About The Business Excellence Institute


The Business Excellence Institute, informally known as “BEX”, is a membership body with members in 39 countries on 6 continents.

It is dedicated to helping people, and the organizations they work for, achieve outstanding results for all their stakeholders. It promotes business excellence as a multi-disciplinary profession, excellence in management, and the use of innovative approaches to personal and organizational development.

The Institute has individual members - with diverse backgrounds in the public and private sector – and organizational members and it supports organizations ranging from small family businesses to federal governments.

Link to BEX website for more information

About The Excellence Hall of Fame


The Excellence Hall of Fame was established in 2016 to recognise and celebrate people who have made significant contributions to the organizations in which they have worked, to the discipline of management, or to society at large.

Once a year, members of The Business Excellence Institute nominate candidates who meet eligibility criteria and the nominations are then voted on by the Institute’s Fellows. The Fellows are selective about who is honoured, they look for people of integrity with a sustained track record of excellence and the bar is set very high.


To be eligible for nomination, a person needs to have a track record demonstrating very significant contribution to the organizations in which they have worked, the discipline of management, or society at large.

They also cannot be nominated if they have been nominated in the last 3 years.


Each member of the Institute can nominate somebody for inclusion in the Excellence Hall of Fame, if (i) they can get two other members to second the nomination and (ii) they have not nominated or seconded the nomination of somebody else in the year.

Nominations must be accompanied by a detailed bio containing independently verifiable information to be submitted including all the supporting information to be considered in determining whether the nominee should be voted into the Excellence Hall of Fame.


The Institute’s Nominations Committee reviews nominations to ensure they are complete and that all the people nominated are eligible. They produce a list of qualified nominees with a summary of their career (nature, length, depth and scope) and the influences the nominees have had on others which also highlight the nominee’s:

  • Ability to demonstrate (s)he has delivered excellent results in a consistent manner
  • Ability to demonstrate (s)he is a role model of the Institute’s values
  • Ability to demonstrate (s)he has learned from mistakes

Profile(s) are circulated to all of the Institute’s Fellows who are asked to evaluate them and then vote “Yes”, “No”, or “Abstain” for each candidate by secret ballot. If, ignoring abstentions, over 75% of the votes for a nominee are “Yes” then he or she is deemed to be elected if less than 5 nominees would be elected by this process. If over 4 candidates would be elected, then the number of “Yes” votes for each is counted and the four people with the highest tallies are deemed to be elected.


The Excellence Hall of Fame was designed by two of the Institute's members, US architectural designers Kenneth Chad Hiley and Chloe Costello Hiley, and constructed in Europe by Pavel Hruška.

Jon Prusmack

A Jon Prusmack

“The story of how Jon founded, invented and pioneered Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelters is a tale of great vision and innovative thinking…Prusmack’s products save lives… (now) the US market for rugby continues to grow largely due to Jon Prusmack’s relentless pursuit of elevating this amateur sport to world competitive levels…he is Mr. Rugby in the USA, and for that accomplishment alone he deserves admission to the Excellence Hall of Fame.”
Don Haider Professor of Strategy, Kellogg School of Management

“Having spent 40 years with Ernst and Young I’ve met quite a few outstanding entrepreneurs. Jon would rank right up at the top of the group…he’s a globalist which has helped him in his creativity because in his worldwide travels he picked up many ideas which he used to make his products better.”
Mike Henning former Global CEO of EY

“Jon is first and foremost a man of integrity. A man who has studied both art and mathematics, an artist who has excelled at sports, and one who – with many patents to his name – has invented things. A businessman who has successfully built more than one multi-million dollar company from zero and a man who can just as easily sit and talk to and engage with a five year old girl as with a five star general.”
John Bourke President, The Business Excellence Institute


Nominated by: John Bourke
Seconded by: Neal Traynor and Richard Cross

Jon Prusmack HoF


Jon attended the University of Notre Dame on a football scholarship where he studied architecture. After two years, he transferred to the United States Naval Academy where, once he had completed Marine Corp basic training, he majored in math and mechanical engineering. He resigned from the Academy after three years to pursue studies in Art and Design at New York University and graduated in 1966 with a BA in Art and Mathematics.

Throughout his college years, Jon played football and was voted the NYU’s Most Valuable Player in 1965/66. While at NYU, he discovered rugby which he was to play for 15 years before becoming a coach and referee. As a player, he played internationally against clubs in England, Ireland, and France and was captain of the USA Owls for their inaugural tour of England in 1977. He wrote the first American coaching book on rugby – Rugby: A Guide for Players, Coaches and Spectators – which was published by Hawthorn Books in 1979. Jon was inducted into the USA Rugby Foundation Hall of Fame in 2013 and was also a member of the NYAC Rugby Hall of Fame and the US Naval Academy Rugby Hall of Fame.

He started his business career as a professional artist and designer after graduating from NYU. He worked as an artist full time for decades. In parallel he was a successful entrepreneur setting up a number of companies. In 1986, with his wife Patrice, he founded Deployable Hospital Systems, a company based on an idea for a Deployable Rapid Assembly Surgical Hospital (DRASH). They struggled for 10 years but persevered to build DHS Technologies from zero into a business with well over $150 million in annual sales, employing over 250 people in its manufacturing plants in New York and Alabama and with a subsidiary in the UK. Its equipment has been used around the world by military and civil defense forces, police and fire departments – it is now standard NATO, US Army and US Marine Corp equipment. Jon had 22 patents and was the 2003 EY Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year for the New York Tri-State area.

In 2012, the Prusmacks sold DHS Technologies and its two brands “Reeves” (which targets disaster relief) and “DRASH” (which targets military shelters) are now continuing without him. While at the helm of DHS, Jon earned an MS in Engineering from Polytechnic University in New York. He also held an MBA from Bernard Baruch Graduate School of Business which he earned in the 1980s.

Since he discovered rugby, Jon maintained his interest in it and was the publisher of a rugby newsletter/magazine since 1968. Originally called Scrumdown, it is now an online publication called Rugby Today. His love of the sport led him to purchase the World Rugby USA 7s event (part of the World Rugby Sevens Series) from USA Rugby in 2005. He moved the event from California to Las Vegas and built it into a major sporting spectacle in partnership with NBC Sports.

Jon established United World Sports, which runs multiple events including the Collegiate Rugby 7s Championship and the Collegiate Varsity Cup Championship, which is the largest “15s” college rugby event in the USA. In 2014, he became the licensee for Rhino Rugby equipment and apparel for North and South America. Total revenues from the rugby event business and Rhino now exceed $30 million. Thanks in part to Jon’s significant efforts, rugby is now the fastest growing sport in the USA.

To continue building rugby as a major sport in the US, Jon created the “Super 7s” Rugby League – the first professional rugby league in the US. “Super 7s” is 60 minutes of 7s rugby in a unique patent pending format that allows for the creation of city based teams to play one another.

Until 2013, Jon was also the owner of APOGEE Wellness and the international chain Power Pilates, which according to Reuters in 2009 was the worldwide leader in “Pilates Education”.

Alongside his work, Jon also kept up his love of art and was a member of New York’s Salmagundi Club where he exhibited a collection of his work entitled “Istanbul to Venice” in 2014. He also entered a submission for the World Trade Center Memorial entitled “The Phoenix“ designed to symbolize the past, present and the future and to express “hope and respect for a better and brighter future”.

He served as a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Small Business Council, the Rockland County Economic Development Corporation, and was on the Board of Trustees for Dominican College, New York, which named its new Health and Science Education Center the “Prusmack Center” in 2005 in honour of a significant donation made by Jon and Patrice to help build it.

In recognition of his achievement in multiple sectors of business and of his unflinching pursuit of excellence in his life, in his art, and in his work Jon was nominated for inclusion in the Institute’s Excellence Hall of Fame in December 2015. In January 2016, he was elected unopposed by its Fellows as the Hall of Fame’s inaugural member and he was inducted on February 19, 2016.

Sadly, Jon died in December 2018 but his legacy survives through his art, his philanthropic work, and his contribution to the sport of rugby in the USA.

Don Haider

Don Haider, Photo courtesy of Northwestern University

“I have known and admired Don Haider for 40 years. Don has enthusiastically guided our Kellogg School of Management students in managing non-profit organizations and government agencies. At one time, he even ran for office to be Chicago’s mayor. I am delighted to hear that he has been elected by the Fellows of the Business Excellence Institute to be inducted in its Excellence Hall of Fame. He is most deserving of this distinction.”
Philip Kotler Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg School of Management


“Don is such an outstanding human being that it is tough to come up with some words without going into the superlative. I have known Don almost 50 years. During these years while he lived and built a family in Chicago and career at Northwestern University, we remained as close friends as we were in the 1960s and 70s as rugby players in New York. Don is talent, brilliance, humanity and humor in one special leadership package.”
Jon Prusmack Chief Executive, United World Sports & USA7s Rugby


Nominated by: Ronan Traynor
Seconded by: Shahriar Sharifi and Thomas Paulu

Don Haider


Don grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He earned his BA in Political Science from Stanford University in 1964 where he also played football and rugby. He went on to play rugby for another forty years with teams in New York, Washington D.C., and Chicago and was selected for several U.S. international sides along the way. He received his MA (1966) and PhD (1972) in Political Science from Columbia University before embarking on a career that would span the public, private and non-profit sectors. In 1968, he married Jean Wright of Winnetka, Illinois, and their moves would take them several times between Chicago and Washington.

While at Columbia, Don was named a Congressional Fellow (1967-68) and worked on Capitol Hill in the Office of Senator Edward Kennedy before later joining the prestigious Brookings Institution as a Guest Scholar. While with the Brookings Institution, Don completed his work, When Governments Comes To Washington, a book that has since won the Martha Derthick Best Book Award in political science on the topic of American Federalism. (The award is reserved for books that have made a lasting contribution and is only awarded to books that have proven this contribution for at least a decade.)

In 1973, Don stopped teaching at Columbia University to join the faculty at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where he went on to teach as Professor of Strategy for over forty years, interrupted periodically by public service. In 1976-77, he was selected as a White House Fellow, serving in the Executive Office of the President – under Presidents Ford and Carter – where he worked for three Directors of the Office of Management & Budget. He remains the only academic ever named as both a Congressional Fellow and a White House Fellow.

Two years later, he again returned to Washington as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, assigned to refinance New York City which then teetered on bankruptcy. In 1979, Don returned to Chicago where he served as Chicago’s Budget Director and Chief Financial Officer (1979-80). Six years later, because he believed the “people deserved better” (ref: Chicago Tribune), he ran for Mayor of Chicago but was unsuccessful in his bid. Looking back on the election, the 2009 publication “Chicago : A Biography”, describes him as “a decent man with sound ideas”.

Having lost a hard fought campaign, he returned to Northwestern University, and has taught there since. Since the 1980s, he has written extensively for academic journals and for the media and has co-authored four books with Philip Kotler, the internationally acclaimed marketing professor, on Marketing Places (USA, Europe, Asia and Latin America ).

Don was instrumental in establishing Kellogg School’s Center for Nonprofit Management, which he served as the Director of until 2016, and is acknowledged as being integral to championing social impact and nonprofit management education during his 43-year tenure at Kellogg.

Don serves on the boards of Chicago’s Midtown Education Foundation, Chicago Catholic Charities, and the U.S. Rugby Foundation. He has previously served on the board of the Metropolitan Planning Council as well as the corporate boards of Asset Acceptance Capital Corp, Continental Waste Industries, Covenant Mutual Insurance, Evanston National Bank, Fender Musical Instruments, InterAccess, LaSalle National Bank Corp, National Can, Talman Home Savings, and Westchester Insurance. He also served for 15 years as the Vice-Chair of the Chicago School Finance Authority, which refinanced the then bankrupt Chicago public schools.

In March 2016, Don was elected a Fellow of the Business Excellence Institute. Later that year, Don and his wife, Jean, received the Chicago Midtown Education Foundation’s Reach for Excellence Award in recognition of their outstanding service to Chicago’s at-risk youth. In presenting the award, Glenn Wilke, the Foundation’s CEO, stated that “Don represents what we teach at our centers: virtue and character.”

Don retired from full-time teaching in late 2016, and was reappointed by the University in 2017 as an Emeritus Professor.

In recognition of his untiring pursuit of excellence in the management of non-profit and governmental organizations, his sincere commitment to public service and education, and of the work he has none helping a wide range or charities, foundations, and businesses, as well as to his contribution to the community in his native city, Don was nominated for inclusion in the Institute’s Excellence Hall of Fame and was elected unopposed by its Fellows in November 2016. He was inducted to the Excellence Hall of Fame on February 15, 2017, at a ceremony held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.

While attending the ceremony in Ireland Don was interviewed by Newstalk Radio. You can listen to the Podcast of this interview here.

Eileen McDonnell

Eileen McDonnell, CEO Penn Mutual, Photo courtesy of Penn Mutual

“I want to congratulate Eileen on her induction into the Excellence Hall of Fame… I had the pleasure of interviewing Eileen for the role of Chief Marketing Officer at Penn Mutual in late 2007. During our time together it became clear to me that Eileen possessed not only the requisite experience to fill the role, but the vision and charisma to successfully execute a growth strategy. Eileen has surrounded herself with a talented team, expanded the vision for what is possible for the company, and has executed with precision despite challenging business conditions. As an entrepreneur myself who has owned and operated over 40 companies, I value the entrepreneurial spirit that Eileen brings to a 170 year old company. She has the right balance of identifying market opportunities, employing financial rigor, pragmatism and the courage to lead with her gut.”
Joan Carter President, UM Holdings

“What really makes Eileen unique is her ability to manage a diverse group of employees and independent contractors. She has the uncanny skill to take the fear away from those who work for and with her. Allowing them to perform beyond which they ever thought they were capable. Congratulations Eileen for helping blaze the trail for other women in business and on this well-deserved honor of being inducted into the Excellence Hall of Fame.”
Joe Jordan Author of “Living a Life of Significance”


Nominated by: Jon Prusmack
Seconded by: John Bourke and Patrícia Carvalho

Eileen McDonnell Induction


Eileen attended Molloy College (Rockville Centre, New York) on a scholarship to study nursing. While there, she developed an interest in computers and so relinquised her scholarship to switch majors and study mathematics and computer science – funding her studies by working in the public library and as a babysitter.

After graduation in 1984, Eileen was offered a job at IBM but opted to work with Wang Laboratories as she felt the smaller company offered more opportunity for growth. At Wang she developed an interest in finance and embarked on her MBA in Finance and Investment at Adelphi University (Garden City, New York). Subsequently, when Wang began experiencing difficulties, Eileen joined the finance department of Equitable Life Insurance (now AXA). There, she completed her MBA and was appointed as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Northeast region at the age of 27, the youngest person at Equitable to achieve the title of Vice President.

