She helped bring Dublin indie movie Once to Broadway - it went on to win eight Tony awards. She has played a role in many small independent films, showcasing the films at the Sundance Film Festival.
Things could have been so different if it wasn't for a lie-in on Monday, September 11, 2001.
She worked for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of New York's World Trade Center, where 658 colleagues died.
She went on to play a major role in rebuilding the company.
Her talk, the second on Monday morning, will be called Making a Fintech Comeback.
In 2008 she set up her own business investing in financial technological firms, among them property research website Zoopla.
Other successful investments include Climate Corporation, sold to Monsanto in 2013 for just shy of $1billion.
Businesswoman who was ‘one of the lads’
From being the first woman to work offshore on a UK oil rig to being number two in Mastercard, Ann Cairns knows how to take her chances when she sees them.
Ms Cairns, president of international markets at MasterCard Worldwide, will speak tomorrow about ‘Opening Up a World of Opportunity’.
She started out as a research scientist before making the move into offshore engineering, where she said she “was definitely one of the lads”.
Ms Cairns then embarked on a long career in financial services, with six years at Dutch bank ABN Amro, where she was chief executive officer of transaction banking. A 15-year career followed at Citigroup as chief operating officer, e-Business, where she led US, European and Japanese operations.
She made the transition to restructuring as the crash hit in 2008. This led to a major role in helping wind down failed investment bank Lehman Brothers in Europe.
In 2011 she made the move to Mastercard where she is president of international markets.
Global company started in spare bedroom
Northern Ireland will be able to showcase its own success stories in the tech world. Newry’s Brian Conlon is founder of First Derivatives and Belfast Telegraph Business Personality of the Year 2015.
He will lend his insights to a panel discussion, The Capital Markets Story, today.
His firm, which now employs 1,200, had humble beginnings.
High-powered jobs in financial markets of the sort he was used to were thin on the ground in Newry when he came home in the mid-1990s after working in London and travelling wherever his work brought him.
He started in a spare bedroom in the family home with his mum as his secretary.
The software and consultancy firm saw pre-tax profit rise by 120%, from £7.9m in 2014 to £17.5m this year.
Revenue increased 19% from £69.9m to £83.2m in the financial year ending February 28, 2015. The headquarters remain in Canal Quay, reflecting Brian’s personal links to Newry. But it has 13 offices including in Dubai, Philadelphia and Singapore.
John made his first million while at school
At 17, while his contemporaries were looking to revise for their exams and planning which university to attend, John Collison was making his first million.
In 2008 Mr Collison and brother Patrick, 19 at the time, sold their software business Auctomatic for €3m (£2.2m).
The entrepreneur, from Limerick, then returned to school to complete his leaving certificate before heading off to study psychology at Harvard in the USA.
After leaving the university he set up payments company Stripe in 2010, along with his brother. It has seen rapid growth and attracted £145m in funding.
The company has been turning heads with investment from the likes of PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel — who was an early investor in Facebook — Max Levchin and Elon Musk. Stripe is currently used by 17,000 websites and is available to be used in 20 countries, including the UK and Ireland. Mr Collison will kick off the week as the first speaker at the MoneyConf event this morning.
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