Golden Bridges Boston 2019 Speakers
Andrew O’Brien is Executive Vice President and Managing Director at Burson Cohn & Wolfe. In this capacity, O’Brien serves as lead for the firm’s business in Boston and throughout the Northeast region. O’Brien works with a variety of corporate clients and specializes in a number of functions, including public affairs, crisis communications, strategic counsel, executive visibility and thought leadership.
Immediately prior to entering the private sector in 2016, O’Brien served as Secretary John Kerry’s Special Representative for Global Partnerships at the US Department of State. Under O’Brien’s leadership and with the engagement of a cross-section of private companies and NGO’s, the Office of Global Partnerships played a major role in the US Water Partnership, the Secretary’s Our Oceans Conference, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and the US response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa in 2014. Throughout the course of his tenure at State, O’Brien joined a leadership team which leveraged over $800 million in public and private resources with over 1600 partners around the world.
Prior to his service at the Department of State, O’Brien held several positions in public service including State Director and Senior Advisor to US Senator John Kerry, Special Assistant to Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston, Executive Director of Mayor Menino’s Office of Neighborhood Services, Special Assistant to the Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Chief of Staff to the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission and Deputy Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston.
O’Brien has also worked on numerous political campaigns at the local, state and national levels throughout his career, including in several capacities during John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, as well as at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Additionally, he has lectured on politics and government at colleges and universities in Massachusetts and throughout the country. In 2007, O’Brien was named one of the city’s “Ten Outstanding Young Leaders” by the Boston Jaycees and in 2009 he was named one of Massachusetts’ “Top Ten Political Operatives” by Campaigns and Elections Magazine. O’Brien was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of Massachusetts Medical School for work in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake and in January of 2017, he was presented with the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award by Secretary Kerry.
Andrew O’Brien holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Northeastern University.
Art McCabe (J.D., MBA) is a retired attorney residing in Andover Ma. For the approximately 30 years, he has been a strong supporter of goal of enhancing the quality of life and democracy in the North of Ireland and the Border Counties. He was especially active from the early 90’s to 2008. He was instrumental in assisting Massport in opening its first Irish international trade office in Derry to serve all of Ireland. Other contributions include serving as an advisor to Congressman Marty Meehan on matters relating to the peace process and economic development in the North, participating in the early US department of Commerce trade missions to the North, leading numerous public and private trade missions between the North and the US, being a member of a select “working group” advising the newly established Stormont Ministries on public private partnerships and bond financing for infrastructure projects, facilitating bringing the landmark theatrical production of Binlids from West Belfast to NYC for a successful 3 week run and serving as a member of the West Belfast/Greater Shankill Enterprise Council which developed the successful blueprint for the regeneration of West Belfast/Greater Shankill Regeneration plan. He maintains a strong affection for the people of the North and is blessed by enduring friendships developed over the years.
35 years’ experience in the Travel Industry serving both Tourism Ireland and Aer Lingus in a variety of management positions in several overseas markets.
Position: Vice President Marketing – USA / Tourism Ireland (New York) 2013 -Present
Position: Manager Southern Europe / Tourism Ireland (Paris) 2008 – 2013
Responsible for Tourism Ireland’s Marketing Operations for France, Spain and Italy.
Manager Northern Europe / Tourism Ireland: (Brussels) 2004-2008
Responsible for Tourism Ireland’s Marketing Operations in the Benelux and Nordic Countries.
Manager Australia & New Zealand: Tourism Ireland (Sydney) 1998-2004
I was charged with developing the commercial distribution of the Irish tourism product throughout Australia and New Zealand along with project work in South East Asia.
Marketing Manager North East USA: Irish Tourist Board (New York) 1997-1998
Ensuring all investment in Media, Business Tourism and distribution opportunities were optimal and in line with corporate objectives.
Passenger Sales Manager USA & Canada: Aer Lingus (New York) 1992-1997
I assumed responsibility for the marketing and sales budgets for North America whilst managing the sales force operations of our offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.
Passenger Sales Manager West Coast: Aer Lingus (Los Angeles) 1989-1992
I opened and managed the Aer Lingus office in Los Angeles in preparation for direct services from Ireland.
Booking Office Manager: Aer Lingus (London) 1987-1989
Aer Lingus Travel Shop, Regent Street, London.
Aer Lingus Dublin 1979-1987
Ground Operations, Passenger Services and Customer Relations,
Education: Graduateship in Marketing M.M.I.I. (Grad) (Marketing Institute of Ireland)
Catriona is Director for Global Engagement at Ulster University, where she has responsibility for providing professional leadership for the University’s Global Engagement Strategy, managing its delivery and related stakeholder engagement. Catriona has spent 17 years working in the internationalisation of Higher Education, having held roles at both Heriot-Watt University and the University of Aberdeen, as well as serving as Deputy Director International at the University of Edinburgh. She holds an MA in History and Literature, as well as a professional qualifications in marketing and project management.
David Latimer grew up in a quiet rural County Down town in Northern Ireland. After leaving school he worked for a number of years as a Systems Analyst in Belfast. In 1979 David quit his job to begin studying for the ordained ministry. In 1988 the united congregations of First Derry Presbyterian Church, in the historic city of Londonderry, and Monreagh Presbyterian Church, in county Donegal, invited David to become their minister.
