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Biographies – One City 2014

Professor Alastair Adair Professor Alastair Adair was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor in August 2008. Previously he held positions as Head of the School of the Built Environment and inauguraAlastairAdairl Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment. He is also Professor of Property Investment. Teaching and research specialisms comprise dynamics of property market performance, regeneration, appraisal and finance. Research findings impacting on policy and practice have been utilised by HM Treasury, Department for Communities & Local Government, NI Executive, Investment Property Databank and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.  He is the recipient of numerous international awards including the prestigious Richard Ratcliff Award made by the American Real Estate Society. Professor Adair was appointed a member of the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014 Architecture, Built Environment and Planning Sub-Panel 16 and was also a member of RAE 2008.  He is a member of the Cathedral Quarter Trust and a Non-Executive Director of the International Centre for Local and Regional Development. Previous Ministerial appointments include DRD Regional Development Strategy Review Working Group and Chair of the DSD Advisory Panel of Experts for Implementation of the Review of Affordable Housing.  Professor Adair is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and has held positions as Chair/President of RICS Northern Ireland and the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institute respectively and founding Vice President of the European Real Estate Society.

Alan Gerard McConnell Alan was born in Larne, County Antrim. His family emigrated to Canada in 1973. He lives in Toronto, Ontario. Alan’s formal education began at St. Anthony’s Primary School, Antiville, Larne. After completing High School in Canada, he obtained a BA (Honours) degree in History Alan-McConnell-(c)from Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, British Columbia; an MA degree in History from the University of Toronto; and a law degree from McGill University in Montréal, Québec. For the past twenty years Alan has practiced law in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada. He practices in association with the firm of Fink & Bornstein, Professional Association, representing corporate and individual clients on a wide range of employment law matters, including wrongful dismissal law suits, human rights complaints, workers’ compensation, and the defence of occupational health and safety prosecutions. He is a member of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce. Since the 1980s, Alan has worked in various organizations across Canada on solidarity, peace and human rights issues related to the conflict in the north. He organized a major Human Rights Conference on Northern Ireland at McGill University Faculty of Law in 1993. In 1995 he led a fact-finding delegation of Canadians to Belfast in support of the peace process, which included the Chair of the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice. From 1997 to 2000, Alan led annual Canadian delegations to Belfast in support of the peace process, which included prominent Canadian politicians from all major political parties, trade unionists, lawyers, and human rights activists. Alan was a founding Board member of Friends of Sinn Féin (Canada) Inc.. and has been the group’s President since its inception. In that capacity, he regularly visits Ireland and has organized speaking tours of Canada by many of Sinn Féin’s elected representatives from Belfast. He chaired the Unite Ireland Forum in Toronto in 2009 and spearheaded development of the Irish Unity Pledge in Canada in support of Irish reunification.

Anna Lo MLA  Anna was born in Hong Kong and worked in London for a year prior to coming to live in Northern Ireland in 1974. For several years, she made regular contributions to the BBanna1C Chinese Service about the Chinese community and Northern Ireland affairs. In 1978, she started the first ever English evening class for Chinese people in Northern Ireland in a further education college. Following a career break to have her two sons, she joined the Chinese Welfare Association in 1987 as a community interpreter. Four years later she returned to full-time education and qualified as a social worker from the University of Ulster in 1993 and worked in the health and social services trust and Barnardos. She took up the post of director of the Chinese Welfare Association in 1997. Anna was the first vice chair of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities and a founding commissioner for the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. She was also the first chair of the South Belfast Partnership Board. Anna was awarded an MBE in 1999 for Services to Ethnic Minorities. In March 2007, she was elected to serve as the MLA for South Belfast for the Alliance Party, and was consequently the first ethnic Chinese born person (born in Hong Kong) to be elected to a legislative parliament in Europe.   Anna is the Chair of the Environment Committee, and a member of the Assembly Audit committee, as well as a number of All Party Assembly Groups.

Andrew Brammer Andrew-BrammerAndrew Brammer is the Head of Allen & Overy’s Support Services Centre in Belfast and was the Programme Manager responsible for the location selection and subsequent implementation of the new office. Now the firm’s third largest office by headcount, Belfast provides HR, IT, Document, Creative Design, Library, Finance, and Business Development services to the firm. In addition, the Legal Services Centre supports the firm’s legal teams around the world and provides clients with options for the delivery of some of the more routine elements of their legal services.

Andrew Cowan

Andrew CowanAndrew Cowan  is CEO of Northern Irish Connections (NIC) & is passionate about connecting with the diasporas at home and abroad. NIC is a new & exciting way to share & showcase some of N.I’s most amazing stories from the people who know, our diaspora. NIC is a not-for-profit organisation, which provides an approach for engagement with the Diaspora to help improve the economy of Northern Ireland.

Previously Andrew played a pivotal role as Marketing and Communications Director on the successful Gathering Ireland 2013 diasporas initiative. A qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Andrew has over 18 years strategic marketing & communications experience and a wealth of international & domestic brand expertise. Andrew has lead the marketing strategy, planning and campaign execution for some of Irelands most iconic brands including Jameson & Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Jacobs Biscuits, Coca Cola, Ballygowan & Denny within multinational companies including Pernod Ricard, Kerry Foods, Britvic & Coca Cola . He has worked globally in senior roles in many markets including Scandinavia, UK, Europe, Cuba & the US.

Andy Mills, Regional Director, Business Banking, Ulster Bank andyMAndy is Head of Business Banking in Northern Ireland which services the Bank’s SME customer base through a team of Relationship Managers in the Business Centre network.  He has over 18 years experience in a variety of roles in Corporate and Business Banking. Andy is a Chartered Accountant and worked with Ernst & Young prior to joining Ulster Bank .


Andrew Haley

AHAndrew is a Director with The Paul Hogarth Company. As a Landscape Architect, Urban Designer and Regeneration Consultant, Andrew has played a central role in the positive process of change in Northern Ireland over the last 15 years. He has been responsible for leading the delivery of key documents and strategies, including the recently launched Living Places – Urban Stewardship and Design Guide for DoE; for ‘game changing’ Masterplan visions, such as those for Laganside in Belfast and Ebrington in Derry; and for contributing to the design and delivery of major investment projects including Titanic Quarter and Connswater Community Greenway.

Andrew has led the planning and ongoing delivery of the Wild Atlantic Way, as the longest driving route in the world. From those communities on Ireland’s west coast to the development of the Masterplan for Colin Town Centre, as Northern Ireland’s first designated Urban Village, there is a consistent emphasis on ‘place making’. Working collaboratively with stakeholders has been and will remain central to the process of ‘making a positive difference’ to communities and places locally, across Ireland, and further afield.

As a Member of the Ministerial Advisory Group, Andrew shares the commitment to uphold and advance the quality of the built and rural environment. The changing structures and responsibilities associated with Local Government Reform make this a particularly exciting time to focus on making neighbourhoods, villages, towns and cities increasingly good places in which to live, work, invest and visit.

Barry Smyth 

With over 21 years’ experience in specialist recruitment, gained both North and South, Barry Smyth is Founder and Managing Director of MCS Group, oBSne of Northern Ireland’s top specialist recruitment firms. He established MCS Group in 2008 and despite the timing has steered the fledgling business through the most turbulent time the recruitment industry has ever seen. MCS Group is now well established as a major player within the industry in NI specialising in IT, Engineering & Finance careers. Prior to establishing MCS Group, Barry has spent his entire career, after studying Business Studies at UU, in the recruitment industry. His specialist areas were mainly in ICT and Engineering before later gaining exposure to Finance and Executive disciplines. He spent 13 years with an international recruitment firm, rising to become part of the senior team, before departing for a Partnership role in a local Executive Search firm. Through his many years in recruitment Barry has built specialist business units from scratch, always with a focus on ethics and high quality service delivery. During his career he was worked with most of Ireland’s leading employers, from our best indigenous firms to global blue chips established here.  Barry considers MCS Group to be his greatest achievement in recruitment to date, working closely with his colleague Sean Devlin to grow the business to where it is today, and more recently welcoming his wife, Louise, into the business as a fellow Director. He is confident that Louise’s wealth of experience and enviable track record of success will help drive the business towards its ambitious goals.  Barry is a regular commentator on recruitment industry issues in the local media in, print, radio and television.

Rev Bill Shaw OBE

Director, 174 Trust Belfast  www.174trustBill-Shaw

As the trust’s director for almost 16 years, Bill has worked to raise it’s profile and credibility within the local community.  North Belfast continues to suffer from sectarian violence, with tensions still high between Catholics and Protestants on the streets around the Trust’s facility.  As a Presbyterian Minister working in a catholic area, he is committed to promoting reconciliation and passionate about peacemaking.

In 2005, Rev. Shaw was a recipient of the Harry McKilop Irish Spirit Award – established “to support and recognize individual efforts in community based projects which seek to promote inter community relationships and peace in Ireland”-during a ceremony at Queen’s University, Belfast.  In the US he has participated in the AMBIT Community Leadership Program and the State Dept.  International Visitor Program as well as being a guest of the President at the White House on St Patrick’s Day March 05 and then March 08 he organised and lead a Clergy Delegation to Washington D.C looking at faith-based intervention tackling a range of social issues.  He was recently awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by the Queen at a service in Buckingham Palace for ‘services to the community of North Belfast’.  Bill currently Chairs the Churches ‘Community Work Alliance and the NI Community Faith’s Forum – both regional initiatives addressing poverty and disadvantage – and is also part of the Lord Mayor’s Chaplaincy team.

Dr Bill Smith BillSmith Bill is Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Group Ulster-Scots Academy and a Senior Research Fellow at Queens University Belfast. He is a public policy analyst with extensive practical experience in the government of Northern Ireland. Born in North Belfast, he earned his doctorate at Stanford University in 1986. His employers include the Office of the First Ministers, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the European Commission, the Human Rights Commission and Belfast City Council. Bill is author of The British State and the Northern Ireland Crisis (US Institute of Peace 2011) and is now writing the history of one of Ireland’s most successful not-for-profit businesses, the Early Years Organisation.


