Posted on 11 May 2018

Meet our staff:

1. CEO, Deirdre Garvey                                                                     
2. Programmes team 
3. Business Development team
4. Finance team
5. Public Policy team

You can also follow the links below to meet our Board, Local Reps, as well as our founder, Dr Mary Redmond.

Our Board       Local REPS        Our Founder


Deirdre Garvey - Chief Executive Officer

Deirdre Garvey - CEO of The Wheel

I have been Chief Executive Officer of The Wheel since 2000. As the organisation was founded in 1999, I was the organisation’s first full-time employee (thanks to funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies at the time).

As Chief Executive Officer, I am responsible for the overall strategic and operational management of the organisation, including full responsibility for staff and budgetary management, implementation of strategy and supporting the board. I am also the official spokesperson for The Wheel, responsible for external relations and corporate affairs – with regular media interaction.

I am regularly asked by various government departments or agencies to represent the sector on advisory or consultative fora and/or at conferences, both national and international, and in these spaces I advance the policy positions that our members have shaped and agreed upon (see link to POLICY & ADVOCACY). I host some of our targeted CEO-oriented events, training and webinars and find them an excellent way to personally engage with our members.

My primary degree was a Bachelor of Science (in physics) and consequently the first eight years of my career were spent in the high-tech field. I moved into the voluntary sector in 1995 when I started work with Barrestown in its start-up phase. After five years there as Director of Development I got involved in the founding of The Wheel and became its first CEO.

Feel free to follow me on my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. You can email me at or call the office to talk directly: (01) 454 8727.

Download additional biographical information about Deirdre here.

Programmes Team

Elizabeth Bolger - Director of Programmes

Elizabeth Bolger - Director of Programmes

I have worked with The Wheel since 2005.  My main role is to drive the organisation’s membership, programmes and supports.  This involves working with The Wheel Programmes Team in the implementation of these.  You see more detail on these across our website, such as on our Projects section here.

I also support our members in delivering training and in answering member queries.

I began my professional career as a Valuation Surveyor, followed by a career change to HR and Project Management.  I hold a BSc [Surv], a CIPD Diploma in Personnel Management and a MSc in Strategic Management.

I am active on my children’s Parents Association and on the school Board of Management.  Please feel free to contact me on or (01) 454 8727.

Gert Ackermann - Communications Coordinator

Gert Ackermann - Communications Manager

As Communications Manager, I'm responsible for The Wheel's communications strategy, media relations and brand positioning.  I am also involved in designing communications strategies for a range of programmes and services, and I deliver specialised training in Communications & Marketing.

I studied Political Science and Journalism before cutting my teeth in the worlds of journalism, publishing, publicity and digital marketing.

You can reach me on


Emily Bourke - Communications & Marketing Officer

I joined the wheel as Communications and Marketing Officer in March 2020. My role here is to ensure delivery of our communications strategy, at the same time supporting the activities of other teams across the organisation. 

My professional background is a varied one, but centres around a love of words; alongside previous work in communications and marketing, I have managed a national children's literacy programme, tutored in English at Trinity College, edited journals, and mentored academic writing students. Alongside this, my volunteering experience includes time with Aware, Bodywhys, Suas Educational Development, and the Dublin Ghost Story Festival.

I completed my PhD in English Literature in 2019. I also hold a BA in New Media and English and an MPhil in Popular Literature.

In my spare time I'm a horror buff, weightlifting and yoga enthusiast, and amateur artist.

You can reach me at

Lauren Carroll, Projects Officer

Lauren Carroll  - Programme Manager

In 2012, I returned to college as a mature student. I graduated with a degree in Social and Community Development from TU Dublin and joined The Wheel in August 2016. 

My main function is to drive the successful delivery of programmes in The Wheel. Mainly the Annual Summit, training programmes and European programmes such as SCOPE (Erasmus+) and the European Parliament Ambassador Schools Programme (EPAS). I believe in collaborative working and enjoy working alongside my colleagues and partner organisations, both in Ireland and across Europe. 

