Summit 2023 Programme

Summit 2023 Programme

Are you ready to unite and discuss bold action for positive change?  

Join us for Summit 2023, where we will come together to explore the big topics for our sector, from the future of public-service delivery to the impact of positive storytelling.  

This one-day event is designed for sector leaders, staff, and volunteers who are passionate about making a positive impact in their organisations and their communities. 

At the conference, you'll have the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, learn from sector experts, and discover new strategies and best practices for driving positive change. You'll leave the conference with a renewed sense of purpose and the inspiration to take bold action. 

Our speakers are leaders in their fields, who will share their insights, experiences, and wisdom. With a variety of panel discussions and breakout sessions, you'll have the opportunity to explore different perspectives and learn from diverse voices in the sector. 

Don't miss this chance to connect with your peers, be empowered and make a difference! Register today and be a part of this dynamic and energising event. Together, we can work towards a stronger, more united community and voluntary sector in 2023 and beyond. 

Register Here   Programme Speakers


First Plenary: 9.30am-11.15am

Our Chairperson will outline the programme for Summit 2023 and introduce Joe O'Brien TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development who will deliver the opening address. 

Joe O'Brien TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development with Special Responsibility for Community Development and Charities will deliver the opening address. He will outline some of the Government's key priorities, as they relate to charities, community groups and social enterprises. 

 A panel discussion on what’s needed for sustainable public services in Ireland, the sector’s ongoing role in delivering them, and what’s needed to better support the sector to do that. 


  • Chair: Inez Bailey, Chief Executive Officer at Centre for Effective Services & Board Member of The Wheel

  • Suzanne Connolly, CEO at Barnardos

  • Kara McGann, Head of Social Policy at IBEC 

  • Pauline McKeown, CEO at Coolmine Therapeutic Community

  • Pat Rabbitte, Chairperson of Tusla

Many of Ireland’s social and health services are developed and delivered through a hybrid funding partnership between independent community and voluntary organisations and statutory departments and agencies. This approach brings many benefits including flexibile, responsive and locally accountable services – but it also struggles to ensure that all people have available the services and supports they need locally. Ireland is now one of the richest countries in the world where people rightly expect the highest quality public services. How can we ensure that our system delivers those services? What needs to be done to maximise the positives and minimise the negatives of our current hybrid approach? Where to for public services in Ireland today?

Sharon Hughes, Manager of the Leadership Academy, reflects on some of the key challenges and opportunities for nonprofit leaders. 

11.15am-11.45am: Coffee Break (sponsored by Payzone)

Kindly sponsored by Payzone. See

Second Plenary: 11.45am-1.15pm

Our speakers will discuss the importance of effective storytelling in the community and voluntary sector. They will explore communication strategies for building public trust and support for both specific causes and for the sector as a whole. They will also touch on the challenges that charities face in getting their message heard in a crowded and competitive media landscape, and offer suggestions for how to overcome these challenges. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in a table discussion with other attendees about their own specific experiences.   

Chair:  TBC

  • Public perceptions of the sector: Amy Woods, Communications and Advocacy Manager at Volunteer Ireland and member of the We Act campaign Steering Group

  •  What sparks journalists’ interest in stories from the sector? Shauna Bowers, Journalist at The Irish Times

  • Contemporary trends in storytelling: Martina Quinn, Founder and Managing Director at Alice PR

Lunch 1.15pm-2.30pm (sponsored by Enthuse)

Join us for lunch and networking. This is a great opportunity to catch up with your colleagues, make new connections and explore the Expo.  

Kindly sponsored by Enthuse. See

Parallel Sessions: 2.30pm-4pm

This year, we invited our members to develop and host a series of break-out sessions on cross-cutting issues. Delegates can attend any one of the following parallel sessions.

Hosted by 2into3

A corporate partnership is a collaborative union between a business and a nonprofit who share a purpose, a passion and commitment to sustainable social change.  A good corporate partnership can help a non-profit be more ambitious by extending its reach and impact in the community much farther than if it acted alone. Corporate partnerships can improve efficiency and provide experience and knowledge that can be used now and into the future. They can help a nonprofit better engage with organisations in the corporate sector, which, if done well, can bring with it immediate and ongoing benefits. 

This interactive session will provide bite sized, easy-to-implement tips and advice to help nonprofits improve their approach to corporate partnerships. It will provide the tools, skills and confidence needed to start or progress a corporate partnerships journey. 

Part 1 – Understanding the new Corporate Landscape 

Right now, in the middle of the cost-of-living crisis, you need to understand how things are for business. It’s important you have empathy with the people you want to build partnerships with. Running a business is more challenging than ever. Many business leaders feel overwhelmed. To get their attention it is important to show you understand and then offer a simple solution to one or more of their challenges.  This session will help you to focus less on asking for money and more on how you can offer companies compelling opportunities that are tailored for them. 

Part 2 – Corporate Partnerships live case-studies & panel discussion

You will have the opportunity to hear from both the nonprofit and business perspectives on their approach to corporate partnerships. Each case-study will focus on successful corporate partnerships and will cover key learnings and recommendations.  


  • Denise Cranston, Management Consultant and Head Partnerships Practice at 2into3
  • Kerry McLaverty,  CEO of LauraLynn Children’s Hospice and a Board Member of The Wheel
  • Joanne Dolan, PhD, Co-founder of Teen Turn, winners of the 
    2022 Best Corporate Charity Partnership Award from Charities Institute Ireland
  • Sinéad Smith, Head of Responsible Business at A&LGoodbody
  • Brian O'Neill, Head of Communications, Sponsorship and Sustainability, Aviva Ireland 

Hosted by CES (Centre for Effective Services)

We all know that collaboration is good for us and the people who rely on our organisations and services. But how do we do it better?  

