Featured Article 11 Oct 2012 October 11th 2012 Silicon Republic PayPal’s vice-president of global operations for EMEA Louise Phelan last night became the first woman to receive the Sir Michael Smurfit Business Achievement Award. Phelan, who was successful earlier this year in securing a second operations centre and 1,000 new jobs for PayPal’s growing European operations division, was presented with the award by Maurice Buckley, president, CEO, and co-founder of Ireland Chamber of Commerce USA (ICCUSA), and Brian O’Dwyer, chairman of the ICCUSA, at the 24th Annual American Celtic Ball at The Pierre Hotel in New York City.In February 2012, PayPal announced it would create 1,000 new jobs at a new facility in Dundalk, Co Louth, in addition to the 1,500 people already employed by the company at Blanchardstown, Dublin.Showing leadership at the most crucial timePhelan, who joined PayPal in 2006, was chosen to receive the award by the board of the ICCUSA in recognition of the important role she has played as a business leader during one of the most challenging economic periods in Irish history, and her success in securing significant jobs and investment through PayPal’s operations in Ireland.“Under Louise Phelan’s leadership, PayPal is making an enormous contribution to Ireland’s economy at a time when it is needed so badly," Buckley said. "Huge efforts are being made internationally to attract jobs and investment to Ireland and PayPal has really stepped up to the plate in this regard.“This award recognises that contribution and the hard work put in by Louise and her team. It also acknowledges the strong social contribution the company is making in the local communities in which it operates in Ireland. The ICCUSA has been very impressed by this and we are pleased to be able to acknowledge it with this award,” Buckley sad.Also honoured at last night’s American Celtic Ball where the theme was ‘Women in Leadership’ were former Irish president, Mary McAleese, as well as US ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley.“I feel very honoured to have received such a prestigious award and to be following in the footsteps of so many great Irish business people,” Phelan said.“To be the first woman ever to receive the award makes it extra special. But I couldn’t have done this without the support of my colleagues all around the world, particularly my team in Europe who all work so hard to make our European operations such a great success. This award is for them,” Phelan added.