Bro McFerran  Bro McFerran is Managing Director of Allstate Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland’s largest IT company, employing over 2300 people.   He took up his current position in January 1999 when the company set up in Northern Ireland.  Allstate Northern Ireland provides high quality software development services and business process outsourcing solutions in support of its parent company Allstate, one of the largest insurance companies in the US.  BroMcFerran He was one of the founding board members of the Software Industry Federation in Northern Ireland (now Momentum), and it’s second Chairman. He is currently a non-Executive Director of the Strategic Investment Board for Northern Ireland (an OFMDFM appointment), a board member of Business in the Community, and a Board Member of Springvale Training.  He is a Past President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce. He is currently a board member of Business in the Community in Northern Ireland and chairs the Business Workplace 2020 initiative.  Allstate NI was presented with the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development in June 2014.  In 2011 Allstate Northern Ireland was awarded “Responsible Company of the Year” by Business in the Community and Bro received a special recognition as The HRH’s Ambassador for Corporate Responsibility in Northern Ireland 2011. Mr. McFerran was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of June 2005 for services to the IT Industry of Northern Ireland.  He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Ulster for services to economic development in June 2010.  He was presented with the Institute of Directors/Lunns Award of Excellence in January 2007.  He received an Annual Award of Distinction from Belfast Institute of Higher and Further Education in November 2004 in recognition of his achievements in employment and economic development.  Mr. McFerran was awarded the “IT Professional of the Year” award by the Northern Ireland Branch of BCS in 2001. Mr. McFerran was educated at St. Malachy’s College and Queen’s University, Belfast where he studied Mechanical Engineering.  He is married to Pat and has three children and one grandchild, and lives in Belfast.

Bronagh Lawson, Artist and Founder of www.creativechangeni.com Bronagh spent 13 years developing and running cross-border, cross-community development enterprise projects from interface areas of Belfast before retuBronagh_Lawson[1]rning to her artistic practice seven years ago. Her recent work involves visiting every church in Belfast for a service and she has accessed 318 of them so far. She recently set up the Hydrangea project with Suellen Semekoiski, Adjunct Professor of Art Therapy at the School of Art Institute of Chicago which exists to develop experimental linkages between the knowledge gained working to heal veterans beyond violence in the US and people in NI. She received in 2012 the regional (NI) TalkTalk’s Digital Heroes award for her development of creativechangeni.com, an online hub for anyone interested in art and change in Northern Ireland, which tracks the creative underground of Belfast. A qualified business advisor, exemplary trainer in finance (FSA) and European gender specialist (EU EQUAL) she has been Chair of The Women’s Tec (2004.-2009.) and of the Belfast Print Workshop & Gallery (2006.-2010). Bronagh has a first class degree in Textiles Fashion from Winchester School of Art (England) and was a Fulbright scholar, 1991 New York City (Parson’s School of Design).

Bríd O Gallchoir Bríd graduated from Trinity with a degree in Drama Studies and English literature and went on to study in Russia at The State Institute of Theatre in Moscow. She spent two years as a staff director with The Abbey and directed three new productions during her time there.  She was artistic director of Amharclann de hÍde from 1997 to 2001. Bríd’s work has been seen in most of the theatres in Ireland and she has also worked in the U.K. and Scotland, Lithuania and Russia. In 2002 Bríd was appointed Artistic Director of Aisling Ghéar theatre company, where her production of Translations/Aistriúcháin was nominated for Best New Production at Belfast City Council’s Theatre Awards. In 2009 Bríd undertook her first writing project when herself and Gearóid Ó Cairealláin adapted An Béal Bocht by Flann O’Brien for the stage.

Briege Arthurs Briege Arthurs has a background in community regeneration for both private and public sector. She has worked for Sir Stuart Lipton on the Broadgate anBriege Arthursd Stockley Park developments in London setting up Training and Enterprise Councils and negotiating planning gain for community benefit. Upon her return to Northern Ireland she joined the Government’s Action Team/ Making Belfast Work Initiative working in the North and West of the city. In 1996 she joined the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) where she has led the sector in the development of the Community use of the schools sites and has chaired 2 Ministerial Working Groups in this area. She is passionate about developing the interface between communities and schools to prepare and skill our young people for work. Briege is currently out on secondment to the South Belfast Partnership Board as their Chief Executive Officer.


Carol Fitzsimons Carol FitzsimonsCarol Fitzsimons was appointed Chief Executive of Young Enterprise Northern Ireland (www.yeni.co.uk) in 2009. Having previously specialised in learning & development in the private sector, she is a strong advocate for the benefits of providing young people with the opportunity to develop business and entrepreneurship skills at a young age. She is committed to providing young people in Northern Ireland with the best preparation for success in the new economy through her work at Young Enterprise – Northern Ireland’s leading business education charity. As part of Young Enterprise – Junior Achievement globally, the young people are also encouraged to take a global perspective on the world of business. Carol is committed to ensuring that the next generation develop their entrepreneurial capabilities and have a strong understanding of the new growth business sectors in the local economy. She enjoys bringing together volunteers and organisations from across all sectors of business with young people of all ages, to help create a more prosperous future economy for Northern Ireland. Carol has participated is an Alumni of the US Boston College Irish Institute exchange on Youth Entrepreneurship where she benchmarked the work of Young Enterprise against best practice in Boston and San Diego, and was a participant in the Global Ambassador’s Program with Vital Voices, a programme that develops female leaders able to make an impact on the economic growth of fragile, post-conflict regions. Carol is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and holds a Masters in Organisation and Management from the Queen’s University of Belfast, and a BSSc in Economics and Geography with European Study from the University of Exeter and Université de Savoie in France (Erasmus).

Ciaran Mackel       CiaranCiaran Mackel founded the design and research oriented practice – ARdMackel – with offices in Belfast and is currently collaborating with a number of visual arts practitioners on architectural and public arts projects.  He is also an Associate Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the School of Architecture and Design at University of Ulster and is visiting critic to ENSA School of Architecture in Nantes. He is a regular contributor to architectural periodicals including, Perspective – the journal of the RSUA – writing reviews, editorials and essays and submitting photographic essays to generate discussion on architecture and urbanism.  He is a regular architect – assessor on a number of architectural and building competitions. Ciaran is currently a board member of PLACE, developed in co-operation with Belfast City Council to provide a city centre venue as an Architecture and Built Environment Centre.  Ciaran also serves on the Boards of a number of organisations including, The Gaeltacht Quarter, and the Maze Long Kesh Development Corporation.  He is also architect advisor to the Ministerial Advisory Group of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. Andrew BrammerAndrew Brammer

Colin Mounstephen Unknown-2Colin Mounstephen started his working life as a management trainee in the Northern Ireland Housing Executive with his first posting as a housing officer in Rathcoole. Five years later Colin moved across to an Economic Consultancy practice before joining Deloitte, where he is a Senior Manager helping lead the Strategy and Operations team. Throughout this work he has had extensive experience in physical, social and economic regeneration and development. Colin has had the privilege of working alongside community, public and private sector leaders in shaping and delivering key projects in each “Quarter” of Belfast and further afield.  

CONAL HARVEYdirector_conal_harvey Director of Operations, Harcourt Developments with overall responsibility for group operations. A graduate in engineering from University College Dublin, he has post-graduate qualifications in Management and Business Strategy from Trinity College Dublin, the Irish Management Institute and INSEAD, France. Prior to joining Harcourt, he held senior management positions in the IDA and developed Business Parks throughout the country to attract internationally traded companies. Conal spearheaded the design and construction of the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience.


David Barlow

David Barlow has been CEO of the London Irish Centre (LIC) since 2011.  The LIC is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and is the largest and oldest Irish community organisation in Britain, working to support 13,000 individuals in the past year.  The charity also offers a diverse mix of traditional and contemporary arts and cultural activities and events for all ages.davidB

During his time at the LIC David has been responsible for a review of the organisation to ensure that it remains relevant to all sections of the Irish community in London. With 90,000 new emigrants arriving in Britain from Ireland in the past five years, with the majority moving to London, the task has been challenging.  Being a home from home for the newly arrived whilst remaining supportive to the generations who arrived in the 1950’s and 60’s.

David joined the LIC, following a management career in the community sector, where he specialised in working with people with disabilities and offenders.  Alongside his employment David has throughout the years been an activist on equality issues and is currently a political and community activist where he lives in south London.

Professor Dolores O’Reilly has been the Chairman of An Ciste Infheistiochta Gaeilge since its inception in 2010. Dolores is Professor Emerita of InternatioDoloresnal Business Strategy at the University of Ulster, where she worked for 24 years and was Head of the School of International Business and Director of the International Business Centre, University of Ulster from 1999-2013. Through her many executive and non-executive roles she has gained considerable experience of corporate governance, financial management and risk management. Dolores was appointed to the Department of Finance and Personnel Board as an independent board member by the Minister in September 2010. Additionally, she chairs the Audit and Risk Committees for both Land and Property Services and the Northern Ireland Statistic and Research Agency. She is a member of the DFP and the Enterprise Shared Services Audit and Risk Committees. She was Chair of the DPF Audit and Risk Committee 2010-2012. Dolores was also appointed as a Commissioner of the Londonderry Port by the Minister for Regional Development in February 2011, where she leads the Strategic Marketing Committee and is a member of the Port’s Risk and Audit Committee. Dolores also provides business advice to local businesses and sits as a member on a number of Charitable organisations in Northern Ireland. She has researched, written and published extensively in the areas of business strategy and deregulation and liberalisation of the aviation and is co-author of the book “Atlantic Gateway: The Port and City of Londonderry” (2010)

DAVID J. HORGAN  (DoB: 22/9/59) Born: Belfast, N. Ireland Irish citizenDave Horgan PETREL RESOURCES PLC, 1997 to date Oil & gas exploration & development.  Quoted on the Alternative Investment Market, London.  Active in Ireland, Iraq and Ghana.  Website: <petrelresources.com> DIRECTOR  CLONTARF ENERGY PLC, 2010 to date Oil & gas exploration in Peru & Ghana.  Quoted on the Alternative Investment Market, London. Website: <clontarfenergy.com> DIRECTOR.  BOTSWANA DIAMONDS PLC, 2010 to date Diamond explorer and developer in Botswana.  Quoted on the Alternative Investment Market, London. Website <botswanadiamondsplc.com> NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR EDUCATION HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL, 1984-1986 MBA with Distinction, Research sponsored by the Bank of Ireland (1985 – 1986) HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL ASSOCIATION OF IRELAND, PRESIDENT 1995 to 1997 Patron was US Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY, CHRIST’S COLLEGE, MASTERS IN LAW First Class Honours 1979-1982, Various University, College & Faculty scholarships.

Dr Danny McConnell

Unknown-6Dr Danny McConnell is the Partner leading Deloitte Insight Products & Services which focuses on the design and delivery of analytics products, as well as the provision of Insight as a Service (IaaS) via the provision of analytics Apps to clients on a managed services basis.

He has worked as a consultant for 15 years and with clients across the public and private sectors, with a focus in Energy & Resources. Before joining Deloitte, Danny trained as an accountant in the NI Civil Service as well as working as an ERP consultant with Northgate.  Danny is a qualified accountant and holds a BSc in Chemistry, a MBA and a PhD from Loughborough University.