Too many partnerships start well but eventually lose their way. This hands-on workshop will draw from research, best practice and your own experience to explore what makes collaboration successful and why it fails to deliver. We will share tips, techniques and tools which support purposeful collaboration. Together we will work through how to get the best out of collaboration and sustain it over time, so that it can ultimately benefit people living in our communities.    


  • Ken Stanley, Senior Project Specialist at CES
  • Dearbháile Slane,  Project Specialist, CES 

Hosted by the  Irish Council for Civil Liberties

This panel will examine the varying challenges which inhibit the work of the NGO and community and voluntary sector in Ireland and the work being done to push back against same. We will examine the idea of challenges from a number of varying perspectives including self-censorship related to state funding, the challenges posed by the far right and ongoing legislative and policy barriers which inhibit advocacy and freedom of association. The panel will also examine what a fully enabled civic space would look like and how this can be achieved and measured. The community and voluntary sector in Ireland not only provide services to thousands of people daily, it also serves as a crucial component of our democracy. 

NGOs and community and voluntary organisations know the needs of and the problems their members and service users face on a day-to-day basis and often advocate on their behalf. However, restrictions and barriers which prevent  advocacy for our members sometimes aren’t seen or properly understood. This panel will serve to build unity and solidarity in the sector with respect to understanding the restrictions we face and ambition to remove them.  

This panel will draw together the disparate voices who are currently working to remove the restrictions and threats the sector faces in conversation. While work is ongoing to counter the far-right, remove legislative barriers etc, the work sometimes happens in isolation and the “bigger picture” can be lost. This panel will offer an opportunity for a holistic discussion of the threats to freedom of association which we face. 


  • Fr. Peter McVerry, Social Activist (Chair)
  • Liam Herrick, Executive Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)
  • Moninne Griffith, CEO: BeLonG To Youth Services 
  • Niamh McDonald, Coordinator of the Hope and Courage Collective. 
  • Alessandro Bellatoni, Head of Open Government, Public Communication, and Civic Space Unit, OECD

Hosted by For Purpose & 2into3

The issue of attracting and retaining talent is raised across many webinars and forums. Early career professionals are ambitious, keen to learn, and full of ideas. Yet, these professionals are not very  visible at sector events and their voices are missing in the big macro deliberations.  

The sector cannot have ambitious goals unless it includes all of its professionals. We need to realise the ambitions of early career professionals and align them with the ambitions of our organisations, to generate a pool of future leaders, thinkers and change-makers.  

By adopting a ‘mentoring and reverse mentoring’ dimension and learning together, this session provides an opportunity to hear from early career professionals and consider three things organisations can do to provide a bright future for us all.  


  • Aoife Duff, Programme Coordinator at For Purpose 
  • Amy Ennis, Recruitment Coordinator at 2into3 


  • Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí is the CEO of Carmichael
  • Niamh Fennell, Youth Voice and Engagement Officer at Jigsaw
  • Eoghan Cregan, Housing Officer at Cooperative Housing Ireland 
  • Gavin Murphy, Strategic Planning and Development Officer at Foróige  
  • Hannah Coleman, Communications and Education Manager Boardmatch Ireland 

Hosted by Coalition 2030

We have reached a critical point in human history where the choices we make as individuals, communities and Government have drastic implications for our shared future. What we do or do not do over the next ten years will impact the next thousand. 

This year marks the halfway point between when Agenda 2030 was agreed and when we are due to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. It is clear to any organisation working in the community & voluntary sector that we in Ireland are not living up to the core principle of Agenda 2030, to ‘leave no one behind’, nor are we reaching the 'furthest behind first'. 

The community and voluntary sector is playing a key role in ensuring that the path we follow is a sustainable one from all perspectives: economic, social, and environmental, and will continue to do so as we chart the path to 2030. Our sector must find a renewed sense of collective ambition towards the achievement of the SDGs, and project a united voice for sustainable development. 

This session will explore the challenges and opportunities for our sector as we continue on that path. Facilitated by Sarah Benson from The Wheel board, and with contributions from Coalition 2030, Naomh Breandan Credit Union and St Vincent de Paul, you will hear about what the Irish government needs to do to reach the furthest behind first; bottom-up approaches to climate action via the credit union movement; and community-led approaches to ending fast fashion, illustrated by the journey of a garment donated to the charity sector and the options open to textiles recyclers. 

We need bottom-up and top-down approaches to address the intersecting, integrated and indivisible issues before us; we need a macro and a micro approach to sustainable development in the community & voluntary sector. 


  • Sarah Benson is Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Aid (Ireland) & a Board Member of The Wheel
  • Mary Butterly is National Retail Coordinator for the Society of St. Vincent De Paul
  • Karen Ciesielski is the CEO of the Irish Environmental Network
  • Sorley McCaughey is Director of McCaughey Public Affairs Consulting
  • Dermot McGilloway is National Retail Development Manager for the Society of St. Vincent De Paul
  • David McDonnell is CEO of Naomh Breandáin Credit Union


Hosted by the Irish Professional Mediators Organisation (IPMO)

The session will include presentations from three leading member organisations followed by a Q&A. 

Dóchas: Worldview research  

  • Origins of the Worldview project 
  • Breadth of data points 
  • Overview of Worldview audience segments  
  • Selection of the most recent Worldview findings (2022) of relevance to the integration theme 
  • Ties to the soon to be released Dóchas Ethical Communications Guide which will be launched the week before The Wheel’s Summit at Dóchas’ Annual Conference 
  • Connection to Global Citizenship Engagement (GCE), which is often community focused 

Volunteer Ireland: Volunteering is on a knife-edge. Challenges of volunteering in Ireland today and involving a diverse cohort of volunteers. 

