The Wheel's Board

Posted on 18 Jul 2018 Last updated on 3 Jul 2020

Last updated in July 2020

Inez Bailey – Elected in June 2017

Inez has been the Chief Executive Officer of NALA, the National Adult Literacy Agency, for the past 21 years. She is also Chair of the Southside Partnership, Chair of the Mounttown Neighbourhood Youth and Family Project, Chair of the Rockford Manor Secondary School and Member of the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Local Community Development Committee. Previous board memberships include: CORU, the Health and Social Care Professionals Regulator; the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs; Dublin & Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board; the Education Finance Board; the National Consumer Agency; the Citizens Information Board; the Information Society Commission; and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland.

Áine Brady – Elected May 2018

Áine currently serves as CEO of Third Age, having previously served as a Government TD, and Minister of State for Health Promotion and Older People, as well as an assistant primary school principal. Consistently active in the community and with a particular interest in promoting the interests of vulnerable older people, Áine’s current memberships of boards/committees include: Council of Patrons; Special Olympics Ireland; Meals On Wheels Clane CLG; Soroptimists International North Kildare Branch.

Sarah Benson – Elected in June 2020

Sarah currents serves as CEO of Women’s AID Ireland, having previously served as CEO of Ruhama and recently stood down from the board of the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

She has over two decades’ experience working for Community and Voluntary organisations (18 years at senior management/CEO level). Her work at Board and Executive level has also given significant direct experience of both fundraising and working and  collaborating with vulnerable, marginalized communities and individuals, particularly; victims/survivors of violence and abuse, and members of minoritised ethnic groups including migrants. In 2019 she completed a Master’s in Business Studies in Business practice with the IMI/UCC, receiving first class honours in each component category of study: Executive Coaching, Strategy and Innovation,and Leadership – also receiving the overall course award for final thesis (RIA) She has also completed studies through the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Leadership of Not for Profit Organisations.

John Buttner – Appointed in November 2017

Jonathan is a senior business executive with extensive commercial knowledge and experience gained over 25 years in Ireland and the UK.  As a former member of the leadership team in Ulster Bank (part of the global UK bank RBS), he led specialist Corporate, SME and Commercial Real Estate business divisions with responsibility for both ROI and NI markets.   Senior member of Ulster Bank governance committees including Risk Appetite, Credit Risk Policy, Assets & Liabilities and Corporate Banking Division Management committee.   Jonathan provides strategic business advice to companies in Ireland and the UK helping with commercial growth strategies, organisational change, finance, risk management and governance.  Jonathan also co-founded a start-up venture in the alternative lending space seeking to address the SME funding gap in Ireland by providing affordable flexible funding solutions.   

Mary Doyle – Co-opted in November 2018

Mary was Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education and Skills from 2012 until her retirement in April 2018.  As Deputy Secretary she led the Higher Education and Quality Division in the Department. Previously, she worked as Director General in the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Prior to that she was the Assistant Secretary in the Department of the Taoiseach. She served as a member of the National Economic and Social Council and of the National Statistics Board, and a Forum Member of the Economic and Social Research Institute. She holds a degree in European Studies from the University of Limerick and a Master’s in Public Service Management from Trinity/Irish Management Institute.

Sharon FoleyElected in June 2020

Sharon currently serves as CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation since 2011, having previously spent 6 years as a management consultant at One2One Solutions, and prior to that CEO of the Crisis Pregnancy Agency, and Director of Health Promotion for the East Coast Area Health Board. She sits on the board of Loreto Dalkey Secondary School, and has previously been Chairperson of the Family Support Agency, as well as a board member of Age Friendly Ireland and CORU. As CEO of a charity which derives most of its income from charitable sources, she understands the nonprofit sector and the needs of larger charities where fundraising is a key activity. Her interests lie around advocacy and how to influence the national policy arena so that policy towards C&V sector is informed and supportive. having secured state support for many key initiatives.

