Summit 2024 Programme

A Banner advertising the programme for The Wheel's Summit 2024 in Croke Park on 29 May

We are living at a time of increasing polarisation and social isolation. The importance of a thriving community has never been clearer – but how can we harness the experience and expertise of charities, community organisations and social enterprises to drive changes they know are necessary? 

At Summit 2024, The Wheel will be asking these questions and more as we reflect on the drivers of social change, the role of the sector in making that change, and what lessons we can take from our successes to address present and future challenges. 

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 Summit 2024 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 various panel discussions and member-led 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 2024 and beyond. 

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  Programme Speakers


PROGRAMME

Plenary: 9.30 am - 11.15 am

Our Chairperson will outline the programme for Summit 2024 and introduce our keynote speaker. 

Minister Joe O'Brien will deliver the opening address.

Larry O’Connell will speak to “Learning from the Past” – a review of social and economic change over the past 50 years and the role of the community and voluntary sector in making that change.

 

 

Derek Walker will speak to “Looking to the Future” and the work of the Commission for Future Generations in Wales, the role that the sector plays in making change, and the importance of stakeholder engagement.

Noeline Blackwell will speak to “the role of the sector in social and economic change, past and future”, drawing on her extensive experience and expertise and highlighting how all sector stakeholders can make a positive difference.

A panel discussion and Q&A with: 

  • Derek Walker, Commision for Future Generations (Wales)
  • Noeline Blackwell, Human rights Lawyer and former CEO of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre
  • Larry O’Connell, National Economic and Social Council (NESC)

A few words from Dennis Connor, CEO of 2into3 which has been the Lead Sponsor of The Wheel's Summit since 2022. 


11.30 am - Noon: Coffee Break & EXPO

Network with your peers and meet over 40 exhibitors and service providers. 


Parallel Sessions: Noon - 1.15 pm

The first of two member-led parallel sessions. Delegates can attend any one of the following breakout sessions. 

Hosted by Boardmatch & the HX Consultancy

This session examines recent trends of nonprofit boards recruiting specifically for a professional fundraising skillset.  Against this context, it explores the importance of challenging traditional associations of boards with fundraising and presents a new strategic lens for the future.  

Leveraging the power of a board-level fundraiser lies in their role in educating peers to collectively champion income generation from the top down instead of from the bottom up.  And by helping to put the necessary strategies and structures in place, they can remove barriers and dismantle silos.  This will allow fundraising - and fundraisers - to flourish. 

Taking this strategic view needs to challenge existing assumptions where the biggest impact a board member can make on income is through their wallet and network.  And requires all sides to tease out language barriers that can often stand in the way of successful matches with relevant cross-sectoral experience. 

Facilitators:

  • Hannah Coleman, Boardmatch Ireland
  • Jane Trenaman, The HX Consultancy
  • Criona Cullen, Rehab Group
  • Živa Newman, CRC
     

Hosted by the Sanctuary Runners

Ireland’s diversity has increased, most visibly in urban areas, but not confined to these areas. The beneficial impact of this diversity is recognised but how its positive contribution to local communities is delivered and this story told has been less obvious in policy.  

This session will look at the importance of local networks that work ‘with’ new communities in a partnership model and on the need to have informal spaces for connections and networking, outlining the Sanctuary Runners model and highlighting the methods that have worked to create vibrant connected groups that benefit all members of the community.  

Attendees will gain insight on how to work with diverse groups, the benefits that can accrue to both new and existing communities and the impacts this type of work can deliver, as well as hearing directly from members and volunteers for lived insights and experience.  

Facilitators:

  • Jennifer O’Brien, Sanctuary Runners
  • Ciara McCluskey, Sanctuary Runners
  • Sylvester Takaza, Sanctuary Runners 

Hosted by Volunteer Ireland

There is an ongoing volunteer recruitment struggle in Ireland which means organisations are spending more time in this area and less on their core service delivery. National and international trends indicate a discrepancy between the organisations’ ask and the expectations of potential volunteers. Accepting and embracing the shifting paradigm of volunteering can boost volunteer involvement in the organisation, bring the volunteer programme into the 21st century and help achieve the organisations’ goals.  