  • Ireland is more diverse, and our diversity is more visible and we want to embrace it. But how?  
  • Volunteering has changed in many ways: people who volunteer are more diverse, the way we want to volunteer is more varied. How do organisations adapt to this?  
  • From “giving back to the community” to “how volunteering can help integration”, and a lot in between, let’s talk about the new ways of volunteer engagement. 

IPMO: Supporting Volunteers to support their communities in a multi-racial, multicultural Ireland    

  • Intro  to IPMO and the work of  the Community Mediation Committee   
  • Traditional values and dispute resolution in the African immigrant community  
  • Pathway to mediation  
  • Traditional values and dispute resolution within the travelling community   
  • Dispute between Nigerian woman and neighbour from the Travelling community (case study)   
  • Want to understand what is community mediation in Ireland  
  • IPMO initiative 


  • MC: Dr Roisin O'Shea, Chair of IPMO
  • Mary Connors Aldridge, Community Mediation Committee Chair at IPMO
  • Joseph Ateb, Community Mediation Deputy Chair at IPMO, Volunteer Mediator with the Traveller’s Mediation Services Athlone
  • Cherif Labreche is CEO of New Communities Partnership and a Board Member of The Wheel
  • Laura Gibbons, Project Manager of the  Dóchas Worldview Project
  • Zsé Varga, Volunteering Development Programme Manager at Volunteer Ireland



Third Plenary: 4.15pm-5.20pm


  • A summary of the key insights from our member-led sessions - Emily Bourke MC
  • Keynote address: Dr Seán Healy, SMA co-founder of Social Justice Ireland to mark his retirement in 2023. 
  • Presentation of the  Dr Mary Redmond Honoury Award 2023
    This occasional award is bestowed by The Wheel’s board of directors on a person who has made an extraordinary contribution to civil society in Ireland. The award is named after Dr Mary Redmond, the late academic, lawyer and founder of The Wheel and the Irish Hospice Foundation.  

Reception 5.15pm-7.00pm

Relax and reconnect with your colleagues and friends in the sector over drinks and canapés.


Summit 2023 will feature contributions from dozens of top speakers from Ireland and beyond. 

A photo of Joseph Ateb, a man with a shaved head and dark-rimmed glasses.

Joseph Ateb graduated from the University of Maynooth with a Bachelor of Law (LLB) in 2019. Joseph was granted a Taught Master’s Degree Scholarship in 2019 and proceeded to commence a Master’s Degree Programme in Mediation & Conflict Intervention in the University of Maynooth, graduating in 2020. 

He qualified as an MII certified Mediator in 2019. As a freelance Mediator, Joseph has done work on behalf of the University of Maynooth on diversity/equality-related issues. 

Joseph works as a Volunteer Mediator with the Traveller’s Mediation Services Athlone, Co Westmeath. This role involves resolving conflicts between the Traveller community and social housing tenants from the African communities. The role also involves creating awareness on the role of mediation within these communities. He also works as a volunteer mediator with the Asylum Seekers Accommodation Centre in Tullamore, Co Offaly.  Joseph is an Assistant Industrial Organiser for the SIPTU Trade Union. 

Inez Bailey

Dr Inez Bailey is Chief Executive Officer at the Centre for Effective Services (CES) and a member of The Wheel's Board of Directors. CES is a not-for-profit organisation which works to improve the lives of people on the island of Ireland by supporting the implementation of excellent public services through evidence informed policy and practice. As Chief Executive Officer, Inez is responsible for leading the CES team and implementing the organisations strategy in line with the vision and leadership of the Board. Before joining CES, Inez was the Chief Executive of the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA), a role she held for more than 20 years. Inez served on the inaugural Healthy Ireland Council and is a former member of the Government’s Expert Group on Future Skills Needs which advises the Government on skills needs and labour market issues that impact enterprise and employment growth. She has served as Chair and Board member of a range of charity and statutory bodies. Inez is a graduate of the University of Sheffield (EdD) and Maynooth University (BA, MA, Dip).


Ala Buisir is an award-winning visual artist and journalist. Born in Ireland with Libyan roots, Ala is a graduate BA in Photography from TU Dublin and MA in Journalism from DCU. She is currently undertaking a PhD by practice at the University of Limerick, in which she investigates the ‘othering’ of Muslim women in the Western world by societal Islamaphobia and Western tropes of Islam. In doing so, she aims to use this research to inform participatory arts-based interventions that challenge Islamaphobia against Muslim women by amplifying Muslim women's voices and creating avenues for digital storytelling in which these voices are agents in their narrative. Ala’s work documents the social and political tension around us today. The aim is to raise awareness by presenting events through different perspectives in hopes that it may also bring about change. She is also the co-founder of Gorm Media. An impact-focused digital media start-up with a mission of unifying across differences and advancing belonging for marginalised communities. And a board member of the Amal Women's Association. A Muslim women-led organisation. It provides front-line services to Muslim women connected to the Muslim community nationwide.

Sarah Benson, a woman with short, dark hair

Sarah Benson is the current CEO of Women’s Aid, Ireland and a member of The Wheel's Board of Directors. Women’s Aid are a national, organisation working to prevent and address the impact of domestic violence and abuse. They do this by advocating, influencing, training, and campaigning for effective responses to reduce the scale and impacts of domestic abuse on women and children in Ireland, and by providing high quality, specialised, integrated, support services. 


Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a journalist with the Irish Times, having previously worked for a variety of other news organisations including The Irish Examiner and The Sunday Times Ireland. While a general news reporter, Shauna covers a broad range of topics, with a particular focus on health, housing and human-interest stories.

Alessandro Bellantoni, a man in a shirt and tie wearing glasses

Alessandro Bellantoni joined the OECD in 2009, where he is the Head of Open Government, Public Communication, and Civic Space Unit. Previously, he worked in the Ministry of Public Administration and Innovation of the Government of Italy, for the United Nations (WFP and ILO), and in civil society. He is a graduate of International Affairs from the John Cabot University of Rome and holds a Master of Science in Social Anthropology and Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science of the University of London. 


