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IPM’s Graduate of the Year Awards 2023

21 Feb 2024
IPM’s Graduate of the Year Awards 2023

Background to Awards

Since 2003, IPM has been running its annual graduate awards programme. Many of our successful award winners have progressed to be influential and highly respected leaders of their discipline here in Ireland. 

The objectives of the IPM’s Project Management Graduate of the Year Awards are to:

  • Recognise and honour the high achievers in the qualifying programme.
  • Increase awareness of the high quality and standards of IPMA® qualification and certification among the business community and the general public.
  • Increase the awareness of, and status of, project management as an important business discipline.
  • Advocate the importance of project management as a core competency for national competitiveness. 

Working with and learning from the highly motivated students that we have encountered over the years has been a very gratifying experience. As they have climbed the corporate ladder, their influence on the application and development of their discipline contributes to its future health. 

We would like to congratulate our winner on their achievements and wish them every success in their future career.

Graduate of the Year Award Winner 2023

Marion Fahy - Strategic Project Programme Management Diploma

Marion Fahy is a Global Project Manager for a health technology company called LifeWave in Galway. She is focused on enhancing business strategies by aligning with the organisation's mission and vision by tracking Key Performance Indicators. Responsibilities include organising, planning, and executing core Global projects for this fast-growing international network marketing company.

Marion is commended for leading complex projects within all levels of the organisation, while always exhibiting the requisite communication and problem-solving skills to ensure their success.

A Self-motivator, Marion graduated with a Bachelor of Business Studies (Hons.) and has since accrued more than 10 years' experience as a leader in her field. Having moved to Canada in 2011, she gained valuable experience in the oil and gas industry. She was an Office Manager for the Oil Sands Community Alliance where she managed an inclusive Issues Management Process that focused on analysing issues, facilitating solutions, and achieving results for 31 large member oil companies such as Shell, Statoil, and BP with a vision for responsible oil sands development. She moved back home to Ireland in 2016 and worked in the Automotive Industry at Valeo Vision Systems as the Product Line Industrial PMO Manager to set up and define the PMO office and structure. The scope included the definition of tools, processes, and governance to be deployed to deliver 44 manufacturing lines across 6 manufacturing sites across the Medium-Term Planning (MTP) period.

Tell us a bit about your experience before partaking in the Strategic Project Programme Management Diploma?

  • In 2010, I graduated from GMIT in Galway with a Bachelor of Business (Hons) Degree. I was interested in gaining international experience so I moved to Canada in 2011 to start my career. I started out as an executive assistant to the director of the Oil Sands Community Alliance Organisation. This allowed me to grow and develop my planning, scheduling, and organisational skills. We worked on multiple collaborative projects. This was my first insight into projects and I loved it. After a year of hard work, I was promoted to Office Manager.  This is where I got to design and implement office policies and procedures to create a more efficient office.
  • In 2016, I moved back to Ireland to work for Valeo Vision Systems where I was the Executive Assistant to the Product Line Industrial Director and went on to become the Product Line Industrial PMO Manager to successfully plan and establish a new Project Management Office (PMO) supporting sites in Ireland, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, and China. 
  • Currently, I am a Project Manager with LifeWave and this is where I am really getting to implement my learnings from the Strategic Project & Programme Management course with measurable results. The focus is currently on developing a successful Enterprise PMO to allow us to operate at a strategic level to ensure our projects and portfolio activities are conducting to the benefit of the overall business.

What influenced your decision to do the Strategic Project Programme Management Diploma?

  • Where do I start! Once I moved into the role as a PMO Manager, I wanted to learn more about strategy and what methodologies I could implement to ensure that a successful PMO was created that added value to the organisation . 
  • I also wanted to further my career with Project Management certification and grow my knowledge and skill set. My long term goal is to go on to be a Programme Manager.  The course has helped me to think more strategically which will support this goal. 

Since completing the course what impact, if any, has the course had on you in the workplace?

In my new role as Project Manager with LifeWave, the goal is to have an Enterprise PMO which is all about Strategy. This course has given me the skills and knowledge to be able to see the bigger picture and not just focus on projects individually. I am able to support the organisation to see that Project Management is the key strategic tool for success. I can select, manage, and support a portfolio of projects that will meet our strategic objectives. The organisation is growing rapidly and I need to ensure that top level management are clear on the mission and the vision of the organisation. I have a better understanding of the tools and techniques learnt in the course to be able adapt them to the organisation. It has given me the confidence to become a leader in Strategic Project Management. 

Jennifer Browne - Certified Project Management Diploma

Jennifer Browne is graduate of University College Cork (UCC) with a BA in Language and Cultural Studies (French), a Higher Diploma in Applied Psychology, and an IRC-funded PhD focused on seventeenth-century French history. Jennifer has worked as a postdoctoral researcher and lectured for the French and History departments at UCC on Early Modern history, political thought, and intellectual history. Jennifer worked for two years as an Information Developer at Johnson Controls, where she developed technical content, contributed to a range of side projects, and delivered trainings to staff. ​

​Jennifer joined UCC Academy in October 2019 as a Development Officer to support proposal writing, editing, and development for European framework funding such as Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In 2021, she took on the role of Senior Development Officer, supporting training and business development for research proposal development in addition to her existing responsibilities.

Jennifer is a PRINCE2® and an IPMA® Level D Certified project management professional. Currently, at UCC Academy, Jennifer is a project manager for two funded research projects. In addition to her project work, Jennifer supports business development activities, quality assurance, and knowledge development and retention primarily for team members managing EU-funded projects.

What influenced your decision to do the Certified Diploma in Project Management? 

I am a graduate of University College Cork (UCC) with a BA in Language and Cultural Studies (French), a Higher Diploma in Applied Psychology, and an IRC-funded PhD focused on seventeenth-century French history.

Having studied and worked in an academic context for a number of years, I joined Johnson Controls as Information Developer, where I gained experience in a commercial context. I developed technical content, contributed to a range of side projects, and delivered trainings to staff.

I joined UCC Academy in 2019 as a Development Officer where my role was to support the development of proposals for European framework funding by UCC principal investigators. My role within UCC Academy evolved, requiring me to undertake project management responsibilities.

Much of my project management experience was acquired on-the-job or through short courses until UCC Academy supported me to complete PRINCE2® certification as part of my professional development.

What influenced your decision to do the Certified Diploma in Project Management? 

There were two main factors in my decision to do the Certified Diploma in Project Management.

Firstly, I am always looking to grow and develop my knowledge and professional skillsets. This keeps me enthused, interested, and enables me to continually reflect on and, where possible, enhance the quality and efficiency of my work.

Secondly, when my role at UCC Academy transitioned from Development Officer to that of a project manager, I wanted to gain additional competences and practical skills to use in my new role. To this end I sought further professional accreditation with the IPMA®.

Since completing the course what impact, if any, has the course had on you in the workplace? 

Leveraging the IPMA Individual Competence Baseline (IPMA ICB®), I have a framework to periodically assess and evaluate my professional development and define my personal career goals. This has given me added focus and intention in considering learning and development opportunities for my career.

The course also enhanced the practical skillset and knowledge that I use on the projects that I manage. Having engaged with project managers across a range of industries through the course, it has also enhanced the quality of my interactions with colleagues outside of the higher education sector. Overall, I think the course has added to the perspectives and value I deliver to our clients.

If you would like to read about the previous year's awards, please visit The Institute page.