After nine years with Equitable, Eileen joined The Guardian Life Insurance Company as Vice President of Group Marketing. A few years later she was promoted, making her the first woman in the company’s 150-year history to become a Senior Vice President. In 2002, Crain’s New York Business named her as one of New York’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars.

Eileen was with Guardian for eight years before joining MetLife in 2003 where, later that year, she was appointed President of its subsidiary, New England Financial, to lead the company through an SEC investigation into accounting irregularities.

In 2005, Eileen left the corporate world to adopt her daughter, Claire, from Russia. While Claire was very young, Eileen founded ExecMPower, a strategic planning and executive coaching consultancy, and used her wide business network to help build the company. Soon after, she fulfilled her dream of teaching college and joined the Master’s Degree faculty of The American College of Financial Services (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania), where she was appointed the first Chair of Women in Financial Services and authored a book, “Marketing Financial Services to Women.”

By her mid-40s, Eileen had achieved great success in the corporate world, as a small business owner, and in academia. She hadn’t planned to return to corporate life but, in late 2007, she was approached about an opportunity at Penn Mutual and liked what she discovered. She joined Penn Mutual in 2008 as Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, and Chairman of its broker-dealer subsidiary Hornor, Townsend & Kent. Within months of joining Penn Mutual, Eileen was presented with a daunting challenge when the global financial crisis hit. As Chief Marketing Officer she was determined that the company was “not going to participate in the recession” and set out to ensure it. By setting this tone and by giving associates something to rally around that was positive — Penn Mutual focused on what it could control rather than what it couldn’t — and the company was successful in delivering on Eileen’s vision.

In 2010, Eileen was appointed President of Penn Mutual, the first women ever appointed to this position, and the following year she became its CEO when her predecessor retired. She has also served as its Chairman of the Board since 2013 and is a member of the Board of Managers of Penn Mutual’s wholly owned subsidiary, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. Under her leadership, Penn Mutual has experienced an exceptional period of growth and since 2010, during a flat period for the industry, “whole life sales” have nearly tripled. The company has increased or maintained its dividend for eight consecutive years, a feat none of its competitors can claim, and it has achieved record GAAP earnings for six straight years while paying out more than $700 million in benefits to policyholders and beneficiaries last year. This growth earned Penn Mutual its entry into the Fortune 1000.

Eileen was instrumental in the launching Penn Mutual’s sponsorship of college rugby in the United States through The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship and The Penn Mutual Varsity Cup. This forward-thinking sponsorship is building significant brand awareness for Penn Mutual among the next generation of advisors and customers. Eileen was also the driving force behind the establishment of The Penn Mutual Center for Veterans Affairs at The American College, making the field of financial services an option for veterans and their spouses.

In 2011, Molloy College presented Eileen with an honorary doctorate (LLD). Later that year she was named by Irish America magazine as one of its “Wall Street 50”. In 2014, she was honored by the magazine as one of its “Business 100.”

In 2015, the American College of Financial Services awarded Eileen its highest honor, the Huebner Gold Medal (named after the College’s founder), in recognition of her leadership and accomplishments within the financial services industry and her contribution to the College. In 2016, Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business named her its “2016 Business Leader of the Year”. Also in 2016, the Chinese American Insurance Association honored Eileen as its “Executive of the Year,” recognizing her career-long commitment to advancing diversity in the industry, and the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations presented her with its “Ellis Island Medal of Honor” in recognition of her accomplishments and her service to the nation.

Eileen has served as a non-executive director on the board of Universal Health Services (NYSE: UHS, a Fortune 500 healthcare and hospital management company) and as a member of its audit committee since 2013. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the American Council of Life Insurers (2012 -2015), the Board of LL Global LLC, Inc. – formerly known as the LIMRA “Life Insurance Marketing and Research – (2009 – 2013), and on the Board of the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (2003 – 2005) before it was superseded by the Compliance & Ethics Forum for Life Insurers.

She is also currently an advisor to Drexel University’s Corporate Governance Center and “Vision 2020” initiative which aims to see women achieve economic and social equality in the US by 2020.

In addition to her many industry and civic duties, Eileen is deeply committed to education and to the advancement of women’s education and health. To that end, she personally endowed a scholarship in her late father’s name and an annual conference in early childhood education in her mother’s name at Molloy College. She also endowed a scholarship at the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business at Adelphi University for a woman seeking a Master’s degree while working full time, as Eileen did. In addition, Eileen has funded community education at Abington Hospital for women and their risks for cardiovascular disease. She is a member of the Red Circle of The American Heart Association and actively speaks to women’s groups about the link between heart disease and financial stress.

Eileen calls home a three-generational household, with her mother and her daughter, Claire. Her interests include traveling and spending time with her friends and family.

In recognition of her pursuit of excellence, her many achievements, and her contribution not only to the organizations in which she has worked but also to society at large by demonstrating women can succeed even in traditionally male dominated industries, Eileen was nominated for inclusion in the Institute’s Excellence Hall of Fame by its Inaugural Member, Jon Prusmack, and was elected unopposed by its Fellows in November 2016. She was inducted to the Excellence Hall of Fame on February 15, 2017, at a ceremony held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.

Martin Naughton

Martin Naughton Photo Courtesy of the Glen Dimplex Group

“Martin… my heartiest congratulations on this very special occasion. Tonight you are being honoured by your peers, a recognition of your contribution not just to business but to the very many wonderful initiatives you have supported throughout your life… You set standards for excellence, for vision, for innovation, and for ethics. You set the pace for what all good companies should be striving for. Most of all, you have dealt with your success with dignity, modesty and an innate sense of what you can give back to society…I’m delighted to have this opportunity to congratulate you on your induction.”

Enda Kenny Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Ireland


Nominated by: Patrick Frain
Seconded by: Neal Traynor and Matt Fisher

Martin Naughton Induction


Martin firmly believes that “your handshake or your word is a contract” and that integrity in business really is the only way. This more than anything else is what qualifies him for the Excellence Hall of Fame. His key rules for business are “play fair” and “focus on the bottom line”. This last one he sometimes paraphrases as “turnover is vanity, profit is sanity”.

Born in Dublin in 1939, Martin went to school in De La Salle College Dundalk. After school he went on to train in aeronautical followed by mechanical engineering with a focus on industrial engineering at Southampton College of Technology (UK).

In 1961, he returned to Ireland to work for Shannon Pressed Steel, an American company, prior to joining G.E.C. Dunleer 6 months later, which marked the start of his exposure to the electrical appliance industry. Aged 21, he was their Industrial Engineering Manager running a department of 14 people, before going on to become Production Manager and later Works Manager.

In 1973, Martin became an entrepreneur when he established a small electrical appliance manufacturer, Glen Electric. While he nurtured the business – which had less than 10 employees at the time – he quickly learned the importance of brand and saw that organic growth needed to be supplemented with acquisition. Four years after Glen Electric was founded, it acquired the much larger company Dimplex (the leading electrical heating brand in the UK) to form the Glen Dimplex Group.

Martin continued to grow the company by acquisition, adding Morphy Richards (the UK Leader in small domestic appliances) to its ranks as well as Blanella and Burco Dean Appliances in the 1980s. In 1990, the company started to expand across Europe when it purchased Siemens’ electrical heating business, KKW. It continued its international expansion the following year, acquiring another subsidiary of Siemens and the Canadian firm Chromalox. Since then, it has acquired at least one company a year, with its most recent acquisitions this year being in Australia and the UK.

Martin was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the University of Notre Dame in 1991, and today serves as one of its Trustees Emeriti.

In 1994, Martin and his wife, Carmel, established The Naughton Foundation to support arts and educational causes. Since 2008, the foundation has offered scholarships to encourage students pursue studies in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects.

In 1995, Martin received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Trinity College, Dublin. He has also received honorary doctorates from the University of Notre Dame, University College Dublin, Queen University Belfast, the Ulster University of Coleraine, and Griffith College Dublin.

Martin was the inaugural Chairman of InterTrade Ireland, one of six all-island Irish bodies set up in 1999 by the British and Irish governments following the Belfast Agreement. He also served on Ireland’s Council of State for Mary McAleese during her first term (1997-2004) as President of Ireland.

In 2001, Martin founded the Naughton Art Gallery & Museum at Queen’s University, Belfast, as well as the Martin Naughton Chair in Business Strategy. He has donated significantly to the University’s Riddel Hall Business School. In 2006, in recognition of his long standing support of the University of Notre Dame, they renamed their Keough Institute for Irish Studies the Keough-Naughton Institute.

Martin and Carmel are the main benefactors to the Lyric Theatre in Belfast and, in 2008, they received the Prince of Wales Gold Medal for Arts Philanthropy from Prince Charles in recognition of their support of the theatre in Belfast. Subsequently, in Scotland, they funded the Prince‘s Drawing School – “Dimplex Studio” – as part of the Prince of Wales’ Dumfries House initiative.

Today, Glen Dimplex holds a portfolio of approximately 40 appliance manufacturers in countries stretching from the US to New Zealand. It is the world leader in domestic heating appliances as well as holding significant global market positions in domestic appliances, cooling and ventilation. It employs over 10,000 people working on 4 continents and has annual revenues in excess of 2 billion euro. It is now focusing on low-energy technologies to enable its customers to reduce costs and CO2 emissions and currently produces both solar water heaters and what it believes to be the most energy efficient Air Source Heat Pumps made in the British Isles.

Martin was knighted by HRH the Prince of Wales in 2015. On the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office nomination form for his knighthood, it states that the Naughton contribution to the island of Ireland and the United Kingdom has been both inspirational and immense – all achieved with marked reticence and a moral dislike of undue publicity or acclaim.

In 2016, Martin took a step back from Glen Dimplex, giving control of it to his three children, and is taking more time to travel. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, awarded the Whitaker Award of the Irish Academy of Management, and both he and Carmel were named “Philanthropists of the Year” by the Community Foundation for Ireland. On November 11, Martin was awarded France’s highest national honour when he was made an Officier de la Legion d’Honneur.

In addition to travel and the arts, he enjoys watching rugby and the Irish sports of hurling and Gaelic football.

In recognition of his outstanding business success, his never-ending pursuit of excellence, and the significant contributions he has made both to education and the arts and local economies in a number of countries, Martin was nominated for inclusion in the Institute’s Excellence Hall of Fame by Professor Patrick Frain (UCD) and was elected unopposed by its Fellows in November 2016. He was inducted to the Excellence Hall of Fame on February 15, 2017, at a ceremony held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.

Julia Chang Bloch

Julia Chang Bloch

“Julia has excelled in everything she has set out to achieve. She has demonstrated her leadership and business savvy in all sectors. Public, private and non-profit. Her impressive life story and journey to global success has led to many accolades as a businesswoman and humanitarian. Her accomplishments are nothing short of inspirational. Her impact has being far reaching, including her tenure as ambassador od the United States to Nepal and her continued work with the United States-China Education Fund, where she works to promote U.S. China relations with education and exchange.“

Eileen McDonnell Chairman & Chief Executive Office, Penn Mutual


“Always with the highest professional standards, Julia Chang Bloch served first in the Peace Corps, then in high-level positions at A.I.D., U.S.I.A., and the U.S. State Department, and in high-level staff positions with the United States Senate. Her U.S. Government service culminated in her appointment as U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Nepal. Ambassador Bloch later rendered extraordinary service in the private sector (…) and with important philanthropic and educational organizations in the U.S. and China (…) My sincere congratulations to Julia on her induction to the Excellence Hall of Fame.”

Rev. Dr. Wesley S. Williams President and Co-Chairman Lockhart Companies


Nominated by: Eileen McDonnell
Seconded by: John Bourke and Heidi Fuerst

Julia Chang Bloch Induction


At a young age Julia learnt from her father that one can always be better. Her career has reflected this belief as she has continually challenged herself, pushing boundaries, creating new possibilities and leading the way for others. Born in Shandong province – a part of China which lies between Beijing and Shanghai – Julia moved to the United States with her family when she was nine and spent the rest of her childhood living in San Francisco.

Just over a year after arriving in California, Julia was elected president of her sixth-grade class which was quite an accomplishment given that it was rare for any girl to get elected at the time, let alone an ethnic Chinese girl – not to mention one who couldn’t speak English when she first arrived and had to start schooling in a class for children with intellectual disabilities.

Julia did well academically and, in 1964 she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Public Policy from the University of California, Berkley, and then joined the Peace Corps going to work teaching English as a volunteer in Sabah, Malaysia.

Being both Chinese and American and having spent much of her childhood in China, as a young adult Julia had to contend with questions of self-identity. Her time in Malaysia helped her reconcile her struggle and realize that instead of needing to think of herself as being Chinese or American, she was a unique combination of the two and could draw on the best of what both had to offer.

In 1966, Julia returned to the U.S. and went to study at Harvard on a Ford scholarship. The following year she was awarded a Master’s Degree in Government and East Asian Studies. On graduation, she had to contend with gender discrimination when, unlike her Chinese-speaking male classmates, she wasn’t flown to Washington D.C. for job interviews and most job offers were for clerical work. She went to work for the Peace Corps as a Training and, then, Evaluation Officer.

While attending Harvard University Graduate School she met her husband, Stuart Marshall Bloch, who was a student at the law school. They will celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2018.

In 1971, her hunt for a more meaningful job, going office to office on Capitol Hill, paid off and, aged 29, she was made a professional Staff Member on the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. In this role, she handled both domestic and international issues. She represented the U.S. at the UN World Conference on Women, which was held in Mexico in 1975. In 1976, she became the Committee’s Chief Minority Counsel.

Julia was appointed Deputy Director of the Office of African Affairs of the U.S. Information Agency in 1977 where she worked until 1980. During her time there she was awarded the Hubert Humphrey Award for International Service by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and the Peace Corps.

In 1980, Julia was invited to take a Fellowship by the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, an honor usually reserved for prominent politicians. She spent a semester there running a Study Group on American Foreign Policy and Domestic Politics before joining the U.S. Agency for International Development as a Special Assistant and then, a number of months later, being appointed Assistant Administrator of its Food for Peace and Voluntary Assistance Bureau by the President of the United States. In that role, Julia administered the world’s largest food aid program serving 80 countries with a budget in excess of 2 billion dollars.

In 1986, Julia was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts). The following year, the Organization of Chinese American Women named her “Woman of the Year” and she also received the “Leader for Peace” Award from the Peace Corps as well as the Agency for International Development’s “Humanitarian Service Award”.

In 1987, Julia was made Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Asia and Near East Bureau, managing a budget of $3.8 billion. Then, in 1988, she returned to Harvard University to work on research in its Centre for International Affairs’ US-Japan Relations Program. In the same year, Julia and her husband Stuart established the F.Y. Chang Foundation – named after Harvard’s first Chinese graduate, Julia’s father Chang Fu Yun – to help Chinese students attend Harvard Law School.