  • But how do we navigate this transformation? 
  • How can we implement changes while ensuring safety for all involved? 
  • What are the biggest transitions we need to make and what stays the same?  
  • How do we diversify our roles and diversify our volunteers while still achieving our goals? 

This session aims to answer questions like these and more.  

Facilitator:

Zsé Varga, Volunteer Ireland 

 


Hosted by Arthur Cox

Join this interactive discussion to find out about the pro bono legal services available to charities, social enterprises marginalised and vulnerable people.  This session will outline the pro bono resources available to charities ranging from advice and representation to research and policy support. Additionally, charity stakeholders such as Carmichael will join the conversation to discuss their experience using pro bono services and how it has helped.  

Facilitators:

  • Carolann Minnock, Arthur Cox 
  • Assumpta O'Connell, McCann FitzGerald
  • Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí, Carmichael 
  • Eilis Barry, FLAC (Free Legal  Advice Centres)

Hosted by My Legacy

Charities, large and small, are increasingly benefitting from Gifts in Wills. This is helped by changing demographics and the largest wealth transfer in history. This session will help demystify why having a legacy programme is so essential and will give you the confidence to discuss this with your Trustees and colleagues. We will explore how every charity can benefit and can engage their supporters. Even simple actions lead to a sustainable pipeline of income into the future.  

Almost everyone can include a legacy gift in their will. This makes it very attractive in the context of the new National Philanthropy Policy which we will also discuss. The implementation of this strategy along with a rising tide of public interest in this very personal way of giving will help make legacy giving the norm in Ireland. 

Facilitators:

  • Niall O’Sullivan, Campaign Solutions
  • Ellie O’Donnell, My Legacy
  • Marty O’Prey, BelongTo
     

Hosted by the Déanta Studio

This session will be hosted by the lead partner behind the Immersion: Experience Climate Action initiative, Déanta Studio, and will cover the aims and outcomes as well as the long-term ambition of the project.  

About Immersion 

Immersion aims to inform the creative community with cutting-edge climate insights to inspire compelling work that offers unique perspectives on the climate and nature crises. In collaboration with, Belfast City Council and Ardán , Déanta have developed a two-year Climate Immersion fellowship programme that will see successful candidates engaged in a series of activities over 2024 and 2025 including:  

Workshops with climate and biodiversity experts and immersive storytelling experts  

  • Engagement with community groups  
  • Working retreats   
  • Support to develop their concepts further 
     

Funded by the second iteration of Creative Ireland’s Creative Climate Action Fund, the fellowship will accelerate concepts in an informed way; opening new avenues of creative expression around these important topics.   

Through a series of activities including workshops with community groups and climate experts, they will gain meaningful insight into how climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss is perceived by the public and what challenges exist.  

Facilitators:

Gabriel Mullarkey, Déanta Studio


Lunch 1.15 pm - 2.30 pm 

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


Parallel Sessions: 2.30 pm - 3.40 pm

Delegates can attend any one of the following member-led parallel sessions.

Hosted by 2into3

It is necessary for nonprofit organisations to have a sustainable funding model. Looking back, many nonprofits relied too heavily on small streams of fundraised income. Diversifying your funding model to ensure it is strategic, sustainable and diverse will ensure the sustainability of your nonprofit organisation.  

In this session, 2into3's funding team will share: 

  1. Looking back: What were the typical funding barriers in the past? How have we overcame them?  What can we learn from previous funding strategies? 
  2. Looking forward: How can we diversify our funding model? What new ideas do we need to consider? 

Facilitators:

  • Rob Foley, 2into3
  • Patricia Keenan, 2into3
  • Denise Cranston, 2into3
  • Michael Smyth, COPE Galway

Hosted by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties 

This panel will bring together leading experts and sector representatives to kick off a discussion on what a “model” system of regulation for the community and voluntary sector in Ireland would look like. In the past 20 years there has been a growth in both the amount and complexity of the regulatory burden on the operations of the community and voluntary sector. This regulation has often developed in a “siloed” manner with seemingly little consideration being given to the impact that overlapping and complex regulatory systems have on organisations, many of whom operate with low capacity. The session will begin a process of “co-designing” a vision for a better integrated and more “user-friendly” system of regulation for the sector which should reduce burden for hard pressed organisations while retaining critical controls on fiduciary responsibility and governance. Further “co-designing” sessions will be carried out later in the year to develop a set of asks which will be used for the forthcoming general election. 