My previous work experience in the community, voluntary and charity sector includes voluntary positions with Sankalpa Addiction Service, The Aisling Project and Suas Educational Development.

For further information on programmes run by The Wheel you can reach me on

Mairead O'Connor, Training & Advice Coordinator

Mairead O'Connor - Training & Advice Manager

I develop the schedule of training events that we put on throughout the year. I also support our members by delivering governance training around the country, in-person and via webinar.

I’m always keen to hear what training needs our members have – so please drop me a line anytime to if you want to suggest a training event or topic.

The other side of my role sees me answering member queries on a range of topics. I also write and prepare blogs, factsheets and videos that give our members guidance on the pressing issues that are affecting organisations today. Take a look at our extensive Advice & Guidance section to see what resources might be helpful to you.

If we can’t help with your query directly, we can often signpost you to the people that can – so do get in touch and we’ll see what we can do to help.

My background is in education, community radio and documentary making – with a strong interest in community-led arts, education and integration projects. I love a good story and our members have exceptional stories to tell – so never hesitate to reach out and tell me yours - you can get in touch anytime by emailing me here: or by calling (01) 454 8727.

Deirdre Finlay - European Programmes Coordinator

Deirdre Finlay - EU Programmes Manager


I joined The Wheel in August 2015 as our dedicated EU Programmes Manager. One of my key duties is in providing advice, support and training to members on EU funding, with a particular focus on the Europe for Citizens Programme for which The Wheel is the National Contact Point in Ireland. I also contribute to the business development objectives at The Wheel, supporting EU funding applications. I manage EU projects too, keeping track of progress.

My background includes more than 14 years' international work experience spanning the public, private and voluntary sectors. One of my specialist areas is in institutional funding and public engagement. Before working at The Wheel I was Head of Programmes at VSO Ireland, an international development NGO, while earlier in my career I held strategic marketing roles at Bord Bia and Dell.

With an MA in International Relations and a BA in Political Science, I must confess to being a bit of a nerd, always upskilling and doing diplomas! I'm also a Director of the Irish-Ugandan charity, Nurture Africa. You are welcome to email me directly with any of your EU funding questions:

Paul Meade - Information Coordinator

Paul Meade - Information Manager

I've been with The Wheel since 2008 and throughout that time my role has been all about shaping and packaging the information we provide to our members and the wider sector. 

Central to that role is managing our Fundingpoint online database of funding opportunities. Part of this responsibility is in assisting nonprofits with finding new sources of funding, as well as conducting more in-depth funding research projects upon request. Feel free to email me on to learn more about that.

I am also responsible for driving and delivering The Wheel's growing family of websites, including along with,, etc. 

One of my favourite tasks at The Wheel is writing, editing and producing our regular member and sector updates, including most of our marketing and promotional emails, as well as the Fundingpoint Newsletter and NewsWheel, our flagship sector-wide monthly newsletter. Learn more about our various newsletter options here

In my spare time I am a qualified therapy dog handler and I try to get out into the community on a regular basis with my trusty Labrador, Oscar. You can email me (or Oscar) on

Johnny Sheehan - Membership and Regional Coordinator

Johnny Sheehan - Membership and Regional Manager

I’m The Wheel’s Membership and Regional Coordinator since April 2016, working with a team of four local representatives. The main focus of my work is to drive the development, presence and participation in The Wheel’s programmes locally around Ireland and support members to engage effectively with The Wheel. Another key aspect of the role is to support rural communities through the National Rural Network.

A key part of this role is to facilitate networking among community groups, ensuring that issues affecting local communities are reflected in The Wheel’s work nationally. I represent our members’, and the wider sector’s, shared interests in the Community and Voluntary Pillar and in Coalition 2030, a network of civil society organisations working to influence the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at local and national level.

I have more than 20 years’ experience working in the development, youth work and environmental sectors. Previously I worked with Dóchas as Project Coordinator for the European Year for Development 2015 and with the National Youth Council of Ireland as Development Education Programme Coordinator from 2004 to 2012.