In 1989, Julia became the first Asian American in history to serve as a U.S. Ambassador when she was appointed to be the Ambassador of the United States to Nepal. Shortly after taking up her post in Kathmandu, there was a revolution in Nepal as the people wanted to end the monarchy. Julia worked hard to facilitate as smooth a transition as possible – promoting dialogue between both sides and working the system in Washington to get the attention needed to provide aid to establish a new constitution and legal system – and she played an important role in the creation of a democratic Nepal without humiliating the king.

After serving her four-year term, she retired from public service in 1993 and entered the private sector, joining Bank of America as Group Executive Vice President of Corporate Relations. In 1994 Julia was appointed to the board of America West Airlines after it filed for Chapter 11 and helped oversee its return to health (in 2005 American West took over US Airways and in 2015 it merged with American Airlines).

In 1995, she founded the Women’s Foreign Policy Group with Patricia Ellis who still serves as its President. The following year the U.S. National Conference for Community and Justice awarded Julia its Brotherhood and Sisterhood Award and Julia also left Bank of America to move into philanthropy, taking on the role of President and CEO of the United States-Japan Foundation where she served for two years.

In 1998, Julia resigned from the board of America West Airlines. In the same year, Peking University – China’s oldest modern university, consistently ranked in the top 50 universities worldwide – asked her to rebuild its American Studies Center. She became Executive Vice Chairman of its American Studies Center and a Visiting Professor at the Institute for International Relations. In 2001, she also joined Fudan University in Shanghai as a Visiting Professor and Distinguished Adviser of International Relations and Public Affairs.

In 2004, Julia established the United States-China Education Trust, a non-profit organization working to promote US-China relations through education and exchange. She has served as its President since. In 2011, NAFSA, the Association of International Educators awarded her the prestigious Cassandra Pyle Award for Leadership and Collaboration in International Education and Exchange.

Julia is a Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Public Administration, an advisor to the Hong Kong Baptist University Department of Journalism’s Pulitzer Prize Winners Workshop, and Senior Advisor to the Pangoal Institution, a Beijing think tank. She serves on a number of non-profit boards including as a Lifetime Director of the Atlantic Council, the Washington DC World Affairs Council Global Advisory Council, the board of Regents of the Fund for American Studies, the Boards of the Council of American Ambassadors and the Foreign Policy Association. She is also an Emeritus Director of the American Himalayan Foundation (which works to improve healthcare, education and prevent human trafficking), a retired trustee of the Penn Mutual Board, on which she served from 1997 until 2013, and has served on the boards of the International Center for Research on Women and the Global Heritage Fund.

Julia and her husband, Stuart, are sponsors of the Zenith Community Arts Foundation and significant contributors to the University of Miami. They have also established a “FY Chang Scholars Program at Harvard Law School” in honor of her father.

Julia is listed in World’s Who’s Who and in Donna Langston’s A to Z of American Women Leaders and Activists – she is one of only 147 women from U.S. history to make the list – and she was selected in 2011 by the American magazine Women of Wealth as “one of the nation’s top women mentoring leaders”.

Marie Lindsay

Marie Lindsay

“Dear Marie, it was with great pleasure that I learnt you will be inducted to join the Excellence Hall of Fame. It has for me been very inspiring to work together with you in the board of EFQM. You always showed great commitment to excellence and fairness. I am very pleased that you now receive this honour…. you really deserve it! Congratulations!”

Lars Aagaard Board Member, Grundfos A/S


“I am delighted to have this opportunity to express my sincere congratulations to Marie on her achievements. Her leadership has had a powerful and dramatic effect on fundamentally improving college performance with tangible outcomes for students, parents and the educational establishment. Marie's leadership in achieving breakthrough performance improvement through Excellence has been recognized across Europe and her induction to the Excellence Hall of Fame is a fitting endorsement of her success.”

Bob Barbour CEO of Centre for Competitiveness


Nominated by: Matt Fisher
Seconded by: SciFest (Shelia & George Porter) and Patrícia Carvalho

Marie Lindsay Induction


Marie is a leader whose actions speak for her louder than words can. Originally from Muff, Donegal, which is to the north of Derry / Londonderry in Northern Ireland, she has dedicated her working life to education. She studied science, graduating from the University of Ulster in Coleraine BSc in Biochemistry before doing an MSc in Education Management. In 1985, she went to Belfast to study for a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at St Mary’s College in Belfast and in 1995 she was awarded a Professional Qualification for Headship (PQH).

In 1985, Marie started her career teaching science at St. Mary’s College in Derry. St Mary’s College was founded in September 1959 by the Sisters of Mercy and was Derry’s first all-girls secondary school in Creggan, a large working class housing estate with high levels of social deprivation and unemployment. The school catered for almost 900 girls aged 11 to 15 who were deemed unsuitable for a grammar school – in other words “academic” – education.

Although there have been many changes over the years, and the school relocated to a brand new premises in 2010, St Mary’s still largely serves children from disadvantaged areas and around 60% of the pupils are entitled to free school meals, an indicator that their families are living below the poverty line. (According to a 2017 British government report, the Foyle region – named after the river that flows through the city – has the third highest school lunch claimant rate in the UK.) In addition, almost 30% of pupils at St Mary’s College are on the Special Education Needs register and are identified as requiring additional educational support.

Many pupils’ families face incredibly complex barriers to learning due to the poor economic conditions and, in part, the challenges of rebuilding a society after 30 years of conflict. In 2015, Derry and Strabane District Council had the highest rate of unemployment (claimant count) in Northern Ireland at 8%. Seven of the wards in the school’s catchment area have rates of unemployment in excess of 14%. In some cases, parents and grandparents never had employment. So, while many families value education as a path to a brighter future for others, education is not a priority and large efforts are required to persuading pupils to attend class regularly and to complete GCSEs and A level exams.

Marie was appointed Staff Development Co-ordinator in 1994. In that role, she led the school to numerous Staff Development accolades obtaining the Investors in People (IIP) standard in 1995 – making St. Mary’s the first organisation in Northern Ireland and the first public sector organisation in the UK to achieve it – and UK Millennium Excellence Award for Excellence in Professional Development (2000). It has since won the Irish News ‘Workplace Excellence’ Award which on 3 occasions (2013, 2014 and 2017) and has has retained its IIP status for 22 years – in 2016 it was re-accredited Investors in People “Gold status” for a record 8th time.

Marie joined the Senior Management Team at St Mary’s in 1998 with responsibility for Quality Assurance. The Principal at the time, Dame Geraldine Keegan, knew Marie was sceptical about the implementation of “industrial practices” within education but knew that, if she could convince a sceptic of the benefits, the other staff would also embrace the change.

When Dame Keegan retired as Principal in 2006, Marie was appointed her successor. To say Marie was successful in the role would be something of an understatement. Despite the high levels of deprivation, drastic budget cuts and the ever increasing social pressures young people face, St Mary’s has enjoyed year on year improvement in examination performance over a 25 year period. Since Marie’s appointment in 2006, the examination performance at 5+GCSEs Grades A*-C has increased from 56% (in 2007) to 95% (in 2017) and the percentage achieving 5+ Grades A*-C in 5 subjects including English and Maths has increased from 25% (in 2007) to 60% (in 2016-17). The improvement at 3 + grades A*-C at A’ level is equally impressive increasing from 21% (in 2007) to 72% (in 2017).

Under Maire’s guidance, St Mary’s has also gone on to be one of the most highly recognised entities within the European business excellence community, winning the Northern Ireland Quality Award 4 times (1998, 2001, 2006 and 2012), the inaugural Ireland Excellence Award in 2013, the British Quality Award in 2000, and the EFQM Excellence Award (European Quality Award) in 2001 and 2006.

Business excellence awards recognise the achievement of sustained, outstanding results. In order to achieve such results – and as a by-product to have any chance of winning an excellence award – you must first achieve excellence in every aspect of how you manage your organisation. Since she was appointed Principal, Marie has ensured that St Mary’s indisputable track record of success in both turning strategy into action and bringing about continuous improvement has been sustained.

In 2006, St Mary’s became one of only two schools in Northern Ireland to be named by the British Department of Education as a Specialist School for Science along with top ranking grammar school, Lumen Christi College. In the years that followed, the number of girls following STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) pathways increased dramatically and, for the first time, St Mary’s girls were going off to study Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computing, Architecture and a range of courses allied to the medical profession.

In 2007, St Mary’s pupil earned a place in the UK’s top five students in Applied Science in A Level exams (the UK’s advanced school leaving exams) and another pupil was ranked in the top 5 students for GCSE Mathematics (the equivalent to the former O levels, the UK’s school leaving exam). In 2008, a pupil earned the top result in Northern Ireland for Applied Business Studies in her GCSE and another pupil ranked in the top three in Northern Ireland in GCSE Engineering. The following year, two pupils shared joint top marks in the UK’s Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment’s CCEA Applied Double Art Award, the UK’s school leaving exam.

In 2013, St Mary’s won an EFQM Excellence award for Sustaining Excellent Results. The results of its pupils have also been sustained and 2013 also saw the first pupil from the school to earn a place to study pharmacy in university (at Queen’s University College, Belfast) while another pupil became first to secure a place at Oxford University, where she studied English Literature.

The success of St Mary’s students has continued to the present day with a pupil achieving 2nd highest in Northern Ireland in A-level Applied Business Studies and a Year 12 pupil achieving 4th in GCSE Applied Business Studies in 2017, while two pupils achieved full marks in their GCSE English Literature exams and two pupils also achieved full marks in their GCSE Art. Another A level pupil had her exam pieces selected for the True Colours Art exhibition in the Ulster Museum, a showcase of ‘the best of the best’ exam pieces. (2017 was the 5th year in a row that pupils’ work was selected). While it is not possible for every pupil to win accolades, the number and consistency with which St Mary’s pupils achieve these is testament to the calibre of their cohorts.

St Marys was the top performing “all ability” urban school in Northern Ireland based on GCSE exam results, and in 2015 and 2016, was the top performing “all ability” all-girls School Northern Ireland.

The school has been the focus of numerous best practice studies by the UK Department of Education and also by a cross-border “all island” studies including one in 2015 which looked at St. Mary’s approach to improving Literacy. It has also welcomed educationalists and businesses from all over Ireland, the UK, Europe, North America, and beyond to look at their approach to raising standards and improving outcomes for young people.

Apart from academic success for its students in examinations. St Mary’s has a formidable record in terms of Music and Art. Marie introduced a ”Music Promise” in 2006 a program under which every pupil that shows any flair or talent for music is provided with an instrument and tuition or voice coaching free of charge. As a result, St Mary’s now has a full orchestra, a popular traditional music group, and a choir that has enjoyed success at local, regional and national level. In 2014, the choir was invited to support English jazz-pop singer Jamie Cullum when he headlined the Jazz Festival in Derry that year. The school’s most recent innovation, that has attracted interest at regional and national level, was the introduction in 2015 of a Tri-Swim Academy, the first school on the island of Ireland to do this.

A key principle of business excellence is building win-win partnerships. As far back as 1993, St Mary’s College worked in partnership with another local secondary school, Lisneal College, through extra-curricular activities including Saturday School and Summer school. Marie’s appointment as Principal in 2006 coincided with the first formal Shared Education Programme (SEP1) where the St Mary’s – Lisneal partnership developed to include shared timetabled classes for Junior classes. The partnership with Lisneal continues to the present day and has been extended to include a third school, St Cecilia’s College.

2006 also saw the introduction of the Foyle Learning Communities – a partnership with 10 post-primary schools the North West Regional College and the Verba Arts Centre – designed to give pupils access to a greater range of course options and share expertise between institutions. It enables pupils in St Mary’s to take one their courses in a nearby school and pupils from other schools can to take a course in St Mary’s. The Shared Education partnership, supported by Queens University, now includes partnerships with schools in Los Angeles and Jerusalem.

Since 2014, St Mary’s has been a Microsoft Showcase School – one of a global community of schools engaged in digital transformation to improve teaching and learning – having become a Pathfinder School in 2010, and Mentor School in 2011. It is one of only 3 Showcase Schools on the island of Ireland.

The success of St Mary’s has obviously not gone unnoticed within the education sector and Marie has been actively involved in a number of groups working to further improve standards and share the insights and knowledge she has gained. She represented the Post Primary Principals on the local Higher Education working group in Northern Ireland and was a member of the Sir Graeme Davies Steering Committee for the review of the Higher Education Strategy for Northern Ireland (2010-2012), contributing to the new strategy “Graduating to Success”.

Marie was a board member of EFQM (in Brussels) and participated in the development of the EFQM 2010 and 2013 Excellence Models, representing the public sector. She is currently Chair of the Foyle Learning Community and a board member of the Northern Ireland’s Shared Education Learning Forum (SELF), of School Employer Connections (SEC), and a Trustee of the Walled City Music Trust. Marie is also a member of Derry and Strabane District Council’s Education and Skills Group.

In 2016, Marie was named as Principal of the Year at the Foyle Blackboard Awards Ceremony. Over the years she has gained the trust and respect of her colleagues, peers, pupils and their parents. But, more importantly, she has made an outstanding contribution to her community, unlocking the potential in thousands of young people and giving them a chance to make a real difference themselves.

Marie married Collie Lindsay in 1991 and they have five children who are now fully grown.

Raomal Perera

Raomal Perera

“Raomal has been a pillar of entrepreneurship at INSEAD since 2001. Initially as the protagonist of a case, then as our first entrepreneur in residence, then as a professor and as the lead for our bootcamp for the MBA’s in Asia, Raomal has educated hundreds of students and built a large, vocal fan base at INSEAD. He is best known for giving unstintingly of his time in counselling entrepreneurs and teams. Raomal is one of those vitals individuals who connects our European and Asian campuses and he is truly an ambassador of goodwill for Ireland just by being a wonderful role model for those who aspire to build ventures. Raomal’s induction into the Excellence Hall of Fame by the Fellows of the Business Excellence Institute is a tribute to a wonderful man and dear friend who exemplifies what is means to say that business should be a force for good, INSEAD’s guiding principle.”

Philip Anderson Professor and Academic Director of the INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship


“On behalf of the Irish technology sector, I would like to warmly congratulate Raomal on his induction to the Hall of Fame. Raomal is a true patriarch of the Irish software sector and in many ways can be credited with the great successes we see in the sector today. Raomal has given selflessly of his time in supporting a new generation of entrepreneurs, helping others learn from his trailblazing achievements.”