Maria Heneghan – Elected May 2018

Maria is a retired public servant who previously served with Teagasc as Rural Development Specialist (1989 – 2012) and Agriculture Development Officer (1973-1989). Highly active in local issues, Maria currently serves as Voluntary Secretary to Green Sod Ireland Board as well as Voluntary Secretary & Director to Ballyglunin Station Restoration Company, both of which are local environmental / community development initiatives. Additionally, Maria was previously a board member of GMIT (representing Teagasc) from 2005 – 2012 and Chairperson of the Project Evaluation Committee - LEADER Clare (2005 – 2012). She also served on the Member Advisory Committee on Rural Development for five years and spent three years as a sub-committee member of Western Development Commission.

Vincent Keenan – Elected May 2014

Vincent is Chief Executive of North and East Housing Association since 2014. North & East was incorporated in 1993 having been established by a small number of volunteers. Having been run as a small-scale, mainly voluntary organisation it is now a well-established housing provider with a proven track record in the delivery of high-quality homes, comprehensive housing management services and tenant supports. Vincent worked previously for Co-operative Housing Ireland (formally NABCO) for 12 years as Executive Director with responsibility for housing and community services. Vincent has 25 years’ experience in housing, homelessness, housing development, management and social and community service development. He has participated in negotiation of social partnership agreements and was appointed by the Minister of Housing to the National Homeless Consultative Committee on which he served 7 years. Vincent has also served as non-executive director on a number of not for profit organisations.

Brendan O’Brien – Co-opted December 2016

Brendan is CEO with ThinkSmarter Analytics. With over 20 years’ experience in international sales and marketing, he has previously been EMEA MD with US digital marketing company Search Optics,  Global Software Sales Director with Cisco based in California, CEO of ThinkSmart (acquired by Cisco) and held senior roles in Accenture and IBM.  He has been a guest lecturer in UCD and International Universities and hold a BSc, an MSc, a PhD in Business and Adv Dip in International sales. Brendan is also a very active participant in outdoor sports and has served on various boards, both commercial and voluntary, including Chairperson of a National Sporting Governing body and founding board member of a US based Alzheimer’s charity.

Paul O’Sullivan (CHAIR) – Co-opted in June 09, elected in July 12 & May 15

Paul is the Chief Executive Officer of Clann Credo, the social investment fund. He is also Chair of the Irish Charities Tax Research Group (ICTR).  He previously worked as a public relations and industrial relations consultant with Gallagher & Kelly PR, heading up their Employee Relations Division. Before that he was an industrial relations negotiator and union organiser with SIPTU where he represented workers in all sectors of the economy, health services, local government, marine transport and civil aviation. He was the Chief Negotiator in the Civil Aviation sector from 1993 to 1998. He managed two EU trade union initiatives on training and financial participation. Paul has lectured regularly on employee relations at Trinity College.

Karen Horgan – Elected May 2018

Karen is the current CEO of Age & Opportunity, and also serves as a member of the Charity Appeals Tribunal. Previous positions include: Director of Drogheda Homeless Aid (2000-2014); Course Co-ordinator for MA in Criminal Justice at the Institute of Public Administration; and Lecturer for MA in Criminal Justice at the Institute of Public Administration. Past memberships of boards include: Don Bosco Services, 2013-2014; Tuath Housing Association  2012-2014; Irish Council for Social Housing, 2003-2014; Drogheda Rotary Club Council, 2002-2014; Drogheda Job Initiative Company, 2004-2013; Drogheda Community Training Centre, 2008-2010; Calipo Theatre and Multi-media Company, 1999-2000. Karen's experience of serving in committees include: the Irish Council for Social Housing Governance Working Group;  Special Needs Housing and Services Sub-committee & Administration Committee; North East Regional Consultative Homeless Forum; North East Youth Homeless Forum; Drogheda Rotary Meals on Wheels Committee; Memorial Tree Committee & Community and Vocational Committee (Chair); and, Don Bosco Services Fundraising Committee.


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