I am currently a trustee of the Irish Development Education Association and served as chairperson of Comhlámh from 2013-2016. I hold a Law Society certificate in Charity Law, Trusteeship and Governance. I have a background in Botany and Environmental Science and worked as a volunteer in Central America for two years during the 1990s.

You can contact me on 086 1061313 or by email:


Sinead Vaughan - Administrative Officer

I joined the Wheel in January 2019. My role as Administrative Officer involves planning training events, meetings and conferences. I also offer support to the programmes team on a variety of projects such as EPAS, SCOPE and Spark Change.

I have studied in University College Dublin and Dublin Institute of Technology. My background includes 6 years of running a small business, and I have worked and volunteered with a variety of Irish charities including Parents Plus, Barnardos and Laura Lynn. I am passionate about food and fitness and am a trained yoga teacher.  

If there is anything that I can help you with, please do not hesitate to get in touch

Business Development Team

Hugh O'Reilly - Director of Business Development

Hugh O'Reilly - Director of Business Development

I have been Director of Development with The Wheel since June 2016 having worked here previously from June 2010 – June 2015. My main role in The Wheel is to drive and implement the organisations strategic funding plan. This means I spend most of my time assessing new opportunities for the organisation and developing proposals for projects that we hope will help deliver greater supports to the sector. You can check out some of the projects we currently work on here.

I also support our members delivering training, webinars, blogs and answering general member queries on issues relating to funding, fundraising, income diversification and so on. Feel free to give me a shout if I can help you in this area on

My primary degree was a BA in Furniture Design, believe it or not, and I also hold a Certificate in Fundraising and an MA in Public & Political Communication yet I have spent most of my working career in business development roles; the majority of that time being spent in development roles in nonprofits.

I do have LinkedIn and twitter profiles and you are welcome to follow me although, fair warning, I am not as active on there as many of my colleagues. You can always email me on or call the office on (01) 454 8727 to talk directly. 

Femi Atoyebi

Femi Atoyebi - Information Systems/ Direct Marketing Officer

I am a self-proclaimed social media buff, a technology freak and a digital nomad. I am a member of the Association of Data Protection Officers. I have a Master’s degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Marketing from the Dublin City University. My working experience includes public broadcasting and marketing communications.

My first major involvement with our sector was in 2010 as a volunteer who coordinated the stakeholder engagement and public consultation process leading to the development of the voluntary Code of Practice for Good Governance of Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations in Ireland in 2012.

Join me on Twitter where I regularly share my musings on football, data protection, the science of where and photography.

Do you have a question regarding data management, email marketing, cyber security or general IT, please email me at

Emma Murtagh

Emma Murtagh - Grants Research Officer

I joined The Wheel initially in 2017 and returned in 2020 after a year away to take on the role of Grants Research Officer. My main responsibility is to research new opportunities and innovation for the sector and to design and write compelling and impactful projects that further The Wheel’s strategic goals and support our members. I also work with our programmes team to identify opportunities for development and ensure that they are equipped to deliver projects effectively. Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions about grant writing or project management.

I have a BA in English and Psychological Studies and an MA in English, which come in handy seeing as I spend a lot of time writing! I cut my professional teeth in European project writing and management and still have a huge interest in all things European. In my spare time, I’m an active volunteer, currently with Aware but I have had previous roles with the ISPCA and Samaritans. I also love reading, travelling, and watching a lot of films.

You can follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up to date on my escapades at The Wheel, or get in touch with me at: with any questions.

Finance Team

Tony Ward, Director of Finance

Tony Ward - Director of Finance

I’m Tony Ward and am Director of Finance at The Wheel, a role I took up in June 2016. Prior to that I was Head of Fundraising at Fighting Blindness from 2012 and have been involved in a number of charities or nonprofit organisations in executive and non-executive roles over a number of years.

My main responsibilities involve the strategic financial planning and management of the organisation’s finances, including the day-to-day financial management.

The role also involves the oversight and interaction of Wheel membership through membership administration and associated training income as well as aspects of HR, governance and compliance. In all of these, and as part of our general training and advice I interact frequently with members in terms of their own financial governance through advice and training.