Paul Sweetman Director of Technology Ireland at IBEC, the Irish Business and Employers Confederation


Nominated by: Gavin Denn
Seconded by: Pat Frain and Neal Traynor

Raomal Perera Induction


Raomal grew up in Sri Lanka. Although his father was a Paediatrician and two of his brothers went into the medical world. Raomal’s love of mathematics led him to study engineering after school. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering from the University of Wales in Swansea (UK) in 1979 having also learnt how to carve his own way in a country where his family name didn’t open doors.

After graduation, Raomal joined auto maker British Leyland (of Jaguar, Land Rover, and Mini fame) in 1980. While there, he taught himself Computer programming, enabling his to take a job that made use of his computing skills.

In 1980, he met Pat from Blessington (County Wicklow, Ireland) who he later married. Around the same time, he was headhunted by the US word processer manufacture CPT Corporation to work for them in their Irish factory in Cork. Within a year of joining CPT, the dedicated word processor market collapsed and the Irish plant was closed. Raomal was offered a job with a different division in the U.S. but as he and Pat had just become parents, the timing wasn’t right so having travelled to the States out of courtesy, he decided to stay in Ireland and was out of a job.

He took a contract role with a company in the Netherlands and moved there where he got on well with the Dutch and worked for 18 months before taking an R&D job with Retix (a technology communications company) where he helped to establish an Irish office in Dun Laogharie, Co. Dublin. He was soon promoted to Associate Vice President of Engineering and offered a job in Los Angles which he accepted. However, within a year he returned to Ireland as Pat didn’t settle in LA. On his return, Raomal joined Artist Graphics to head up the engineering group in Dublin. In parallel, he also started to study for an MBA in University College Dublin’s Smurfit Graduate School of Business.

Shortly after starting his studies Raomal was asked by Andy De Mari (Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive of Retix) to setup an internet software company with him. Consequently, after three months of study in the Smurfit School, Raomal stopped studying and left Artist Graphics to establish ISOCOR with De Mari. The company, founded by De Mari and Raomal, was headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and its Irish operation were led by Raomal. They grew it to size of 250 staff before taking it public in 1996, when it listed on the NASDAQ, and later negotiated the sale of the company to Critical Path – one of the global leaders in messaging software at the time – for a final price of approximately $450 million.

In 1999, Raomal established his second venture Network365, a developer of software for mobile commerce that enabled payments to be made from mobile/cell phones. He built a high performance team of professionals – many of whom had enjoyed working with him in his previous ventures. It is a measure of his calibre, integrity and of the esteem in which he is held by his colleagues and peers that not only was he repeatedly asked to lead organisations by business partners with whom he had achieved success but that he was also a talisman for a generation of Irish engineers who were keen to take the opportunity to work with him in different organisations developing different technologies. Under his leadership, the company won a number of awards including awards including the Wall Street Journal Innovation Gold Award for business and it was listed by Time Magazine as one of Europe’s 50 Hottest Tech Firms in both 2001 and 2002.

Over the years, Raomal maintained close ties with the business and technical communities in Sri Lanka initially partnering with Sri Lankan developers and, ultimately, establishing a major R&D facility for Newtowk365 in Colombo and providing support and guidance to Sri Lankan entrepreneurs expanding their operations into Europe.

In 2003, Raomal was invited to serve as one of the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers. In the same year, after having success in a number of markets including Japan and Hong Kong, Network 365 acquired a U.S. competitor iPin and, after the merger, was renamed Valista.

In 2003, Raomal was the first ever recipient of the Irish Software Association’s Outstanding Software Achievement Award and was also a finalist in the Ernst & Young ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ awards. In 2007, he was appointed an Adjunct Professor at INSEAD and stepped down as Chief Executive of Valista a few months later. In 2009, Valista was sold to the Belfast based AePONA, a subsidiary of the telecoms software company Aldiscon that was subsequently acquired by Intel.

In 2008, Raomal was appointed an Advisory Board member on University College Dublin’s Innovation Academy and became an Adjunct Professor of the Academy, he is now its Chairperson. In 2014, his ties to UCD strengthened when he was appointed an Adjunct Professor of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. At INSEAD and UCD, Raomal teaches and studies a range of disciplines including entrepreneurship, innovation and the management of rapidly growing companies.

In 2015, he started his third venture, Lean Disruptor.

Roamal has served on the Advisory Board of the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies since 2009 and has also served as the Chairman of the Irish Software CEO Forum (2006-2008), and – since 2016 – as a jury member of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. He is passionate about education and has been on the board of management at Loreto Foxrock (a girl’s in Dublin) for the past 15 years. He first joined the board as a parent nominee and is now a Loreto Trust nominee as he continues to sit on the board long after his daughters graduated from the school. Raomal is a very committed Christian and has been involved in the Family Mass group at Kilmacud for over 25 years and is now with the same group that is working at St. Matthews’s church in Ballyfermot.

In 2010, Raomal faced the biggest challenge of his life when he was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML). He had to undergo a bone marrow transplant that year. His brother Mahesh was the donor. He was able to fight the disease and recover in time to take his daughter Lesley-Ann down the aisle in 2012. His positive attitude to fighting the disease as well as his great faith in prayer helped him overcome this significant challenge. His journey is documented in a series of blog posts in Raomal.com which was a source of inspiration to other leukaemia sufferers. While the initial battle with cancer was won, the cells mutated and returned in 2013 and once again Raomal was faced with having to deal with cancer. Thanks to an amazing dedicated Haematologist (Dr. Conneally), Raomal managed to fight the cancer once again. Today he is free of cancer and very grateful to the doctors and nurses who have given him the opportunity to enjoy his young grandson who lives next door.

Despite his unquestionable business success, his proudest moments have been witnessing his two sons and two daughters achieving their own success in their chosen fields of law, teaching, business, and – less predictably, music. Ever the committed family man, Raomal lives in Foxrock, Dublin, with his extended family including his grandson.

Clara Shih

Clara Shih

“It was my tremendous honour to have nominated Clara to the Excellence Hall of Fame. Clara has revolutionized the advisor and client experience for over 150,000 financial advisors around the globe. Her ability to leverage technology to advance human connections which facilitates financial decision making is unmatched. Clara has been the driving force to modernize a business model which had been in place for close to two centuries.

I’m privileged to call Clara my friend. I’m most proud to witness her ability to balance the roles of savvy business leader with that of loving daughter, spouse and mother.

Congratulations Clara on this awesome recognition of your many accomplishments.”

Eileen McDonnell Chief Executive and Chairman of Penn Mutual


“From first meeting her in college, Clara has always pursued excellence in everything she does, from academics to her work with Google & Salesforce, starting and building Hearsay, and her board, campaign and non-profit service. Not only does she push those around to her to continually improve in all aspects of their lives, she holds herself to the same (or higher) exacting standards. She's absolutely relentless in her quest for both progress and excellence.”

Steve Garrity COO Hearsay Systems


Nominated by: Eileen McDonnell
Seconded by: Matt Fisher and David Cullen

Clara Shih Induction


Clara, who was born in Hong Kong, moved to the United States with her family when she was four and grew up in Chicago. Her parents encountered the many challenges of immigrants, trying to understand the tacit rules of a new culture. Her father, who had been a mathematics professor in Hong Kong, changed career to work as an electrical engineer and her mother, who had been an art teacher, trained to become a special-education teacher. The immigrant experience taught Clara the importance of hard work and the value of being entrepreneurial. She learnt from a young age how to be resilient and to turn being different from those around her into an opportunity to introduce diversity of thought.

Attending Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy High School, Clara says “showed me that anything is possible and that you’re never too young to think big.” She became captain of the women’s varsity tennis team, concert mistress of the orchestra, editor of the student newspaper, captain of the debate team, and a member of Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honor Society. She also applied what she had learnt as an immigrant and, having learnt English as a second language, now gave English lessons to other immigrants.

Aged 15, Clara got a job working as a computer programmer at the Fermilab, United States' premier particle physics laboratory while still in high school. In 2000, she graduated from High School and was named a Presidential Scholar, an honour reserved from the most distinguished students graduating from high school.

After high school, Clara moved to California to study economics and computer science at Stanford University. While there, she interned at Microsoft, where she developed the news aggregator for Microsoft Outlook and was named a ‘Microsoft Women’s Scholar’.

In 2002, she returned to China to conduct field research for her thesis and, during her time there, attended Beijing Foreign Studies University. While at Stanford, Clara co-founded the Stanford Engineering Public Service Centre, was the president of the campus chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, served as an officer of the Stanford Society of Women Engineers, was named a Society of Women Engineers Scholar, and was elected to Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.

Never losing sight of the challenges of being in a minority, in her spare time, Clara volunteered as a mathematics and science teacher for elementary students from families with low-income in East Palo Alto, a part of the Bay Area which is home to a large number of people who are ethnic minorities. However, her focus was not just on local minorities. In 2003, she founded Camp Amelia Technology Literacy Group, a student-run international non-profit organization dedicated to providing free educational software to improve basic education in underserved communities. Camp Amelia had volunteers from such colleges as Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth and Duke and partnerships with both the Ghanaian Ministry of Education and the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Education as well as UNESCO.

In 2004, Clara was one of just eight people selected by Google as an Anita Borg Scholar (now called a “Women Techmakers Scholar”), in the inaugural year of the scholarship which is awarded to women studying computer science, computer engineering – or a closely related technical field – who maintain a strong academic record. She was also named a Mayfield Fellow in her senior year at Stanford, admitting her to a program designed to give students the opportunity to develop the knowledge and leadership skills needed to start and grow technology companies, while working as an intern in a Silicon Valley start-up.

Clara earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Computer Science from Stanford – graduating 1st in her class – in 2005, and also earned a Master’s in Computer Science under a “coterminal degree program” that allows select students study for both degrees in parallel.

She was awarded a Marshall Scholarship by the British government to study in the UK following her study in Stanford and enrolled in the University of Oxford. Clara earned her second Master’s degree, an MSc. in Internet Studies from the Oxford Internet Institute in 2006. While studying at Oxford, Clara also worked in Corporate Strategy and Business Operations for Google.

In 2006, after leaving Google, Clara was asked to join Salesforce.com and agreed to do so as a Product Director of AppExchange, its sales store. Again, illustrating her capacity to engage in multiple projects at once, and her role as a pioneer in the social media industry, in 2007 as a side project she developed “FaceForce” – the first business application for Facebook – which connected Salesforce with Facebook, enabling people using Salesforce to view their Facebook contacts information in Salesforce when allowed. FaceForce was a big success and brought Clara to the attention of book publishers, Prentice Hall.

Clara’s first book, The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff was published in 2009 and became a New York Times bestseller (the story goes that the editor wanted to name the book ‘The MySpace Era’ but Clara, illustrating her forward thinking, insisted on ‘The Facebook Era’). An expanded second edition in 2010 has been referred to as ‘the one indispensable social networking guide for every organization’ and the book is now used by Harvard Business School as one of its marketing textbooks.

Having received numerous calls from Fortune 500 companies asking “how do we do what you’ve described in the book?”, Clara – who had long since realised that “social media would be transformational for businesses” – decided to start a software company that would help Fortune 500 companies manage their marketing efforts using social media and so, in 2009, co-founded Hearsay Social (now known as “Hearsay Systems”) along with Steve Garrity, a former computer lab partner whom she recruited from Microsoft.

Clara has been its Chief Executive Officer since then. Originally run from her apartment, in 2013, the San Francisco headquartered company raised over $50 million in investment and is now the leading provider of predictive analytic client engagement and marketing solutions for banks and insurance companies. The company, which takes its name from the necessity of advisors to ‘hear’ what a client needs first, then ‘say’ what they can do to help (perhaps reflecting Clara’s experience learning English) has operations in the U.S., Asia, and Europe.

In December 2011, having been recommended by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, Clara was elected to the board of Starbucks and has served there since. Since 2013 she has also acted as an investor and advisor for several technology companies including BirdEye, Clarify Health, Color Genomics, Goldieblox, Gusto, Jewelbots, and Work4. Clara also served, between 2012 and 2014, on the board of the Ad Council, a non-profit organization that uses volunteers from the advertising and media industries to deliver public service advertising campaigns.

In 2016, Prentice Hall published her second book The Social Business Imperative: Adapting Your Business Model to the Always-Connected Customer. Glowing reviews for this book were provided by some of the world’s leading CEO’s and COO’s including Marne Levine (COO of Instagram), Robin Hayes (President of JetBlue), Walter Robb (Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market), Ted Mathias (Chairman and CEO of New York Life) and Chip Bergh (President and CEO of Levi Strauss).

Clara has been named one of Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs,” Fast Company’s “Most Influential People in Technology,” Businessweek’s “Top Young Entrepreneurs,” and a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum. In 2012, she was listed in both Fortune’s and Ad Age’s “40 Under 40,” and has been listed also as InvestmentNews’ “40 Under 40” and ThinkAdvisor‘s IA 25 – Industry Influencers.

Clara is married to Daniel Chao, CEO of Halo Neuroscience, who holds a Master’s degree in Neuroscience and a medical degree from Stanford. Her career to date reflects her ability to convert challenges and the assumptions of others into opportunities to create lasting, meaningful and fruitful relationships. She has found it intimidating at times having to work in male dominated environments but believes that even by showing up, she and other women are helping forge a path that will make it easier for others in the future. She is active in encouraging women in business and technology and continues to encourage women and girls to pursue studies in mathematics, science and engineering.

In recognition of her pursuit of excellence, her contribution to society, and her many achievements as well as for being a role model for us all, Clara was nominated for inclusion in the Excellence Hall of Fame by Eileen McDonnell. She was elected by its Fellows in November 2018 and was inducted on March 28, 2019 at a ceremony held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.

Feargal Quinn

Feargal Quinn

“If we could clone Feargal Quinn, imagine what a world we would enjoy. A brilliant business man, a born leader who approaches everything he does with impeccable manners. positivity and humility. He mentored so many of us and gave so many Irish business opportunities that allowed them to become the successful companies they are today.

Lily O Brien’s started its journey with Feargal in Superquinn, a tiny company with only myself as the founder and sole employee, he believed in me and gave us our first chance to sell and to prosper. Always accessible and fair to all, he never tired of innovating and striving to become the greatest retailer in the world. He brought the same brilliant skills to Irish Politics and worked tirelessly to bring change and legislation to make Ireland a better and fairer society. I am truly honoured to have worked with this extraordinary giant of a man and congratulate him on his induction to the Excellence Hall of Fame.”

Mary Ann O’Brien Founder Lily O’Brien’s Chocolates and Co-Founder The Jack and Jill Foundation


“I am sure our grandfather would be so proud and delighted with the great honour being bestowed on you this evening. Our grandfather – John – learnt his trade in Liverpool and came back to Newry at the start of the 20th Century to set up a grocery business that spread throughout Northern Ireland.  In the same business, you succeeded so dramatically that the name Quinn is synonymous with quality, service and a smile and that is the greatest honour you could pay to John Quinn and the rest of the Quinn family.”