David Lyle

DavidLyleDavid has been awarded an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for services to Road Safety in 2011.  Over 37 years’ experience in researching, managing and creating advertising designed to change behaviour. Over 19 years’ experience in road safety attitude and behaviour change. Responsible for the UK government’s anti-terrorism and peace advertising 1998-1999. Sir Patrick Mayhew, retiring as Secretary of State, said “your own campaigns…have been seminal”.  44 Effectiveness Awards for evidential case studies at national, European and global levels, including the David Ogilvy Gold from the Advertising Research Foundation in New York.  260 Creative Awards including 6 Grand Prix.  Appointed by the North-South Ministerial Council to the Board of Tourism Ireland in 2007 and serves on the Board’s Risk Committee, scrutinising £72.5 million of exposure.  Responsible for over £188 million cumulative turnover since 1986.  Admitted as an awarded member to the prestigious D&AD for copywriting in 1988.  Led the Management Buy-Out of McCann-Erickson Belfast Limited, with Julie Anne Bailie, in February 2004 and re-branded the agency as LyleBailie International.

Declan Hill


Declan is a director of the Forum for Alternative Belfast CIC.  After completing his studies at Queen’s University Belfast, he spent eight years working in London, followed by six years in Germany, completing buildings in Hamburg, Dresden and Berlin.  Since moving back to Belfast in 1998 he has been involved predominately in the housing field becoming Associate in charge of housing at Todd Architects, Belfast and completing a number of award winning projects. Declan left Todd Architects in 2011 to become a full time director of the Forum.

Declan is a co-founder and Director of the Black Box Performance Space, Cathedral Quarter, Belfast and is on the management committees of Belfast Exposed Photographic Gallery and Flax Arts.

DorcasCrawfordDorcas Crawford Dorcas Crawford is the senior partner at Edwards & Co Solicitors where, besides being a lawyer and a commercial mediator, she spends much of her time developing and driving the business. Edwards & Co’s client base includes a large number of SME’s and the firm itself is, of course, an SME, so in order to attract new business and to provide added value to clients, in June this year the firm launched #BelfastHour, a free Twitter-based marketing idea. Every Thursday night from 9-10pm local businesses  tweet for an hour promoting each other, sharing followers and networking. Virtually. Over 500 local businesses have already become involved with numbers growing weekly and a reach of over 1 million users.

Edmund Lynch

Certified Civil Trial Attorney, NJ Supreme Court 12 Second Avenue, Denville, NJ 07834   973 627-8511   [email protected]Ed-Lynch Mr. Lynch is a graduate of Georgetown University Law School. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia. Mr. Lynch began his legal career as a neighborhood attorney with Newark NJ Legal Services. He has engaged in trial practice for 40 years and has taught in advocacy programs at Hastings, Seton Hall, Emory, Dickinson, Notre Dame and York University (Toronto) Law Schools .In June, 2013 Mr. Lynch served as an instructor in the National Institute for Trial Advocacy in Washington, DC. He is an approved federal arbitrator in the United States District Court for New Jersey. From 1992 thru 2003, Mr. Lynch was the National Coordinator of the Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland, an NGO involved in observing trials and partnering with human rights lawyers in Northern Ireland. He has received numerous awards from American and Irish organizations including Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year, 2007, Morris County NJ Bar Association; Principal Speaker, Conference on World Affairs, University of Colorado, 1999; Voice of the Innocent Human Rights Award, Belfast, NI  1994; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award, Operation Push, Jersey City, NJ, 1990; Achievement Award for Irish Freedom, Irish Northern Aid, Trenton, NJ, 1996; Patrick Finucane Human Rights Award, Irish American Unity Conference, 1998;  Top 100 Irish American Lawyers, Irish America Magazine, 2009.  Ed’s grandfather John Patrick McCarron grew up in New Lodge before emigrating to Philadelphia where he enjoyed a long career as a joiner and student of the horses.

Ellvena Graham ellvenaEllvenna was appointed Managing Director of SME Banking for Ulster Bank Group in September 2013 in addition to her role of Head of Ulster Bank Northern Ireland which she was appointed to in March 2013.  As Managing Director Ellvena has responsibility for the performance, profitability and leadership of the Ulster Bank SME Banking Division. As Head of Ulster Bank Northern Ireland Ellvena is responsible for the leadership of Ulster Bank Group within Northern Ireland, representing the bank with all key stakeholders including Government, industry bodies and consumer groups.  Prior to her current role, Ellvena held the position of Chief Operating Officer for Ulster Bank Group. Educated at Methodist College Belfast, Ellvena started her career in Ulster Bank in 1982 in Information Technology and has since held various senior roles working in Belfast, Isle of Man and Dublin. Ellvena has also held senior positions in RBS, having been Head of Operations in EMEA before taking up the role of Director of Business Services Ireland. Ellvena is a Non-Executive Director of the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and a member of the Advisory Board for the Women’s Executive Network in Ireland.  She is also a board member of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers since 2002.  Ellvena won the Confederation of British Industry First Women Award (First Woman in Finance) in 2013 and the Women in Banking Finance Award (Champion for Women) also in 2013.

Garnet Busby Garnet grew up in the ‘troubles’, joined the UVF while still at school, was arrested in 1980 and spent 16 years in prison. While in prison he regularly met with republicans to discuss issues affecting their day to day lives while inside and debate the issues that had led them to their involvement in the ‘troubles’. While in prison he gained a first class honours degree from the Open University.  When released he continued his studies at Queens University Belfast where he gained a PhD 1999. While working on his doctorate he helped to form Sandy Row Residents Group which was set up to address issues surrounding rioting in Sandy Row in 1997. He has been employed in the community sector for over 15 years, and for the past 9 years as Operations Manager of Belfast South Community Resources.  This job involves his working with various disadvantaged groups in one of the most deprived areas of Belfast.  Under his leadership BSCR seeks to tackle problems such as educational underachievement, physical and economic regeneration, employment issues including training and barriers to employment, and community safety and confidence. BSCR employs 8 people, and manages 2 full time volunteers and 30 part time volunteers. Among other things, he and his team at BSCR have helped to develop an economic/training resource centre within the community. BSCR is at present working on the preliminary development stages of the Gilpin’s project with Belfast City Council. This is a 6 million pound project to develop the old Gilpin’s building into a cultural/community/economic hub for South Belfast.  However it is the ‘reach’ project delivering training and education programs to 16 and 18 years olds who have dropped out of school with no qualifications, and the ‘study support club’ for post primary school children, and run by Nikki with invaluable support from students from both Queens and Stranmillis which he sees as among the most important programs developed and delivered by BSCR. ‘It is here we have a change to make a real impact of the future lives of our kids with long term benefits for not just them, their families but for the sustainability for the whole community’.

Geoffrey T Fenlon, MBA, Dip Mktg, FCMI, FIKE, MIoD. Interim Managing Director, Belfast Waterfront (Managing Director Excellence inWork Limited).  geoffreyfenlon Originally from the Wirral, Geoff Fenlon has been the Interim MD of the Waterfront since May 2014.  Prior to this and setting up Excellence in Work Ltd, Geoff was the Principal/Chief Executive of Carnegie College, in his hometown of Dunfermline, Fife for the last 2 years. He has over 20 years experience of running conference centres having been the General Manager of The ICC Birmingham.  Having joined the ICC in January 2007, he helped guide the venue to its most successful results to date, winning numerous awards including Best UK Conference Centre and Best Business Tourism Business in West Midlands, assisted with the setup and opening of the new Convention Centre in Dublin and was Deputy Chair of Birmingham City Centre Partnership and a Director of the Broad Street Business Improvement District. Prior to the ICC, Geoff was the Business Excellence Director at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) having joined in September 1994, before the Conference Centre was opened.  He helped take the EICC through the pre opening phase, the opening phase, the journey to profitability and the expansion design phase.  In 2003, Geoff guided the EICC to winning the European Quality Award and a Special Award for People Development and Involvement. In addition to his MBA from the University of Edinburgh, Geoff has a Diploma in Marketing and is a Fellow of The Chartered Management Institute, and a qualified award Assessor for the European Foundation for Quality Management.  He was also a Board member of Failte Ireland’s Optimus Business Excellence Scheme Geoff also has a long involvement in education and training. Whilst at EICC he was invited to become a Director of the Tourism, Travel Services and Events National Training Organisation.  He was then asked to be part of the steering group to form the first UK Sector Skills Council (SSC) for Hospitality, Leisure, Travel, and Tourism.  This led to the creation of People 1st, of which Geoff chaired the Scottish Board.  In addition to People 1st Geoff was a Director of the Scottish Tourism Forum and the Board Director responsible for education and skills for the Association Internationale des Palais de Congres (AIPC). He still lectures at the AIPC Academy and Operations Summit. Before moving to Birmingham, Geoff was a member of Scottish Tourism Minister’s Strategy Group, which developed the 2006 Scottish Tourism Framework for Change strategy.  Geoff is married to Lesley and has 2 grown up children.  He has lived in Fife, Scotland for the last 25+ years.

Geraldine McAteer

Geraldine McAteer is CEO of  the West Belfast Partnership. Her role is to direct, manage and co-ordinate all aspects of the Partnership’s work, ensuring an integrated approach to achieve its objectives for the economic, social and environmental regeneration of West Belfast.geraldinemcateer

Geraldine is a member of the Strategic Investment Board, tasked by the First and Deputy First Minister with implementing the Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland. She is a former Vice Chairperson of the Belfast District Policing Partnership and was on the Strategic Review of Parading, chaired by Lord Paddy Ashdown, established by Government in 2007 to review the controversial matter of parading in Northern Ireland. Geraldine is a former Chair of the North and West Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and was Chief Executive of the Upper Springfield Development Trust.

A community activist, she is a founder member of West Belfast Festival and a contributor to post conflict reconstruction initiatives including, the West Belfast/ Shankill Jobs Task force and Aspire, a micro-finance company established with President Clinton’s economic envoy, Jim Lyons.

A graduate in Economic and Social Sciences from Trinity College Dublin, Geraldine has been a guest lecturer on community development in Harvard. She has won a prestigious Person of the Year Aisling Award from Belfast Media Group and a Belfast Institute citation in 2005 for outstanding community endeavour and peace building.

Gregory S. Burton U.S. Consul General, Belfast Prior to taking up his current position as the U.S. Consul General in Belfast, Mr. Burton was the Senior Deputy Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs in the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.  He also served as Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Republic of Korea from 2009GregoryBurton until 2011. In 2008 Mr. Burton earned an M.S. in National Security from the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.  He also served from 2006 to 2007 with the Canadian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mr. Burton was the Economic and Senior Commercial Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 2002 to 2006.  He has also served in U.S. Embassies in Belgrade and Caracas.  In addition to these overseas assignments, Mr. Burton served in three positions in the Department of State in Washington, D.C. Prior to entering the Foreign Service, Mr. Burton served for four years as an officer in the U.S. Army.  He was born and raised in the Philadelphia area and graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish.  He also received an M.A. in Economics from New York’s Fordham University.  He is married to Nana Lee Felding.

