Irish America Magazine Awards
What an honor to spend time meeting and sharing experiences with some of the other 100 nominees of the 2022 Irish America Magazine Awards. We were in great company and were humbled by the experience and sense of occasion at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan hosted by the Irish America Magazine.
The event was kicked off by a very touching rendition of an old Irish rebel song by the world famous Judy Collins and then she went into the all time favorite - “Danny Boy”. Her strength and conviction and emotion was not lost on her audience.
The sentiment was to remember the humble beginnings of many of the forebears that came to America before us and forged their way in industry. Examples included leaders from Fedex to Mutual of America to Walmart and Xoom.
Patrica Harty, another great Tipperary woman, and magazine editor said that this year saw one of the highest % of Irish born recipients ever. Thirty-six percent of the nominees were from “the auld sod”.
The hosts for the luncheon spoke of the excitement of being able to hold events again and meet to celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s recipients. Given current events in the world, there was a sense of knowing that an individual’s legacy is probably not going to be that of being a CEO, but instead remembered for how one treated people and made others feel. Did they follow their values and share in the kindness?
The main speaker, Denis O’Brien, spoke of his philosophy around philanthrocapitalism. He talked about his ability to set up the first phone payment systems in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010. Those systems enabled money from aid agencies to be put directly into the hands of the recipients so they could manage their own outcomes.
When asked about the next generation of Irish Americans, he spoke of his policy to only hire Culchies. A what? In Ireland a Culchie is a person from “down the country” or not Dublin or one of the major cities around Ireland. While there are fine people growing up in the cities being driven around in their SUVs, there is something about the values of a person who has grown up on a small farm. They have an inherent understanding of entrepreneurial commerce and how relationships in business work.
I’m proud of my Culchie roots from a small town in County Tipperary. While I didn’t grow up on a farm, I was the youngest of four siblings learning economics of working for what you want and plenty of my many cousins were farming families.
We should all be thankful for our freedoms as Americans – and isn’t it a bonus to be an Irish American. It is great how the world can come together to support all of those in need. The coffin ships are reminders of what our ancestors may have gone through. Therefore, the onus is on us now to reach out to those who need a helping hand, to continue to build this great country, and even more so now help out our fellow human beings.