Lochlann Quinn Co-Owner, Merrion Hotel Dublin and former Chairman of Allied Irish Bank


Nominated by: Mark Coyne
Seconded by: Michael Griffin and Yiannis Lagos

Feargal Quinn Induction


Feargal was born in Dublin in 1936. At the age of 6, while Europe was at war, he already displayed his unique ingenuity and concern for the greater good when he decided to use a field behind his family’s home to protect the people of neutral Ireland from stray bombings. His plan was to divide the field - which was full of buttercups and daisies - into three parts, picking all the buttercups from the middle to make it appear white, removing all the daisies from another section to make it yellow, and removing everything but the grass from another section to make it green, thereby creating the semblance of an Irish flag which could be seen from the air.

Feargal’s father was a grocer who in the 1940’s had sown the early seeds of a supermarket culture in Ireland with a chain of grocery stores called ‘Payantake’ before opening the Red Island holiday camp in Skerries to the north of Dublin. As a teenager, Feargal worked at the holiday camp as a shoe-shine boy, waiter and a “bingo caller”. After that, while studying commerce in University College Dublin, he worked part-time in retail. In his late teens, while in France, he was exposed to the new retail phenomenon of “self-service” which inspired him in his future ventures. A few years later, aged 23, he started a small shop in the town of Dundalk which was his first step in building what was to become the Superquinn super market chain.

Although Superquinn was not the first supermarket in Ireland, it was influential in the development of the supermarkets concept in Ireland in the 1960s. From the start, Superquinn was built on a foundation of striving for excellence. It focused heavily on food while always striving for excellence in customer service and very deliberately did not stock non-grocery items like hardware.

In 1962, Feargal married Denise Prendergast, who he had met when she came to Red Island holiday camp for a day with her parents in 1958.

By the early 70s, Superquinn had grown into a successful organization that employed over 300 people and became a major player in the Dublin area. Its desire to be innovative combined with the emphasis on quality food gave rise to a decision that Superquinn would bake its own bread in-store. Coupled with this, the focus on customer service led to supplementing self-service aisles with staffed meat, fish and delicatessen counters, resulting in the highest staff-to-floor ratio in the sector.

When it came to marketing Superquinn, Feargal was a ground breaker. He shunned traditional advertising in preference for attention-grabbing stunts - such as once using an elephant to promote a store opening - and direct rivalries with competitors as an innovative means to raise awareness of Superquinn. In this regard he was dubbed “the Showman” and perhaps Richard Branson learnt a thing or two from him!

In 1973, Feargal decided to run for the upper House of parliament in Ireland which is known as the Seanad, but was unsuccessful on that occasion.

In 1979, he was appointed Chairman of the Irish Post Office, An Post, which was losing about £12 million annually at the time. He spent 10 years helping to modernize the postal service and within three years it was generating a surplus. While with An Post, he was also instrumental in launching Ireland’s National Lottery.

In 1990, Feargal published his first book, Crowning the Customer, in which he shared insights on his unique business philosophy. It has been translated into 14 languages and has won praise from such people as Martin Sorrell, founder of the world’s largest communications company WPP. It remains in Amazon’s top 100 books globally relating to Customer Service and has been described as “an essential handbook for managers, company directors, employees and students”.

In time, other specialist in-store food production such as Superquinn’s trademark sausages were introduced. Feargal’s unrelenting focus on customer service also saw him introduce many innovative ideas including the launch of the first loyalty card to be introduced in the UK and Ireland, playhouses in-store to entertain customers’ children and customer feedback groups. In 1993, it was the first supermarket in Europe to introduce a technology-based loyalty scheme – called “SuperClub” – the technology behind which it later sold to companies in other countries. Another example of Superquinn embracing technology in the best interests of the customer was when it became the first supermarket in the world to guarantee the absolute traceability of all its beef from pasture to plate, using the TraceBack system developed in Trinity College – a development which made Superquinn famous throughout the retailing world.

In 1993, Feargal was finally elected to the Seanad and was subsequently re-elected on four consecutive occasions (1997, 2002, 2007, 2011). As a Senator he was a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs, the Joint Committee on Finance and Public Service, the National Economic and Social Forum, and the Joint Committee on Jobs and Innovation. He served as a Senator for over 20 years before opting not to run for re-election in 2016. From the time when Feargal was first elected he gave his Seanad salary to charity and then when the financial crisis hit and the State ran into difficulty, Feargal stopped accepting a salary altogether.

Also in 1993, the Irish Minister for Education appointed Feargal the Chair of a steering committee which, between 1993 and 1998, overhauled a key component of Ireland’s post-primary educational system and introduced a cross-curricular school programme for students who do not wish to proceed directly to third-level education as their interests and abilities had not been well served until its introduction. This became known as the Leaving Certificate Applied and has gone from strength to strength each year.

All this while, Feargal kept a firm hand on the running of Superquinn which continued on its journey of innovation and excellence. It was the first Irish supermarket to have a website and it awarded customer’s “goof points” if they were able to point out any shortcomings in its service. Another first for Superquinn was the introduction of self-scanning checkouts in 1996, and in 1999 it was the first to offer in-store banking. Superquinn was also instrumental in the creation of the online consumer portal Buy4Now in 2000, which was purchased in 2014 by the US company MyWebGrocer.

Feargal grew Superquinn into a globally respected business which had innovation and customer service at its heart. It had 24 stores that employed over 5,000 people before he sold it in 2005. Speaking of Feargal’s impact on the retail world, Sir Terry Leahy, former Chief Executive of Tesco, said that Feargal “created a wonderful supermarket built around the shopping experience and which became a model for retailers around the world.”

In 2006, Feargal was appointed an Adjunct Professor in Marketing at the National University of Ireland, Galway, where he lectured twice a year until 2014. In 2009, he began hosting a television series, in which he worked with independent shops, helping them become customer-centric and modernise so they could compete with the changing marketplace which in many sectors is dominated by multi-national retailers. The series, Feargal Quinn's Retail Therapy was produced by RTE and ran for 3 seasons. In 2011, he fronted another Irish television series, Local Heroes – A Town Fights Back, which saw a team of people work to reinvigorate the local economy in the Irish town of Drogheda which was suffering at the depths of the economic recession.

His second book, Mind Your Own Business, which draws on his 50 years’ experience in business, was published in 2013. In 2016, he published his memoirs as his third book, entitled Quinntessential Feargal.

Feargal was a founding member of the Irish Grocers' Benevolent Fund in 1967, and served as President of the Irish Quality Control Association, President of the Marketing Institute of Ireland, chairman of Springboard Ireland, and as a director of the US Food Marketing Institute. He also served as chair of the Irish Management Institute and as President of EuroCommerce.

He was a Fellow of the Institute of Grocery Distribution (UK), a board member of the Paris-based Centre international des étudiants et stagiaires, and Chair of the Food Business Forum (1998 – 2000).

He received five honorary doctorates from The National Council for Educational Awards, Sterling University, Trinity College Dublin, National University of Ireland Galway, and The Irish American University. He received a Papal Knighthood in 1994 and was awarded the Rehab Group’s People of the Year award in 1984. In addition, he was awarded the Ordre National du Mérite by the President of France and, in 2006, he shared the International Listening Association’s Listener of the Year Award with Oprah Winfrey.

In recognition of his lifelong pursuit of excellence, his numerous achievements in the public and private sector, and for his contribution to society, Feargal was nominated for inclusion in the Excellence Hall of Fame by Mark Coyne. He was elected by its Fellows in November 2018 and was inducted on March 28, 2019 at a ceremony held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.

Sadly, Feargal passed away in April 2019 but his legacy survives as a result of the many achievements he accomplished throughout his life.

Henry Mintzberg

Henry Mintzberg

“Amidst the platitudes and endless false claims to novelty in the excitable world of business strategy, Henry Mintzberg stands out for his intellectual rigour and well-founded scepticism. With a sense of the importance of corporate history and appreciation of the skill of the practiced manager, his critiques of strategy as the inspiration of the visionary leader and of the content of the conventional MBA curriculum are indispensable insights not only for those who teach in business schools but for any thoughtful manager. I congratulate him on his most-worthy induction to the Excellence Hall of Fame.”

John Kay Visiting Professor London School of Economics and Fellow of St John's College, Oxford


“Peter Drucker, “they” say, “invented modern management.” When anyone has a bestselling management book, “they” anoint him (or, alas, rarely her) “the next Peter Drucker.”

Well, Drucker did indeed provide the bedrock for 50 years of management thinking. But I hereby, and with certainty, anoint Henry Mintzberg as Drucker’s successor.

My first published article was in 1978. As my bedrock I cited Henry’s 1973 book, The Nature of Managerial Work. Henry’s description of the way managers actually work dovetailed with my own emerging view and gave my early writing credibility. Later there was, among many others, The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning. It is no exaggeration to report that half the pages in my copy of the book have bent corners.

For me, the Henry Factor continues to suffuse my efforts — my own 2018 book is once again laden with Mintzberg references.

Thanks, Henry, for a full life of incredibly important work. In “our world,” you are, in my view, unequivocally on the top step of the ladder!”

Tom Peters author of the 1982 bestseller, In Search Of Excellence


Nominated by: Neal Traynor
Seconded by: Michael Sutton and John Bourke

Henry Mintzberg Induction


Henry is one of the leading management thinkers in the world and has been for many years. The Economist magazine referrers to him as the “Guru” Henry Mintzberg (although he prefers the term ‘swami’ himself). One of two sons of Myer and Irene Mintzberg, Henry was born in Montreal in 1939 and grew up there so speaks French as well as English. His father owned and ran a dress manufacturing company with an Irish partner.

Henry wanted to be an Industrial Engineer but it was not taught in McGill University so he went there to study mechanical engineering instead as it was the most similar course they offered. He graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor’s degree and the following year, having attended evening courses, also earned a bachelor's degree in general arts from Sir George Williams (now Concordia University).

Henry started his career working in the Canadian National Railways, where he spent two years in Operational Research, which involved creative thinking using numbers and analytical thinking. Then, wanting to further his studies, he applied to a number of universities in the States and was accepted into NYU and Columbia to study industrial engineering. However, on the advice of the head of industrial engineering at Columbia, he went to MIT instead and ended up doing a Master of Science.

He earned his Master’s from MIT’s Sloan School of Management in 1965 and stayed on to do a PhD. While working on his doctorate, he was approached about an opportunity to study the management practices of NASA chief James Webb which eventually led to his undertaking a structured observational study of 5 managers. He graduated with his PhD in 1968.

After earning his doctorate, Henry returned to Montreal and became an Assistant Professor in McGill University and has remained at McGill ever since. In 1970, he was made an Associate Professor and in 1975 was appointed Professor of Management. He is currently the Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies in in what is now called the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill, a position that he has held since 1996.

Over the years his research built on the foundation of his doctoral thesis, expanding to focus on the nature of managerial work, ways of organizing, general management, and strategy.

In 1975, his article The Manager's Job: Folklore and Fact won the McKinsey’s Award for best article in the Harvard Business Review. He has since published over 150 articles (bringing his total to 180), and he picked up a second McKinsey Award in 1987 for Crafting Strategy. In addition to articles, Henry has also authored or co-authored 19 books including the 1994 seminal book The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning which won the Academy of Management’s 'book of the year'. According to Google Scholar, as of May 2018, his writing has been cited almost 160 thousand times. When asked what his most important book has been, he feels it’s The Structuring of Organizations or Structure (also in a shorter version, called Structure in Fives). However, he feels his most ambitious book is Rebalancing Society and hopes that it becomes his most influential.

Always happy to challenge conventional wisdom, Henry has been critical of the established thinking on management, MBA programs, and consultants. He has been fiercely critical of business schools and particularly of MBA programs which tend to attract students with little or no management experience, do little to develop managers, and create “confidence without competence”. This led him - in collaboration with colleagues from Canada, England, France, India, and Japan - to create the International Masters in Practicing Management in 1996.

He has served as a consultant to both businesses and governments around the world and has a track record of making the business world aware of the flaws in their thinking and of ways to improve it. He also has championed new and better approaches to management education and, recently, better approaches to “managing societies”.

He has been a visiting professor at a number of universities including Carnegie-Mellon University (1973), Université d'Aix-Marseille (1974–76), Université de Montreal (1977–78), London Business School (1990–91) and INSEAD (1991–99).

In addition to his own PhD from MIT, he has honorary doctorates from the University of Venice, the University of Lund, the Université de Lausanne, the Écoles des Hautes Études commerciales, the Université de Montréal, the Université de Geneva, the Université de Liège, the University of Ghent, Lancaster University, the Université Paris-Dauphine, Concordia University in Montreal, Memorial University in Newfoundland, McMasters University in Ontario, Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, The New School in New York, ESADE in Barcelona, the Universidad del Pacifico in Lima, and the Institute Supérieur de Management in Dakar – totalling 18 in all.

He has received many other accolades. In 1980, he became the first management academic to be made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and, in the same year, he won the Canadian Operational Research Society’s gold medal for best publication by a member.

In 1985, he was made a Fellow of the International Academy of Management and two years later, in 1987, a Fellow of the Academy of Management. In 1993, Henry was named “Economist de l'année” by Le Nouvel Economiste (Paris) and also won a Special Award for Contribution to the Field from the Association for the Management of Organizational Design.

In 1996, the government of Quebec presented him with Prix du Quebec for social science and the Academy of Management presented him with its Distinguished Scholar Award for Organization, and Management Theory. The following year, he was made a Fellow of the World Academy of Productivity Sciences.

In 1998, Henry received both Canada’s and Quebec’s highest honours when he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and l’Officier de l'Ordre National du Québec.

In 2000, he was selected by the Academy of Management as a Distinguished Scholar and in 2003, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Workplace Learning and Performance from the American Society for Training and Development.

His thinking on shareholder value and management training is highly aligned with the Institute’s – quite possibly because of his influence on its founders. He believes that excellence is not about competing to be better than others but about competing with oneself.

Henry’s partner is Dulcie Naimer, whom he has known for 50 years and been together with for 7. She works at St Patrick’s Square, a not-for-profit apartment complex in Montreal. His daughter Susie is doing a doctorate at McGill in Social Work, and has three children Laura, Thomas and Maya. His other daughter, Lisa, a photographer, divides her time between London and Montreal.

In addition to spending time with family, he has spent much of his personal life cycling, canoeing, skating, hiking, plus snowshoeing, especially off-trail, and writing short stories. He has climbed Mont Blanc in France and cycled up some of the First Category passes of the Tour de France (slowly). He also likes to collect what he calls “beaver sculptures”, wooden works which beavers – one of the national symbols of Canada and in Henry’s opinion one of nature’s greatest engineering species – have crafted and discarded.