Gerry McConville, Director Gerry McConville is the Director of Falls Community Council, a community development organisation based in West Belfast. FCC is involved in the political, social and economic regeneration of the area and also works in the field of human rights, social justice and participative democracy.

imgres-2 FCC contributes to strategic initiatives throughout west Belfast and across the city aimed at eliminating inequality and reducing disadvantage whilst promoting prosperity and peace building. He has worked with that organisation for 21 years, formerly as Manager of the Community Drug Programme. He has worked within the community sector of West Belfast for over 30 years.  Gerry is Chair of the Board of Directors with The West Belfast Partnership Board and was appointed by OFM/DFM to the West Belfast Steering Group for the Social Investment Fund. He is currently involved with many cross community conflict resolution initiatives and is a current member of the Steering Group of Belfast Conflict Resolution Consortium and is working on conflict related cross community initiatives along the south/west Belfast interfaces.

Gearóid (Gerry) Ó hEara

Gearóid (Gerry) Ó hEara, is an Irish Language activist from Derry where he is Chief Executive of An Gaelaras, an award-winning Irish Language organisation, which haGEARs completed it’s new Irish Language and Arts Centre, Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin. (www.culturlann-doire.ie) in 2009.  The activities of this body include promoting Irish Language and arts, economic development, vocational education, youth activity, multi-media work and artistic development. Gearoid has been involved in Irish language promotion, at local regional and national level as well as setting up gaelscoileanna and other cultural activity.

An Gaeláras has just recently purchased the Presbyterian Church and Manse next door to them and plan to locate an Academy of Irish Traditional Music in the Manse, in association with the School of Music, UU Magee,  and to use the Church as a performance space.  Gearóid has been a member of Sinn Féin for over thirty years, an elected councillor in Derry City for 16 years and Mayor of the city in 2004-2005. He served on the Ard Chomhairle of Sinn Féin national executive, for twenty years and was a member of the talks teams during the peace process which led to the signing of the Good Friday agreement in 1998.

He has also been a Board member of Londonderry Port and Harbour Commission for four years, a Board member Western Education and Library Board for twelve years, a Board member of the Arts Council for 8 years, a Board member of  Foras na Gaeilge for six years, and is currently a member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board.  Gearoid was responsible for organising Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Derry in 2013 and is the chairperson of the Pan-Celtic Festival in 2014 and is currently preparing for the 2015 Pan-Celtic Festival.

Dr. Gabrielle NigUidhir  As Senior Tutor for Development, I contribute to strategic planning in St Mary’s university College Belfast. I lead and consolidate developments in College. I provide leadership in areas such as Work Related Learning Staff Development, Professional Development of Teachers, International development, Schools, Careers and Research, Irish-medium education. My specialist teaching area is Irish-medium education and I contribute to undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in teacher education for the Irish-medium sector. Gerry Lennon  Gerry Lennon has been Chief Executive of Visit Belfast since October 2000.GerryLennon Visit Belfast (formerly Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau) is a public private sector partnership funded and supported by Belfast City Council, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Regional Tourism Partners and the private sector. Visit Belfast is the official tourism marketing agency for the Belfast City Region, dedicated to promoting Belfast as a city break, conference and cruise ship destination. It is also responsible for the operation of three gateway visitor information centres. Gerry has over twenty years’ experience in a number of senior management roles in the public, private and voluntary sectors with Belfast City Council, British Telecom, Visit Belfast, The National Trust, The Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company (NITHCO), Titanic Foundation Ltd and Belfast Cathedral Quarter Trust Ltd.

Glyn Roberts 

GlynRobertsGlyn Roberts was appointed Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) on January 2008 after serving seven years as Head of Press and Parliamentary Affairs with the Federation of Small Businesses in Northern Ireland.

He is also a member of the Institute of Directors Economic Strategy Committee, a council member of Chest Heart & Stroke, Vice-Chairman of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (2011-12) and a former Chairman of the Northern Ireland Government Affairs Group.

He is campaign coordinator of Small Business Saturday Northern Ireland, recently been made a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and appointed as a member of the Governing Board of the South Eastern Regional College (SERC).

Gerry Carlile 

GerryCGerry Carlile is a successful Irish sports agent and entrepreneur.  He studied at Rathmore Grammar School before graduating from the University of Ulster, in 2001, with a BA Honours degree in European Business Studies with French and German.  After a period working in management and finance, he became Northern Ireland’s first ever football agent, acquiring the mandatory ‘FIFA agent’s licence’ in 2007. Now representing a host of professional football players from leagues in England and Scotland, Gerry is established as Ireland’s premier sports agent.  His firm, Evolve Football Consultancy represents almost one hundred professional athletes.

 Four years ago Gerry diversified into hospitality and opened his first restaurant in Belfast, ‘Fáilte Restaurant.’   In 2011 he bought one of Belfast’s most iconic bars, ‘The Rock Bar.’  Later the same year he added ‘The Whitefort Inn’ to his list of businesses. He has continued to expand his interests, most recently in Scotland, where he opened ‘Light Nightclub’ in Glasgow in November 2013.

Gerry now has a burgeoning portfolio within the hospitality trade, ranging from restaurants and bars to nightclubs. This success gained Gerry the award of Belfast’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year 2013,’ at the Belfast Media Group’s Top 50 Business Awards.  He is presently developing a new brand of Irish themed restaurants and has stated his desire to develop his business interests in the United States in the coming period.  Gerry has just written his first book that charts his experiences as a football agent, it will be launched in October 2014.

He currently resides in Belfast with his wife, Louise and three children Emmet, Barra and Paddy.

DR HOWARD JAMES HASTINGS LLB, ACA MSc Howard-HastingsManaging Director, Hastings Hotels Group Ltd, Bachelor of Law (Hons) University of Nottingham (1983) Member Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales (1987) MSc University of Ulster (1994) DSc Honoris Causa University of Ulster 2011 and awarded a OBE June 2014 for services to Tourism and Hospitality. Career History1983  – 1987, Trainee Chartered Accountant, Peat Marwick, London 1987 – 1989, Financial Planning Manager, Volvo Concessionaires Ltd and 1989 – Present Howard is the Managing Director, Hastings Hotels Group.  Howard is married to Philippa and has 3 children, Jessica, Matthew and Oliver.

Ian Jordan:  Head of Business Direct,Ulster Bank

Ian JordanIan has worked for Ulster Bank for 14 years and has held a number of senior roles across the bank including Head of the Bank’s Belfast Business Centre.

A graduate of Cambridge University, Ian is a qualified Chartered Accountant. Under Ian’s leadership Ulster Bank provides banking expertise across its evolving mix of online, mobile, telephony, branch and face-to-face service options for many Northern Irish companies.

Ian’s role involves engagement with a wide range of the Bank’s stakeholders from farmers and food processors at the Balmoral Show through to supporting young entrepreneurs with the bank’s support of Young Enterprise NI.

Howard Hastings, Belfast Top 50.


Jackie HenryUnknown-7

Jackie Henry is a Senior Partner in Deloitte and is a chartered accountant by profession having over 20 years’ experience of working with private and public sector clients in Northern Ireland. She has supported the Northern Ireland public sector in a number of key reorganisation and reform projects. Jackie is a member of the CBI Council and leads its Public sector Reform Committee.

Jackie also leads Deloitte’s community investment strategy in Northern Ireland and its Women in Leadership initiative.

Jayne Brady

Partner Kernel CapitalJBrady Head 2

Jayne joined Kernel Capital 2013 having held a Senior Executive role in Kernel Capital portfolio company since 2007. Jayne’s investment focus is ICT, Telecoms and Engineering. Jayne is currently Chairman of the Institute of Engineering and Technology in Northern Ireland (2013/2014), and holds and has held a number of advisory and board roles with organisations focused on economic and social development.

Jayne’s career has involved leadership positions with both multinationals and start-ups, across a variety of operational and executive roles. Jayne has lived and worked in culturally and politically complex environments in a variety of global locations including Europe, China, India and North America. Roles have included international sales, business development, corporate due diligence and ownership of a range of cross functional technical projects of scale.

Jayne holds a 1st Class Masters in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (M.Eng) from Queen’s University Belfast and is a Fellow of the IET.

Cllr John Kyle

bigpicJohn is one of two Progressive Unionist Party councillors on Belfast City Council.  John represents the electoral ward of Pottinger which includes the Ravenhill, Woodstock, Short Strand, Newtownards Road, Holywood Arches and Bloomfield areas of East Belfast.  John was co-opted onto the Council in 2007 following the untimely death of his colleague and friend David Ervine. John’s interests include Education and Young People, Community Safety and Restorative Justice, and Conflict Transformation.  As a local GP John has a particular interest in health related issues and chair the Health Strategy Group in the East Belfast Partnership.

Joe Anderson

Joe-Miliband-9914-021Joe Anderson was born in 1958, the son of a merchant seaman and an office cleaner, in a city centre tenement called Kent Gardens near the Dingle.  One of six children, he attended St Vincent Primary School, where today he serves as a school governor, and St Martins Secondary School.  He left school at 16, and joined the Merchant Navy and later P&O Ferries, spending 12 years at sea.  At 20 he was a steward of the National Union of Seamen and became the youngest ever convener.

It was also in his early 20s that he started to read political biographies, and in his own words, self-educate himself.  He studied for a degree in social work at Liverpool John Moores University, and then went on to become a social worker for Sefton Council in 1992.

He moved into education welfare and was appointed to lead a social inclusion unit for young people with behavioural and emotional difficulties. Joe also studied Labour History at Liverpool University.  Joe was elected to Liverpool City Council for the Abercomby ward (now Riverside) in Liverpool in 1998, became Leader of the Labour Group three years later, and Leader of the Council in 2010.

In May 2012, Joe stood as the Labour Party candidate in the first-ever direct elections for the citywide Mayor of Liverpool. He won on the first ballot with a majority of 50,000 votes, securing almost 60 per cent of all votes cast.  Joe is married to Marg and has four children – Joanne (a councillor), Tony, David, Michael; grandchildren Thomas and Lucy and lives in Old Swan. Joe was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s birthday Honours list in 2012.

Joe is hugely ambitious for Liverpool, passionate about the future and devoted to the city’s prospects as a thriving, growing and prosperous city.  He ardently believes Liverpool’s best days lie ahead as a leading world-class city.

Joan Burney Keatings

Cinemagic-Joan-Burney-10Joan Burney Keatings, MBE, Cinemagic Chief Executive. Joan was  awarded an MBE for Services to Arts and Media in Northern Ireland in 2011.  Having worked in  Cinemagic for 12 years Joan  has strategically developed the organisation locally, nationally and internationally. She is responsible for the overall development and financial sustainability of the organisation.  Joan has an MSC in Communications, Advertising and Marketing, BA (Hons) in Business Studies and Certificate in Management Practice.  In 2005, Joan won Professional Fundraiser of The Year awarded by the Institute of Fundraising. Prior to working at Cinemagic Joan worked for BBC Northern Ireland.

