IrishCentral’s sister publication Irish America magazine celebrated the recipients of its 2014 Business 100 awards in New York yesterday with keynote speaker Shannon Deegan, Google’s director of Global Security Operations.
Speaking on the relationship between his Canadian Irish heritage and Google’s humanist corporate philosophy, Deegan gave a funny and impactful speech, made all the more meaningful by the presence of his father Brendan, mother Katie, and his older brother Brendan, Jr., 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 was 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.”
Among the honorees in attendance at the Metropolitan Club were Bonnie Brennan, a senior vice president at Christie’s America; Maggie Cahill, a project manager at Wells Fargo; Martin Daly, senior vice president and director of News and Late Night Sales at CBS;Tom Finn, president of Global Healthcare at Procter and Gamble; Mark Gallagher, managing director of Mutual of America; Janet Haire, founder and CEO of Haire Business Solutions; Jack Haren, president and CFO of Mohawk Paper Mills, Shaun Kelly, vice chair of Operations at KPMG; Aisling McDonagh, executive director of Women's Lifestyle & Home Design, Hearst Digital Media; Eileen McDonnell, chairman, president & CEO, Penn Mutual Life Insurance, Shane Naughton, managing partner of Inundata, and Jack O’Callahan, president of Beanpot Financial Services and a member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” USA Olympic gold medal winning hockey team.
Also in attendance were: Irish Ambassador to the US Anne Anderson; Irish Consul General of New York Barbara Jones; legendary singer and songwriter Judy Collins; Kieran McLoughlin, Chairman of the Worldwide Ireland Funds;Loretta Brennan Glucksman, former chair of the American Ireland Fund; and Elgin Loane, Owner of the Irish Post.