Mary Butterly, a woman with long, dark hair and long earrings

Mary Butterly has been National Retail Coordinator for the Society of St. Vincent De Paul since January 2020. Mary has a degree in Communications and a background working in print production, design, and retail management in both Ireland and the United States. As National Retail Coordinator, Mary supports the continual business development of SVP’s 230 Charity shops which raise funds for local communities and help promote social justice, inclusion, and sustainability.  


Karen Ciesielski, a woman with long blonde hair in a dark top

Karen Ciesielski is the CEO of the Irish Environmental Network. With 20 years of experience in non-profit management, fundraising, communications, advocacy and campaigning, Karen works to promote the interlinked principles of environmental, social and economic sustainability by supporting IEN members. She also serves as the Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar, and sits on the Coalition 2030 Steering Committee. 


Suzanne Connolly

Suzanne Connolly is CEO of Barnardos. She was formerly the Director of Children’s Services for Barnardos, a role which she  held for 17 years. Suzanne led the transformation of Barnardos’ children’s services to become needs led and outcome focused with a clear organisational commitment to the evaluation of their work. She is responsible for the development and implementation of the Barnardos new strategic plan 2022 – 2027 from inception to delivery. Responsible for leading the orgnaisation, ensuring the issues effecting children and families in Ireland remain on the agendas of policy makers and parents and are communicated to our supporters and the public. She is also responsible for ensuring that Barnardos remains innovative and leads out of the delivery of services that have real impact and provides good models of value of early intervention. Suzanne is a qualified social worker.   She has seven years experience working as a social worker in Children’s Services London, Boroughs of Southwark, Hounslow and in Toxteth, Liverpool, and nine years of experience in management in the UK and Ireland of services providing a range of family support services in the voluntary sector.



A headshot of Ivan Cooper

Ivan Cooper is The Wheel's incoming Chief Executive Officer. In his previous role as Director of Public Policy, he was responsible 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. Ivan has wide-ranging career-experience working in private, public and community and voluntary sectors including diverse roles from managing finance, ensuring good governance, developing funding and business lines, developing strategy, directing public affairs, engaging with the media and general high-level communications work.  Ivan represents The Wheel on a range of national and international fora, and he regularly works with the boards of community and voluntary organisations on their governance and trustee responsibilities. A big believer in lifelong learning, Ivan has an MBA from Smurfit Business School, a Diploma in Development Studies, and a primary degree in psychology and philosophy from UCD.

Hannah Coleman, a woman with long, blonde hair wearing a black top.

Hannah Coleman is the Communications & Education Manager at Boardmatch Ireland, a registered charity. This role involves overseeing Boardmatch’s brand, marketing, events, charity board recruitment website, training programmes and board review services. Hannah joined the Boardmatch team in March 2017, and has been part of the charity’s development from a team of 4, working in one office in Dublin, to a team of 9, working remotely around the country. 

Beyond Boardmatch, Hannah is an arts enthusiast, with over 20 years of classical ballet training and a BA in English with Film Studies from UCD. Since February 2020, Hannah has been a charity trustee and company secretary on the Board of the Irish National Youth Ballet. Through her role in Boardmatch and experience on the Board of INYB, Hannah is an advocate for board volunteering, particularly in encouraging board volunteering to people who would not consider themselves potential candidates.  

Denise Cranston

Denise Cranston is Head of Partnerships Advisory Practice, 2into3. Denise is a Corporate Charity Partnership expert with 25 years’ experience. Prior to joining 2into3, Denise worked as a Partnerships Manager for Remarkable Partnerships, a London based consultancy supporting charities to create major, long-term corporate partnerships. Denise has supported a range of local, national, and international charities and most recently she has worked with Save the Rhino, Young Enterprise, The Brooke, Beat, Cancer Focus, Relate NI, Blue Cross, The Dogs Trust, and Innovate Communities Dublin.

Before that, she spent 23 years at Business in the Community NI as a senior manager heading up their Workplace and Community Investment Programmes. This involved her working with some of Ireland’s leading companies, including - PwC, Allstate, Asda, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Henderson Group, Ulster Bank, Danske Bank, Translink, ABP Foods, Citi Group - supporting senior business leaders adopt best practice approaches to Staff Wellbeing, Diversity & Inclusion, Social Inclusion and Community Engagement. You can contact Denise on 086 0855836 or email

Mary Connors Aldridge, a woman with blonde hair wearing a scarf and headband.

Mary Connors Aldridge holds an BA in Social Care and received a Professional Diploma in Leadership and Management from University College Dublin. She is an experienced youth and community practitioner and dedicated Traveller Activist and holds the position of the Assistant National Co Ordinator of the National Traveller Partnership, a cohort of fourteen local county organisations and four National Traveller lead and Traveller specific organisations in Ireland. 

These organisations aim to promote Traveller culture and pride in the wider community and address the stark levels of disadvantage, inequality and discrimination faced by Travellers living in Ireland on a daily basis. Coming from the Traveller community herself, Mary believes it is fundamentally important that Travellers are empowered to take the lead on raising and addressing the key issues that affect their lives, in partnership with ally supporters and organisations. 


Eoghan Creegan, a man with short hair

Eoghan Cregan is a Housing Officer with Co-Operative Housing Ireland, one of Ireland’s ‘Big Six’ affordable housing bodies (AHB) which currently provides over 4,000 socially affordable homes to low-income households. Prior to this, Eoghan graduated from Technological University Dublin with an MSc in Sustainable Development, with his dissertation topic focusing heavily on community development and engagement.  

