Speaker Biographies - The Wheel's Annual Conference + Expo 2015

The Wheel's annual conference + Expo 2015


The Wheel's National Conference for Community, Voluntary and Charity Organisations, will feature contributions from 16 top speakers.

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David Begg

David Begg recently took on the role of Director of TASC. He was previously General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and spent five years as Chief Executive of Concern Worldwide in the late 1990s. He is currently also on the board of Barnardos and his NGO experience includes stints on the Boards of Trocaire and the Disasters Emergency Committee in the UK.
He also served on the Advisory Board of Ireland Aid. David Begg has held a number of Public and Private Sector Non Executive positions including the Boards of Aer Lingus, The Central Bank and the National Economic and Social Council (NESC). He was a Governor of the Irish Times Trust from 2001/2011. David has a Master’s Degree in International Relations from DCU and a PhD in Sociology from NUI Maynooth.

Tara Buckley

Tara is Director General of RGDATA, the representative association for 4,000 independent family owned shops and supermarkets. She is a member of the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC), the National Payments Plan Steering Group, the Retail Consultation Forum, 
The High Level Group on Better Regulation and the National Retail Forum.  
RGDATA activelycampaigns for family owned businesses; sustainable retail development, vibrant towns and villages and walkable communities. 

Suzy Byrne

Suzy is a disabled woman and activist currently working as a personal advocate for people with disabilities and has over 25 years paid and unpaid experience in community and voluntary sectors at local, national and international level. 

Ivan Cooper

Ivan is Director of Advocacy with The Wheel. He has worked in a range of positions in Ireland and Scotland including Administration Manager with the Crisis Pregnancy Agency, Chief Executive Officer with Wicklow Chamber of Commerce, and European Funding Officer in Dundee College of Further Education. Ivan was a member of the National Economic and Social Forum and served on its management committtee.

Niall Crowley 

Niall is an independent equality and diversity consultant. He was chief executive of the Equality Authority for ten years from its establishment in 1999. Prior to that he worked in Pavee Point. He currently chairs the Equality and Rights Alliance and is convenor for Claiming Our Future. He is author of Empty Promise: Bringing the Equality Authority to Heel published by A&A Farmar and An Ambition for Equality published by Irish Academic Press.

Barry Dempsey

Barry joined the Irish Heart Foundation as Chief Executive Officer during 2012. Prior to this he was for ten years Managing Director  and Chief Executive of Peter Mark. Before this, from 1997 to 2002, Barry was Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society.
During this time the Irish Cancer Society became the second largest voluntary fundraising national charity in Ireland. Barry is from Dublin and was educated at Manchester Metropolitan University (Business Studies), Trinity College Dublin, the Irish Management Institute and Harvard Business School. 

Richard Dixon

Richard is Director of Public Affairs at Concern Worldwide. He joined Concern in 1990 and spent the following eight years in a variety of fundraising, 
web and communications roles in the organisation’s head office in Dublin. He also served on emergency response assignments  in Iran, Tanzania, South Sudan and Kosovo throughout the 90s. In 1999, he opened Concern’s office in Chicago – their second in North America  - before returning to Dublin in 2002.  
Richard subsequently established and led the organisation’s first corporate and major donor engagement function before being appointed Director of Fundraising in 2008  and Director of Public Affairs in 2010. As Director of Public Affairs, he has responsibility for Concern’s fundraising, digital, campaigning and communications functions in Ireland. He served on the board of ICTR, the representative body for Irish charities, from 2003-2013 and was their chairman from 2005 to 2008. He has chaired the national fundraising awards 2012-2015.

Deirdre Garvey

Deirdre is Chief Executive Officer of The Wheel. Previously a member of the Steering Group for European Year of Volunteering 2011, a member of the Steering Group of Social Partnership, the
National Economic and Social Council (NESC) and the Implementation and Advisory Group (IAG) of the White Paper on Supporting Voluntary Activity. In 2013 she was appointed to the Working Group on Citizen Engagement.

Anna Lee

Anna Lee has considerable experience of the local/community development sector with a particular focus on the development of anti-poverty / social inclusion strategies and was CEO of South Dublin County Partnership from 1991 until July 2014. 
Anna has contributed to policy development at national, regional and county level.  She currently chairs Volunteer Ireland and the South Dublin County Local Community Development Committee.   She is a Board member of the Community Foundation for Ireland and Tallaght Hospital.

Dr Rhona Mahony

Rhona is currently Master or CEO at the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin. As Master of the National Maternity Hospital, one of the largest Maternity Hospitals in Europe, Dr. Mahony oversees over 9,000 deliveries a year, a busy gynaecological unit and has responsibility for approximately 800 staff.
Dr. Mahony is a Consultant Obstetrician / Gynaecologist and Specialist in Fetal and Maternal Medicine. She has a doctorate in anal sphincter injury following childbirth and has researched in such topics as pelvic floor injury, maternal weight gain, fetal macrosomia and has been published in a range of international academic journals. Dr. Mahony maintains her interest in undergraduate medicine and teaches the undergraduate medical students at UCD and is an Honorary Clinical Professor with the Royal  College of Surgeons in Ireland.  She was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship 2014.

