Ciara Donlon

CEO and founder, Theya Healthcare

Already an experienced businesswoman before she branched out on her own, Ciara Donlon’s background is in marketing. She has a BSc in management and marketing, and more than 15 years’ experience in large corporates including RBS, Irish Life & Permanent and Vodafone, as head of the online channel.

Ciara always dreamed of building a business of her own. In 2010, she set up a lingerie retail business in Ranelagh in Dublin. Many women undergoing treatment for breast cancer came into her shop looking for a comfortable and feminine bra to wear post-surgery. Ciara was stunned when she couldn’t find anything suitable on the market. The plight of these women was something very close to her heart, as her grandmother, Rose, had undergone a double mastectomy as a result of breast cancer. It was Ciara’s desire to do something to help these women through their recovery that was the catalyst for the creation of Theya Healthcare and, after conducting a feasibility study, it became clear that there was a big gap in the market.

Ciara secured significant private investment as well as becoming a high-potential start-up (HPSU) client of Enterprise Ireland. Since Theya Healthcare started trading in 2015, Ciara has won and been shortlisted for many high-profile awards. In 2017 alone, she won Laureate for Europe in the Cartier Women’s Initiative awards and was shortlisted for both the EY Entrepreneur of the Year (Emerging category) and the Matheson WMB Female Entrepreneur of the Year.