Mary Davis, CEO, Special Olympics International, winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Special Recognition Award. Photo: Naoise Culhane

Mayo’s Mary Davis honoured at EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

MAYO native Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics International, was presented with the EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ Recognition Award at a gala awards ceremony last night in Powerscourt Hotel, Co. Wicklow.

This year marks 25 years of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme in Ireland. The theme for this year’s awards was The Changemakers.

Mary leads a team of more than 200 professionals throughout the world who are addressing inactivity, injustice, intolerance and social isolation for people with intellectual disabilities.

She first got involved with Special Olympics as a volunteer and coach soon after she graduated from college.

Mary was the driving force behind the hugely successful Special Olympics World Summer Games when they were staged in Ireland in 2003. She served as CEO of these Games, which were the first World Summer Games held outside the US since Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the movement in 1968. It was the largest sporting event in the world that year.

Mary has served in a series of leadership roles including CEO of Special Olympics Ireland and regional president of the Europe Eurasia Region of Special Olympics, from 2009 - 2016. She is currently CEO of Special Olympics International.

Speaking about Mary Davis’ remarkable contribution, Roger Wallace, EY Entrepreneur of the Year partner lead, said: “As we celebrate 25 Years of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in Ireland and The Changemakers it is only fitting that we applaud the incredible work of Mary Davis, who is in every way a changemaker for people with intellectual disability.

“The legacy of the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games lives on in the hundreds of community-based Special Olympics clubs throughout Ireland that provide sporting opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities every week.

“Through her relentless hard work and dedication Mary continues to make positive change happen throughout the world and for this we thank and applaud her.”

Mary Davis saidshe was honored to be the recipient of the award and humbled to be listed among its prior recipients.

She commented: “The athletes of Special Olympics are changing the world every day to be more inclusive, to foster acceptance and to recognise difference. They are the true leaders and therefore, I celebrate this award with the six million athletes in our movement. They inspire me every day.”