Dr Joanne Stuart OBE A former chairman of the Institute of Directors NI, Joanne has over 25 years experience working in the IT industry including nine years with the OraclJS-Head-shot-Feb-2014e Corporation where she held various senior management roles in Sales and Operations.  Joanne is currently working with Northern Ireland Science Park Trust as Director of Development. Joanne was part of the NI working group formed by Declan Kelly when he was the US Economic Envoy for Northern Ireland, and she led on the development of the US-NI Mentorship Programme, which is a partnership between Teneo, American Ireland Funds and NISP CONNECT. As NI Chair of the program, Joanne manages the selection process and growing alumni network working closely with the other partners. The program, which is now in its fifth year,  provides the opportunity for recent Northern Ireland graduates to develop their skills and gain valuable experience through a twelve month paid placement with a US Corporation in the States including senior executive mentoring. In May 2011, at the request of the Ministers for Education and Employment and Learning, Joanne took on the role of Northern Ireland Champion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to oversee the implementation ‘Success through STEM’ government strategy, and to facilitate better engagement between industry and the education sector. This dovetails with her position on Matrix, the NI Science Panel. Joanne is a member of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal panel in London. Joanne holds a number of voluntary roles: –       Chair Arts & Business NI –       Vice Chair of NI Assembly & Business Trust –       Ambassador for the Women’s Fund NI –       Trustee Angel Eyes NI –       Non-executive director and Treasurer of Tides Training

Jimmy Deenihan, T.D

Following his re-election to the 31st Dáil, Mr. Jimmy Deenihan, T.D. was appointed Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on the 9th March 2011. In mid-July 2014 he was appointed Minister for Diaspora Affairs jimmydeenihan

Deputy Deenihan was appointed spokesperson for Defence from July 2007 -July 2010 when he was re-appointed spokesperson on Tourism, Culture and Sport having served in this portfolio from June 2002 to May 2007.

A Dáil deputy since 1987, Deputy Deenihan was appointed as Advisor to the Leader on Northern Ireland Policy and Party Spokesperson on Sport in February 2001. He was Fine Gael’s Junior Spokesperson on Environmental Information and Protection from June 2000 to February 2001. Prior to this, Deputy Deenihan was the Fine Gael spokesperson on the Office of Public Works (1997-2000).

From 1994-1997 he was Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry with special responsibility for Rural Development, the LEADER programme, and monitoring the activities of An Bord Bia and the food industry.

He has been the Fine Gael spokesperson on Tourism and Trade (1992-1994), and was also spokesperson on Youth and Sports (1988-1993). A Taoiseach’s nominee, Mr. Deenihan was a member of the Senate from 1982-1987.

He was a member of Kerry County Council from 1985 to 1994, and a member of Kerry County Vocational Education Committee (1985-1991). From 1992 to 1994 he was a member of the Kerry County Enterprise Board and was re-elected to Kerry Council in June 1999.

A member of the Gaelic Athletic Association he won All-Ireland football medals with Kerry in 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980 and in 1981, the year he captained the team. He received a GAA All-Star Award in 1981.

John KeaneJKPic

John Keane is Managing Director of Ardmore Advertising, a leading full service marketing communications agency with a highly-integrated team of 45 delivering strategic, results-driven marketing, branding, advertising, public relations and digital solutions.

As one of Ireland’s longest-established and most successful communications agencies, John has strategically steered the company through 25 years of growth in which it has created campaigns for a variety of local owner-managed companies, national PLCs and international brands.

John obtained a BA Honours Degree in Communications from the University of Ulster before taking up a senior role within the Belfast Telegraph’s London office. Ardmore Advertising was established in 1989.

John, who provides strategic direction across multi-disciplined teams and is also Chair of sister company LK Communications, is renowned for the agency’s pioneering and award-winning work in the tourism, hospitality, automotive and travel sectors.  A member of the IPA, of which John is a Fellow, Ardmore is part of Worldwide Partners Inc., a global network with member Agencies in 55 countries.

Karen Delgado Delgado KarenA marketing and communications professional for over 15 years, Karen has led private and public sector marketing efforts in Northern Ireland and beyond, including her work for brands such as Coca-Cola, Dairygold and Redbull and  has led key economic development initiatives for the Belfast Area Partnerships Boards and InterTradeIreland. Her portfolio of experience includes her role as Head of Marketing for the University of Ulster, leading the University into the UK Top 10 for undergraduate applications and directing three award winning marketing campaigns with Times Higher Education and HEIST. Karen has recently returned to Northern Ireland from Boston, where she was the Vice President of Marketing and Communications with Invest Northern Ireland, directing its marketing strategy for North and South America. She is a member of the Centre for Women’s Leadership and Executive Education Network at Babson College in Boston, a Chartered Marketer and member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Karen currently resides in Northern Ireland with her husband Pedro, and their two daughters Sofia and Amelie.

Liam Lynch is an entrepreneur and investor focused on growth companies that have a positive impact on peoples’ lives.  He has managed, acquired, started, or invested in over 17 private companies and mentored countless others.  Highlights include Key Brand Entertainment (owner of Broadway.com and Broadway Across America), which he co-owns and serves on its Board as Chair of its Mergers and Acquisitions committee.  He co-founded Qinetic, an online fitness platform, which he serves as its Chairman.  Additionally, he is a member of the New York Angels, which is a prolific early stage investment group.

Peter Dixon

PeterDixA lifelong gasman, Peter began his career as an Engineer in 1976 with the Gas Corporation in Liverpool. He worked for British Gas plc until 1996.

He has worked for Phoenix Natural Gas since 1997, serving as its CEO since 2000. He has held a number of board positions including: East Surrey Holdings plc and Kellen Investments for Terra Firma PE. Since 2008 he has been a Belfast Harbour Commissioner. He holds a number of other board positions at: Phoenix Holdings and Lionrai Investments for Hastings Infrastructure Management. HDFUK Ltd and South East Water Ltd for UTA and Eli Finance (UK) plc, Four Seasons Health Care for Terra Firma PE.

Peter is a Fellow of the Institute of Energy, a Companion of the Institute Gas Engineers and Patron of the Energy & Utility Skills Council. In support of his charitable work he is an Ambassador for Opportunity Youth, Chairman of the Energy for Children Charitable Trust, Chairman of The South Belfast Economic Forum, Board member of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and a Lord Taverner.

Paul McMorran After 32 years as engineer and executive in Asia, Africa and Europe, including fifteen years driving the transformation of major Russian oil companies, Paul left the energy industry in 2012 to lead one of his native Northern Ireland’s most iconic firms. Crosslé Car Company is the world’s oldest constructor of racing cars for customers. Since 1957 Crosslé has built some 1,000 competition cars, won countless championships, and launched the careers of many famous drivers. Success on tracks from Sebring to Lime Rock established the USA as its major market for decades.  From the original factory near Belfast, Crosslé today creates sports racing cars in small quantity for individuals who appreciate craftsmanship and exclusivity, as well as stunning performance. Paul’s responsibilities as Managing Director focus on leading this remarkable company to new export opportunities in specific countries, and on building the capability to deliver its unique products to a wider clientele. A collector and active competitor, he has raced Crosslé cars to several European championships. Paul holds a BSc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Edinburgh (with third year on exchange at the University of Pennsylvania), a Master’s from INSEAD business school in Coaching and Consulting for Change, and professional qualifications in engineering and HR. He speaks French and Russian, and enjoys opera.

Marco Pagni  Marco is an Executive Director of Alliance Boots GmbH, responsible for Mergers and Acquisitions, Legal, Secretariat, Commercial Property, Indirect Purchasing for the Group and its component businesses. He has worked in this role for seven years. His first job was as a barrister in Chambers in London where he worked in personal and corporate insolvency, company administrations, receiverships and re-organisations. He also worked for six years as a European counsel based in Nice and Rome for Texas Instruments Inc.  For 10 years he also worked as General Counsel for Europe for McDonald’s Corporation and then as International General Counsel responsible for all legal affairs for McDonald’s outside the United States. He was based in Chicago with McDonalds for seven years.  Marco joined Alliance UniChem Plc as General Counsel and Company Secretary in 2003 and became and remained General Counsel following the 2006 merger of Alliance UniChem Plc with The Boots Group PLC and the subsequent leveraged buy out of Alliance Boots Plc in 2007 by KKR and Alliance Sante Participations. He was educated at St Mac Nissi’s College, Garron Tower, and Keble College, Oxford where he gained a First Class degree in Law, subsequently lecturing Law in Oxford for two years. He also holds a BCL Masters Degree in Law from Oxford University.

Mark Doherty

Property Manager

Mark DohertyMark Doherty, Property Manager, graduated with a degree in Business Studies in 1988 and worked for four years in the Operations Department of Belfast Harbour before moving into the newly created Property Department in 1994. He attained a degree in Estate Management in 1998 and has been a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors from 2001.

Mark has extensive experience of Brownfield Regeneration projects in Belfast Harbour such as Clarendon Dock, Sydenham Business Park and Holywood Exchange Retail Park, together with the lease restructuring of a number of major tenants’ interests such as Belfast City Airport. He is currently engaged in the development of the Titanic Quarter development entailing the regeneration of c.185 acres of surplus shipyard lands.

Mark is responsible for the management of Belfast Harbour’s real estate offer, covering some 2,000 acres strategically located within Belfast.

Marco Pagni Marco Pagni Marguerite Nugent Marguerite Nugent is Curatorial Services and Programme Development Manager at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.  She is responsible for programming and collections development at the Gallery and for the past 15 years has led an acquisitions programme which embraces both historical and contemporary art in a variety of media.  She led on the Contemporary Art Society Special Collections Scheme at Wolverhampton, which focused on the theme of ‘conflict’ and more recently on the Art Fund Renew collection of work on the subject of the conflict in Israel and Palestine in partnership with the Imperial War Museum. The Gallery has one of the most important collections of art relating to the Troubles and this is an area that continues to be a strong focus for collecting and programming.  She curates the permanent gallery dedicated to presenting the Northern Irish collection and has collaborated with many partners in Belfast, most recently with the Ulster Museum for Art of the Troubles. Marguerite Nugent She has worked on several publications produced by the Gallery, including The Northern Ireland Collection (2006), Pop (2007) and The Cranbrook Colony (2010). She has a BA in English and History from Hull University and an MA in Gallery Studies from the University of Essex.  She has been a guest lecturer at The University of Leicester, teaching the Art Option module as part of the MA in Museum Studies.

