Female Titans of history and IT titans of now

Female Titans.  This article is an homage to some examples of powerful and thought leading women I’ve had the privilege of meeting.

I am a proud uncle and godfather to two girls and hopefully for that to be more in the near future.

When asked for technical and business role models I want them to be able to see that, in Ireland and in Irish industry there are plenty of examples to be inspired by.

There are literally hundreds of examples of great women in Irish business but where do you go to find out about them.

I’m on the hunt for more examples, so my nieces can draw their inspiration from real people not just story book icons.

  • Female titans
  • Today’s titans
  • Wrap up

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Female titans

Good days and bad days

We all have good days and bad days.  Life is a tapestry of ups and downs that influence professional and home life.

The people I’ve met have had up and down days, as have I.

Not everyone will agree with the people I’ve put forward.  Some may not even like them.

It’s easier to pull something down than build something up.


I live in the category of being unliked by some.  You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.  No one is perfect all day every day.

I put forward my examples of people on their best days and how they can be inspirational to others.   If I was inspired why wouldn’t my nieces be?

How if my niece asks me “can you give me an example of someone strong I could relate to?” I will have an answer for her.


Meet the Rothschild family of space and time

Titans stem from Greek mythology.

When I think of the cinematic and television portrayal of titans and my mind goes to the movies I always seem to end up with Zeus and the gang.

In all these cinematic portrayals females play a portrayed supporting role but there is in history a layer that is frequently missed.


The mythology begins with Gaia (Mother Earth) and Uranus (Father Sky).

Mythology states they lived on Mount Othrys, which is an actual mountain in Greece.

They gave rise to the first pantheon of deities (temple of Gods).  Gaia and Uranus had 12 children.  6 boys and 6 girls.

The 6 girls were equal titans to the boys. Mnemosyne, Tethys, Theia, Phoebe, Rhea, and Themis


Meet the family

One of the boys was Cronus and the youngest.  He overthrew his parents.  His son Zeus came along and overthrew Cronus.

But what about these female titans of mythology.

  • Mnemosyne: associated with memory and remembrance
  • Tethys : a mother figure who gave rise to over 3000 river god children
  • Theia: mother of the sun, the moon and the dawn
  • Phoebe: meaning shining is associated with the moon and the stars.  Great grand-kid was Apollo!
  • Rhea: associated with fertility and motherhood
  • Themis: the lady of good counsel  and the personification of divine order, fairness, law, natural law, and custom.

Themis is often portrayed holding a scales and is blind folded in court settings to represent fairness and law.


Perception of Titans

So each of the Titans are associated with a particular area.  Sometimes doing good, sometimes bad.

Very importantly is where you catch them in the story.

Even with the Greek titans, at some point the next generation comes along to overthrow them.  The natural order of progression.


Mirriam Webster define titan as :

  • 1: any of a family of giants in Greek mythology born of Uranus and Gaea and ruling the earth until overthrown by the Olympian gods.
  • 2 : one that is gigantic in size or power : one that stands out for greatness of achievement

As a result the second definition is the one I’m discussing here.

In the definition “one who stands out”, yet again jargon and context influences the use of the word.

I have to ask of the definition “stands out to whom?”

Above all to me, in the strictest sense of the definition … a titan is “one that stands out for greatness of achievement to me


Today’s female titans

In order of when I first met them.

My first leaders

Amanda O’Farrell
Linked In
Leading from the front, this incredibly knowledgeable and experienced titan introduced me through her lectures to the area of project management.  The room listens when Amanda speaks.  I know I did.

To add to that I’ve watched her inspiring efforts to encourage further generations to learn and get involved with IT.  Amanda leads from the front in terms of inspiration.

@BecomeAnITGirl  sees her work continue to inspire.

Titan of IT knowledge and inspiration

Meave Dorman
Linked In
The first and strongest example I’ve ever had of a female leader.  I worked in Gateway technical support as my first big IT job. Meave was the call centre manager and commander in chief.  She was firm yet approachable and set the standard for how to run a contact centre.

