FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Irish Ambassador to US will present distinguished awards to Beneficial Bank, Eileen McDonnell, and Sean Rooney

Philadelphia, PA, (27 January 2017) – The Irish American Business Chamber & Network has announced the 2017 recipients of their highest awards. The Ambassador Award will be presented to Beneficial Bank, with President and CEO, Mr. Gerard Cuddy in attendance to accept the award. The Taoiseach Award honoree is Ms. Eileen McDonnell; the Uachtarán Award will be presented to Sean Rooney.  The Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, Anne Anderson, will confer the awards.


The Ambassador Award is presented each year to a member company that has helped to carry out the Chamber’s mission of strengthening business and educational ties between Ireland and the United States.  Past honorees include Almac Group, QVC, SAP, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Shire Plc, Aramark, The Vanguard Group, ICON Plc, Amicus Therapeutics, Siemens, Wyeth, ICT Group, GMAC Commercial Holding Corporation, and Cross Atlantic Capital Partners.

Founded in 1853, Beneficial Bank is the oldest and largest bank headquartered in Philadelphia. The Bank’s original purpose was to give Philadelphia’s growing Irish immigrant work force a safe place to keep their savings. Beneficial Bank continues this mission today, focusing on doing what is right for their customers.

The Taoiseach, or “Chieftain,” Award complements the Ambassador Award by recognizing individuals of Irish decent who have exemplified leadership and compassion.  The recipient of this year’s Taoiseach Award is Eileen C. McDonnell , Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. Before joining Penn Mutual, she was president of New England Financial, a wholly owned subsidiary of MetLife, and senior vice president of the Guardian Life Insurance Company. Ms. McDonnell is a former member of the Master of Science in Management faculty at The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., where she held the newly endowed chair for Women and Financial Services and was author of “Marketing Financial Services to Women.”  She was honored in 2014 and 2015 in Irish America’s Annual Business 100 list and in 2016 to the magazine’s Top 50 Power Women’s list, honoring the best and the brightest Irish-American and Irish-born business leaders.

The Uachtarán, or “President’s,” Award honors Ireland’s president and that office’s tradition of building cultural and economic alliances.  The recipient of this year’s Uachtaran Award is Mr. Sean Rooney, Founder of The Kelly Rooney Foundation. Sean is devoted to community and charity work. Sean started the Kelly Rooney Foundation, named after his late-wife who passed away in 2006 from breast cancer. Through partnerships with and The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, The Kelly Rooney Foundation seeks to be a catalyst for helping create a generation of women who are breast cancer-free. The Kelly Rooney Foundation marked its 10th year anniversary this summer and celebrates hitting in excess of $1 million in its fundraising efforts, granting $250,000 to for education and awareness programs to help young women make healthy lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of getting breast cancer.

The Ambassador of Ireland to the United States
Her Excellency Anne Anderson became Ireland’s first woman Ambassador to the United States in August 2013. Prior to her Washington appointment, she was Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.  Her previous postings, among others, include: Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations, New York; Ambassador to France (concurrently non-resident Ambassador to Monaco); and Permanent Representative of Ireland to the European Union, Brussels. 

About the Irish American Business Chamber & Network, Inc
The Irish American Business Chamber & Network is a nonpartisan business organization dedicated to promoting the interests of its members and the development of economic and educational relationships between the United States and the Island of Ireland.  The chamber provides growth opportunities to its members through a series of monthly networking forums, programs and a broad range of services.  Its members span the Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey tri-state area and include Irish based companies with strong interests in this region.

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