Marcus Robinson MarcusMarcus Robinson is from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He studied modern languages at Cambridge University and then lived in Paris for 16 years where he specialised in architectural and industrial photography. His work was recognized for its unconventional and painterly qualities. His large format photographs were shown in exhibitions in Paris and featured in many books and on magazine covers. In search of new creative challenges, he moved to London in 1998. He worked with Revolution Films shooting stills of their feature films, and inspired by this experience, bought a 16mm film camera and began experimenting with time-lapse filmmaking. The short piece he made while photographing the creation of the London Eye was commissioned by Channel 4, and the film ‘Millennium Wheel’ was broadcast on the eve of the year 2000 and later screened at the London Film Festival. He has filmed and photographed many aspects of urban transformation including ‘The Wellington Arch’ and ‘The Thames Gateway’ for English Heritage, the construction of the new Home Office for Bouygues Construction, many demolition projects for Brown and Mason Demolition, including the former Ministry of the Environment in Marsham Street (the three ugly sisters) and the construction by Bouygues Construction of the new international airports on the island of Cyprus. His work has been used by BBC Panorama and Channel 4 documentaries. His book of photography about the London Eye has been sold around the world. He lives in New York where he is creating a major work about the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. This is a time-lapse film and a large collection of drawings, lithographic prints and oil paintings which are mostly drawn and painted from life directly on site. A first version of the film was broadcast on Channel 4 in September 2013 and its US Premiere will happen this year when it is broadcast on History on September 11th.

Mary McCall

Mary McCall is the Founder and Managing Director of TreatTicket.com.

MaryMcCallA Business Studies graduate from the University of Ulster, Mary has held a variety of senior Marketing and Communications roles within the private and public sector including National Marketing Manager for Royal Liver Ireland; and Head of Communications within the Dept of Finance & Personnel (NICS).

In April 2011 she took a ‘career break’ from her role within the Northern Ireland Civil Service (DFP NI) to launch TreatTicket.

Since it’s launch in May 2011 TreatTicket has developed a range of technologies to connect local businesses with local digital and mobile shoppers and drive digital footfall in-store.  The company has won a number of prestigious marketing and online awards, negotiated a marketing partnership with UTV Media plc and has become one of the Ireland’s fastest growing online consumer brands.

Mark Hackett

mark-hackett-pic[1]Mark Hackett is an architect and a director in the urban group Forum for Alternative Belfast. The Forum aims to progress urban design with social purpose, reconnecting the city in a more equable manner. In 2012 Forum exhibited at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale.

 In 2011 he wound up his interest in former practice Hackett Hall McKnight after receiving philanthropic funding to progress the work of the Forum. His previous practice completed the MAC arts centre in Belfast. In 2008 they won the UK/Ireland Young Architect of the Year Award and the MAC has won a number of national awards including the Architectural Association of Ireland (AAI) premier award, the Downes Metal.

mark hackett pic mark hackett pic[1]mark hackett pic

Mayor Martin J. Walsh martinjwalsh-headshotMayor Martin J. Walsh, an accomplished advocate for working people and a proud product of the City of Boston, was sworn in as the City’s 54th Mayor on January 6, 2014. With a commitment to community, equality and opportunity for every resident and neighborhood, Mayor Walsh has the record, skills and passion to move Boston forward. In all his endeavors, Mayor Walsh has become known as someone whose word is his bond. In April 1997, at the age of 29, Mayor Walsh won election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, representing the 13th Suffolk District in Boston, which ranks among the most diverse in the state. During his 16 years in the House, Mayor Walsh established himself as a leader on creating and protecting jobs and growing the economy. He authored landmark public construction law reforms that increased flexibility and accountability, helped pass transit-oriented mixed-use “smart growth district” legislation, and was a strong supporter of infrastructure and zoning improvements. During the state fiscal crisis, he was a key broker in compromise legislation giving municipalities more tools to negotiate substantial savings on health insurance benefits while protecting the rights of hardworking people to receive the decent pay and benefits they have earned. A co-founder and former board member of the Neighborhood House Public Charter School, Mayor Walsh has long been an aggressive advocate for strong public schools. In the Legislature, he fought for annual funding for alternative schools and helped pass a law that allows the city to transform underperforming schools into pilot, magnet and in-district charter schools.  A champion for civil rights, Mayor Walsh was a vocal early advocate for marriage equality, which he calls his proudest vote ever as a state lawmaker, and he compiled a strong record in support of communities of color, immigrants, seniors and all the people of our city and state. He also became known as the State House leader on substance abuse and recovery issues. Rising up through the leadership of his Laborers Local 223 union, Mayor Walsh eventually served for two years, 2011 to 2013, as head of the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District, where he worked with business and community leaders and city officials to promote high quality development and new jobs for the city. In partnership with the Boston Housing Authority, he created Building Pathways, a pre-apprentice program connecting building trades jobs and opportunities with those traditionally underrepresented in the industry, mainly women and people of color. Mayor Walsh’s parents both emigrated from Ireland in the 1950s and came to Boston. John and Mary Walsh married and settled in a home on Taft Street in St. Margaret’s Parish, Dorchester, where they raised their two sons, Marty and Johnny, and where Mayor Walsh’s mother still lives. At age seven, Mayor Walsh survived a bout of Burkett’s lymphoma, a form of childhood cancer, thanks in part to experimental treatments and extraordinary care he received at Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. After attending St. Margaret’s School in Dorchester and Newman Prep High School, Mayor Walsh followed in his father’s footsteps to become a union laborer, working his first job at the age of 18 at Commonwealth Pier (now known as the World Trade Center) on the South Boston waterfront. Mayor Walsh lives on Tuttle Street in Dorchester and is a graduate of Boston College. He shares his life with his longtime partner, Lorrie Higgins, and her daughter, Lauren.

Michael Black General Manager (Belfast Site), Intel Corporation

Michael-BlackMichael Black, former Chair of Chartered Accountants Ireland (Ulster Society), has worked in the high tech industry for 14 years, initially with BCO Technologies plc where he was CFO and Managing Director before its sale to Analog Devices in August 2000. Michael was Chief Financial Officer with Belfast based Aepona and oversaw its successful acquisition by Intel Corporation in 2013. Michael is also a non-executive director of 4 other Irish software companies, Consilium Technologies, BiznetIIS, Titan IC Systems Ltd and Bluechip Technologies. In a voluntary capacity Michael is also Chairman of Craigavon Industrial Development Organisation, a business incubator in Northern Ireland.

Mervyn Greene

Mervyn Greene is working with Ulsterman Neville Isdell to re-develop the iconic 1820’s CHQ Building in the IFSC within Dublin DocklanMG WPPds – one of the four key strategies is a visitor attraction themed on the Irish Diaspora.  Mervyn is originally from Zambia, was educated in Ireland and graduated from Trinity College Dublin with degrees in Mathematics and Engineering.  His early career was spent with Morgan Stanley in both New York and London where he added a London Business School MBA to his cv.  Over the past 20 years he has been a principal and co-founder of a number of venture capital, private equity and listed public businesses including significant businesses in stockbroking and investment banking, hedge funds, technology, business services, uranium exploration and development and most recently property development.   He, his wife and young family returned to Ireland ten years ago and live in Kinsale, Co. Cork.

Monica Culbert

Long time volunteer with project children is a retired school principal, was a non executive director of the Royal Hospital, is presently a member of the Lay Care Panel and an independent member of the appeal panel of the victims and survivors commission. Monica Culbert is also the first lady chairperson of St Gall’s GAC in Belfast.

Project Children began in 1974 when a man Called Denis Mulcahy and his brother Pat, originally from Cork, but then members of the NYPD, raised funds to bring 6 children from our community  to America for six weeks in the Summer.  The children had a chance to live in a different culture and parents felt they were giving their children “a chance of a lifetime”.

Monica became involved in Project Children in 1978, helping select children for the trip and gradually as the years progressed Monica took over the local organisation of Project Children, with a small number of other volunteers.   Monica helped develop our final programme.

The Project Children Internship programme is for third level students. The students do a work placement for 8 weeks in the area of their university study in America.  Our students donate the first week of their internship to building houses for Habitat for Humanity.  Many prominent people have benefited from our internships.

Nikki Johnston Nikki Johnston is a mother of 3 children and working for Belfast South Community Resources in Sandy Row. As a Project Co-ordinator her role is to assist in promoting & supporting the delivery of the Neighbourhood Renewal Agenda for Change within the south west Belfast area and help to develop opportunities that enable individuals and groups to bond, bridge and work with others to build a positive post-conflict sustainable society. Belfast South Community Resources run a variety of projects within the local area that include training & development, cross community, youth intervention and physical renewal ‘From personal experience I know what it is to leave school with no qualifications and have the choices made at a very young age influence the types of opportunities open to me throughout my life. I understand the difficulties young mothers face raising children on a shoestring with very little job prospects.  I have been lucky that in that I was able to take advantage of the opportunities that BSCR gave to me and I was able to progress from a student at their I.T. Centre to a position of management within BSCR.  As a result I have a special interest in young people and their educational aspirations. I have developed the After School Study Support Club as a means of trying to redress underachievement in areas like Sandy Row’.

Nichola Mallon, Lord Mayor of Belfast Education Mercy Primary School, Crumlin Road, Belfast, St Dominic’s High School, Falls Road, Trinity College, Dublin: Graduated with a BA (Hons) in EconomNicolaMics and Politics and Queen’s University, Belfast: MA in Comparative Ethnic Conflict. Previous Employment – SDLP Policy and Press Unit, Special Adviser to current devolved Assembly Minister Environment Minister Mark H Durkan. Electoral career – In 2010, co-opted on to Belfast City Council to replace Alban Maginness MLA, Elected in May 2011 to Belfast City Council and Elected in May 2014 to Belfast District Council – new council to operate initially in shadow form until taking over from current council in April 2015 with increased geographical area and more powers due to Local Government Reform. Councillor Mallon has set out her aims as follows: Be a Lord Mayor for everyone and take the role out into people’s lives – their homes, communities and businesses – and improve the relationship between the council and citizens, especially our forgotten citizens who feel invisible in our city.  Celebrate and showcase Belfast’s heroes, who she regards to be Belfast true First Citizens and says they deserve recognition. The includes coaches, mentors, carers, volunteers – all those who give compassionately and selflessly, with little recognition, to their communities. Help create a city of employment. Build on the good work underway to promote Belfast as a great city to locate businesses. Particularly keen on supporting and promoting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) both in the city centre and right across all parts of Belfast as she regards them as the backbone to a successful city economy.  Build on the growing image of Belfast as a city of enjoyment. She aims to build on the legacy of a number of outstanding events held recently in the city – the MTV awards, the World Police and Fire Games, the Giro d’Italia. Her aim is to create more events within the city that bring people together, encourage them to be active and simply have fun.

Nisha Tandon

Nisha is the executive director of ArtsEkta – one of the only organisations on the island of Ireland promoting ethnic arts, culture and heritage. She foundeNishad this organisation in 2006 following two decades of experience in the arts and after discovering a critical gap for quality ethnic arts engagement in the sector. She holds a degree from the National School of Drama in New Delhi and is a trained Bharatanatyam Indian classical dancer. Nisha is a member of the executive board of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland – the regional development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland, and is also a member of the Intercultural Arts Steering Group which oversees the implementation of the Intercultural Arts Strategy developed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. In addition, she is also a non-executive director of Cahoots NI Theatre Company, member of UTV Regional Advisory Board, member of Belfast City Council’s Festival Forum strategy sub group and member of the European Mela Network. Nisha is a founding member of ‘Stronger Together’, a collaboration of organisations working in the field of racial equality to support an integrated community development approach to tackling racism, promoting good relations, sharing & exchanging information, experience and knowledge towards achieving rights based interdependent integration.

