership takes many forms and when considering Ruth for Tech leader of the Year 2020 we assessed not only her day to day remit but also her commitment to the region’s resilience whether this be in Cork City’s reaction to Covid, her support of the tech cluster or her being a co-Founder of the national STEM movement iWish. We view this not only as an award for Ruth but in some way as a recognition of the public sector as a whole and how their trojan efforts have led us through this crisis, thank you all and thank you to all the other nominees and winners.

Juliette Crowley, newly appointed Chief Operating Offer said: “We are delighted that Global  Shares is the recipient of our Company of the Year Award.  This award acknowledges the substantial growth they have experienced and with a thriving global business and such a strong contribution to employment in the region we look forward to their continued success in the coming years. In terms of our very important community award – Liam Casey from PCH played a significant part in the country’s response to Covid 19 with PCH having delivered over 90 million units of PPE with priority being given to frontline responder organisations.  This award recognises the significant part played by Liam and PCH in working with community to meet the challenges this crisis has posed. With their major expansion across Europe and into North America the One to Watch Award had to go to GuardYoo. This is a very exciting time for GuardYoo – they are set to become a global leader in cyber security auditing.  A clear winner and definitely one to watch. Our Smart Technology Innovation Award had many contenders with the award going to Flexiwage in recognition of their budgeting, scheduling, and tracking software helping employees better manage their income. We are delighted to have had such an abundance of nominations for this year’s awards and it has been very difficult to select the winners from such high calibre nominees. These winners represent some of the most dynamic technology companies and individuals in the country and I would like to extend my congratulations to each one of them.  it@cork and its’ members continue to play a key role in the technology sector in Ireland and we look forward to continuing to support and develop this sector in 2021.”

The ICT sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the region, providing employment and investment opportunities. Cork is one of the most creative, focused and ingenious tech hubs in Europe, playing strongly in areas such as Cyber Security, Cloud, Data Analytics and IOT. We have an exciting entrepreneur community innovating in new and emerging areas like AI, Blockchain and Fintech as well as an extremely responsive education sector and this was shown yet again this year with five finalists from Cork in the EY entrepreneur of the year program alone.

A huge congratulations to all the winners on this fantastic achievement and for their success in 2020. Year-on-year, the volume and calibre of applicants has significantly grown, and we would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who was involved in the process.

Overview of it@cork 2020 Leaders Awards Winners


Flexiwage is a financial wellness benefit for employees, which enables them to schedule their income in a pay frequency that suits their needs, without impacting a company’s ability to process monthly. Flexiwage is helping companies to save up to 75% on payroll administration and increase cashflow while at the same time empowering and engaging employees to manage and control their income, their way.


GuardYoo is an online Platform delivering fully automated Compromise Assessment audits and Forensic Analysis using AI to identify any previously undetected threats within a network. GuardYoo provides companies with a secure, reliable and affordable Compromise Assessment including Forensic Analysis, within 1week. GuardYoo’s fully automated cloud-based solution reduces the time, resources and costs associated with a Compromise Assessment by 70%, allowing companies to identify and remediate their vulnerabilities faster and without having to over commit valuable resources.

Global Shares

Global Shares is a leading global fintech firm and manages employee share plans for some of the world’s biggest companies. With more than 400 employees and an award-winning software platform, it simplifies equity compensation so that businesses can focus on attracting, engaging and retaining key staff. Employee ownership means that employees benefit financially when the company they’re working for succeeds. Global Shares is a regulated firm, with headquarters in Clonakilty and offices in Cork City as well as 16 locations across the globe. We export to 100+ countries worldwide and are on track to reach a $1 ‘unicorn’ billion valuation by 2024.


The shortlisted companies for the 2020 awards were: