National Association of Professional Women Inducts Catherine O'Brien, Chief Executive at Essential Audiobooks, LLC, Into its VIP Professional Woman of the Year Circle

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Catherine O'Brien is selected for her outstanding leadership and commitment within her profession.

I saw there was a gap in the market for high-end audiobooks—the best books matched with the most talented professional writers.

The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) honors Catherine O’Brien as a 2017-2018 inductee into its VIP Woman of the Year Circle. She is recognized with this prestigious distinction for leadership in entrepreneurship. NAPW is the nation’s leading networking organization exclusively for professional women, boasting more than 850,000 members, a thriving eChapter and over 200 operating Local Chapters.

“I’m pleased to welcome Catherine into this exceptional group of professional women,” said NAPW President Star Jones. “Her knowledge and experience in her industry are valuable assets to her company and community.”

When Catherine O’Brien came to the U.S. in 2010, she left behind a successful career managing the office of a major corporation. She eventually became a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician but still searched for a full-time job. It was her husband who suggested a new career.

“My husband was the inspiration behind my career in audiobooks,” she said. “He suggested I go into voice-over (VO) work because British accents are popular with Americans.” After training at a VO studio in Manhattan, Ms. O’Brien was quickly offered a contract to produce an audiobook. The publisher went on to offer her nine more books to narrate. “My career as an audiobook narrator was off to a flying start,” Ms. O'Brien added.

In June 2016, after working for other publishing houses as a narrator for about six years, Ms. O’Brien took the bold leap to start her own audiobook publishing company, Essential Audiobooks. The company focuses on recording classics, the types of books Ms. O’Brien loves. “I saw there was a gap in the market for high-end audiobooks—the best books matched with the most talented professional writers,” she said.

In her role as Chief Executive, Ms. O’Brien has combined her experience as an audiobook narrator with the skills she honed in marketing, human resources and general business. She decides which titles to produce, acts as a casting agent and executive producer, and manages a team of experts in production, engineering and distribution. She also finds time to narrate audiobooks. In addition to growing the company’s catalogue and adding to its team of narrators, Ms. O’Brien is excited about two upcoming literacy projects. “We are going to be developing apps that combine learning to read books with interactive animation and voice-overs,” she said. “And we have plans to start an audiobook library for disadvantaged high school students.”

Awards & Accomplishments:
B.A., Thames Valley University, London, Business; member of Audio Book Publishers and World- Voices Organizations

About NAPW
NAPW’s mission is to provide an exclusive, highly advanced networking forum to successful women executives, professionals and entrepreneurs where they can aspire, connect and achieve.

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Contact Author

Lisa Mancuso
NAPW
+1 (516) 453-6136
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Catherine O'Brien

914-364-0302
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@NAPWInc
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