From 2002-2005, she was the driving force behind the development of the Indian Community Centre, leading the integration of the Indian community through creating a regional hub for Indian arts, culture and heritage, and in 2007 initiated Northern Ireland’s first multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary arts festival Belfast Mela now attracting annual audiences of up to 30,000 people. At the early stages of her career, she worked across different roles in the private sector and as a freelance artist. Over the last seven years she has developed ArtsEkta from a voluntary initiative run from her home to Northern Ireland’s leading and most recognised ethnic arts, culture and heritage organisation. In June 2014, Nisha was the first Asian women from Northern Ireland to be awarded the prestigious UK Asian Women of Achievement Award for contribution to arts and culture, and later that month was awarded an OBE for services to the minority ethnic sector in the 2014 Queen’s Honours List.

Nuala Ní Néill  Nuala Ní Néill attended both Bunscoil Phobal Feirste and Méanscoil Feirste (now Cólaiste Feirste) after returning to West Belfast from Toronto with her family iNuala O Neilln the early 1980’s. After leaving school she worked extensively as an actress with roles in both English and Irish language film, television, radio and theatre productions. Because of this body of work she was asked by An Cultúrlann in 2008 to take a weekly drama class.  Working with An Cultúrlann the class has grown into Aisling Óg, an Irish language children’s drama school, currently with a membership of 44 children.  Aisling Óg now offers classes in drama, dance, set lighting and costumes design and singing to children ranging in age from 4 to 15 years and with a staff of 4. Nuala O Neill In recent times she has been involved in script writing, as part of a team, for “An Aisling” – an Irish Language Comedy sketch show and “Caoimhe agus Cuairt ag Meán Oíche” – a full length children’s show and  has written “Na Fadgies” – a site specific story of the a thriving urban Gaeltacht in Belfast City Centre in the 1800’s. She worked as Irish Language Development Officer in Croí Éanna, Glengormley for two years as part of the Foras na Gaeilge Scéim Pobal Gaeilge project and was part of the group setting up Cumann Óige Chroí Éanna (Youth club) now in its fourth year. She has most recently developed drama sessions for the Early Years working with Young At Art which have been compiled into a resource book for Early Years teachers and practitioners. At present Nuala is in the process of opening “Teach Mhamó” a purpose built childcare facility in West Belfast offering care for up to 50 chldren aged 0-5 years.

Patricia O’Hagan Patricia was born in Belfast and has a degree in Engineering. She has almost 20 years’ experience in the IT industry – with previous employers including Harland & Wolff, CEM, Gardner Merchant and Stockport College. Patricia joined Core Systems in 1998 and as the company has grown over the last 15 years, Patricia’s role has evolved and she is now CEO of Core Systems.patricia-ohagan Patricia is an international speaker on Corrections Technology and has been invited to present at industry forums including the ACA Congress (American Corrections Association) and at the UK Home Office.  Since 2011 Patricia became a member of the American Correction Technology Committee, ADS (Aerospace, Defence and Security) NI Council and of late appointed Chair of ADS NI Defence and Security Special Interest Group (NIDSSIG).  Since 2011 she has served on the Economic Advisory Group (EAG), providing independent advice to the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. Patricia has won many awards and accolades since joining Core Systems, including the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist 2008, Institute of Directors, Northern Ireland SME Director of the Year, 2010 (NI Regional Winner), Highly Commended in the Institute of Directors, Director of the Year Award, 2010 (National), earned Best Exporter Award, in the Women in Business awards 2012. More recently Patricia was named Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year 2013 by Women in Business NI and was also awarded an MBE in the 2013 Royal New Year Honours list for services to the Northern Ireland Economy.

Peter McKittrick

Public Affairs Specialist ~ Northern Ireland, U.S. Consulate Belfast

Peter McKittrickPeter McKittrick oversees the public diplomacy function for the U.S. Department of State in Northern Ireland.  He has oversight for exchange programs, cultural initiatives, grants and speaker programs, as well as other initiatives that augment international connections or develop awareness of U.S. foreign policies.   His role has involved the management of high-level events at home and abroad, including Presidential/State visits, G8/G20 summits, and rapid-response work overseas in the physical evacuation of American citizens.

He provides strategic direction to a number of management boards run by the British Council, the International Fund for Ireland, Belfast City Council, and the Federal Executive Institute.  In addition, he sits on a number of selection panels for international exchange initiatives such as the Washington Ireland Program and the Irish Institute at Boston College.

A graduate in Tourism from the University of Northumbria in England, Peter has previously occupied roles in the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and in local government.  He also holds an MSc with Distinction in Political Communication and Public Affairs.   Born and bred in County Armagh , he is married with two young children.

Rachael McGuickin – Director of Business Tourism, Visit Belfast

Rachael McGuickin is Director of Business Tourism for Visit Belfast and is responsible for promoting Belfast internationally as a leading conferencRMcGuickin H&Se and meetings destination. She has spearheaded the recent aggressive growth strategy for business tourism in the city which has resulted in 150% increase in sales in just 3 years. This year, her Visit Belfast team are on track to win major international conferences and meetings for the city worth £40m in economic impact, on a par with cities double its size.

 Rachael’s team at Visit Belfast is now recognised as one of the leading business tourism team in the UK  – awarded the overall ‘Marketing Team of the Year’ at the prestigious M&IT Meetings Industry Marketing Awards in 2013 as well as ‘Best UK Conference and Incentive City Destination for 2013’ at the C&IT awards. Her team has been shortlisted again for this years upcoming awards as a finalist for ‘Destination Marketing Team of the Year’ in 2014 alongside ‘tier 1’ cities such as London and Rotterdam.

Prior to joining Visit Belfast, Rachael held senior sales and marketing roles for BT PLC in London and with the all-island trade and business development agency,

RICHARD M. O’MEARA, PhD, JD Richard M. O’Meara is a retired Brigadier General, USA, and a Professor of Global and Homeland Security Affairs. He has received a PhD in Global Affairs from Rutgers UniveRichard O'Meararsity and a Juris Doctorate from Fordham University. He has also received two Masters Degrees in History and International Affairs and graduated from the US Army War College and the Command and General Staff College amongst other schools. He presently teaches in the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University and has developed and taught in the first Homeland Security Studies Program in New Jersey. In the days and months following 9/11, O’Meara worked as an EMT and Red Cross Responder at the World Trade Center Site. His interests are reflected in courses he has taught and developed over the years at various institutions including War, Genocide, and International Law, Nationalism and Ethnic Violence, Intelligence Law and  Function, US Security Interests in Sub-Saharan Africa, US Security Interests in the North Pacific, Human Rights Law and Practice, Nuremberg: the Trial and It’s Legacy for the International Legal Community,  and The American Way of War. As an Adjunct Faculty member of the Defense Institute for International Legal Studies, O’Meara has traveled to such diverse locations as Moldova, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine, Slovenia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Peru, El Salvador, Panama, Guinea, Rwanda, Chad, Sierra Leone and Iraq where he has taught rule of law and governance issues to civil and military stakeholders and helped to develop programs designed to strengthen constructive relationships between members of civil and military society. As a Fellow in the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership, United States Naval Academy, O’Meara worked with colleagues towards the adaption of military ethics to emerging technologies and he has written and presented widely in the area of the use of robotics and other technologies as tools of war. He continues this work as a member of CETMONS, Consortium for Emerging Technologies, Military Operations and National Security, The International Society for Military Ethics, the International Association of Genocide Scholars and CIVIC, Campaign for Innocent Civilians in Conflict. O’Meara is particularly interested in the development of short and long-term curricula for presentation throughout the world in order to bind various elements of developing nations into strong workable organizations capable of directing resources in constructive ways.

Richard Wakely

Richard is the current Director of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, the next edition of which opens on 16th October 2014. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Dance Ireland and the founder and co-curator of an annual season of new contemporary dance from Ireland at Dance Base as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and in association with Culture Ireland. Previous posts include Commissioner for the China–Ireland Cultural Exchange Programme for the Irish Government, Managing Director of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and General Manager of Hampstead Theatre, London.  Between these latter two theatres he transferred, produced and co-produced 18 productions into London’s West End and on commercial tours of the UK including for the Abbey Theatre, Dolly West’s Kitchen by Frank McGuinness and for Hampstead Theatre, Burn This by Lanford Wilson (with John Malkovich), Dead Funny by Terry Johnson (with Zoe Wanamaker) and Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuinness (also Broadway, New York). In recent years he has mixed arts management consultancy for Arts Councils, Governments and arts practitioners with a variety of producing and presenting engagements including curating stage programmes for two European Capital of Culture (Cork 2005 and Liverpool 2008).

Dr. Raied Al-Wazzan

Dr-Raied-Al-Wazzan-2Dr. Raied Al-Wazzan is originally from Mosul / Iraq. He has been living in NI since 1990. Raied holds MSc and PhD from Queen’s University of Belfast 1991 and 1996. Raied is working as Senior Scientist in the Research and Development department at Andor Technology in Belfast since 1996 and developed high-tech scientific digital cameras. Raied has also represented Andor to several trade missions with Invest NI to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE and China.

Raied is also representing Muslim Community of Northern Ireland and leading a new project to build the first Islamic cultural centre in Northern Ireland. He is currently the Treasurer and the spokesman of the Belfast Islamic centre.

Richard Ramsey

Richard Ramsey is the NI Economist at Ulster Bank with responsibility for providingRichard analysis and commentary on all aspects of the NI economy including financial markets.  Before joining Ulster Bank, Richard spent 10 years in the public sector – including spells as Principal Economist at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and with Invest NI. He also held a number of economist posts within the Department of Finance & Personnel.  Prior to that, Richard is a  graduate of Loughborough University with a BSc in Economics & Human Geography and an MSc in European Economics and Finance. Richard has recently been appointed to the Department of Finance and Personnel Ministerial Advisory Council on Public Sector Reform and is a member of the Department of Finance and Personnel Statistical Advisory Committee.

Rita Duffy

Unknown-9Rita Duffy is one of Irelands leading artists; she maintained an art practice in Belfast for 27 years. Over this time she devised works for galleries and the built environment, gaining a broad range of experience and awards for her collaborative projects. Rita Duffy’s work addresses issues of Irish identity, history, and politics, and is often autobiographical.

