Top 50 Power Women – 2016

Gaia Dempsey/DAQRI

Gaia Dempsey is the co-founder and vice president of DAQRI International, a global company that specializes in augmented reality and holographic technologies and is the creator of the flagship product, DAQRI Smart Helmet. Gaia led DAQRI’s international expansion and recently opened DAQRI’s first European office in Dublin. She received a Bachelor of Arts from New York University.

Gaia, who is sixth generation Irish American, feels a strong connection to Ireland through her late grandfather, who traveled to Galway after fighting in Iwo Jima in WWII. While sitting in Eyre Square, he had “a life-changing experience” when “a woman with a pram stopped to adjust something and asked him, a perfect stranger, to hold her baby,” she says. “This was a sense of community and trust he hadn’t known was possible, and this experience while visiting the land of his forebears restored his humanity.” Gaia eventually visited Eyre Square to spread her grandfather’s ashes there after his death.

To solve issues of gender inequality, Gaia cites the gains made in Iceland following a 1975 strike involving 90% of Iceland’s women. These women “made their value felt by [their] absence,” and so she holds that “sometimes the answers really are that simple.”