The majority of the staff in the centre were male, IT related and creative types.  Meave was a master of herding cats.

I had the privilege of bumping into her on a trip to Cardiff and she was still able to remember my employ and was as gracious as ever.

Titan of managing IT people.

My first clients

Ailish Durkin
Linked In
I met Ailish through work in Conduit in the ear days of launching bxp software.  Consequently Ailish was one of my first customers.

I built a notice board.  Furthermore I thought it was pretty slick.  Ailish asked me straight out.  “Why not put a button on there that tracks who’s read what messages?”  Simple and effective.  What was most impressive was the way she could clearly see an opportunity and make it happen.

That notice board she inspired is detailed here and continues to be a massively effective communication tool for businesses.  Listen to your customers, as quite a lot of them have better ideas than you do!

Titan of free thinking and innovation

Dee Norton
Linked In
I first met Dee when she was a force of nature in managing O2.  Her vision and leadership got the job done.  It wasn’t good enough for me to develop solutions for her, they had to be right to her standards.

Never afraid to tell you, you’ve missed the point.  Yet with the grace and poise to deliver that message in a way you wanted to get it done for her.

I’ve been lucky enough to even attend a European rugby cup final with Dee and she’s fun and engaging away from the office and professional when you sit opposite her in a board room.

Titan of get it done.

Ashling Williamson
Linked In
Ashling is the best example I know of working through whatever needs working through.  I have had the joy of watching her professional career from competent team lead, through to department leader, through to inspirational guiding light.

Never a second does she give to herself but pushes to get everything done quickly, correct and with compassion and understanding of people and personalities.  When at your lowest, she pushes you back on track.  Even though I was just a supplier, she reached out to me at one of my lowest points to push me on.

Titan of indomitable spirit and compassion

My colleagues and family

Carolann Diskin
Linked In
Carolann was literally my right arm for years.  Working with her I had many an agreement, disagreement and complaining session.  Ambitious and driven, Carolann knew herself which meant everyone could work around her and for her.  Carolann and the acclaimed Amy Cuddy have a lot in common and many traits to be admired.

A leader and willing to be so, her continued professional success reflects her spirit to succeed.

Carolann loves to travel whilst her leadership delivers the job on time and to plan.

Titan of follow your dream till it happens

Other female titans

Jo O’Donovan is an incredibly capable, talented and able database genius and her career and meteoric rise in eir mirrors her capabilities.

Majella Flynn, Raquel Hanely, Sharon Hanlon, Mary Mulcahey Libby Keeling, Joan Green, Amy Fanagan, Kelly McGrath, Lidia Grisi are all strong inspirational female leaders active in industry today.

There are so many more I can add to this list.


Quiet leaders

As a scout leader I’ve seen many ladies evolve their confidence and capabilities in a communal and challenging pass time.  Also I’ve had the privilege of even leading a female team on a weekend mountain pursuit with the help of female leaders.

An MPC (Mountain Pursuit Challenge) is where everyone spends three days hiking and two nights on a mountain, carrying your own equipment.  Each person carries and cooks their own food.  Furthermore phoning for take out isn’t an option.  Most noteworthy they were equal to the male teams I’d led.

There are amazing female lecturers, teachers and guidance out there.  They deserve some recognition for their efforts and I know they have had and continue to have an influence on me.

I admire people who give up their time and put in their effort to help the next generation.


Wrap up

I have had the privilege of working alongside many women in business, as colleagues, bosses and clients.

I’m lucky to have experienced many great stories.  This article could be reams and reams long.

It doesn’t take much to say thank you, yet it can make a world of difference to someone to hear it.  Consequently if you can take the time out to say thanks, say it.

Also I look forward with eagerness to being inspired by the many female titans in many fields.

My nieces are not alone and have some great acts to follow until they become titans in their own right.


If there’s anything in this article you’d like to chat to me about you can contact me here or on social media.


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