Posted on 11 May 2018 Last updated on 14 Oct 2021

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. I was the organisation’s first full-time employee after its official founding in 1999.

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. 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.

more info

Official biographical information for Deirdre.

Download Biog

Programmes Team

Elizabeth Bolger - Director of Programmes

Elizabeth Bolger - Director of People & Programmes

I have worked with The Wheel since 2005.  Our recent organisation restructure  has enabled the development of  my role to focus on the supporting our staff, and programmes team to drive the organisation’s membership, programmes and supports.  This includes ensuring the organisation's HR & relevant policies are in line with regulation & best practice and supporting our members in this space.  You see more detail on these across our website.

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, residents 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

I joined The Wheel as  Communications Officer in May 2009. In my current role as Communications Mananger, I'm responsible for the organisation's communications strategy, media relations and brand positioning. I am also involved in developing 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, book publishing, publicity and digital marketing, both in Ireland and South Africa. My areas of expertise include media relations, social media, publishing and strategic communications.

In my spare time, you'll find me with my nose buried in a book, in the cinema, playing my guitar or rambling through the countryside.

You are very welcome to get in touch 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

I am a part of the skills development team at The Wheel. A large part of my work focuses on supporting members of The Wheel, as well as the wider nonprofit sector, to build capacity within their organization. The Wheel’s capacity building initiatives include funding opportunities through the Training Links programme, collaborative training and development programmes with both national and European partners, an extensive calendar of training events and multiple networks of interest that foster exchange of best practice and innovation.

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, Skills Development Senior Manager

Mairead O'Connor - Skills Development Senior Manager

I manage the skills development team at The Wheel, overseeing The Wheel's varied capacity-building activities. These include an extensive training and events calendar, various skills-building projects & initiatives and The Wheel's engagement with the national skills agenda and stakeholders. 
I also work with various stakeholders across the sector, national policy-makers and the education and training sector to ensure that nonprofit organisations of all types, and those that work for them, are well served by the state's skills development infrastructure.  
If you have feedback on our skills development work, please feel free to get in touch with me here:


Harry Kearns

Harry Kearns - Outreach & Communications Officer

I joined as The Wheel as Outreach and Communications Officer in August 2021. My role is to assist with the communications strategy and to support the skills team with programme promotion and delivery.

I studied English & Philosophy at UCD and then Psychology at Trinity College. After university, I worked for a number of years in operations and coordination roles. At the start of 2019 I began working for Foróige – The National Youth Development Organisation. I realised I liked working in the nonprofit sector. I found it to be really meaningful and I have been learning a lot. So, I’ve continued along this path.

In my spare time you might find me playing guitar, getting outdoors with friends, or reading.

You can reach me at

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. 

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

Emma Murtagh

Emma Murtagh - European Programmes Manager

I joined The Wheel initially in 2017 as European Programmes Officer and returned in 2020 after a year away to eventually take on the role of European Programmes Manager.

A key part of my role is overseeing the delivery of Access Europe, a support and capacity building programme for the sector around accessing and managing EU funding. I also work with our policy team on European policy that affects our sector and create opportunities for our members to engage with EU decision makers. Finally, I am in charge of driving The Wheel’s own European development and designing projects that further our strategic goals and support the sector. This means overseeing a whole host of projects in a wide variety of areas that have been made possible through EU funding.

I am a qualified trainer and English language teacher with a BA in English and Psychological Studies and an MA in Literature and Publishing, both from NUI Galway.  I’m also have a Diploma in Leadership & Management from the UCD Professional Academy.

Feel free to contact me at with any questions around EU programmes and policy. You can also follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn to keep up to date on my escapades at The Wheel.

Emily Nelson

Emily Nelson - EU Programmes Officer

I joined The Wheel as EU Programmes Officer in January 2021. My role involves supporting civil society sector organisations to build their capacity to secure EU funding through our Access Europe programme, researching EU funding opportunities that are relevant to the sector and The Wheel’s members, coordinating and delivering training and events related to EU funding, and assisting organisations in building relationships with potential EU project partners.

Prior to joining The Wheel, I worked in career guidance at the Ballymun Job Centre and Ballyfermot Chapelizod Partnership where I was involved in various Erasmus+ funded EU projects. I also have a strong background in workforce development and training/facilitation in soft skills and job readiness. In my free time, you can find me rambling in the Dublin/Wicklow mountains or experimenting in the kitchen.

Please feel free to contact me with any queries at

Christina Nuhr

Christina Nuhr - EU Programmes Officer

I joined the European Programmes Team at The Wheel in January 2021. A key part of my role is implementing Access Europe, a support and capacity building programme around accessing and managing EU funding. Here, I consult on funding opportunities, provide tailor-made advice and resources as well as training and events connected to EU Funding. Central to my work is to cultivate and facilitate partnership networks at EU level and connect the Irish non-profit sector with European civil society.