Danny McCoy

Danny is CEO of Ibec, Ireland’s largest business representative.  Ibec is business’ and employers’ most powerful lobbying force in Ireland and the leading specialist organisation in legislative and regulatory services. Since becoming CEO in 2009, Danny has led Ibec through strategic change, transforming the way the organisation delivers services and creating a powerful lobbying force for business in Ireland and beyond.  Ibec has over 7,000 companies in membership spanning every sector of the economy. Danny is its lead spokesperson in the media, on public platforms and to government.  
He has written columns for the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Irish Times among other international newspapers and plays a pivotal role in Irish economic discourse. The Irish Times has described Danny as one of the ‘50 people who runs Ireland.’ As a strong advocate of the Irish enterprise model, he led business in a visionary campaign to restore Ireland's international reputation abroad following the economic crisis.

David McCullagh

David co-presenter of RTE's flagship current affairs programme Primetime. He began working as a journalist in the Evening Press in 1989. He moved to RTÉ in 1993, where he worked on radio programmes the News at One and This Week and on television news, and was RTÉ News Political Correspondent for 12 years before joining Prime Time. He has a PhD in politics from UCD, and has written two books – The Reluctant Taoiseach, a biography of John A. Costello, and A Makeshift Majority, a history of the first Inter-Party Government.

Deirdre Mortell

Deirdre is CEO of  the Social Innovation Fund. She has twenty years’ experience of changing the world one step at a time. Sometimes by leading and sometimes by contributing in a team setting to delivering high growth or a step change in impact in Ireland’s leading non-profit organisations. Deirdre has been CEO of ONE Foundation, held senior roles in fundraising & communications in Oxfam and Barnardos, and held multiple Board directorships. Uniting all this is Deirdre’s passion for social change, both globally and locally in Ireland, and the power both of philanthropy and the ordinary citizen to change things – often faster than we think.

Úna Ní Dhubhghaill

Úna is Chief Executive of the Charities Regulatory Authority. The Authority was established in 2014 under the 2009 Charities Act. Prior to her appointment, Úna was Head of the Charities Regulation Unit at the Department of Justice and Equality. She is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and holds a Masters in Applied Governance from the Institute of Public Administration / University College Dublin.

Dr. Fergus O'Ferrall
Fergus is a former Chair of The Wheel.  He has held the following postions: Adelaide Professor of Health Policy, Trinity College, Dublin, Director of the Adelaide Health Foundation and Chief Executive, Macra na Feirme. He is a past President of the National Youth Council. He is Co-Chair of the People's Conversation on Citizenship and is a member of the Board of the Irish Times Trust.
He has published a number of books and articles on themes of citizenship and Irish history including Citizenship and Public Service (2000), Catholic Emancipation The Birth of Irish Democracy (1985) and Daniel O'Connell (1998).

Kathleen O’Meara

Kathleen is Head of Advocacy and Communications at the Irish Cancer Society, is a former politician, RTE journalist and Ministerial Adviser.Since the joined the Irish Cancer Society in 2008 as its first Head of Advocacy and Communications, she has grown the advocacy agenda of Ireland’s largest health charity to become a strong and clear voice for effective tobacco control, cancer screening programmes, legislation to regulate sunbeds and is now spearheading the Society’s determination to have health inequalities and cancer become a headline item.
Kathleen served in Seanad Eireann for the Labour Party from 1997 to 2007 during which time she contested three Dail elections in the constituency of North Tipperary. She was Labour’s front bench spokesperson on Childcare and Labour Whip in Seanad Eireann. Before entering politics, Kathleen O’Meara worked as a journalist in RTE and as a Ministerial Adviser to Eithne Fitzgerald on the Freedom of Information Act. She retired from politics in 2007 and has recently begun a part-time Masters Degree in Political Communication in DCU, looking specifically at the relationship between the voluntary and community sector and the state.

Ann Phelan TD

Ann Phelan TD is Minister of State at the Departments of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Transport, Tourism and Sport with Special Responsibility for Rural Economic Development (implementation of the CEDRA Report) and rural transportort. In taking the first seat in the 2011 5-seat Carow/Kilkenny Constituency Election, Minister Phelan created history by becoming the first woman to do so since the establishment of our State.

As a Kilkenny public representative, Ann held the most prestigious Corporate Policy Group position for the Labour Party Group from 2004 to 2009, in her role as the chairperson of the Council’s Special Policy Committee on Community, Arts, Heritage and Tourism. Up to her Dáil success; and in addition to her career membership of the South East Regional Authority; Ann was Leader of the County Kilkenny Heritage Forum.

Simon Scriver

Simon Scriver is Head of Fundraising at the charity One In Four. He has worked in fundraising since 2004, offering consultancy to some of the biggest and smallest charities in Ireland and abroad. He offers advice and training to non-profits to make their fundraising more cost-effective, speaking regularly at international conferences.

Simon recently founded Toastmasters For Good – a not-for-profit aimed at helping charity staff and volunteers improve their public speaking. He blogs at ChangeFundraising.com and tweets obsessively from @ToastFundraiser.

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