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Special Olympics CEO Mary Davis Named to Forbes 50 Over 50 List

Mary and another women hugging on stage.
Mary Davis at the podium with a Special Olympics athlete during Capitol Hill Day.

Special Olympics CEO Mary Davis has been named to Forbes 50 over 50 most notable women of 2023 in the Impact category. She receives the recognition alongside such notables as Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem, and Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation and chairman of the National Geographic Society. Recipients in other categories include singer Patti LaBelle, journalist Katie Couric, astronaut Mae Jemison, CEO of Oracle Safra Catz and financial advisor Suze Orman. Read Davis’ listing.

The 2023 honorees were announced in August marking the third year that Forbes has celebrated women of distinction over the age of 50. Forbes partnered with Mika Brzezinski, journalist and co-host of Morning Joe on MSNBC, to curate the list. Thousands of women were nominated through Brzezinski’s publicizing efforts and Forbes’ online nomination form. The final list celebrates 200 women in four categories: Impact, Lifestyle, Innovation, and Investment.

It is an honor to be recognized by Forbes alongside so many inspirational women who have done more than build businesses or lead the world’s most recognizable brands – they have influenced the course of history. I am humbled to be included among this distinguished group and proud to represent the determination, skills and contributions of close to six million Special Olympics athletes around the world.
Mary Davis, Special Olympics International Chief Executive Officer

Davis’ bio on the 50 over 50 list highlights several accomplishments she achieved over the age of 50 including, “Davis literally scaled a mountain to get to her leadership role: Invited by then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy to climb Mont Blanc in a European diplomatic event in 2008, she used the arduous summit to make political and policy connections.”

Davis was first introduced to Special Olympics early in her career as a physical education coordinator. In 1985, she ran the Special Olympics European Games. She was appointed National Director of Special Olympics Ireland in1989 and in 2003, became the CEO of the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Ireland, the first World Summer Games held outside the United States for which she was awarded Ireland's 2003 Person of the Year award. Davis became Special Olympics CEO in her 60's, the first person born outside of the US to do so. Since then, she has amassed a number of awards and accolades including being named one of Forbes Most Powerful Women in International Sports in 2018 and winning the Ernst & Young (EY) Ireland Entrepreneur of the Year Special Award in 2022.

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