In recognition of his outstanding thinking on strategy and management – and the contribution this has made both directly and indirectly to countless organizations around the world – as well as for his teaching and leadership on business and society, Henry was nominated for inclusion in the Excellence Hall of Fame by Neal Traynor. He was elected by its Fellows in November 2018 and was inducted on March 28, 2019 at a ceremony held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.

Anastassia Lauterbach

Anastassia Lauterbach
Nominated by: Thomas Paulu
Seconded by: Nele Leosk and Susan Murray


Anastassia is one of the world’s leading experts on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence and in their implications for corporate governance. She was born in the former Soviet Union and, despite being interested in astronomy and piano, went to the Moscow State University (Lomonosov) to study Linguistics and Slavic Studies, graduating in 1994 with an award for excellence. She then moved to Germany to pursue her doctorate in Psychology at the University of Bonn (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn), graduating in 1997 and becoming the youngest PhD in the country that year.

Anastassia, started her career working for Munich Re as an underwriter specialising in international occupational accidents and occupational disease risks. While there, she wrote three books on workers’ compensation insurance and employer’s liability. In 2001, she left Munich Re to join McKinsey where she worked for four years before moving to take on the role of Head of Business Transformations for the EMEA regions at DaimlerChrysler Financial Services.

In 2006, Anastassia moved to T-Mobile, where she served as Executive Vice President of Group Strategy until 2009 when she joined T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom. In Deutsche Telekom, her initial role was as Senior Vice President, Planning & Development and she was also appointed to serve on its executive board with responsibility for Technology and Innovation. Nine months later, she took on the role of Acting Chief Products and Innovation Officer and, later in 2010, she became Senior Vice President of Business Development and Investments.

While with Deutsch Telekom, Anastassia was appointed to the Technology Advisory Board of Star Alliance and served in that capacity from 2009. She also served on the Communication Business Advisory Board of Intel from 2010 to 2011. In 2011, she left Deutsche Telekom and moved to the US semiconductor and telecommunication company, Qualcomm, to take over as its Senior Vice President for Business Development Europe.

In 2013, Anastassia founded her own boutique Advisory Company, Lauterbach GmbH Consulting and Venturing - which trades as 1AU Ventures in the UK - to advise Fortune 500 companies and investors on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. In the same year she was appointed to the board of the US data company Dun & Bradstreet. She served on Dun & Bradstreet’s board until 2019 and chaired its Innovation & Technology Committee.

Still very much a fan of the piano and of the arts in general, in 2013 Anastassia founded Startups Meet Arts™ – an annual gathering of artists, musicians, company founders – to facilitate creative collaboration between global companies and individual influencers in the arts. She also joined the Board of Kaspersky Labs - one of the world’s leading anti-virus and cyber security companies – where she served for two years.

In 2016, following Goldman Sachs’ investment in eKomi – a leading provider of online reviews and ratings with over 15 thousand corporate customers around the world – Anastassia was appointed to eKomi’s board.

In 2017, she became a Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Company on Artificial Intelligence and, in 2018, she was appointed to the Supervisory Board of the German fintech electronic payments company Wirecard, just prior to it replacing Commerzbank on the Frankfurt’s stock exchange’s DAX index. She also became an Advisory Board Member of Diligent Corporation, a U.S. organization focusing on corporate governance, and published her book The Artificial Intelligence Imperative: A Practical Roadmap for Business, co-authored with Andrea Bonime-Blanc. The German national newspaper, Handelsblatt, recognized the publication as one of the most important books on economics ever written by a woman.

In 2018 and 2019 she chaired the board of Censhare AG, a leading European marketing software company, which she helped restructure and return to profitability and growth. On January 1, 2019, Anastassia was appointed to the board of EasyJet. Later in 2019, she contributed two chapters to the American Bar Association’s publication; The Law of Artificial Intelligence and Smart Machines.

She has just written a chapter on artificial intelligence in China for the book China im Blickpunkt des 21. Jahrhunderts. It was published by Springer Germany in November 2019, a month which also saw her invited by the Queen of Sweden to speak at the Royal Palace in Stockholm as part of an initiative to protect children from online abuse.

Anastassia is a founding member of the NASDAQ Advisory Council of Next Gen Board Leaders and a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar. She sits on the advisory boards of the Ocean Protocol (a blockchain infrastructure and IP company), and TM Forum (a non-profit global Association of Telecommunication Companies), as well as on the advisory boards of U.S. companies Evolution Partners and Analytics Ventures. She also serves as an advisor to UN’s International Telecommunications Union.

Anastassia takes her running shoes whenever she boards a plane, and loves discovering new jogging routes around the globe. Her heart belongs to her daughter Catherine, who at the age of nine won her first national competition in composing. Anastassia never misses an opportunity to see a ballet or opera performance. She speaks fluent English, French, German, Russian, and Serbian.

Andrew Kakabadse

Andrew Kakabadse

“I have known Andrew for over 25 years. He has had a great impact in my life as a mentor, a co-author, and most importantly as a friend. He is among the very few that I’ve met who can navigate through complexities so smoothly and make them look so simple … I am still in search of finding out how he does it! I am not surprised to see him among you this evening … and I sincerely wish him all the best and congratulate him on his induction into the Excellence Hall of Fame!

And after all those years, I would honestly say that being a real human being is a gift that makes all who work or live or be friends with Andrew learn from his humanity and kindness. He has always been thoughtful, supportive, inspiring, dedicated and always goes an extra mile with people.”

Ali Qassim Jawad Senior Advisor at the Diwan of Royal Court, Sultanate of Oman


Nominated by: John Bourke
Seconded by: Ingrid Baecker and Neal Traynor

Andrew Kakabadse Induction


Andrew is one of the world’s foremost experts on governance, boardroom effectiveness, top teams and government. He has been listed in the world’s Top 50 business thinkers on two occasions, in 2011 and 2013.

Born in Athens, in 1948, Andrew grew up in Manchester where he attended the University of Salford and qualified with a Bachelor’s degree in environmental science in 1970. On graduation, he enrolled in Manchester Medical School – now part of the University of Manchester – and earned a Diploma in Psychiatric Social Work before moving to London to study for his Master’s in Public Administration at Brunel University.

In parallel to his studies, he worked for Derbyshire county council in 1970 and 1971 and for the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea from 1971 until 1973. Following his Masters, Andrew returned to Manchester to do his doctorate in the University of Manchester, graduating in 1977.

Armed with his doctorate, Andrew joined the engineering and consulting firm WS Atkins, in 1977. A year later, he returned to academia, joining the faculty at Cranfield University’s School of Management where he taught leadership, change management, consulting skills and organisational behaviour. His research focused on management in the public sector from which he developed an interest in management development, decision-making, and executive performance. In 1982, he was appointed Professor of International Management at Cranfield University, one of the youngest Business School professors of the day, a position he held until 2012 when he became Professor Emeritus at Cranfield prior to joining University of Reading, Henley Business School as Professor of Governance & Leadership.

In 1979, he married Patricia Sweetman who sadly passed away in 1991. Four years later, Andrew married Nada, who is an outstanding scholar in her own right. They have since collaborated academically many times. They also run their own consultancy practice, which counts amongst its client’s public sector organisations such as the Australian Federal Government, Scottish Government and the Police Service of Northern Ireland and private sector clients such as Credit Suisse, Citi, British Airways, BMW Motors, and the Bank of Ireland. Andrew has one daughter and one son.

Andrew’s current areas of interest revolve around improving the performance of boards, executive teams and senior executives as well as on excellence in leadership, corporate governance, conflict resolution, international relations, consultancy practice and enhancing policy delivery through enabling agile government. He has consulted and lectured on these themes in Australia, China, Georgia, India, Japan, the Middle East, South East Asia, Russia, the USA, and throughout Europe.

Andrew’s research has resulted in the creation of a database that covers thousands of senior leaders from public and private sector organisations in 43 countries. His research over 20 years on boardroom effectiveness and governance practice gave rise in 2018 to the largest ever analysis of the functioning of the British Government and a similar investigation of governance practice in the sports, charities, universities and health sectors. Building on this research, Henley Business School launched the world’s first Master’s programme on Boardroom Practice and Directorship in 2019.

Outside of academia, Andrew has served on a number of boards including, the Supervisory Board, Academy of Business in Society (ABIS) 2007-2012 and on the Windsor Leadership Trust Board, 2014-2018. He has made numerous TV appearances.

He has published over 285 articles, 139 conference papers and authored or co-authored 46 books, including Politics of Management (1983), Working in Organisations (1988), Wealth Creators (1991), The Success Formula, How Smart Leaders Deliver Outstanding Value (2015), Leadership Intelligence: The 5Qs for Thriving as a Leader (2019), and, with Nada, Rice Wine with the Minister (2010).

He has served as European Vice Chancellor of the International Academy of Management (1997-2002) and as Chair of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology (2001 – 2002).

Andrew served as editor/co-editor of the Journal of Management Development and Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society from 1998 to 2008 and on the editorial board of the Journal of Managerial Psychology (1996-2012) and the Leadership and Organisation Development Journal (1984-present day).

In 2011, he was acknowledged as one of the world’s top 50 thinkers on management by Thinkers 50. The following year, HR Magazine named him in its Top 25 Most Influential UK Thinker’s list. In 2013, he was once again recognized as one of the world’s top 50 business thinkers and in 2015 he was inducted into the Thinkers 50 Hall of Fame.

Andrew has been a Visiting Professor at Hangzhou University in China (1991 to 1997); the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland (2010 to 2016); Macquarie Graduate School of Management (2010 to 2014), Australian National University (1998 to 1999); and Swinburne University of Technology (2008 to 2012) in Australia; Thunderbird School of Global Management in the United States (2005 to 2008); the University Panthéon Assas (2007 to 2012) and the Sorbonne (2007 to 2012) in France; and Visiting Research Professor, Royal Institution London (2011 to 2017).

He was made an Honorary Professor of the College of Social Sciences of Kazakhstan (2011) and has been a Visiting International Fellow at the Centre for Creative Leadership in North Carolina (2005 to 2006), at Babson College in Boston (1999 to 2002) and an Honorary Professorial Fellow at Curtin University of Technology in Perth (1994-1997).

In 2019, he was elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Management; Fellow of the British Psychology Society; Fellow of the British Academy of Management; and Fellow of the Chartered Governance Institute.

Teresa Kemppi-Vasama

Teresa Kemppi-Vasama

“I got to know Teresa when she was completing her Executive MBA at Henley Business School, in 2009, on an elective study trip to Hungary. First impressions are inevitable, of course, and we all leave one. The question is not whether an impression will last, but whether it is genuine, a true reflection of the person. Anyone who meets Teresa will know that she leaves a very particular first impression. It is one that embodies charm, grace and maturity, and the promise of a steely calm in a crisis. The important thing was that this impression was not staged. She really is this awesome.

At the time, Teresa was working in the senior management of the Finnish Red Cross and on something of a sabbatical from the family business. Her career since then has been one characterised by the application of strong values and beliefs in the guidance of the health and well-being of a whole range of organisations at senior management and board level. That sort of commitment and impact cannot be faked; you really need to know what you’re talking about, and you really need to have some deep self-awareness to do as well as she has in her chosen field. The lasting and true impression of Teresa is of someone fully balanced between the large and the small, between the proper and the innovative, and between the light and the shade that all of us must navigate in our stewardship of business excellence and sustainability. I cannot think of anyone who could have a more positive impression on the future of business and I congratulate her on her induction to the Excellence Hall of Fame.”

Chris Dalton Author of MBA Day-By-Day & Associate Professor, Henley Business School


Nominated by: Yiannis Lagos
Seconded by: Aoife Killeen and Stephen Smith

Teresa Kemppi-Vasama Induction


Teresa was born in Göteborg, Sweden, and grew up in various cities in Sweden, where her father worked and studied. As a small child, she also spent a year in Bedford, England. When she was nine, her family moved back to Lahti, Finland. However, during her high school years, Teresa spent a year in Germany as an exchange student.

After graduating from high school, Teresa moved to Helsinki where she studied Social Psychology and Organizational Development, graduating from the University of Helsinki with a Master’s degree in 1996, having also studied for a year at Ludwig-Maximilian Universität in Munich, Germany. The same year also saw Teresa get married to her husband, Marko Vasma.

In 1949, Teresa’s grandfather, Martti Kemppi, had founded Kemppi, a Finnish company that has been one of the true pioneers in welding industry. The award-winning company has a track record of innovation which includes such milestones as introducing the world’s first welding machine with an inverter power source, being the first to produce digital welding equipment, and – more recently – using software to create the world’s first universal welding management system. Its flagships today are true “IoT systems”. Despite this, rather than join the family business, Teresa joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as a Change Management consultant as she wanted to get experience from working with other companies.

Teresa left Andersen Consulting in 1998 and joined the Finnish Red Cross to work on organizational development projects. While with the Red Cross, she grew her role taking on additional responsibilities for project management, human resource development, and strategy. In 2006, she was appointed to the Management Team of the Finnish Red Cross. As a management team member – with responsibility for crafting strategy, strategic development projects, youth and organizational activities, first aid training, and volunteer development – she helped guide the Finnish Red Cross for three years.

All the time, the family business was in the background and influenced her thinking but only from the viewpoint of a shareholder. To supplement this perspective, in 2000, while continuing to work for the Red Cross, Teresa took on the role of non-executive Vice Chairman of Kemppi Capital (Kemppi’s mother company). In 2004, feeling it was time to learn more about business and leadership, she started studying for an MBA at Henley Business School in the UK and graduated in 2009.

She founded her own investment company Auro Invest in 2007. Then, in 2009, the second generation in the family business felt it was time to transfer some of its responsibilities to the third generation. Teresa decided together with her brother and cousins that it was time to focus on the Kemppi business. She resigned from the Red Cross and joined Kemppi in an executive capacity as its Manager of Business Development & Market Intelligence. In that position, she learned about the welding business in detail and about the challenges of developing of welding equipment and software. She conducted many ethnographical customer studies with her team to learn more about customer’s needs and experiences and was also responsible for running the annual strategy process with the management team. This prepared her well for her next role in the company.

In 2014, it was time to finalise the generational handover. Teresa became the Executive chairman of Kemppi, with responsibility for the entire welding business, while her cousin, Antti, became Executive chairman of the renamed mother company, Kemppi Group. As one of their first tasks, the cousins had the honour of accepting The Finnish Family Company of the Year Award 2014 on behalf of the Kemppi Group. They were extremely happy with this acknowledgement of the work of the previous generations and set out in pursuit of the vision of making Kemppi a truly global player in the high-tech arc welding market.

