Building a FEMPIRE

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RDJ recently held the latest in its women in leadership series, ‘Building a FEMPIRE’ at the firm’s new office at 85 South Mall in Cork on Thursday, 1 February.

It was a high energy, impactful event focused on female-led innovation in women's health that included a panel of inspiring FemTech entrepreneurs and stakeholders, all passionate about making much needed change to women’s health.

Our panel moderated by ‘Go Do You Podcast’ host, Amy Jane Keating included:

  • Heidi Davis | IdentifyHer
    Heidi is the co-founder and CEO of identifyHer, a digital health company developing a first-of-its-kind menopausal symptom tracker to guide diagnosis and management of perimenopause. Her academic background is in Nutrition and Molecular Medicine. She has long had a passion for prevention and treatment of chronic disease and has previously held a leading role in a start-up where she brought a scientifically proven supplement for muscle health from early concept to market launch.
  • Lesley Giltinan | LeanWithLesley
    Lesley is an expert in fitness and wellbeing, driven by a passion to share knowledge and experience gained over 20 years in the industry. In 2010 Lesley left her career in the Financial Industry to follow her passion and qualified with The National Training Centre in Exercise, Health Studies and Personal Training. In 2012 Lesley set up LeanWithLesley (LWL) and in September 2018 she launched the LeanWithLesley App which provides an average of 40,000 training sessions every month to people all over the world.
  • Jenny O’Connell | Sisterly
    Jenny is one of the three founders of SISTERLY, a female-led start-up developing smarter supplements that work for women. A lawyer for over 20 years, she worked as an attorney in New York before returning to Dublin to work as a barrister. For reasons unknown, she completed an Ironman and swam across Lake Geneva before a few rounds of Covid caused her to pause and look for better solutions to support her own energy and immunity. She and her SISTERLY co-founders Aoife Matthews and Louise O'Riordan are on a mission to give female health the time and attention it deserves.
  • Deirdre O’Neill | Hertility
    Deirdre O’Neill is the Co-Founder and Chief Commercial and Legal Officer at Hertility Health. She is a dual-qualified lawyer with a Masters in Medical Law from King’s College London. She specialised in corporate and venture capital law at Cooley for a number of years before co-founding Hertility where she deals with venture scaling, legal, regulatory, and corporate strategy.
  • Denise Sidhu | Kernel Capital | IVCA
    Chair of the Irish Venture Capital Association, Denise is Partner of Kernel Capital and Kernel Strategic and a member of the firm’s Venture Capital Funds’ Investment Committees. She is a venture capital professional with 20+ years experience in investing, advising, scaling and exiting early stage technology companies in Ireland and the UK.

We learned that for far too long, women’s health has been neglected in terms of research and innovation, however the future looks bright with change makers like these who continue to highlight and identify solutions for female health.

The event concluded with Denise Sidhu chairperson of the Irish Venture Capital & Private Equity Association and Partner at Kernel Capital, asking the audience to “use our voice” to continue to call for more funding and more inclusion for women at every level.

View photos from the event here.

If you would like to hear more about upcoming RDJ Women in Leadership events, please email

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