Facilitators: 

  • Ronan Kennedy, Irish Council for Civil Liberties
  • Alice Drury, Human Rights Law Centre
  • Eszter Hartay, European Centre for Not-For-Profit Law
  • Anna Quigley, Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign

 

Hosted by the Family Resource Centre National Forum

This session will facilitate attendees to hear a brief overview of the 25-year history of the National FRC Programme from its inception in the late nineties up to the current day. This will cover how an initially small, grassroots network of community-led organisations, influenced government to create a national programme approach and how the values of autonomy and independence have been maintained through periods of significant growth and challenge. Participants will then be asked to become co-participants and agents of change, working in an interactive workshop format to influence the latest iteration of a continuous cycle of improvement of the programme. Action research, complexity theory, and context-specific implementation methods will be used with participants to garner their insights for programme improvement. In particular, participants will be asked to co-create solutions to the dilemmas communities may experience when top-down approaches informed by concepts such as professionalisation, interventionism, specialisation, standardisation, and centralisation are imposed upon them; and when organisational differentiations evolve in both the State and non-State providers that focus on population cohort worked with (generally by age or issue); need profile addressed (low to complex/acute) and geographical area covered (town/county/region with little contiguity). If they wish, participants, now co-participants, can choose to leave as members of an FRC community of practice.   

Facilitator: 

Ellen Duggan, Family Resource Centre National Forum

Hosted by the We Act Campaign

This engaging session will delve into recent research by the We Act campaign on public perception around the charities and community groups. We’ll discuss practical ways to use this information in your own organisation, to speak to your clients, supporters and wider communities. Our insightful and esteemed panel will also explore how they've seen communications evolve in recent years, what we can learn from the past, and how to remain agile into the future.   

Facilitators:

  • Janis Morrissey, Irish Heart Foundation
  • Clodagh Hogan, Jack and Jill Children's Foundation
  • Allen Dunne, Disability Federation of Ireland
  • Claire McGowran, We Act
  • Colette Bennett, The Wheel   

Hosted by the Department of Rural and Community Development 

Social enterprises are businesses whose core objective is to achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact. The social enterprise sector in Ireland comprises more than 4,300 organisations, generates income of €2.34 billion and provides jobs for 3.7% of the Irish workforce. The first National Social Enterprise Policy (2019-2023) was published in 2019. In December 2023, the Department of Rural and Community Development launched a public consultation for the second national social enterprise policy. In this session, Robert Nicholson, Principal Officer in DRCD with Responsibility for Social Enterprise will provide an update on the second National Social Enterprise Policy, with a focus on the five thematic objectives addressed. 

Facilitator

Robert Nicholson, Department of Rural and Community Development 

Hosted by NALA

In Ireland, over 500,000 adults have unmet needs in reading, understanding information and using everyday maths. This means they may find it difficult to fill in a form, read and understand instructions on medicines, divide or add up a bill. All organisations have a part to play in addressing this inequality. 

In this session, a NALA literacy ambassador will talk about the impact of literacy on daily life and why it is important that we have a literacy-friendly community and voluntary sector. We will present findings from a piece of research recently conducted by NALA and The Wheel on literacy, numeracy and digital literacy needs within the community and voluntary sector. We will give you an overview of literacy in Ireland including government policy, and funding and training opportunities. 

Finally, you will learn about some practical actions that you can take back to your organisation, to be more literacy-friendly for your staff, volunteers and service users. 

Please join us to co-create a literacy-friendly community and voluntary sector. 

Facilitators:

  • Derv Ryan, NALA
  • Michael Duffy, NALA
  • Aoife Crawford, NALA
  • Sinéad Vaughan, The Wheel

Plenary: 3.40 pm - 4.50 pm

In the final plenary, we will reflect on the lessons and insights from the various sessions.