Symbolism, and a strong connection to the figurative/narrative tradition, characterises her work stylistically. Her work has examined elements of a post-colonial condition and her socially engaged practice continues to explore particular local and international issues. Her work is featured in “Women War Artists” a major publication and joint project between the Tate Modern and the Imperial War Museum London. She was granted a Leverhulme Fellowship in 2010 in conjunction with the Transitional Justice Institute at the University of Ulster. Her work is represented in numerous public collections in Ireland and beyond.

 She recently relocated her studio practice to the border area between the north and south of Ireland, and is embarking on developments with her Thaw Factory project with her usual energy and enthusiasm.

Russell Smith RussellA Columbia Law School graduate and former partner at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, Russell Smith has over 28 years of experience in counseling and representing corporate and individual clients, especially in the film and television industry.  In addition to helping manage SmithDehn LLP, Russell is CEO of Social Construct Media, overseeing international film and television development, financing, production and sales. In his capacity as a lawyer, Russell has been among the counsel of choice for countless feature films and television series, performing transactional, compliance, and other problem-solving work for broadcast networks, motion picture studios, and television/film production companies, from Hollywood to New York, London, Dublin, and Mumbai. Russell also has handled trials and/or appeals in dozens of federal and state courts across the United States, including cases in New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi and Ohio. Most recently, Russell has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster Law School in Northern Ireland, where he has been teaching an innovative course in the business and law of film and television, together with the heads of the legal departments of his clients HBO and Channel 4.  In his “time off,” Russell has enjoyed hiking in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and trekking in the Himalayas.

Stephen MorrowStephen Morrow

Stephen is SVP, Global Head of Account Management for Options Technology; the leading managed services provider to the global capital markets industry. Prior to joining Options Stephen has served in a number of management roles with Belfast-based investment firm, Lough Shore Investments, Silicon Valley-based desktop virtualization startup, WorldDesk and the New York Stock Exchange.  In 2012 Stephen was an investor and Executive Producer on the Academy Award winning short film, THE SHORE, shot entirely in Northern Ireland.

Sammy Douglas, MLA Sammy is a well-known figure in East Belfast, having extensive experience working with a wide range of community, voluntary and church groups in the courlnstituency.  Sammy is a founding member of the East Belfast Interface Group where he worked to address community conflict and encourage dialogue between unionists and nationalists living in those interface areas. Sammy was successfully elected to represent the people of East Belfast at the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2011.  He is currently a member of the Employment & Learning Committee and a member of the Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee. Sammy also represents the Party on the: • Assembly All Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals • Assembly All Party Group on Ethnic Minority Communities • Assembly All Party Group on Community and Voluntary Sector.

Stewart Matthews

First Secretary and Head of Administration

StewartStewart Matthews was appointed as First Secretary and Head of Administration at the Northern Ireland Bureau in October 2012. Stewart’s primary role includes helping Northern Ireland Departments and Ministers by promoting NI interests in the US and Canada and building relationships of mutual benefit. He also monitors policy developments in the US and Canada and supports inward visits by Ministers and officials as well as visits to Northern Ireland by American and Canadian contacts. Stewart also has responsibility for heading up the Bureau’s administration arrangements, including business planning and corporate governance.

Before taking up post in Washington, Stewart worked in the Department for Regional Development (DRD) as Head of its Strategic Planning Branch, providing direct support to the Permanent Secretary and Departmental Board on business planning, performance management, corporate governance and risk management issues. Stewart previously worked in a range of other posts in DRD.

His prior responsibilities have included developing the primary legislation that established NI Water as a Government owned company, developing NI’s first Regional Transportation Strategy and serving as Private Secretary to three Minsters, including the current First Minister Rt Hon Peter Robinson MLA. Originally from Newtownards, Co Down, Stewart attended the University of Cambridge (Trinity Hall) where he earned MA and MEng Honors degrees in Chemical Engineering. He then worked in London within the Scientific Services Division of Sainsbury’s (one of the UK’s leading retailers). Subsequently he worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Ulster’s Engineering Composites Research Center before joining the NI Civil Service in 1999.

Stewart now lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with his wife Suzanne, a medical doctor, and their two children.

Steve Lenox 

Steve Lenox serves as Senior Vice President for William Fry, one of Ireland’s most recognized and respected law firms. In this role Steve is responsible for raising the imgres-1firm’s profile in the US and supporting their efforts to assist corporations seeking business in and through Ireland.

Steve is also the Founder and President of Lenox Consulting, a US and Ireland based strategic communications consulting firm. Lenox Consulting represents a variety of clients, providing business development, public affairs, media relations and political consulting services.

Prior to this, Steve served as State Director to New Jersey’s senior US Senator, Frank R. Lautenberg, where he was responsible for managing all aspects of the Senator’s offices in New Jersey. Steve’s background also includes three and a half years as legislative affairs coordinator for the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, as well as in leadership positions with the Office of New Jersey State Senator Linda Greenstein and the Administration of New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill.

In 2011 Steve was elected to serve as President of Irish Network USA, the umbrella organization for 19 chapters and more than 3,500 members across the United States, providing a vehicle and resource for Irish, Irish-Americans, and friends of Ireland to join together with common interests. Irish Network USA has a broad tent under which business, arts, culture, music, politics, foreign policy, and language can be highlighted to bolster relationships between the Ireland and US.  A dual citizen, Steve has also built an extensive network of government and business leaders in Ireland, where his wife Aoife owns and manages a successful small business and they are raising their 3 sons, Conor, Cian and Dylan.

Tom Gray – CTO, Kainos

Tom is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Head of Innovation at Kainos, responsible for advising clients on Healthcare IT, Enterprise Architecture and ApTom Grayplied Technology.

 Tom is a 25-year tech veteran, and is the driving force behind many of Kainos’s most imaginative and successful customer and staff initiatives, including Kainos AppCamp. This year, Tom was also instrumental in the creation of Northern Ireland’s premier technology conference, BelTech.

 Tom joined Kainos in 1990 as a Software Engineer and, subsequently took on roles in Support, Pre-Sales and Solution Architecture before being appointed CTO in 2005. Tom has recently joined the Board of MATRIX as Vice Chairman. He is also Chairman of the University of Ulster Industrial Liaison Board, and is a member of the Industry Board of Manchester Connected Health.

Tony McCusker Tony McCusker was born and educated in Portadown, and served in a number of Government Departments including the former Northern Ireland Assembly and the Departments of TonyMCCHealth and Education and Environment. He was one of the founding members of the Central Community Relations Unit before joining Making Belfast Work in 1993. As Director of Making Belfast Work, Tony led a Government initiative on urban regeneration tasked with the economic, social and environmental regeneration of the most disadvantaged parts of Belfast. In 1997/98 he was Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Environment with policy responsibility for a wide range of public services including Water, Transport issues, Road Safety and the Fire Authority. In February 1998 he was appointed as Director (Political Co-Ordination and Support) in Central Secretariat which supported the work of Northern Ireland Departments and its links with the Northern Ireland Office. He was involved in the negotiations to establish the new devolved administration in Northern Ireland and implementing other elements of the Good Friday Agreement. He was Director in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister with responsibility for the Executive Secretariat and Corporate Services from December 1999 to January 2002. He joined the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as Deputy Secretary on 14 January 2002 and was responsible for the Department’s Policy Group. He led the 2003 Common Agriculture Policy negotiations for NI and represented DARD regularly at UK and EU strategy meetings on agri-food, rural issues, the environment and fisheries. Tony retired from the Northern Ireland Civil Service on 30 August 2005 and since then has undertaken a wide range of advisory work in Northern Ireland and in several European countries. He was until recently the Chairman of the NI Community Relations Council and is chair of the Rural Development Council and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.

Timothy Brundle

Tim is the Director of Research & Innovation at the University of Ulster, with responsibility for Ulster’s research portfolio and commercial output including research strategy and policy, consultancy, knowledge transfer, intellectual property licensing, technology commercialisation and establishment of spin out companies, and is also the CEO of Innovation Ulster Ltd, Ulster’s award-winning technology venturing and investment company. Between April 2007 and March 2014 Tim served as a Board member of Invest NI, Northern Ireland’s economic development body, and is currently a member of the Northern Ireland’s science-industry panel, MATRIX.

Trevor Annon Chairman, The Mount Charles Group Trevor Annon is Founder and Chairman of the Mount Charles Group, Ireland’s largest indigenous catering and business support services provider.Trevor Annon Trevor founded the business in 1988. He had been working for two of the major multi national catering companies that dominated the NI market, and recognised that a gap existed for a locally owned contract caterer to compete and take a share of the work.  It was a highly competitive market but despite this, Trevor was successful in winning several lucrative contracts in his first few months of operation, demonstrating how ambition can become reality through hard work and commitment. While the Mount Charles Group was conceived as a contract catering company, with Trevor at the helm it has evolved to become a multi service provider, now offering cleaning, facilities management, vending and retail catering as well as the traditional contract catering to businesses from a range of industry sectors. With a reputation for excellence and quality of service, the business now retains contracts with some of Ireland’s best known organisations. Now employing around 1600 people, in 2014 the Mount Charles Group was named one of Ireland’s ‘Best Managed’ companies in the Deloitte Best Managed Companies Awards Programme for the fourth year in a row. In 2013 after 25 successful years in business, Trevor moved from the role of Managing Director to that of Chairman. He was a board member of the Irish Football Association for eight years until his recent appointment as Chairman of the Stadium Development Company to create a National Football Stadium for Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

Xabier Paya Donostia/San Sebastian 2016 European Capital of Culture Bilbao, 1982 Translator, improviser, musician and researcher. He has carried out the following postgraduate studies: Expert in Transmission of the Basque CultXabierure at the University of Mondragón, Basque Studies in Asmoz Foundation, Master of Multimedia Communication at the University of the Basque Country and Master in European Modern Cultures at the University Birmingham. He is fluent in Basque, Spanish, English and French and has basic knowledge of Arabic and German. Former lecturer in the United Kingdom (University of Birmingham), France (Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour) and the Basque Country (Universidad de Mondragón), he has also worked as a screenwriter and collaborated for various media. He recently published Anthology of Basque Oral Literature in three languages, and has translated into Basque relevant literary works such as A Streetcar Named Desire or Life is A Dream. He became Interim Program Director of Donostia/San Sebastian 2016 European Capital of Culture the 1st April 2014.


Wendy Langham WendyLanghamWendy Langham is the Programme Manager for the £40m Connswater Community Greenway project, which she has been leading on behalf of the Partnership since September 2005. She has been working with the East Belfast Partnership (EBP) since it was formed in 1996 and has been involved in the delivery of the Partnership’s Physical and Economic regeneration strategy, including the establishment of the Partnership’s property development company Landmark East. Prior to joining the Partnership, Wendy worked in London on an environmental improvement scheme on the South Bank of the River Thames. She was seconded to this role by HSBC where she worked for 5 years as a bank manager. Wendy studied Economics at Manchester Metropolitan University and is a PRINCE2 Practitioner. She is a Governor of the Belfast Metropolitan College and a Trustee of the Odyssey Trust Company.

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