I’m a Chartered Accountant and am co-chair of Chartered Accountants Ireland charity and not-for-profit committee, a role that allows me to interact with the sector in an integrated way.

If you have any queries relating to finance, governance or compliance within The Wheel or within your own organisation please feel free to email me on or call on (01) 4548727.

Jon McBride, Membership Officer

Jon McBride - Membership Officer

I’ve been Membership Administrator with The Wheel since September 2017. My main role is to assist new members with joining the organisation and to coordinate the renewal of our existing membership base. I’m also active with engagement with our members, often acting as first point of contact for their support needs, and meeting with them at events around the country.

My background is in administration management and HR support with over 15 years' global experience. I spent the most recent five years, prior to beginning in The Wheel, working with large fundraising service providers to the community and voluntary sector, collaborating with many different charitable organisations in Ireland and the UK.

Drop me a line at if you have any questions about the benefits of joining The Wheel, your existing membership, or any support needs.

Alex McMahon - Finance and Renewals Officer

Alex McMahon - Finance and Renewals Officer

I joined The Wheel as our Finance Officer in February 2008. I previously worked as Finance & Administrations Officer for The European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland for over 11 years.

Prior to EAPN Ireland, I worked as Community Development Officer with The Community Action Programme and Ballymun Women's Centre. 

My main focus here at The Wheel is on processing payments and generally helping to keep the financial side of our operations working smoothly. 

If you have any payment-related queries or concerns, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me on

Public Policy Team

Ivan Cooper - Director of Public Policy

Ivan Cooper - Director of Public Policy

I work as Director of Public Policy of The Wheel and have responsibility for progressing The Wheel's policy positions on cross-cutting issues affecting the community and voluntary sector, such as charity regulation, funding the sector, encouraging active-citizenship, quality standards and raising awareness of the role and significance of the sector.

I spend a lot of time engaging with members to identify the issues they face and to work with them to agree the changes needed with funding authorities and regulators. There is a lot of media interest in the work of charities and I work with the media when required to put forward The Wheel’s perspective on issues in the news when required.

I represent The Wheel on a range of fora, national and international, and also act as one of The Wheel’s lead trainers in the areas of governance, strategic leadership and demonstrating impact. I work regularly with boards of community and voluntary groups about their governance and trustee responsibilities. I am a big believer in lifelong learning and have an MBA from Smurfit Business School, a Diploma in Development Studies, and a primary degree in psychology and philosophy from UCD. 

You can get in touch with me anytime to discuss any of the policy issues facing your organisation or the wider section on

Sarah Monaghan

Sarah Monaghan - Campaigns Manager

I joined The Wheel in March 2019 as Campaigns Manager. My role, within the public policy team, involves assessing the pressing issues and areas for change identified by our membership and proactively developing campaign strategy and plans to address them. I work to represent the challenges faced by the sector in campaigns that resonate with the general public as well as within the legislative framework.

I have a BA in Psychology and English Literature from NUIG as well as an MA in Comparative Literature from DCU and an MA in American Literature from UCD. I was previously a founding member of the National Executive of Together for Yes, which successfully repealed the 8th Amendment and a Director on the Campaign to Re-elect Michael D Higgins. I have also volunteered with a variety of groups over the last decade, including the Abortion Rights Campaign and See Change (Campaign to end Mental Health Stigma).

Feel free to contact me for any further information or campaigning queries at


Lily Power

Lily Power - Policy Officer

I joined The Wheel in April 2019 as Policy Officer, working with the Director of Public Policy and the Campaigns Manager. My role is to engage with The Wheel's members around on our public policy work, with the goal of improving the legal, operational and legislative environment for community and voluntary activity in Ireland.

I have a broad range of experience in the charity and voluntary sector, primarily in the area of arts and culture, having worked as Production Editor with Visual Artists Ireland for a number of years, and as a researcher on a range of projects for nonprofits and public bodies. I also have experience running a small independent business.

I hold a Master’s in Public Policy from University College Dublin and a BA in History from Trinity College Dublin.

Please feel free to contact me with any policy queries at