  • A summary of the key insights from our member-led sessions, Emily Bourke, MC 

     

Reception 4.50 pm - 6.30 pm

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

 


SPEAKERS

Summit 2024 will feature contributions from dozens of top speakers from Ireland and beyond. 

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKERS

Minister Joe O'Brien Summit

Joe O'Brien TD

Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development & Charities 

Currently Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development with special responsibility for Community Development and Charities since July 2020, Joe O'Brien 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, he 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.

A black and white headshot of Sinead O'Carroll

Sinéad O'Carroll 

Editor, The Journal

Sinéad O'Carroll is a journalist, broadcaster and Editor of The Journal, which has a dedicated FactCheck unit dealing with the rise of mis- and disinformation. She has also presented a number of national television and radio shows and is a regular contributor to news, current affairs and sports programmes.

She will give her insights into how news is currently consumed, the hot-button topics which attract bad information narratives and what that rise of misinformation could mean for society, including NGOs

PLENARY SPEAKERS

Black and white headshot of Noeline Blackwell

Having stepped down as CEO of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre in 2023, Human Rights Lawyer Noeline Blackwell is currently involved in a variety of activities including Online Safety Co-ordinator with the Children’s Rights Alliance, independent research and membership of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Before her role with DRCC, Noeline was Director of FLAC, the Free Legal Advice Centres. Prior to that, she was a solicitor in general practice. Noeline has been a member of a number of statutory and NGO boards, and she currently chairs the Independent Patient Safety Council and the Child Law Project.  

A black and white headshot of Dr Larry O'Connell

Dr Larry O’Connell leads an inter-disciplinary team in Ireland’s NESC.  Recent work has focused on an assessment of the strengths and vulnerabilities of the Irish Economy; Ireland’s Wellbeing Framework; Just Transition in Agriculture & Land-Use; Affordable and Sustainable Housing; Better Work and Natural Capital Accounting.    Prior to becoming Director in 2019, Larry worked as senior Economist in NESC on range of policy issues, including climate change, housing and higher education funding. During his earlier career he worked in Teagasc (Ireland’s Agriculture and Food Development Authority), the higher education sector and in Louis Dreyfus (London).  He has a degree in Agriculture Economics, a master's in business and a PhD which focused on the internationalisation of Irish businesses. 

A black and white headshot of Derek Walker

Derek Walker is the second ever Future Generations Commissioner, having started the role in March 2023, when he called for ‘urgent and transformational change’ in Wales. Previously he was chief executive of Cwmpas, the UK’s largest co-operative development agency. He spent 12 years as CEO, supporting the creation of jobs and strengthening of communities, and changed the organisation’s focus to development that meets the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future ones. He began his career in London and Brussels as policy officer for London Councils, and has worked as Head of External Affairs at the Big Lottery Fund (Wales), and Head of Policy and Campaigns at the Wales TUC. He was also the first employee of Stonewall Cymru. Derek lives in Cardiff with his partner Mike and two grown-up children, and has a master's degree in international journalism from Cardiff University.

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.

Ivan Cooper - CEO of The Wheel

Ivan Cooper is CEO of The Wheel. 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 regulation, funding, active-citizenship, quality standards, and raising awareness of the role and significance of the sector. His experience working in the private, public, and community and voluntary sectors includes diverse roles from managing finance, ensuring good governance, developing funding, business lines, and strategy, directing public affairs, and media engagement. 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 firm believer in lifelong learning, he has an MBA from Smurfit Business School, a Diploma in Development Studies, and a primary degree in psychology and philosophy from UCD.

Colette

Colette Bennett joined the Wheel as Director of Advocacy and Research in 2023 after 14 years working at a senior level in justice advocacy and organisational development. She has a Masters in Social Justice and Public Policy and is a qualified solicitor with a professional certificate from the Law Society of Ireland, as well as a member of the Royal Irish Academy Social Sciences Committee. She has been a guest lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, DCU, ATU and SETU, and provided seminar inputs and training on a range of social policy areas including the Budget, poverty in Ireland, housing, the Global South, the SDGs and public participation. She is also a frequent contributor to TV, radio, and print media.

