Nuritas founder Nora Khaldi wins Grace Hopper Award

Nuritas founder and CEO Nora Khaldi was among 17 recipients at the Diversity in Tech Awards, which shone a light on individuals and organisations striving to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

Attracting entries from more than 170 companies across Ireland, Europe, the United Arab Emirates and the United States, the Diversity in Tech Awards at the RDS in Dublin went live for the first time this year.

They were powered by Catalyst Media, with JP Morgan as the main event partner.

“I grew up with a diverse background; my educational skill sets were built at the interaction of diverse fields of science and mathematics that usually don’t come together. I’ve instilled this diversity in Nuritas from the very start”

Named after the pioneering computer scientist, the Grace Hopper Award pays tribute and recognises a female STEM professional, whose exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions have made a lasting impact on technology, society, and their profession.

Disrupting the status quo

Man and woman hold award.

Baria Laikhoshhal, and Jeanne McDonagh from the Open Doors Initiative, accepting the Diversity Impact Award at the Diversity and Tech Awards 2022 in the RDS Dublin. Picture: Andres Poveda

Khaldi’s passion for pure mathematics, biology and science led her to create Nuritas in 2014.

Throughout her career, her ambition has been to disrupt the status quo in areas that have been void of technology by introducing new ways of thinking, big data, and new algorithms. She has led international research teams around the world, in both academic and industrial settings, and has a proven record in new molecule discovery and commercialisation.

“I am extremely grateful for this award, it is a true testament to the work we do and the continued innovations we seek to unlock with my team at Nuritas, a team that finds strength in our diversity,” Khaldi said.

“I grew up with a diverse background; my educational skill sets were built at the interaction of diverse fields of science and mathematics that usually don’t come together. I’ve instilled this diversity in Nuritas from the very start and I truly believe that the way forward is when diverse ideas, diverse people, and diverse educational backgrounds come together to create something beautiful.”

The Open Doors Initiative, led by CEO Jeanne McDonagh, was also singled out for special recognition, in the form of the Diversity Impact Award. The not-for-profit organisation works with Government departments to create pathways to education, employment and entrepreneurship for marginalised people. At the ceremony, the Open Doors team was congratulated for demonstrating exceptional initiative to promote diversity in the workplace. 

“Some people see work as a necessity to be endured,” said McDonagh. “At the Open Doors Initiative, we see it as a joy and a challenge and a means to help others succeed. Our passion is seeing people from all walks of life overcome barriers and challenges, progress and find their calling. It is an honour for us that they trust us with this task and one which we are very grateful for. We look forward to helping even more on these pathways in the coming years, with the invaluable help of our corporate partners and supporting NGOs.”

Woman presenting from a podium.

Tracey Carney, managing director of the Diversity and Tech Awards, pictured at the ceremony in the RDS Dublin. Picture: Andres Poveda

Among the other winners on the night were Dublin’s Cognizant, named Diverse Company of the Year, Sidero’s Carmel Owens who picked up the Diversity Role Model Award, Oracle for the LGBTQ+ Inclusion Award, and Kildare’s Access Earth who took the Social Impact Award. The Disability Inclusion Award went to Brian Dalton from Fiserv, the Cultural Inclusion Award to eBay, and the Health & Wellness Award to Axonista.

“This is a really special event and we are so excited to finally be able to bring the Diversity in Tech Awards to life, in-person,” said Tracey Carney, managing director of the Diversity in Tech Awards.

“Originally created by the Dublin Tech Summit team in 2018 as the Women in Tech Awards, the event focused on promoting better balance in tech. In 2020, we pivoted to the Diversity in Tech Awards, and while continuing to keep women in tech as a core part of the agenda, it has grown into a programme celebrating all facets of diversity within the tech industry. The event is not only about celebrating excellence but also about sharing knowledge and experience. The calibre of entries this year was exceptional and I want to congratulate each and every one of the amazing finalists and winners who have joined us here tonight.” 

Dr Mary Coghlan from EY was presented with the Tech Leader Award, Mettacomms’ Founder Ellen Gunning was named winner of the Entrepreneur Award, Rena Maycock from Cilter Technologies Ltd took the Trailblazer Award, while the Rising Star Award went to Alma Tarfa from Workhuman. Nitheen Kaperi Sanyal from Merck won the Digital Transformation Award, Alison Treacy from Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace, took the Mentorship Award, UAE-based Uditi Sharma from Elevate Tech was the only international winner and was named Young Female STEM Pioneer, while Yen Phan from Dublin’s CodLad took the Data Scientist Award.

“JP Morgan is supporting the Diversity In Tech Awards because being an employer of choice for all is our goal,” said Dermot Mackey, CTO for JP Morgan Europe and Dublin head of Technology.

“We want everyone to feel welcome and able to contribute to the best of their ability as we make a difference for our clients. Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives are specifically designed to help underrepresented communities chart stronger paths towards high quality careers, economic success and empowerment. The work we do in communities is a fundamental part of how we operate and, as announced in early 2018, we will have deployed $1.75bn in philanthropic capital around the world by 2023.” 

Main image at top: Dr Nora Khaldi, Nuritas, collecting the Grace Hopper Award at the Diversity and Tech Awards 2022 in the RDS Dublin. Picture: Andres Poveda

John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.