His current role with CHI is complex and varied, with day-to-day responsibilities including rent arrears management, anti-social behaviour monitoring , allocations & lettings and estate management. The pinnacle of his work centres around one thing, providing forever-homes to individuals and families – tackling the housing crisis one unit at a time. 

Joanne Dolan, a woman with long, dark hair and a white top

Joanne Dolan, PhD, is Co-Founder of Teen-Turn, an award-winning charity that promotes third level progression in STEM to teen girls from underserved and underrepresented communities. Teen-Turn delivers free, multi-year support mechanisms ranging from afterschool activities, tutoring, and work experience to peer mentoring, career development, and professional network opportunities. She has over twenty years' experience in quantitative analysis, investment and operations management, including senior roles overseeing large teams in multinational business and state body research environments. 


Aoife  Duff

Aoife Duff is Programme Coordinator at For Purpose. Aoife first became interested in the non-profit sector through volunteering with Cross Care. She then went on to study international development and French at Maynooth University where she became a passionate advocate for human rights and climate justice. She joined the For Purpose Graduate Programme in August 2022 and has since been promoted. This role involves collaborating with employers to recruit graduate talent, working on all elements of the recruitment process, and liaising with students and universities. She has become a champion for early career professionals in the non-profit sector.

Amy Ennis

Amy Ennis is Recruitment Coordinator at 2into3. Amy first began her career in the nonprofit sector working on European Erasmus + projects in Sicily. Upon returning to Ireland, Amy joined 2into3 in the Recruitment practice as a For Purpose graduate at the beginning of 2022 and quickly soared in her role. Amy feels passionately about the voice of young professionals in the sector and holds another position with the Irish Global Health Network as their National Student Coordinator.

In this role, Amy noticed the large gap of a space for young professionals at their annual conference and in turn introduced the first young professional lead Global Health pre-conference to the organisation in October last year. Amy also runs the IGHN young professional podcast, which interviews amazing young change makers who at the earlier part of their career.


Niamh Fennel

Niamh Fennell is Youth Voice and Engagement Officer at Jigsaw. Niamh has extensive experience both working  and volunteering across a number of sectors and with some of Ireland's leading non-profit organisations. She has given over 6 years to Jigsaw and the cause of Youth Mental Health in Ireland. At the age of 16, she became a Jigsaw Youth Advocate in her local Jigsaw service. After a number of years volunteering and sharing her voice locally, in 2020 she moved into a national volunteering role as the Youth Participation Advocate in Jigsaw’s national office. She worked closely with the youth participation team during this time on their evolved and rights-based approach to hearing the voice of young people within Jigsaw.

She has a Bachelor's Degree in Social Science in Community and Youth work and has worked with a number of locally-based youth services. She now is working directly with Jigsaw in a graduate post as a Youth Voice and Engagement Officer. She is hugely passionate about young people and mental health and strives to see real change in the area of youth mental health in Ireland and globally. Niamh will be going to further her studies at Masters level by studying social work in September 2023. 

Liam Herrick

Liam Herrick was appointed to Executive Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) in November 2016.  Prior to his appointment, he worked as Advisor to President Michael D. Higgins for almost three years. Liam was Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) between 2007 and 2014. He has also worked as the first head of legislation and policy at the former Irish Human Rights Commission and with the Law Reform Commission and the Department of Foreign Affairs. He is a former member of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC), a former Board member of the Children’s Rights Alliance and the Minister for Justice and Equality’s Strategic Review Group on Penal Policy (2012-2014). Liam graduated from University College Cork with a BCL and LLM and from University College Dublin with a Diploma in Human Rights Law. 

Laura Gibbons, a woman with medium-length hair, a fringe, and glasses.

Laura Gibbons joined Dóchas in 2022 as project manager of Worldview, a public engagement research project focused on tracking attitudes to overseas development aid within Ireland. Laura has over 10 years experience working in international development in both communications and programmes roles. Prior to Dóchas, Laura has worked with the Irish League of Credit Union’s International Development Foundation, Irish Aid and with UNICEF in New Zealand, Fiji and Australia. Laura holds an MA in Communication for Development from Malmö University (Sweden) and an MA in Public Relations from the Technological University Dublin (Ireland). 

Monnine Griffiths

Moninne Griffith is CEO of BeLonG To Youth Services. Moninne is a passionate social activist with over 20 years’ experience in the fields of advocacy, law and social justice. Today, she leads Belong to, LGBTQ+ Youth Ireland, Ireland’s national organisation for LGBT+ young people. As CEO, she is dedicated to supporting and empowering LGBTQ+ youth, and achieving a world where they are equal, safe and valued in the diversity of their identities and experiences. After spending 8 years as Director of Marriage Equality, a single-issue organisation working for, and historically achieving, equality for same-sex couples in Ireland, Moninne is acutely aware of the needs and challenges of the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland today. 

Sean healy

Seán Healy is CEO of Social Justice Ireland. For more than 40 years he has been active on issues of socio-economic policy in Ireland. Previously he worked for more than 10 years on issues of justice and development in Africa. He holds a PhD in sociology.

Seán has worked on many government task forces and has been a member of the Community and Voluntary Pillar since its inception in 1996.

Seán has been a member of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) since 1997. He has done work with, among others, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee, the Council of Europe and the OECD as well as the UN on a wide range of policy issues.

Together with Brigid Reynolds, Seán has written or edited forty-three books on public policy as well as three books on spirituality for social engagement. Their work has been published in a wide range of other books and journals.

Vincent Keenan

Vincent Keenan has served on the board of The Wheel since 2014. Prior to being elected Chairperson in July 2021 he has been vice Chairperson and has served on several subcommittees of the board. Vincent was appointed Chief Executive of North & East Housing Association in 2014, he has some 30 years’ experience in housing provision and services, homelessness, social and community development. Prior to his current role Vincent has held positions in Co-operative Housing Ireland and Focus Ireland.