Black and white headshot of Dennis O'Connor

Dennis O’Connor is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 2into3, where their mission is to build the capacity of organisations to have a transformative social impact. Since 2006, Dennis and his team have worked with over 480 clients, providing Talent Management, Advisory and Funding services to a range of organisations. Dennis has held a number of Senior Management and Director positions, both within the private and nonprofit sector. Dennis holds a B.Comm and M.B.S. from University College Cork and has completed the Advanced Management Programme (AMP) at Insead. Dennis has also served on a number of nonprofit boards and is the current Chairperson of Avoca Hockey Club. 

Black and white headshot of Emily Bourke

Dr Emily Bourke is The Wheel's Campaigns Manager, and has been with the organisation since 2020. Her background is a varied one, but centres around a love of clear communication, excellent research, and social impact. She has been working in the Irish charity sector since 2010, and has particular experience in nonprofit communications, advocacy, and campaigning.

PARALLEL SESSION SPEAKERS

 

A black and white headshot of Eilis Barry

Eilis Barry is a former board member and chair of FLAC. As a barrister, she specialised in employment law, anti-discrimination, and equality, was legal adviser to the Equality Authority and head of its legal section from 2000-09. She drafted Case Law Review of Mental Health in the Workplace and authored Equality How?, a guide to legal practice under the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2008 & Equal Status Acts 2000-08. She speaks on employment & equality law, co-edits ‘Equality in Diversity, the New Equality Directives’, ICEL No. 29, and edited the Employment Law Reports.

A black and white headshot of Hannah Coleman

Hannah Coleman joined the Boardmatch team in 2017 where she is the Communications & Education Manager, overseeing brand, marketing, events, board recruitment website, training programmes, and board review services. Hannah is also 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 trustee and company secretary on the Board of the Irish National Youth Ballet. Hannah advocates board volunteering, particularly for those people who might not consider themselves potential candidates. 

Black and white headshot of Denise Cranston

Denise Cranston is the Head of Partnerships Advisory Practice at 2into3. She specialises in supporting international, national, and local charities to build long-term strategic Corporate Charity Partnerships based on shared purpose. She spent 23 years at Business in the Community NI, leading their Workplace and Community Investment Programmes. She has recently supported Share Discovery Village in identifying potential corporate partners and developing a strategic proposal, and they are now ready to move towards securing their own strategic corporate partnership.

Black and white headshot of Aoife Crawford

Aoife Crawford is Research and Policy Officer with the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA). Her work involves advocating for adults with unmet literacy needs, and researching literacy matters. Before working for NALA, Aoife was in the public sector for ten years in roles relating to the Irish language, equality and governance. She holds a Masters in Public Policy and a Professional Diploma in Human Rights and Equality. 

Black and white headshot of Criona Cullen

Criona Cullen is a board member of the Rehab Group, with extensive experience in the nonprofit sector in senior fundraising positions at various charity organisations over more than 25 years. She has been Fundraising Manager, Temple St Children’s Hospital, Head of Development, National Gallery of Ireland, Head of Fundraising and Communications, Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services, and Interim Head of Fundraising, Irish Heart Foundation, in addition to working with many other charities on a consultancy basis. She has a Masters in Ethics & Corporate Responsibility.

Black and white headshot of Alice Drury

Alice Drury has tackled systemic and emerging threats to Australian democracy with the Human Rights Law Ctr since 2018. She was Legal Dir. of GetUp, and worked in areas from human rights, to income inequality, environmental justice, democratic freedoms, electoral law reform, and government accountability. She has assisted the State Solicitor’s Office of Western Australia at the High Court, and practiced public law and commercial litigation with Clayton Utz. She has worked with the Lowy Institute, holds an MA in Iranian Studies (Univ. of Tehran), and an Honours in Arts/Law (Univ. of Western Australia).