In my work, I am aiming for a Europe defined by possibilities not by limits. Previously I was working for an international NGO based in Berlin, a buzzing city where I also studied Literature and Scandinavian Studies. For the past six years, I have worked in the European public sphere fostering European cohesion by strengthening civil society organisations across Europe, building trust-based communities and equipping active citizens with the practical tools they need to create sustainable and socially just societies.

I love travelling, hiking and speaking multiple languages. Reach out to me if you are interested in EU partnerships or searching for contacts in any European country:

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:

Lynn Simpson

Lynn Simpson - Training & Advice Manager

As the Training and Advice Manager for The Wheel, I develop the the schedule of training events that we put on throughout the year. I am always keen to hear what training needs our members have – so please feel free to drop me a line to if you want to suggest a training event or topic. 

The other side of my role is answering queries from our members on a variety of topics. So if you have a query please contact us or take a look at our extensive Advice & Guidance section to see what resources might be helpful to you. 

My background is in Radio, Education and Training and I have a passion for community development. I hold B.A. Hons in ‘Media Studies’, a Masters in ‘Radio production and Management’ and a ‘Diploma to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector’. As a strong supporter of continued lifelong learning I am currently studying towards a masters in ‘Not for Profit Management’. I also love cooking, traveling, community radio and spending time with my two adorable pug dogs. 


Sinead Vaughan - Events & Programmes Officer

I joined The Wheel in January 2019. As the Events and Programmes Officer, I am involved in the planning and implementing of our training calendar. I offer support to the Training and Advice Manager on the development of our schedule of training events. I also work closely with The Wheel’s Programmes Manager to offer support to a variety of our programmes.  

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.   

I am available on email on Please get in touch if you have any questions about our training events!  

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 Manager

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

Maria O'Connell - Grants Development Officer

Maria O'Connell - Grants Development Officer

I joined The Wheel as Grants Development Officer in 2021, working with the Business Development Team. In my role, I support the objectives of the organisation's strategic plan by identifying, researching and accessing funding opportunities which enables The Wheel to deliver supports relevant to the sector.  

I arrived in the nonprofit sector indirectly, qualifying as a Quantity Surveyor in 2004, followed by a Masters Degree in Regional and Urban Planning from University College Dublin. My professional background is in community development, having previously worked as a development officer with the Rural Development (LEADER) Programme, delivering financial supports to community groups and business starts-ups.  

If I can offer any advice or support, please feel free to contact me at 

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 – I’m currently on the boards of Sightsavers Ireland and the National Advocacy Service.

My main responsibilities involve the strategic financial planning and management of the organization 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. I’m also currently convener of the larger charities strand for UK and Ireland in the ongoing SORP review process.

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.

Maria Casey

Maria Casey - Membership & Accounts Officer

I am the Membership and Accounts Officer, having joined The Wheel in August 2021. I’m here to help you with your application to join our membership community from start to finish, so that you can access the great benefits that The Wheel has to offer without delay. I help with the accounts and assist all members of The Wheel on their membership administration, queries and needs.

My previous experience involved working in the charity and voluntary sector in arts and culture, working on festivals and events. My qualifications include an MA in Arts Policy, BA in Human Resource Management and BA in Fine Art. 

If I can assist you in anyway, reach out by emailing

Jon McBride, Membership Officer

Jon McBride - Compliance & Metrics Officer

I’ve been with The Wheel since September 2017, originally joining as Membership Officer before more recently moving into the realm of compliance. My role is to guide The Wheel on our compliance journey, for state agencies and authorities, for funders and for our members. I’m also part of the team responsible for gathering and maintaining our metrics, ensuring that we are always working towards demonstrating the impact we have for our members, the nonprofit sector, and for society.

My background is in administration management and HR support with over 20 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 your own compliance and reporting journeys.

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

Claire McGowran

Claire McGowran - Campaigns Officer

I am Campaigns Officer with The Wheel. I’m working closely with a pan-sectoral steering group on an exciting new campaign to improve public awareness of the value and impact of the charity and community sector in Ireland. 

My background is in communications, I have a degree in Journalism from DCU, I’ve written for various newspapers and magazines, and I was a digital editor for eight years. My interest in campaigns was sparked by my involvement in the campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment in 2018. Living in London at the time, I volunteered with the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign as an organiser for Home To Vote. I’ve also worked with UNICEF on a campaign to end child marriage and contributed to the Emigrant Papers as part of the campaign to expand voting rights for Irish emigrants. 

Outside of work, I love baking, crafting, food and travel - I’ve also got a side venture where I interview people about their lives, and package it up as a personalised audio memoir. 

If you'd like to chat about the campaign, drop me a line at


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). I am also a trustee on the board of the National Women's Council. 

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