Cherif Labreche, a man wearing a jacket and tie with a pin on the lapel.

Cherif Labreche currently serves as CEO of New Communities Partnership and a member of The Wheel's Board of Directors. He has over two decades of board and management committee experience including as founder of the Africa Centre. In his work in New Communities Partnership, he represents and empowers new communities in Ireland, as they strive to overcome the obstacles and difficulties that arise for people building a new life in Ireland. Cherif has also established the Ethnic Media Development Project a social enterprise programme supported by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland where the focus is to provide EMLOs with the media and Intercultural communication skills to take a lead role in addressing inequalities that they experience. He holds a BA in Journalism and MPhil in International Peace Studies. 

Sorley McCaughley, a man in a white top

Sorley McCaughey is Director of McCaughey Public Affairs Consulting, helping organisations achieve greater impact through better strategy and smarter communications. He is best known for his work in pioneering and leading a successful tax justice campaign over the last decade. As Head of Advocacy and Policy at Christian Aid, he also led the organisations work on climate change, and before leaving the organisation in 2021, he moved the organisation to a new area of focus - business and human rights. Most recently he spearheaded a global campaign on wealth taxation as Head of Strategy and Advocacy at the Human Act Foundation. He spent between 2002 and 2008 working in east and southern Africa for the UNDP. 

Niamh McDonald

Niamh McDonald is Coordinator of the Hope and Courage Collective.  She is a grassroots community organiser and campaigner with over 15 years experience working on local and national campaigns, including housing, the right to the city, anti racism and economic justice through the lens of class and gender. She was chair of Dublin Bay North Repeal (DBN), one of the largest grassroots repeal groups in the country at its height having over 300 active members.  Niamh and fellow DBN members developed a research group documenting the strategies and tactics of the DBN campaign and experiences of campaigners. DBN Repeal partnered with Maynooth University Geography Dept publishing a number of papers and a chapter in the book ‘After Repeal’. Niamh completed her BA in Applied Social Studies in Maynooth University and has a Higher National Diploma and Media and Journalism from Rathmines College. Niamh is an active member of the campaigning group SPARK (single parents acting for the rights of their kids).


David McDonnell is CEO of Naomh Breandáin Credit Union. He has worked for over 20 years with the credit union which his based in Loughrea, Co. Galway. David works alongside the volunteer board of directors and staff to deliver their vision that "Together, Building a Tomorrow for our Community". This vision is underpinned by a strong culture of defined values and Behaviours. David advocates that communities should focus on what is strong, not what is wrong, encouraging communities to discover, connect and mobilize its greatest assets. 


Kara McGann, a woman with medium-length blonde hair, wearing a black top and necklace.

Dr Kara McGann is Head of Social Policy at Ibec, Ireland’s largest business representative body. She supports employers with strategic advice on labour market, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and wellbeing policy and practice. She engages with national and European stakeholders to lobby on the broad area of social policy from gender pay gap reporting and human rights to labour market activation and immigration, and she represents business in various fora.

She is Chair of the Joint Equality Council at ESB; a Board Member of the Governing Authority of DCU, a member of the External Group of Experts of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) and a member of the Labour Market Advisory Council. Prior to joining Ibec in 2008, Kara held roles in industry as a Career Development Manager, Organisational Psychologist and lectured at undergraduate, postgraduate and executive level.

Dermot McGilloway, a man with short hair in a yellow rainjacket

Dermot McGilloway has been National Retail Development Manager for Society of St Vincent De Paul since 2015. Dermot first joined SVP as a volunteer in 1999 to work with rough sleepers in North Inner - City Dublin, an unforgettable experience that has had a profound impact on him personally and professionally. SVP now runs 230 community shops and 8 Collection & Redistribution Centers (OFCs) across the island of Ireland. 

Dermot is on the steering Committee on Charity Retail Ireland, is a Trustee for SVP England and Wales and Chair of the SVP International Twinning Committee (England & Wales). 


Pauline McKeown is Chief Executive of Coolmine Therapeutic Community. Coolmine is a national drug and alcohol treatment centre providing evidence-based community and residential services to men, women and their families affected by addiction. Coolmine was developed as a response to provide support to individuals and their families, affected by the proliferation of drug use and associated problems in Dublin in the early 1970s. Today, Coolmine provides services in the Dublin, Mid West and South West regions to marginalised and vulnerable members of Irish society.  Pauline has over 25 years’ experience of working in social care settings, namely homeless and alcohol & drug treatment/rehabilitation services both in the UK and Ireland. Since joining Coolmine in June 2004 she has held several management positions during significant periods of organisational change.  Pauline is a graduate of both Manchester University and Trinity College Dublin having completed early education in Ballymena, Co. Antrim. Pauline is currently a member of the Department of Health’s National Oversight Committee for the current National Drug and Alcohol strategy, Chair of the National Voluntary Drug and Alcohol Sector (NVDAS) steering committee, board member of the European Federation of Therapeutic Communities (EFTC) and Simon Communities Ireland (SCI). 

Kerry McLaverty, a woman with medium-length blonde hair wearing a light-coloured top

Kerry McLaverty currently serves as CEO of LauraLynn Children’s Hospice and as a member of The Wheel's Board of Directors. Kerry is a highly experienced healthcare professional with over 15 years’ experience working in the healthcare, non-profit and voluntary sectors. She is a long-standing member of the LauraLynn team, having been initially recruited to the Physiotherapy Department in 2012. Since then, Kerry has held the positions of Clinical Services Manager and Head of Operations before stepping into the role of CEO in 2020. 

Kerry was elected to the Board of Directors of The Wheel in June 2022 and also sits on the Council of Members of the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care. She has previously held roles as Honorary Editor of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists and as Chair of the Physiotherapists in Intellectual Disability Clinical Interest Group.  