Black and white headshot of Michael Duffy

Michael Duffy is a retired wood finisher who returned to education with Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board as an adult. He is a passionate advocate for adult literacy. Michael has been featured in many media interviews and has taken part in events to raise awareness about literacy and encourage others to take up learning. Michael is a volunteer with local mental health charities and an amateur dramatics group.

Ellen Duggan

Ellen Duggan is Manager of Newbridge Family Resource Centre and vice-Chair of the Family Resource Centre National Forum. Ellen has over 20 years of experience in the community sector and previously worked as a Rehabilitation Coordinator with Kildare Leader Partnership. Ellen is currently completing a Masters in Family Support Studies at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, University of Galway.     

 

Black and white headshot of Allen Dunne

Allen Dunne is a founding member of the We Act Steering Group. He is the Deputy CEO of the Disability Federation of Ireland. Prior to joining DFI in 2001, he worked in a range of community development initiatives in rural development, training and disability. He has a BA, a MSc in Regional Resource Planning, Diploma in Leadership for Equality, Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership, and a Certificate in Professional Coaching Skills. 

 

Black and white headshot of Rob Foley

Rob Foley is the Head of Fundraising Advisory Practice at 2into3. Having pioneered the development of wealth screening services for fundraising organisations in Ireland through prospect research specialist, Prospect 23, much of his work now centres on relationship-based fundraising campaigns, wider strategy development, and board engagement. He offers a range of fundraising services, including fundraising research, strategy review and development, and campaign support. Most recently, Rob worked with Feed Cork to diversify their income stream through a tailored fundraising strategy.

Black and white headshot of Eszter Hartay

Eszter Hartay is a Hungarian lawyer and Program Director at the ECNL, leading the program to identify emerging public participation models, to empower both CSO and individual participation in policy processes at EU and national levels. Following 5 years in corporate law, she has spent the past 14 years creating an enabling legal environment for civil society, she has worked in Europe, Central Asia, the MENA, and Latin America, on CSO framework legislation and government cooperation, participation in policy-making, financial sustainability, climate justice, anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing.

Black and white headshot of Clodagh Hogan

Clodagh Hogan is Head of Communications with Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation. An award-winning marketing communications specialist, Clodagh delivers best-in-class, strategic communications and creative brand building campaigns. A UCC Law graduate, with diplomas in PR from the Fitzwilliam Institute and advertising from TUD, she has over 20 years' experience across blue chip, FMCG, and private companies, as well as semi-state agencies. At Jack and Jill, her role includes the delivery of an integrated Communications Strategy, in line with the organisation’s overarching objectives.  

Black and white headshot of Patricia Keenan

Patricia Keenan has over a decade of experience in EU and National funding in Ireland, working at a senior level in local authorities, government departments, and social enterprises before moving to consulting in 2005. She has led development of 2into3’s Grants & Economic Services team as Director, and is currently working on capital projects including a National Sports HQ, Community Sports Centre, university sports complexes, and local club facilities. Since 2014, the team have secured over €3.5 million in grants for sports clubs, NGBs, and community, arts, and heritage groups.

Black and white headshot of Ronan Kennedy

Ronan Kennedy is the Senior Democratic Freedoms Policy Officer in the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. He previously worked in the Oireachtas and as a researcher on democracy and conflict resolution in University College Dublin. His research on power-sharing in Northern Ireland has been published in the British Journal of Politics and International Relations. His current work deals with freedom of association and assembly in Ireland. 

A black and white headshot of Ciara McCluskey

Ciara McCluskey has been a Sanctuary Runner since September 2019. She is a member of both the Dublin Organising Group and the Poppintree Sanctuary Runners in North Dublin -the largest Sanctuary Runners group in the country. Ciara says that joining the Sanctuary Runners has been one of the most amazing and fulfilling things she has ever done. Over the past four and a half years, she has had the honour of welcoming hundreds of newcomers to Ireland through the organisation. Ciara’s 4 children and husband are also regular attendees at the weekly Sanctuary Runners meet-up in Poppintree.

