About Us


LEAP™ (Leadership & Executive Acceleration Program) is all about helping ambitious professional Irish and Irish-American women living in the Greater New York/Tri-State area get more opportunity—to have a voice in important discussions—to have a seat at the table with the decision makers, and to promote a culture of women helping other women.

With support from the Irish government, the Irish International Business Network (IIBN) developed this leadership and professional development program to advance participants career goals, and personal growth. Working in teams, LEAP in the Community inspires women to channel their collective skills towards real world social problems – making the New York City community better for all.

Program members are professionals and entrepreneurs in early to mid-career. We encourage professional Irish and Irish-American women from the Irish community in the Greater New York area to apply.

LEAP™ is tailored to:

  • Increase advancement opportunities for Irish and Irish-American women in their field of choice

  • Support the professional development of Irish citizens in New York

  • Strengthen the capability of Irish and New York community organizations

  • Promote connectivity between Irish and Irish-American professionals with cultural associations and organizations


Program Objectives


Program participants will:

  • Improve their leadership skills and business acumen with a better understanding leadership styles, team building and conflict resolution.

  • Enhance their personal brand and influence within an organization

  • Improve their communication skills by confidently presenting their vision in clear messages that engage others

  • Take on a leadership role by tackling a real business challenge of a LEAP nonprofit partner

  • Build a powerful network that will help them to sustain their development during and after the program


2018-2019 Executive Board


Maura Kelly


Maura Kelly is an Emmy award-winning producer and strategic media and marketing executive. Her career spans leadership positions in broadcast television at PBS/ WNET where she built successful media franchises and helped raise over $17 MM for programs and EdTech initiatives -- to working with top-tier media companies, like The Jim Henson Co, PBS Kids, the Tribeca Film Institute -- to non-profit work in Ethiopia and Peru. Through her consultancy practice, Purple Mountain Media, Maura helps companies, and non-profits develop creative engagements, media strategies and partnerships that amplify their brand, and social impact. Maura is on the Board of IIBN-NY and is an Advisory Board member of EdSnaps, a STEM based initiative for girls in the Bronx. For three years she was on the Board of NY Women in Film & TV, a leading association that promotes gender equality in the entertainment sector. She holds a Masters from NY Institute of Technology where she was also a lecturer.

@MauraKellyMedia on Twitter

Courtney Sunna


Courtney is the VP of Strategic Business Development at Allergy Standards Ltd., an international scientific standards and certification body for asthma and allergy products, where she develops and implements growth opportunities with key executives from Fortune 500 companies.

Courtney is a One Young World Ambassador, a United Nations Youth Delegate for Innovation and Sustainability, and was recently named a Young Health Programme Scholar by AstraZeneca from a pool of thousands of nominees from 150+ countries for her work in health advocacy and the prevention of asthma and allergies. She is also a Board Member and former Chair of the Future Leaders Board for the NYC Chapter of the IIBN. Courtney earned her MBA from the University of Pisa while living in Italy, and recently completed her Certificate in Disruptive Strategy at Harvard Business School. Prior to her role at Allergy Standards, she managed strategy and growth for Adept Technology in Dubai.

@csunna on LinkedIn
@CourtneySunna on Twitter


Susan O’Brien

Co-founder, Senior Advisor

Susan is founder & CEO of Smigin, a language learning company with a unique focus on conversation skills. Having lived and worked in 8 countries, Susan realized that there was nothing on the market that helped users with simple, everyday conversation as most products focused heavily on grammar and structure. As an Irish entrepreneur living in NYC, Susan has grown Smigin to have users in over 175 countries.

Susan has held executive positions in both public and private companies in the USA and Europe. With 15 years of Sales & Marketing experience in over 30 countries globally Susan has an innate knowledge of global sales strategies. Susan is a board member of the Irish International Business Network, NYC. She is also a contributing writer to The Huffington Post on the topics of startups and entrepreneurship.


Mary McEvoy

Co-Founder, Senior Advisor

Mary M. McEvoy is currently Vice President, Commodities at PepsiCo located in Purchase, New York where she has global responsibility for procurement of sweeteners, grains, oils and energy. Mary has held positions of increasing responsibility in R&D and procurement spanning ingredients and packaging during her 20 year career at PepsiCo. Mary is actively involved in non-profit organizations and serves on the advisory board of Self Help Africa and the boards of WPEO (Women Presidents’ Educational Organization) and WBENC (Women's Business Enterprise National Council). She is the former co-chair of the New York chapter of the Irish International Business Network. She is also the co-founder and director of LEAP, a novel leadership acceleration program which links young female professionals with community organizations to solve real business challenges.


Eileen Scully

Senior Advisor

After twenty years in the technology research and advisory space, Eileen started The Rising Tides to fuel her passion for strengthening the roles women can play in each other’s success. In June of 2016, she was honored to be invited by the Obama White House to participate in the United State of Women, one of five thousand global advocates for women and girls. In November 2017, Eileen was named one of Irish America Magazine's 2017 Business 100 honorees. In September of 2018, she spoke at the TEDx conference in Sfax, Tunisia.

In the spring of 2019, Eileen’s book In the Company of Men: How Women can Succeed in a World Built Without Them will be published. Much of her free time is spent working with the Get In Touch Foundation, on whose board she has proudly served since 2010. They provide free breast health education to girls around the world.