Ruth McGuinness 2024 Women Power Awards winner

Microsoft Power Women Awards 2024

Celebrating the Power Women igniting inspiration in Ireland 2024 Winner announcement!

The Microsoft Power Women Awards are part of Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to inspire, promote and invest in a new generation of women tech talent. It has been a way to shine a spotlight on some of the amazing women spearheading greater diversity and inclusion throughout the Microsoft Partner network.  

In the second year of the awards, the programme expanded its reach covering Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with nearly 400 applications from exceptional women who have made significant contributions to technology, and diversity and inclusion.

We are thrilled to announce that Ruth McGuinness, Head of Data and AI at Kainos, headquartered in Belfast has won the Microsoft Power Women Award 2024 in Ireland. Her exceptional contributions and dedication have set a benchmark for excellence, inspiring us all.

McGuinness is a prominent leader in the field of AI, overseeing one of Ireland’s largest AI teams with 150 members generating millions of pounds annually through delivery of AI technology programmes in both public and private sector organisations across Ireland, the UK, Europe, and North America. Her focus includes developing AI tooling that is robust, explainable, and trustworthy and advocating for ethical AI adoption.

Passionate about bridging the gap between academic research and industry, McGuinness is also the primary industry partner of the AI Research Centre (AIRC) at Ulster University, supporting 100+ AI researchers in trusted AI applications. She also supports the development of more diverse AI talent as a curator of AI CON, Ireland’s largest annual AI conference, while being a strong advocate for the robust regulation of AI across other public forums, both local and international.

Accepting the award, McGuinness said, “I’m very grateful to Microsoft Ireland for honouring me with this prestigious award. It is humbling to be included among such an incredible and inspiring cohort of powerhouse women in the Microsoft ecosystem across Western Europe.

“I also welcome the opportunity of accepting an award for my career during a period of extended maternity leave with my second child – it’s great to see how much progress has been made in terms of gender equity despite how much more we need to achieve!

“Women face a multitude of barriers when trying to have children and a career. While we know that only 26% of technology roles are held by women, further data shows that women often then depart those technology careers at this important stage in their lives, due to inadequate parental leave benefits, expensive childcare systems and a lack of access to good quality flexible working.

“The IT industry needs to continue to do more, to not only attract, but also to retain young women, through ensuring job roles come with an inclusive culture, flexible working hours, flexible roles, equity and fairness.

“I feel passionately about the mantra that “you can’t be what you can’t see” and believe that elevating diverse role models for women – such as through Microsoft’s Power Women Award – plays an incredibly important role in empowering others coming into the industry” – said Ruth McGuinness, Head of Data and AI at Kainos.

McGuinness will join the other 18 winners at the Microsoft Women’s Leadership Program 2nd Edition, a customised programme developed by Professor Jennifer Petriglieri at the INSEAD Business School in Fontainebleau, France.

Please join us in congratulating our winners on this outstanding achievement! All winners details here Let’s celebrate them as role models for the next generation of women tech talent – to spark conversations, shape success, and ignite inspiration.