A black and white headshot of Claire McGowran

Claire McGowran has over 15 years in print and digital media. She was the editor of One Fab Day, and has written for the Irish Times and Irish Independent. She worked on the #HomeToVote campaign and a UNICEF campaign to end child marriage. She is currently the coordinator of We Act, a national campaign to celebrate charities and community groups in Ireland.   

A black and white headshot of Carolann Minnock

Carolann Minnock is a practising solicitor with responsibility for leading the pro bono practice at Arthur Cox. She is responsible for the strategic development and co-ordination of pro bono. Carolann has extensive experience developing and managing pro bono initiatives, bringing over 10 years of international rule of law and access to justice experience to the role. Carolann advises pro bono clients on immigration law matters.

A black and white headshot of Gabriel Mullarkey

Gabriel Mullarkey co-founded Déanta Studio in 2023 to empower designers and makers while championing the principles of sustainable design, provenance, and the pivotal role of human-centered design in climate action and mitigation. A design professional since 2006, he has been a lead designer with Intel Labs Europe, working with partners such as London City, Bosch, Dublin City Council, and Croke Park. He lead a successful €1m STARTED project at University of Galway, and has been programme director for the Creative Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development pilot programme at CREW . 

Black and white headshot of Živa Newman

Živa Newman joined the CRC in 2016 where she develops and implements strategy, and leads the Fundraising Team in securing additional funding to support essential services. With over 20 years’ leadership experience in the nonprofit and private sectors, including Overseas Aid, 3rd Level Education, and Disability, she has been non-executive Director on various charitable Boards, currently serving on the Board of Alpha Ireland and as patron’s representative on the CRC Special School’s Board of Management. She has an MA in Political Science from UCD and MBSc in Business Practice from UCC.

Black and white headshot of Robert Nicholson

Robert Nicholson is Head of Unit with responsibility for Rural Strategy and Social Enterprise in the Department of Rural and Community Development. His brief includes the development of the next Social Enterprise policy for Ireland as well as progressing rural development policy under Government’s 5 year plan ‘Our Rural Future 2021 - 2025’. Robert has a MSc. in Local and Regional Development and has previously worked in both policy and operational roles in the provision of community, employment and training services.

A black and white headshot of Jennifer O Brien

Jennifer O’Brien is Sanctuary Runners' Community Development Manager. With a background in community engagement and development work, she has worked on the Rural Development Strategy in Clare County Council and the establishment of Southill Area Centre, now Southill Hub. Focused on Sanctuary Runners' values of Solidarity, Friendship, and Respect, she believes in a fairer society for all. A voluntary director of Limerick City CDP, and independent chair of Southill Regeneration Committee, she also lectures in Community Development at TU Shannon-Midwest.

Black and white headshot of Asumpta O'Connell

Assumpta O’Connell is an experienced solicitor having worked in McCann FitzGerald for almost 20 years. She currently manages McCann FitzGerald’s pro bono practice, which provides access to free legal advice for vulnerable individuals and free legal support to help strengthen small charities, nonprofits, and social enterprises. Assumpta is committed to building McCann FitzGerald’s pro bono practice and refining its pro bono strategy.

A black and white headshot of Diarmaid O'Coirrbui

Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí is CEO of Carmichael, a charity providing governance training and supports to nonprofits. He has extensive experience as both a board member and chair, and in providing governance support and advice. A member of the Charity SORP Committee for the UK & Ireland, he is actively involved in Carmichael's Good Governance Awards, Mentoring, and Board Chairs Network initiatives. He worked as a management consultant for over 25 years with Prospectus Management Consultants and Accenture, alsongside organisations in the public, healthcare, and nonprofit sectors.

Black and white headshot of Elle O'Donnell

Ellie O’Donnell has been the manager of My Legacy Since 2015. My Legacy is a membership organisation of over 90 Irish charities working together to make legacy giving the norm in Ireland. Previously, she was the National Fundraiser at the Simon Communities of Ireland, Campaign Manager for the Pennies from Heaven euro fundraising campaign as well as holding various corporate roles in marketing and strategic development.

