Speaker Biographies - The Wheel's 2012 Annual Conference: Innovate | Involve | Inspire: Dublin - 31 May 2012

Innovate | Involve | Inspire - The Wheel's 2012 annual conference

Speaker Biographies

MARK BLAKE-KNOXMark has worked for Cheshire Ireland for over 30 years, being appointed the first Co-ordinator of Services in 1983 and later CEO. Mark has previously been Chairman of the Disability Federation of Ireland; Vice-chair of the Not-for-Profit Business Association, Vice-chair of the Neurological Alliance, he sat on numerous Department of Health and HSE working groups on disability matters, and he is a member of The Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities.

Dr Elaine, Academic Team, We the Citizens, is an adjutant lecturer at the Department of Political Science at Trinity College Dublin and is a co-editor of www.politicalreform.ie established under the aegis of the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI). Elaine has worked as a consultant for the United Nations and the World Bank, her work has featured in the Irish Times, the Sunday Business Post and the Guardian, and she has recently published a book Political Corruption in Ireland 1922 – 2010, A Crooked Harp?


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 committee.

SEÁN COUGHLANSeán is Chief Executive Officer of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, a non-profit organisation that encourages and supports the development of social entrepreneurship in Ireland. Previously Sean worked in the private and public sectors and was a Principal Officer in the Department of Communications before taking up management roles in Baltimore Technologies and subsequently Guardeonic Solutions.
NUALA DOHERTYNuala is CEO for the Centre for Effective Services. Nuala previously was Director of Educational Welfare Services in the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB). Prior to joining the NEWB, Nuala held the position of Director of Services for Children and Families in the Health Services Executive North East Region with responsibility for the development and implementation f strategy, policy and practice for all services for children and families in the region.
DEIRDRE GARVEYDeirdre is Chief Executive Officer of The Wheel. She was 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. Prior to joining The Wheel Deirdre was Director of Development (Fundraising) at The Barretstown Gang Camp in Kildare.
SEÁN HEALYSeán is Director of Social Justice Ireland. For more than 25 years he has been active on issues of socio-economic policy in Ireland. Before that he worked for more than 10 years in Africa. Seán has worked on many government task forces dealing with social and economic policy issues. He has co-written or edited more than 25 books. The most recent is Shaping Ireland’s Future published in April 2012.
CATHERINE MAHERCatherine is Director of Services and Housing at Focus Ireland. She has extensive experience in many front-line and managerial roles in the organisation over the last 10 years. Prior to working with Focus Ireland she ran her own Montessori School. She is a member of the DRHE’s Advisory Group, Vice Chair of the Dublin Homeless Network and a member of the Voluntary Network for the HSE. She is responsible for leading the strategic
reconfiguration of Focus Ireland services, the organisation’s Innovation Team and their Social
Enterprise initiative.
BERNADETTE MACMAHONBernadette D.C. PhD, is the Director of the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice (VPSJ) since its establishment in 1996. Bernadette’s background is in educational psychology and has worked across all three levels of education in both the UK and Ireland. Bernadette is also a published author with a particular emphasis on issues relating to minimum income standards. She has developed workshop materials on active citizenship and was a member of the Democracy Commission and the Taskforce on Active Citizenship.
RITA MCNULTYRita is Assistant Secretary in the Department of The Environment, Community and Local Government. Her areas of responsibility include the community and voluntary sector. Rita has over thirty years work experience in education, youth and community work, overseas development education, the Peace Programme and most recently in local government.
BARBARA O’CONNELLBarbara is Chief Executive Officer with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland of which she is co-founder growing it to its current level of 36 services nationally. Previously she was Occupational Therapy Manager with the National Rehabilitation Hospital. Barbara has served as a board member of Anvers Housing Association, Neurological Alliance Ireland, Peter Bradley Foundation Trust, and numerous committees with disability organisations, the HSE or Department of Health.
KARL O’CONNORKarl is a Senior Manager of Employee Engagement, Human Resources at Ulster Bank. He recently presented to the Centre of Competitiveness on the use of continuous improvement to grow employee engagement through the involvement of people. This presentation followed on from Ulster Bank winning the ‘Responsible Employer’ category for large indigenous companies at the Chambers Ireland ‘Corporate Social Responsibility 2011 Annual Awards’. Karl has 30 years learning, coaching and facilitation experience.
FERGUS O’FERRALLFergus is Adelaide Lecturer in Health Policy in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Trinity College, Dublin and previously was Director of the Adelaide Hospital Society. He is a member of Implementation Group on Universal Health Insurance, a member of the Board of the Irish Times Trust, the Irish Platform for Patients’ Organisations, Science and Industry IPPOSI. He has written a number of books and articles concerning health policy.
DAVID THOMASDavid is Managing Director, Corporate Banking Division, Ulster Bank Group and joined Ulster Bank in October 2011. Prior to this David was Chief Risk Officer, UK Corporate Banking at RBS. Before joining RBS, he spent 10 years with Société Générale where he was deputy head of their Corporate Banking business in London. He spent the previous 10 years with Barclays in their SME business. David has over 30 years experience in banking, across both front line and support functions.
FINTAN O’TOOLEFintan is a writer, journalist and Assistant Editor of the Irish Times. His work has appeared in many national and international newspapers and magazines. He has also broadcast extensively in Ireland and the UK. His books include Ship of Fools (2009), After the Ball (2003), Shakespeare is Hard, But So Is Life (2002), and The Irish Times Book of The 1916 Rising (2005).
MARTIN SIMEMartin is the Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the umbrella body for the voluntary sector in Scotland. Until 1991 he was Director of the Scottish Association for Mental Health, the main campaigning and community care providing organisation for people who have mental health problems. Prior to joining the voluntary sector, Martin was a sheep farmer on the Isle of Lewis.
SANDRA VELTHUISSandra is an independent consultant, providing a range of information and support services to help not-for-profits build a better world. She has some 25 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector, as a paid employee, director, trustee, on-the-ground volunteer and consultant with a wide variety of organisations. She is currently working towards Social Return On Investment (SROI) Accredited Practitioner status.


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