The Kemppi family has also other companies that have kept Teresa busy over the years. In 2012, she was nominated as board member to the real-estate company, Kemppi-Kiinteistöt, and she also took the chairmanship its investment company, Kemppi-Yhtiöt. Nowadays, the Kemppi Group has another daughter company, Kempower, focusing on rapid charging solutions for electric vehicles and Teresa has been on its board since 2018.

In addition to the family business responsibilities, Teresa has been active in other organisations as well. In 2011, she became a Chairman of the local branch bank of Svenska Handelsbanken in Lahti. In 2015, she was appointed Chair of the board of The Association for Finnish Work, a non-profit organisation that works to improve the competitive position of Finnish products and to promote the reputation of Finnish work. In 2017, she was appointed as a non-executive director to the board of the publicly listed cargo handling manufacturer Cargotec. In 2018, she was elected to the board of directors of Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT University), where she serves as Vice Chairman of the Board. Locally she is active in the Industrial Society of Lahti and serves as its Vice Chairman. Environmental values are also important to her and she is a member of the Lake Vesijärvi Foundation’s representative assembly, a foundation of which Kemppi is a founding member.

In 2015, Teresa was honoured as a Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year and, in 2017, she was awarded with one of the ten first “Finland 100 Years Medals” by the Finnish Chamber of Commerce.

Despite all these roles, most of Teresa’s working time is devoted to the family business. Today, Kemppi employs over 800 people across 18 countries and has revenue in excess of 150 million euro. Kemppi welding solutions are sold in over 70 countries around the world. Teresa and her cousin Antti together with the rest of the family are working to build Kemppi Group into a truly global corporation, employing people and looking after customers around the world. As part of this, Kemppi has recently established production facilities in China and has acquired the Italian Trafimet Group. The sister company Kempower was founded in 2018 and it has now started to sell its first rapid charging solutions for electric vehicles. The demand for such solutions is very high. The future looks promising and the Kemppi family plan to use the competencies they have developed in Kemppi over the last 70 years to power the new charging business.

Teresa and Marko have two children, aged 16 and 19. The family has also two dogs and five horses. They live in Lahti and like to spend time in their summer cottage and at riding competitions. The animals make sure the whole family stays in motion!

Rita Gunther McGrath

Rita Gunther McGrath

“Rita, congratulations on this tremendous and well-deserved honor of being inducted into the Excellence Hall of Fame! Your work and success has been a true inspiration to me, and to so many others. No one better exemplifies rigor and relevance. Thank you for your shining star of excellence!”

Amy Edmondson Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School


Nominated by: Kristine Carr
Seconded by: Lucy Fallon-Byrne and Nele Leosk

Rita Gunther McGrath Induction


Rita is widely regarded as being one of the world’s foremost experts on strategy and innovation and, for over a decade, has been consistently ranked amongst its top management thinkers.

Rita was born in New Haven, Connecticut, to scientific parents who were researchers at the Yale Medical School at the time. Her mother, Helge Liane, and father, Wolfgang, had just received their doctorates – in microbiology and organic chemistry respectively – and had emigrated from Germany and the UK after obtaining their degrees. The family moved to Webster, New York, in 1967, when her father accepted a role with Xerox. A running joke in her family is that Webster had one of the most difficult slogans for Germans to pronounce, “Welcome to Webster, Where Life is Worth Living.”

Rita did her undergraduate studies in Barnard College, graduating in 1981, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Political Science. She earned her Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, having started working on it before competing her BA. After graduation, Rita took an entrepreneurial turn, attempting to create a business that would build on her interest in public policy and politics. The first business, Lawri Consulting, enjoyed some success but turned out to be a very boom-and-bust proposition. The second business, Unworried Words, took some of the learning from the first but Rita decided that it wasn’t a business she wanted to run and subsequently took a role with the City of New York Department of General Services. While there, she eventually became an IT Director, responsible for the implementation of an early digital transformation effort, called the Commodity Line Item Purchasing System (or CLIPS, for short).

She met her husband, John McGrath, a Northern Ireland national, in 1984, and they were married in 1986. Her son, Matt was born in 1988 and her daughter, Anne in 1990.

In 1989, Rita was accepted to the Ph.D. program in Social Systems Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. She pursued her research as the mother of two young children, winning the inaugural Kauffman Foundation Fellowship in Entrepreneurship in 1992. Her dissertation, The Development of New Competence in Established Organizations was completed in 1993, which she wrote while also having 6 peer-reviewed articles published as a student. Rita’s original intention was to continue her successful academic career with a post-doc but an interesting opportunity opened up to join the Management of Organizations Division of the Columbia Business School, which she did in July of 1993. She taught the core MBA course “strategic management of the enterprise” in those years and had an impressive record of publishing in both academic journals and in practitioners-focused media.

In 1995, her article Discovery-Driven Planning – outlining thinking which has since been recognized as an early articulation of what has become the “lean-startup approach” – was published in Harvard Business Review. It has been praised by the late Clayton Christensen (Harvard Business School Professor and author of The Innovator's Dilemma) as one of the most important management ideas of all-time, who provided an endorsement of her 2009 book Discovery Driven Growth to that effect.

She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1998. Her paper, Falling Forward: Real Options Reasoning and Entrepreneurial Failure, won the Academy of Management Review’s Best Paper award for 1999. In 2000, Rita joined the editorial board of the Strategic Management Journal. She also, together with Ian MacMillan (then Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Wharton, now Professor Emeritus), published her first book (and the first of 3 written with Ian MacMillan) The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Strategies for Continuously Creating Opportunity in an Age of Uncertainty.

In 2001, Rita was chosen as a key part of Columbia’s mission to combine theory with practice, joining a small group of faculty focusing primarily on Executive Education (the resulting program went on to be rated the best in the world for several years by the Financial Times). In the same year, her paper Assessing technology projects using Real Options Reasoning (co-authored with Ian MacMillan) won the Maurice Holland "Best Paper" award from Research-Technology Management and she won the McKinsey “Best Paper” award from the Strategic Management Society for her paper Real options reasoning and a new look at the R&D strategy of pharmaceutical firms (co-authored with Atul Nerkar).

In 2005, Rita’s second book Marketbusters: 40 Strategic Moves That Drive Exceptional Business Growth, co-authored with Ian MacMillian was published. Strategy+Business magazine named it one of the best business books of the year.

In 2009, in recognition of her significant contribution to the field of strategic management, she was elected a fellow of the Strategic Management Society and named its Deputy Dean two years later. She also published her third book Discovery Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity (co-authored with Ian MacMillan).

Rita was named to the prestigious Thinkers50 global ranking of management thinkers in 2011 and has consistently ranked in the top ten. She received their Distinguished Achievement Award in Strategy in 2013, a year in which she was made a Fellow of the International Academy of Management and that also saw the publication of her first sole-authored book The End of Competitive Advantage, which was hailed by Strategy+Business magazine as the number one business book of the year. 2014 also saw her win another award for her highly commended paper Continuous Reconfiguration in the Transient Advantage Economy published in the academic journal Strategy and Leadership.

Rita has served on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Journal (1997 to 2002), Strategic Management Journal (since 2000), the Academy of Management Review (since 2002) and the Journal of Management Studies (2003 to 2010) among others and has won numerous awards from the Academy of Management Journal for her work.

Her articles have appeared in major media outlets, and she is often cited as an authoritative source by reporters ranging from outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Wired and Fast Company. Rita is active on social media and in 2013 was featured in an article in Fast Company as one of the “25 smartest women to follow on Twitter.”

In addition to her Columbia commitments, Rita is sought after as a speaker and advisor to organizations seeking to make sense of uncertain and rapidly changing environments. Her most recent book, published in 2019, is Seeing Around Corners: How to Spot Inflection Points in Business Before They Happen, the same year she was ranked the fifth most influential management thinker by Thinkers50. She often speaks at prestigious gatherings (such as the World Economic Forum meetings and the Global Peter Drucker Forum) and, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, she has been helping people apply her approaches to strategy under high levels of uncertainty.

She is the founder of the consulting company Valize, a member of the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches Pay It Forward Project, and a trustee of the McCarter Theater Center in Princeton. She was the recipient of the 2016 Vienna Strategy Forum’s Theory to Practice award and, in 2020, was voted “Most Influential International Thinker” by HR Magazine.

Josef Schmidt

Josef Schmidt
Nominated by: JP Donnelly
Seconded by: Phil Guerin and John Bourke

Josef Schmidt Induction


Joe is World Rugby’s Director of Rugby and High Performance and former head coach of both the Irish rugby team and of Leinster Rugby.

Born almost as far north in New Zealand as one can go, Joe’s family had moved south twice by the time he was 7 and he grew up the third child of eight, in the town of Woodville, just over 2 hours north of Wellington. Having completed secondary school aged 16, inspired by the passion of one of his former teachers, Joe wanted to apply to teacher training college but he was too young. Instead, he took a job working in a nearby branch of the Bank of New Zealand.

In 1983, Joe left the bank and enrolled in teacher training college where he met his future wife, Kelly. He qualified as a teacher in 1986. The following year, he earned his Bachelor’s in Education from Massey University. After two years of intermediate school teaching, he took a job teaching English at Palmerstown North Boys’ High School in 1990, where he coached basketball, rugby, and cricket. While there, he played rugby both for the school’s Old Boys Club and for the provincial team, Manawatu. Joe and Kelly got married in 1990 and decided to go traveling before settling down. They had planned to take teaching jobs in the UK but got side-tracked by a rugby-coaching opportunity in the provincial town of Mullingar in Ireland. They had thought to stay for one season but enjoyed themselves so much that they stayed for almost a year and a half, during which time Joe also taught part-time at a number of different schools.

He returned to Palmerston North Boys’ High School in 1993 and in 1997, Joe became a (voluntary) NZ Schools’ rugby assistant coach. In July 1998, he moved to Napier Boys’ High School as Assistant Principal and then, in 2000, he moved to Tauranga Boys’ College to become its Deputy Principal. While there, he also undertook a Diploma in Sports Management (as an extension of the coaching practicum which people coaching national underaged teams were required to do). Being responsible for the day to day running of a school with over 1600 students, it was useful to have an understanding of management theory and practice so, in 2002, Joe arranged study leave to complete a Masters in Management. Soon after organising the study leave, he was asked to help Vern Cotter coach the National Provincial Championship team, Bay of Plenty (the “Steamers”). This was ultimately to change his career.

In 2004, with his Masters behind him, Joe established a Rugby Academy for the Steamers and also helped the Steamers win the “Ranfurly Shield” (New Zealand’s oldest rugby trophy, which is won by challenging and defeating the holders) for the first time in their 100 year history. Shortly afterwards, Joe parted ways with the Steamers to focus exclusively on the more challenging job of international club rugby with the (Auckland) Blues.

Joe served as assistant coach to the Blues until the end of the 2007 season (in which it reached the Super Rugby semi-finals), after which he took the opportunity to reunite with Vern Cotter and take on the challenge of learning French as the backs coach for Clermont Auvergne. While Joe was with Clermont, the side was runner-up in the French Top 14 twice and then, in 2010, won the competition for the first time, in its tenth final and after 100 years of trying.

At the end of the 2009/2010 season, Joe and Kelly left Clermont to return to Ireland with their four children, where he took over as Head Coach of Leinster Rugby. In his first year with Leinster, the team made it to the finals of the Celtic League (called the “Pro14” since the addition of South African clubs) and won the European Champions (Heineken) Cup with the greatest comeback to date in a European Cup final (they had been behind at half-time, 22-6).

The following year, under his leadership, Leinster won the Heineken Cup again (making them the second team ever to retain it and the first team to win it unbeaten in the season). They once again made the finals of the Celtic League and were only defeated by a last-minute score. In 2013, Leinster won the Celtic League and, having been knocked out of the Heineken Cup by Clermont, they won the European Challenge Cup. At the end of the season, Joe took over as head coach of the Irish men’s rugby team, having led Leinster to four trophies and victory in 77 of the 99 competitive matches they played during his tenure.

He led Ireland (who were ranked 9th in the world) into the 2013 “Autumn Internationals,” clocking up a win against Samoa and a loss to Australia, before facing the world number-one, New Zealand, and establishing a 19-0 lead, only to lose the match by 2 points in the final minutes of the game. In March the following year, Ireland won the Six Nations (the northern hemisphere’s international championships). This was quickly followed by Ireland’s first ever series win against Argentina in Argentina and, in November, by victories over South Africa, Georgia, and Australia which moved Ireland into third place in the World Rugby Rankings. In December 2014, Joe received the RTÉ Sports Manager of the Year Award from Ireland’s national broadcaster and was named Philips Sports Manager of the Year by, the Dutch Company, Philips.

He quickly gained an international reputation for being analytical, demanding of both himself and the team, and for being deeply committed, even injuring himself a couple of times (including a torn hamstring) during Ireland’s training sessions. Believing that one needs to grow one’s people and not just their skills, Joe periodically got the team involved in charity work, helping, for example, the homeless and the elderly. He also nurtured shared leadership and teamwork within the Irish camp while growing the squad’s depth as well as himself, by studying leadership, psychology, and – through books like Taleb’s Fooled By Randomness – probability and chance.

In 2015, Ireland won the Six Nations again having lost only one of their five matches in the competition and in September, just before his 50th birthday, Joe became an Irish Citizen.

In June 2016, Joe led Ireland to its first ever away win over South Africa. This was followed in November by Ireland’s first victory after a 111 year wait over New Zealand with a 40-29 win over the All Blacks in Chicago. A few weeks later, Ireland defeated Australia 27-24 to achieve a rare “triple-win” over Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa in a single year.

In the 2017 Six Nations, Ireland ended England's 18-match winning streak. The following year, it again won the Six Nations Championships with a “Grand Slam” victory by defeating all its opponents, before winning a series of away matches against Australia for the first time in almost 40 years. Then, in November 2018, Ireland faced New Zealand and defeated them for the second time in history. Joe was named World Rugby Coach of the Year. Also in 2018, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Faculty of Paediatrics, in recognition of the significant contribution he has made to children's health and wellbeing and for his advocacy work for epilepsy services.

In 2019, he won the Guinness Rugby Writers’ Tom Rooney award in recognition of “his immense contribution to Irish rugby” and he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Dublin City University. In the same year, ahead of the World Cup, Ireland’s performance earned it first place in the World Rugby Rankings for the first time ever. In the World Cup, Ireland came second in its pool (having been defeated by an impressive performance by the hosts, Japan) and went out to New Zealand in the quarter finals. Afterwards, Joe retired from coaching as planned, having led Ireland to victory in 53 of 73 matches. His impact on Irish rugby and on how the team sees itself, will be very long lasting (as evidenced by the ongoing success of Leinster after his departure).

His autobiography, Ordinary Joe (which he wrote without a ghost writer), was published in November 2019. Its title reflects his humility but also his belief that any “ordinary person,” who adopts a growth mindset and applies themselves, especially if striving to create value for others, can accomplish great things.

