Geraldine O'Leary and Ray Sheerin
Geraldine O'Leary and Ray Sheerin

Yesterday at the Annual IAPI Leaders Away Day, IAPI awarded the Honorary Fellowship to two venerable industry leaders - Geraldine O’Leary, Commercial Director, RTE and Ray Sheerin, founder/MD of former agency Chemistry and current independent consultant.

With over 50 industry leaders in attendance at the event, Geraldine and Ray were honoured for their exemplary commitment to the industry and demonstrating the highest standards of leadership and excellence within the industry. The fellowship is IAPI’s way of honouring their extraordinary contributions that have raised industry standards over the years. Previous recipients of the IAPI fellowship include industry leaders such as Alan Cox, Patrick Hickey, and John Fanning.

“The IAPI Fellowships are a wonderful opportunity to simply say ‘Thank You’. To publicly recognise and celebrate those who have made a truly significant contribution to the commercial communications industry in Ireland. It is the highest honour bestowed by IAPI, and this year’s two recipients could not be more deserving.

Geraldine O’Leary has been a long-term supporter of the industry and a really great friend and supporter of IAPI. Widely known and even more widely liked, Geraldine was an exceptionally hard worker and went to great lengths to promote and improve the media and commercial creative industries throughout her career.

Ray Sheerin has an incredible eye for a big idea and left a rich legacy of some of the best creative work to come out of Ireland. Not only that, Ray was a tireless warrior for high standards, ethics and decency across the wider industry, particularly in his time as an IAPI board member. It has been a privilege to know Geraldine and Ray personally and an even greater privilege to be in a position to present these awards and say ‘Thank You’ to both” said Seán Hynes, President, IAPI and Co-Founder/Creative Director, Bonfire.

Geraldine O’Leary has worked in the advertising industry since graduation. Agencies she has worked with include Brian Cronin and Associates, DDFH&B, Saatchi & Saatchi and Zenith Media. Geraldine has been a part of RTÉ since 1997 and is currently the Group Head of Commercial. Geraldine is a Fellow of The Marketing Institute of Ireland, Founding Director of TAM Ireland and a Member of the Council of the Marketing Society of Ireland. She was the President of the EGTA (European Group of Television Advertising) Board and is currently a board member and meets regularly to focus on common challenges and opportunities across markets.

In 2018 Geraldine was also honoured with the Media Hero as nominated by her Industry Peers.

On receiving the fellowship Geraldine said, “I am so honoured to be awarded the IAPI Honorary Fellowship. I have grown up in the advertising industry, joining my first agency, Brian Cronin and Associates in 1980. To be recognised by my peers in the business I am passionate about is the ultimate accolade. I am humbled and genuinely grateful to the Board of IAPI for this huge honour”.

With over 35 years’ experience of developing and leading brand and communications strategies for clients in just about every sector, Ray Sheerin is one of the most experienced strategists in the market. Having founded and run agencies in activation, advertising, brand, design, digital and direct marketing, he has unrivalled experience of most disciplines in the marketing mix.

Ray is very well known for setting up & successfully running Ireland’s leading creative agency, Chemistry for 21 years. He continues to contribute to the industry as a consultant at Ray Sheerin Consultancy Ltd.

He is also a Chartered Director of the Institute of Directors, a Director of The Organic Centre and a former Board Director of IAPI and Copyclear.

“Over the past decade, IAPI has undergone a transformation and is now a role model for industry institutes. I had the great privilege of playing a part in that transformation, just as I had in helping Chemistry blaze its trail for over 20 years. I am immensely proud to be awarded the Fellowship, IAPI's highest honour,” said Ray Sheerin.