Meet our Talented Judges!

All categories are judged by a highly influential and respected judging panel. The judging is a robust, credible and transparent two-step process, involving pre-scoring and a face-to-face panel discussion. The shortlists will be announced on 16th March 2018.

Ciaran Carmichael

With over 10 years experience as Digital Strategy Director with global media agencies such as Carat, OMD, and IPG Mediabrands.

Ciaran works closely with both agencies and clients and he knows what it takes to create digital strategies and solutions that complement and integrate with ATL media and wider marketing vision. With a portfolio of clients that includes Amazon, McDonald’s, PlayStation, Tesco.

A sports fanatic in the armchair and sometimes even playing. Other interests include music, sports psychology, mindfulness & mental health awareness. Who would play Ciaran in the film of my life? Daniel Day-Lewis.

Steven Wood

Steven Wood is the Senior Commercial Manager at the Digital Catapult – an innovation agency funded by InnovateUK. Steven is responsible for the engagement between the Catapult and industry. This includes helping established companies to develop digital transformation strategies and to become more responsive and agile through open innovation.

Prior to the Digital Catapult, Steven was at Engineering UK, an organisation created to address the growing STEM skills gap in the UK where he was responsible for developing partnerships with industry.

Steven’s background is in physics and telecommunications engineering. He was responsible for creating BT’s first e-Business strategy in 1996 and helped to develop and launch several new ventures including a JV company that grew to employ 100 people and operate in 7 countries.

Paul Farrell, Virgin Media, DANI Awards 2018, DANI Awards judges

Paul Farrell

As VP of Commercial at Virgin Media, Paul is a very experienced commercial marketer who has worked on client side, media side and agency side. With a proven track record in delivering business success and growth through building great teams and driving cultural change.

Paul believes marketing has to be at the core of everything a good business does because it has to start and end with the customer. It’s about delivering real sustainable results that satisfy our customers and grow the business it’s not just about creating pretty pictures and ads.

Ian Weatherup

Ian began his career in recruitment in 1992 when fax was the chosen method of communication and the Jobfinder supplement was the holy grail for filling jobs.

A Business & IT grad he knew his talents did not lie in software development so he became an IT recruiter setting up the first IT recruitment company in NI in 1998. Since then he has gone on to focus on Digital, Sales and Management recruitment to C Level working with companies throughout the UK & Ireland.

Peter Guest

Peter has a wealth of management experience in companies such as IBM, British Telecom, Capita & Logica CMG, holding numerous Director & VP roles. He has also been a founding member and investor in a number of start-ups in the UK, Ireland and the Nordics.

Educated at Queens University, he attained a degree in computer sciences and an HND in Computer Technology.

Peter is currently CEO of Northern Ireland Investments, an aggregation business with a stable of companies seeking investment to enable growth and ready-for-market inventors with inventions to launch, carefully matched with a network of angels, private offices & VC funds. He is also an EIR (Mentor) for Catalyst NI assisting companies in creating commercial readiness.

Henry Joseph Grant

Recently appointed COO at Big Dish Ventures. Henry has built and scaled innovative cross functional and commercially driven teams. With a deep expertise in technology led marketplaces, local & on-demand (Ex JUST EAT from startup to $2.44Bn IPO & Gett formerly GetTaxi).

Henry is determined, agile, imaginative & disruptive. With a proven track record leading complex large-scale change in hyper growth environments (including start-ups, global e-tailers & B2B/B2C product/service providers) whilst driving results, customer-focused product, process & operational improvements.

Experienced in strategically aligning sales and marketing approaches, to ensure that both are symbiotic, measured and scaled with precision.

Professor Jonathan Wallace

Professor of Innovation at Ulster University. He has for the last 15 years been Director of Knowledge and Technology Transfer for theFaculty of Computing and Engineering, with direct responsibility for the commercialisation of
the Faculty’s research, industrial collaboration and consultancy provision.

He is a member of the Innovate UK Digital Health Care Special Interest Group.
With a recognised subject matter expert on Usability, UX Design and Knowledge Engineering,

He lectures on amongst others the University’s innovative multidisciplinary M.Sc. in Digital Media Communications and their BSc. Hons. in Interactive Multimedia Design.

Donna Parker

As Managing Director of Diamond Recruitment Group, Donna has worked in recruitment for over 20 years. The Regional Director for the Recruitment and Employment Confederation in Northern Ireland, Donna’s expertise is in creating innovative recruitment solutions to provide both large managed workforces and talent acquisition strategies to both public and private sector employers in Northern Ireland.

Whilst digital solutions have revolutionised the recruitment sector, as a member of the British Psychological Society and a qualified psychometric practitioner, Donna uses her understanding of people to enhance the core of recruitment: connecting businesses with the best talent.

Robert Farrell

Robert is the Course Director with the Digital Marketing Academy of Ireland (part of the Further Learning Group). Robert is responsible for course design, assessment, staffing and operations.

With teaching experience in classroom and online environments at undergraduate and masters levels, Robert prides himself on giving students practical knowledge and skills to succeed in industry.

Well connected in industry and a judge with several awards including the eir Spider awards, Digital Media awards and PostGrad awards. An accomplished international speaker in Digital Marketing, Digital Disruption, Innovation and eLearning.


Michael Curran

With over 20 years Executive Management experience in sales & marketing roles in software companies including Apion, Openwave, Aepona, Intel & DisplayNote my current interest is in helping Northern Ireland software companies grow.

Now Chief Operations Officer at Export Technologies and IRP Commerce Michaels commercial experiences include sales and marketing strategies, managing multi-national teams and channel partners, complex solution sales and software service delivery.