In October 2020, Joe took on a new role in World Rugby as its Director of Rugby and High Performance. In this role he has responsibility for education, training, match officials, and player welfare. In the press release announcing his appointment, World Rugby referred to him as “one of the most successful and widely respected high-performance head coaches of his generation.”

He has been nominated for induction to the Excellence Hall of Fame in recognition of his unfaltering pursuit of excellence, the impact he has had on the people and teams he has coached, his contribution to the sport of rugby and, through that, to societies around the world.

Divine Ndhlukula

Divine Ndhlukula

“Divine, my dear big sister…you are an unstoppable trailblazer who continuously raises the bar in everything that you do and are not limited by societal expectations of what a woman can and should achieve. Tonight,  you are being honored not only for your contribution to business but also for the many  philanthropical and women empowerment  initiatives you have initiated, supported, and continue to support. In spite of your very hectic schedule, you always intentionally take the time to coach and mentor both the current and new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs – as you always say “what is the point having all this knowledge and keeping it to yourself’. What I admire the most about you is how you have dealt with your success with integrity, dignity, fearlessness, generosity and humour. You are such an inspiration and I am truly honoured to have this opportunity to congratulate you on your induction. Skills in heels, gumboots and matenesi…Pamamonya ipapo”

Clara Mlambo the Managing Director of BOC Gases and Chair of Zimtrade


“Divine’s induction into the Excellence Hall of Fame by the Fellows of the Business Excellence Institute speaks volumes about the woman of excellence, impact, and a huge role model that she is to the women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe and globally. Divine is hope giving to the girl child and has paved a way for aspiring women entrepreneurs. She is a symbol of hope, success, and possibilities. Divine’s businesses have uplifted many women into industries previously dominated by men and has changed the lives of men and women alike. The testimonials of impact that are shared by the people who work with her, speaks to her philanthropic heart and the deep desire to make the lives of other people better. She is an exemplary leader, astute in her ways and determined to make a difference. Her legacy will span across generations. Well-deserved recognition!”

Gloria Zvaravanhu the Managing Director of Old Mutual Insurance Company


“Congratulations on your induction into the Excellence Hall of Fame. It is with immense admiration and genuine delight that I extend my heartfelt congratulations to you. Your remarkable achievements and unwavering commitment to excellence have left an indelible mark on the business world. Your visionary leadership, coupled with your tireless dedication, has inspired a generation of entrepreneurs and executives to push beyond limits and strive for greatness. Your impact not only extends to the success of your own ventures but also to the countless lives you have touched and positively influenced along the way. This Divine induction is a true testament to your extraordinary journey and serves as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring leaders worldwide. Well done, Doc!”

Philip Mataranyika CEO, Nyaradzo Group


Nominated by: Dianne Tyers
Seconded by: Gail Figaro and Nicola Mullane


A serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, speaker, and an advocate for the empowerment of women, Divine is one of Africa’s most successful women.

She was born and grew up in rural Gutu, in the south of Zimbabwe. In 1980, equipped with an accounting diploma, Divine went to work for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation as an Accounting Officer. In 1982, she took a job with Old Mutual (an insurance company headquartered in South Africa) before going to work as a Marketing Executive for Intermarket Life Assurance, a Zimbabwean insurance company now known as ZB Insurance, in 1985.

While in those jobs, Divine (who had wanted to run her own business since she was a young girl) was always hustling with something entrepreneurial on the side, such as buying and selling clothes or – once she had amassed the funds – buying an 8-tonne truck to rent out to a construction company. This venture later came to an end when she needed to sell the truck to rescue her family’s farm. In 1992, having rescued the farm, she became its formal owner and so went into the farming business, mortgaging her home to finance a crop which was destroyed by a drought that year.

By 1995, although she kept the farm alive (and today still holds the role of Managing Director of Zvikomborero Farms in Hampshire Featherstone), she was on the verge of losing her house so she re-joined Intermarket and became one of their most successful marketing executives. Determined to have her own successful business, she also enrolled in a UN EMPRETEC Entrepreneurial Development Programme and kept exploring possible business opportunities. In 1998, she identified an opportunity in security services.

Despite there being a strong customer desire for better security, in this heavily male-dominated industry, Divine saw a total lack of professionalism, quality, and service. The market was effectively an oligopoly, consisting of a few complacent incumbents and a few small companies that lacked the resources needed to look after large clients. Like the smaller companies, Divine had next to no resources but she had a conviction that there was a viable, untapped market for quality security services so, at the end of 1998, she established SECURICO in her home with an administrator and 3 security operatives. Formal incorporation followed in 2000.

SECURICO became the first Zimbabwean staffed security company to earn ISO 9001 certification. It has since also earned ISO 14001 (Environmental) and 450001 (Occupational Health and Safety) certifications. In 2011, SECURICO was named company of the year in Zimbabwe’s National Quality Awards and it also won the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship Grand Prize, beating over 3400 companies from 48 African countries. In 2019, the company was named as one of the Companies to Inspire Africa by the London Stock Exchange.

It has been adjudged in the Top Ten Best Employers in Zimbabwe for many years and has won the Super-brand of the Year in the security sector. The company has grown – both organically and by acquisition – to become the market leader, providing a comprehensive range of security and risk assessment services including electronic security systems and the secure transportation and management of cash and bullion. It has led the market to new heights, transforming not only the industry but also the self-esteem of those working in the sector and the acceptance of women who were previously perceived as unsuitable for security work (approximately 25% of the company’s 4000 strong staff are women, making it the largest private sector employer of women in Zimbabwe).

Divine credits her father and mother, who taught her family to love and respect others regardless of their social status, with some of the important values she brings to business. She believes in perseverance and the importance of integrity and is driven by her values and the ability to make a positive impact on the lives of her staff and others around her. One example of this is SECURICO’s policy of hiring widows and single mothers, empowering them in a world where they find it hard to get a job. Divine gains more satisfaction from how her efforts have made a huge difference in other women’s lives than from the profits her business has made over the years.

In 2021, faced with the impact of the pandemic on schooling, Divine established the Mbuya Mary Simbi Library and Computer Lab in rural Gutu to help the community of her birth. A total of 3000 learners are benefiting from this initiative.

Since founding SECURICO, Divine has received numerous accolades, including being named by EMPRETEC as their Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001 and the (services sector) Entrepreneur of the Decade in 2002. In 2008, the Institute of Directors named her Zimbabwe Director of the Year in the SME category and the following year she was runner-up for their Overall Director of Year. In 2012, she won an Individual Zimbabwean National Quality Award. In 2013, she was named the Zimbabwe Investment Authority’s Woman in Investor of the Year, African Achievers’ African Woman of the Year, Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government, and Empretec listed her as one of the 10 most Influential Businesspeople Post Independence Zimbabwe.

In 2014, she won the EY Exceptional World Entrepreneur Award for Southern Africa, an International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge award, and was named one of UNCTAD/Empretec Top Ten Global Women in Business. In 2016, she won the Zimbabwe Institute of Management’s Leadership Excellence Award In 2019, she was named Forbes Africa Businesswoman in 2019 and, in 2021, in recognition of her valuable contribution to the economy of Zimbabwe, she was presented with the nation’s Commendation Hero Medal by the President of Zimbabwe. She was also inducted into the non-profit youth organization JA Worldwide Global Business Hall of Fame. In 2022, she won the African Leadership Legend Award and a Zimbabwean National Iconic Entrepreneurs Award. Earlier this year, Forbes named her in their 2023 “50 over 50” women in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Divine encourages women and young people to become entrepreneurs. She has founded – and is very involved with – several initiatives supporting women to realize their dreams and scale their enterprises. She is the founder of the Woman Owned Business Initiative’s Mentorship in Practice programme – an offshoot of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Women in Enterprise Conference and Awards – which she started in 2013 to help women scale up their businesses. She was also the first Southern African Development Community member of the Women Presidents Organization.

She has shared her entrepreneurial journey with numerous audiences around the globe to help the young and mature women of Africa and has helped make it possible for Zimbabweans to hold their own in a world that sees more negatives than positives in their nation.

In 2011, she graduated with Executive MBA from Midlands State University and in 2012 was granted an honorary MBA from Women’s University in Africa in recognition of her business leadership and work on gender equality. She was subsequently also awarded a Doctorate in Business Leadership from Women’s University in Africa in 2015.

Divine has been appointed to board membership, directorship, chairmanship and leadership capacities in several key and strategic institutions and commissions in Zimbabwe including being President of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce in 2017/2018.

She had a dream, a dream to provide a decent education and livelihood for her family, build generational wealth for her family, a dream to create jobs and make a difference in the economy of Zimbabwe, a dream to see women owning their own means of production. A dream she has achieved thus far as she continues to move forward.

A firm believer in the “family is everything” mantra, she has raised 8 children, only one being her biological child, all of whom have attained high levels of education, despite having been widowed in 2002 at the age of 41 by her late husband Stanley Ndhlukula.

Divine was voted into the Excellence Hall of Fame by the Institute’s Fellows in recognition of her lifelong pursuit of excellence, her business acumen, her contribution to women in the workplace, and her positive influence on Zimbabwean society.

Jean Oelwang

Jean Oelwang

“Congratulations Jean on the wonderful recognition of being inducted into the Excellence Hall of Fame. In the twenty years that I have had the honour and privilege of knowing you, you’ve been kind, compassionate, visionary, and always brilliant. I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving of being inducted into the Excellence Hall of Fame.“

Ajaz Ahmed Founder and CEO, AKQA


“Jean is the kind of person who never puts herself forward, who is always in the background, making things happen, creating the possibilities but not herself in the front taking the applause and taking the award or taking the credit…that’s not Jean. So it is very astute of the Excellence Hall of Fame to have understood that Jean is incredibly worthy of this award and I’m delighted that she is being inducted this evening… I know she is blushing even as I speak but Jean, I’m so glad that you are recognised for the excellence and the deserving award that to receive this evening.“

Mary Robinson Former the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Ireland


“A big, big, big, congratulations to you Jean on being recognized by the Excellence Hall of Fame… I’ve spent over twenty years in awe, watching you take on some of the world’s biggest problems with Virgin Unite and bringing together all the right people to try and solve them.“

Richard Branson Founder, Virgin Group


Nominated by: Michael Gamerl
Seconded by: Sharon Commins and Neal Traynor


Jean is the President and Chief Executive of Virgin Unite. She grew up near Boston and, in 1987, earned her Bachelor’s degree in marketing from Penn State University.

She started her career in the United States working in telecommunications with GTE (now part of Bell Atlantic). After that, she spent seventeen years living and working on six continents to start and help lead mobile phone companies in South Africa, Colombia, Bulgaria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and the US. During this time, she worked both with large companies, such as Cable & Wireless, and as an entrepreneur.

Jean has long explored the overlap of the business and social sectors and so also took a couple of years in between building mobile phone companies to work outside the corporate world. First, in 1990, as a VISTA volunteer working with – and learning from – homeless teens in Chicago, and later, in 1999, with the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife in Australia. 

In 2000, she joined Virgin Mobile Australia as its Marketing Director and later was appointed as its joint CEO.

After 20 years in the corporate world, she found that she was so focused on goals in the corporate world, that she was becoming more disconnected from others and gradually becoming a stranger to herself. This prompted her to change direction and start Virgin Unite with Richard Branson. In 2003, she stepped down as joint CEO of Virgin Mobile Australia to work with Richard Branson on the creation of Virgin Unite. When it was established in 2003. she was appointed its Chief Executive with a mission of encouraging people not to accept the unacceptable and to work to improve both business and the world so that sustainable change for the better can be achieved.

Since then, being deeply passionate about addressing social problems working at the intersection of business, government, and non-profit organizations (an area which Excellence Hall of Fame inductee Henry Mintzberg holds is vital to rebalancing society), Jean has worked to help corporations build the wellbeing of people and the planet into their organizations. This has included working with twenty-five Virgin companies in fifteen industries to help them on the path to changing business for good. She also had a dual role of leading Virgin Unite and being a Virgin Group Partner as part of the leadership team heading up their People efforts for several years.

She has worked on the incubation and start-up of numerous global initiatives, including The Elders (an independent group of global leaders, founded in July 2007, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, address major causes of human suffering, and protect the interests of ordinary people around the world), The B Team, The Africa Donor Collective, Ocean Unite (which merged into the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, of which it had been a founding member, in 2021), The Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator, 100% Human at Work Network, The Virgin Unite Constellation, and The Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship. She also played a key partner role in the incubation of many other initiatives such as The Audacious Project (an initiative to support social entrepreneurs and those with potentially world-changing ideas).

In 2009, she worked with Richard Branson and other partners to establish the Carbon War Room (CWR), a not-for-profit focused on market-based models to reduce carbon. After a number of successful initiatives, the CWR merged into the longer established Rocky Mountain Institute in December 2014, when Jean joined the RMI’s board of Trustees on which she served until 2023.

In 2013, Jean married Chris Waddell, a man who has pursued excellence himself and has represented the US winning medals as a skier in 4 consecutive Winter Paralympics (1992-2002) and one Summer Paralympics, winning over 13 Paralympic medals. He has won the most medals of any male Paralympian skier in history.

In 2014, guided by the belief that connections and collaboration can help people achieve wonderful things to positively impact others, Jean co-founded the not-for-profit Plus Wonder with a group of partners to help people nurture connections in their lives, progress on their journeys to excellence, and scale collaborations to contribute to society.

In March 2022, she joined the Board of NOVONIX, a battery technology and materials company traded on the US and Australian stock exchanges, as a non-executive board member.

She serves on the Advisory Boards of The Elders, The NewNow (an NGO which works to ensure the voices of the young are heard and supported through collective), the Sara Blakely Foundation (an organization setup by the founder of Spanx to support women), the “human flourishing accelerator” Humanity 2.0, Vintro (a Chicago-based organization that aims to remove barriers between those with ideas and those with resources), Unite BVI Foundation, and Just Capital (a non-profit that works to lift the voice of the American people to help businesses and investors understand how they can be just companies and look after all stakeholders). She also serves on the Penn State Board of Visitors. She is also a B Team leader.

Her book Partnering, which outlines the power of collaboration and how to nourish relationships based on learning from numerous partnerships (including Ben and Jerry and Desmond and Leah Tutu) was published by Penguin in 2022.

Jean was the inaugural recipient of Penn State University’s Gerry Susman Sustainability Award in 2021 and has also been awarded the Bernie Glassman Trailblazer Award, the FilmAid Philanthropic Leadership Award, and the 2021 Beta Gamma Sigma International Honoree Award.

Jean was voted into the Excellence Hall of Fame by the Institute’s Fellows in recognition of her lifelong pursuit of excellence and her contributions to society.