Black and white headshot of Marty O'Prey

Marty O’Prey, leads the dynamic fundraising team at Belong To LGBTQ+ Youth Ireland. Before joining the Belong To team in 2022, he worked with charities including Cork Simon, Dogs Trust, LauraLynn, and Trocáire during his time at Ask Direct. He has campaigned for LGBTQ+ rights for over 16 years, as a grassroots activist and as political staff to the Minister of State for Equality during the 2015 Marriage Referendum. A passionate advocate for equality, diversity, and inclusion, he works across Ireland advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community.

Black and white headshot of Niall O'Sullivan

Niall O’Sullivan is the founder of Campaign Solutions, which specialises in database research for Major Gift campaigns, legacies research, legacy plan writing and case for support writing. Prior to establishing Campaign Solutions, Niall worked as a fundraising consultant and also with Community Foundation Ireland and the Trinity Foundation.

Black and white headshot of Anna Quigley

Anna Quigley has over 30 years’ experience working in community development. She has been Coordinator of Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign for over 20 years, and has significant experience engaging with government departments and state agencies addressing inequality. She has been a community representative within government structures overseeing the National Drugs Strategy, and a member of the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs. She also served as a Dublin City Councillor for the North Inner City area in 2011/2012 on behalf of the Gregory Group (named after the late Tony Gregory T.D.).

A black and white headshot of Derv Ryan

Derv Ryan is a Literacy Development and Outreach Worker with NALA. She delivers literacy awareness workshops and ambassador programmes to promote adult literacy. Derv also supports organisations in the community and voluntary sector to learn how to be more literacy friendly. Derv has worked in the sector for over ten years in the areas of workers’ rights, migrant rights and environmental issues.  

Black and white headshot of Michael Smyth

Michael Smyth joined COPE Galway as CEO in May 2021. He previously served as CEO of SCCUL Enterprises and a lecturer in GMIT School of Business. Michael is a graduate of GMIT (BA Gno agus Cumarsaid 2012) and NUIG (MBA 2020 and MSc Strategic Marketing 2013). He has served for over ten years on a number of voluntary boards and committees, including for NUIG School of Business External Advisory Board, BIA Innovator Campus, Bizmentors, Charities Insitute Ireland, and The Wheel. 

A black and white headshot of Sylvester Takaza

Sylvester Takaza, from Zimbabwe, joined Sanctuary Runners in August 2022 and is still trying to run his second marathon since 2011. He not only runs with Sanctuary Runners but has also volunteers, supporting the delivery of the Sanctuary Run on the Sport Ireland Campus in 2023 and has become a volunteer run director with parkrun, contributing to the wider community in Dublin. 

A black and white headshot of Jane Trenaman

Jane Trenaman has brought a decade of experience in the automotive, design, and telecoms industries to a range of public engagement and fundraising leadership roles in the non-profit sector. Over the past 13 years, she has developed a breadth of experience in fundraising and income generation as a senior management team member and consultant. Chairing Fundraising Director Networks in the UK & Ireland, she has also held board and subcommittee roles with Christian Aid Ireland, Samaritans Ireland, and the National Opera House. She is currently a Non-Executive Director with Common Purpose Ireland.

A black and white headshot of Zsé Varga

Zsé Varga is the Volunteering Development Programme Manager at Volunteer Ireland, the national development organisation for volunteering in Ireland. Her role focuses on the delivery of actions 1, 13, and 53 of the National Volunteering Strategy, creating fresh ground for flexible and diverse volunteering to grow, where everyone can get involved in volunteering and feel safe and rewarded doing so. Zsé specialises in developing and supporting flexibility in volunteering and helping organisations make this transition. She is passionate about volunteering and sustainable volunteer leadership.

Black and white headshot of Sinead Vaughan

Sinéad Vaughan has worked at The Wheel since 2019 as a member of the Skills Team and as Training Manager. She oversees The Wheel's Training Calendar and is involved in the coordination of The Wheel’s special events, such as our Annual Summit. She studied in University College Dublin and Dublin Institute of Technology. Her background includes six years of running a small business, and volunteering with a variety of Irish charities including Parents Plus, Barnardos, and Laura Lynn. She is a trained yoga teacher, and proud custodian to Lulu the rescue dog.   


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