Kerry completed her MBA at UCD Smurfit Business School in 2017 and is currently undertaking a Diploma in Corporate Governance as well as a Professional Certificate in Charity Law, Trusteeship and Governance. 

Fr Peter McVerry, a man with grey hair wearing a collared shirt

Fr Peter McVerry grew up in Newry, Co. Down and was educated at the Abbey Christian Brothers’ Grammar School in Newry and at the Jesuit school at Clongowes Wood College in Co. Kildare. In 1962, he entered the Jesuit Order and was ordained in 1975. Peter has worked in Dublin’s north inner city since 1974, where he came into contact with young people who were sleeping on the streets because of their home situation. In 1979 he opened a hostel for homeless boys aged 12-16, this subsequently became his life-time work. In 2020, the charity supported 7,800 individuals experiencing homelessness. As a social activist, Peter is a strong advocate for those who have no voice in society. He has written widely on issues relating to young homeless people such as accommodation, drugs, juvenile justice, the Gardaí, prisons and education. 

Gavin Murphy, a man with short hair wearing a dark top and suit jacket.

Gavin Murphy began his career with Foróige, and the nonprofit sector, as a For Purpose Graduate in January of 2022, having previously held a variety of managerial positions in the hospitality industry congruent to his academic studies. Gavin's initial role with Foróige involved coordination of Foróige's Leadership for Life Programme. A programme enabling young people aged 15-18 to develop the skills, qualities, confidence and action plans to become inspiring young community leaders. In November 2022 Gavin progressed into the role of Strategic Plan development officer, and began working on the development of the organisation's strategic direction and growth over the next 5 years.  

Minister Joe O'Brien Summit

Joe O'Brien TD is Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development with special responsibility for Community Development and Charities. He previously held a seat on Fingal County Council before being elected as a TD to represent Dublin Fingal in 2019. He was subsequently re-elected to that position in February 2020 before being appointed to his current role. Before entering politics, Minister O' Brien worked with young people at risk and worked for more than a decade at Crosscare in the area of migrant rights. For three years before entering the Dáil he worked for the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

Denis O'Connor

Dennis O’Connor is the CEO of 2into3. He supports 2into3’s Heads of Practice provide talent management, advisory and funding services along with insights that build the capacity of clients to have a transformative social impact. Dennis, a recognised expert in this field, has published papers, presented analysis and made recommendations to Government on the nonprofit sector and its diverse sub-sectors & the Public sector.
Dennis has worked in academia, in the international food sector, as a Technology Entrepreneur and as a Management Consultant before founding 2into3 in 2006. He has served on a number of nonprofit boards and is the current Chairperson of Avoca Hockey Club CLG Dennis holds a B.Comm and M.B.S from University College Cork and an AMP from Insead. He is a member of the Institute of Management Consultants and Advisers. He sits on the National Advisory Group developing a National Philanthropy Policy.

You can contact Dennis: or 086 816 2278.

Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí

Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí is the CEO of Carmichael. He has extensive experience as a board chair and a board member in a number of charities and with working with boards and providing governance support and advice. He is a member of the Charity SORP Committee for the UK and Ireland. He is actively involved in the Good Governance Awards, Mentoring and the Board Chairs Network initiatives led by Carmichael. Previously, he worked as a management consultant for over 25 years with Prospectus Consultants and Accenture working with a range of organisations in the public, healthcare and nonprofit sectors on strategy and corporate governance. He is also a former civil servant having worked in the Departments of Finance and Social Welfare. 


Brian O’Neill is Head of Communications, Sponsorship and Sustainability at Aviva Ireland joining the business in 2018. Prior to joining Aviva Brian was responsible for Corporate Responsibility in his roles in Friends First and Prudential International.  Brian set up and is responsible for Aviva’s Sustainability Programme in Ireland with the aim of delivering its Net Zero Climate Commitments by 2040 and its broader Sustainability agenda including its DE&I, Social, Philanthropy and Community goals and targeted impacts.

Aviva Ireland is one of Ireland’s largest composite insurers, with almost 800,000 customers and includes Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland, Aviva Direct and Aviva General Insurance.  Aviva Group, including Ireland, was the first financial services company to sign up to Net Zero by 2040 and has been carbon neutral since 2006. Aviva’s community programme in Ireland supports a number of charitable, social and community organisations plus Deis Schools with the aim of achieving of supporting specific impacts for these organisations and their targeted communities. In 2022 Aviva won 8 Sustainability related awards

Dr Roisin O'Shea, a woman with medium-length dark hair and a dark top.

Dr Róisín O'Shea is the Chair of the Irish Professional Mediators’ Organisation CLG, a Partner in ARC Mediation, a mediation and conflict resolution trainer, legal academic, qualified barrister and International Mediation Institute Certified mediator. 

She has significant experience as a mediator completing over 550 cases since 2009 including Family, Work-place, Farm family, SME mediations, Commercial disputes, Succession disputes, Wards of Court and EPA (Enduring Power of Attorney) disputes and Personal Injury claims. 

Róisín is the Principal Investigator for The Family Mediation Project a research initiative at South East Technological University; was a Ministerial appointee on the Child Maintenance Review Group (2020-2022); and is currently carrying out research for the Judicial Council, a ‘Study of District Court Judges’ views on Sentencing & Relationship Violence’. She has published extensively on her research work over the years, most recently 6 papers in the Irish Journal of Family Law between 2019 and 2023. 

Martina Quinn, a woman with blonde hair, a black top, and dangling earrings.

Martina Quinn is the Founder and Managing Director of Alice, an award-winning public relations agency. Alice's purpose is to create change that makes Ireland and the world a better place. Since the company was established in 2015, it has devised and managed successful campaigns on gender equality, integration and anti-racism initiatives, reproductive rights, access to education and employment, climate action, and much more.

