The Ireland Chamber of Commerce USA hosted their 24th annual American Celtic Ball in New York City on Wednesday evening, honoring some of the top figures in the Irish community.

The theme for the 2012 event, which was hosted at the Pierre Hotel in New York City, was ‘Women in Leadership,’ and thus paid honor to former Irish president Mary McAleese, and Louise Phelan, who serves as Vice President of Operations for PayPal,Inc in Dublin.

Former President McAleese was the key speaker and honoree for the evening, and was joined by her husband Senator Martin McAleese. They were presented a special recognition award.

Louise Phelan was awarded the prestigious Sir Michael Smurfit Business Achievement Award
at the gala dinner. Phelan currently serves as the Vice President of Global Operations for PayPal Inc. – Dublin. She is the first woman to receive the award in the history of the event.

Phelan was presented the award by Maurice Buckley, president, CEO, and cofounder of Ireland Chamber of Commerce USA (ICCUSA), and Brian O’Dwyer, chairman of the ICCUSA.
Buckley said “Under Louise Phelan’s leadership, PayPal is making an enormous contribution to Ireland’s economy at a time when it is needed so badly. Huge efforts are being made internationally to attract jobs and investment to Ireland and PayPal has really stepped up to the plate in this regard.”

He added, “This award recognises that contribution and the hard work put in by Louise and her team. It also acknowledges the strong social contribution the company is making in the local communities in which it operates in Ireland. The ICCUSA has been very impressed by this and we are pleased to be able to acknowledge it with this award.”

“I feel very honoured to have received such a prestigious award and to be following in the footsteps of so many great Irish business people,” Phelan said.

“To be the first woman ever to receive the award makes it extra special. But I couldn’t have done this without the support of my colleagues all around the world, particularly my team in Europe who all work so hard to make our European operations such a great success. This award is for them,” Phelan added.

A portion of the proceeds from the American Celtic Ball will benefit the ICCUSA Foundation, also known as the Albert Schweitzer Leadership for Life (ASLFL) program. The youth leadership development program inspires and enables young adults (ages 15 to 18 years old) from across the globe to become confident and effective leaders, as well as good stewards of their local and global communities.

Former President of Ireland Mary McAleeseIrish Sun