Martina currently serves as Strategic Advisor for the WorkEqual campaign on workplace gender equality, and for Trans Equality Together, a coalition working to create an Ireland where trans and non-binary people are equal, safe and valued.

In a voluntary capacity, she is the Chairperson of the Board of the Public Relations Consultants Association, and also sits on the Board of Women's Aid.

Pat Rabitte

Pat Rabbitte has served as a public representative for 30 years. He is a former Irish Labour Party politician who served as Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources from 2011 to 2014, Leader of the Labour Party from 2002 to 2007 and Minister for State for Commerce, Science and Technology from 1994 to 1997. As a member of the Cabinet from 2011 to 2014 serving as Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources he held responsibility for key State, commercial and utility companies and major employers including the ESB, Eirgrid, Bord Gais and Bord na Mona. As Minister for State at the Department of Enterprise and Employment with responsibility for Commerce, Science and Technology during his tenure as a junior Minister, he was involved in enacting legislation which extended the role of the credit union movement.  Mr. Rabbitte was Chairperson of the Cabinet Sub Committee on the Misuse of Drugs which established the National Drugs Strategy in 1997.  In 1993 he was the Chairperson of Dublin County Council. He is currently a member of the Council of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).  Mr. Rabbitte was appointed Chairperson of Tusla by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone. He tenure commenced on 1 January 2019.

Bridget Reynolds

Brigid Reynolds is Company Secretary of Social Justice Ireland. She spent most of the 1970s working on issues of education, justice and development in Africa with a special focus on women’s projects. Since 1982 she has been active on social, economic and public participation policy issues in Ireland.

Brigid has been a member of the Community and Voluntary Pillar since its inception in 1996. She represented the Pillar in many arenas. For example, she was a member of the Review Group on the National Women’s Strategy that engaged with Government in preparing that Strategy and in subsequently monitoring its implementation.  She was also a member of the National Economic and Social Forum and was instrumental in developing SJI’s post-graduate degree programme.  

Together with Seán Healy, Brigid has written or edited forty-three books on public policy as well as three books on spirituality for social engagement. Their work has been published in a wide range of other books and journals.

Deabhaile Slane

Dearbháile Slane is a Project Specialist at CES. She has has experience of working in family and childcare services in both the statutory and voluntary sectors in Northern Ireland. Her work at CES has involved research and evaluation, partnership and collaboration. She has co-designed and facilitated sessions with community and voluntary sector organisations in Northern Ireland to support training, evaluation, networking and learning.  She is currently leading on CES’s work with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council to co-design an approach which will support their evaluation practices. Dearbháile is a former social worker, and holds a Master’s degree in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice from Queen’s University, Belfast.  


Sinéad Smith, a woman with light, medium-length hair wearing a dark top

Sinéad Smith is Head of Responsible Business at A&LGoodbody joining the firm in 2012. Sinead has a wealth of experience in delivering corporate responsibility programmes effectively and is responsible for the management and implementation of A&L Goodbody's Responsible Business strategy. ALG is recognised as a leading business in the area of Corporate Responsibility and are the first law firm to achieve the Business Working Mark accreditation three times (2016, 2019 and 2023). They have also achieved many accolades for their responsible business practices including most recently the Chambers European award for their pro bono practice and Chambers Ireland Sustainable Business Impact Awards for their partnership with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. 


Kenneth Stanley

Ken Stanley is Senior Project Specialist at CES. He leads on CES’s work with the HSE to build and implement change to improve community health services. As an experienced facilitator, Ken has extensive experience of supporting stakeholder relationships, collaborative working and innovation in the context of change in public service settings. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Ken worked with the Community Testing and Vaccination Programmes where he supported the initial set-up of these services while leading HSE teams to design, develop and implement a wide range of initiatives to improve accessibility, efficiency and effectiveness of these essential services.  Ken’s expertise also includes programme and change management, operational and systems improvement and innovation. Before joining CES, Ken worked in clinical research and development in the private sector for over twenty years. 

Amy Woods, a woman with mid-length brown hair wearing a white top and glasses.

Amy Woods is the Communications and Advocacy Manager at Volunteer Ireland, the national development organisation for volunteering in Ireland. Working at Volunteer Ireland for just under eight years, Amy has extensive experience communicating a variety of messages about volunteering to a range of audiences. Acting as spokesperson for the organisation, Amy regularly appears on radio and in print media discussing the value and impact of volunteering in our communities. Amy has presented at Ireland’s National Volunteer Management Conference and often delivers communications and advocacy training to the network of Volunteer Centres. Amy is also a spokesperson and steering group member of the We Act campaign.

Zsé Varga, a woman with short, platinum-blonde hair, glasses, and a dark-coloured top.

Zsé Varga works in Volunteer Ireland as Volunteering Development Programme Manager. Her role involves the programme development and delivery of actions 1, 13, 25, 27 and 53 of the National Volunteering Strategy. Most of these actions focus on developing a fresh ground where flexible and diverse volunteering can grow; where everyone can find a way to get involved in volunteering and feel safe and rewarded doing so. 

Zsé brings extensive experience in facilitating diverse networks and in managing volunteers. She has a background in volunteer management training and consultancy, which she practiced in Ireland, her native Hungary, and many other countries. Most recently she spoke at the World Volunteer Conference 2022 in Abu Dhabi where her topic was “Enabling Cohesion and Embracing Diversity through Volunteering”. She is also competent in governance matters which she developed through working with Volunteer Centres and internally in Volunteer Ireland. 

Zsé is passionate about volunteering and sustainable volunteer leadership. She is a proud Blood Bikes East volunteer and also regularly gets involved in microvolunteering in her local area in North County Dublin. 

Our Partners