In addition to his pastoral work, both in Derry and Donegal, David has served thirty years as a Reserve Chaplain with the British Army. During the second half of 2008 he was deployed to Afghanistan where he was appointed Hospital Chaplain in Camp Bastion. Since returning home David has tirelessly devoted himself to peace-building particularly amongst the young. He is currently leading a bridge-building initiative involving over four hundred schools and colleges.
David is renowned for the remarkable friendship he forged with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness. Their bumpy journey is recounted in a new book entitled ‘A Leap of Faith.’
David is married to Margaret and has three grown up daughters and five grandchildren. In his spare time he enjoys working in his garden.
Dave McLaughlin serves as WeWork’s General Manager for the Atlantic territory, responsible for overall business performance in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Tri-State. Since joining WeWork in 2015, Dave has opened and overseen multiple North American markets. Prior to WeWork, Dave was CEO and Co-Founder of Vsnap, a video messaging startup (acquired by Gainsight). Dave was also Co-Founder and VP Business Development of Fig, a mobile payments startup (acquired by PayPal). Dave is an award-winning screenwriter and film director. He is a graduate of Boston College, and he lives in the Boston area with his wife and their two sons.
Gabriel Reid is a second-year Media Arts & Screen Studies student at Northeastern University in Boston. He is originally from Olathe, Kansas and came to study film in Boston after participating in a New York Film Academy intensive held at Harvard University in 2017. In 2019, during the summer of his first-year, Gabriel participated in Michael Patrick MacDonald’s Dialogue Of Civilizations: Storytelling, Landscape, & Contested Identities in The North of Ireland. During his time abroad he filmed a documentary short subject on the Murals of Derry and Belfast and is currently working on a series of travel vlogs from the trip. To Gabriel, the trip was an incredibly impactful experience and has broadened his vision of how public art, writing, and stories can have a positive influence in a community. Gabriel is excited to share his experiences at The Golden Bridges Conference and be part of the conversation in Boston’s relationship with the Northwest of Ireland.
Gareth Doherty is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the Master in Landscape Architecture program at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Doherty’s research and teaching focus on the intersections between landscape architecture and anthropology and on the relationship between people and the landscapes they inhabit and make. Doherty’s recent research projects have centered on various sites across the postcolonial and Islamic worlds, specifically in the Arabian peninsula, West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Ireland and the UK.
Doherty is principal investigator on a research project, “Atlas for a City-Region: Imagining the Post-Brexit Landscapes of the Irish Northwest,” sponsored by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council. The project is based in the Critical Landscapes Design Lab, which Doherty leads. In 2019, Doherty taught a design studio at Harvard, together with Professor Niall Kirkwood, on “Field Work: Brexit, Borders, and a New-City Region for the Irish Northwest.”
Garry Martin has taken up the role as Director of Economic Development and Global Engagement with Donegal County Council in May 2018. This brief includes development of strategic economic infrastructure, corporate client support and investment, interventions to support innovation, development of the tourism product and marketing offer in Donegal and the maximising of the Donegal Diaspora as part of a newly structured Directorate within the Council.
Garry has previously held the role of Director of Finance, Director of Emergency Services and Director of Information Systems within Donegal County Council and is, additionally, the designated Director of the Donegal Municipal District.
He held the finance position in Donegal from January 2010 until May 2018 and has worked both locally and more recently, nationally, (as president of the Heads of Finance Association) in leading and developing financial responses to strategic issues challenging both the Council locally and the sector nationally across a range of areas.
These include the financial modelling for Donegal County Council post 2010 and, during 2016 and continuing through to May 2018, leading in the development of a range of sectoral responses dealing with a range of acute financial matters facing local government and more recently in exploring challenges deriving from the continuing Irish Water transition and the implications for the local government sector arising from same.
Garry is a qualified Chartered Public Finance Accountant, holds a Master of Science Degree (with distinction) in International Business and also holds an Advanced Certificate in Business Counselling from Durham University Business School.
Garry has previous experience in the Economic and Cultural Development sector, working variously as an Assistant Chief Executive with the County Enterprise Board in Donegal during the period 1995 – 2000 and as a Senior Executive Officer (SEO) with Donegal County Council in the Community and Enterprise Area from 2000 – 2009.
During that time he has worked with numerous small businesses in County Donegal and, subsequently as SEO, developed a range of programmes including a number under the PEACE II Programme, INTERREG IIIA and specific initiatives revolving around economic development, capital infrastructure development in areas such as tourism and in the development of a number of specific initiatives including the establishment of the Diaspora Project in County Donegal.
Jim leads his own strategy and public affairs consultancy and has advised dozens of clients across sectors and the Atlantic. He is also Senior Fellow at the Boston Foundation, a leading US community philanthropy for which he led award-winning public affairs from 2005-10.
Rooney lived in the UK from 2011-17 where he served as a co-founding co-director (non-executive) of the Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of London; he also earned an MPA at Harvard Kennedy School. He earlier served as Vice President of the Massachusetts High Technology Council, Director of Policy/Associate Director at CEOs for Cities, and as Director of Community and Government Relations at Brown University, where he earned a BA in Ethics and Political Philosophy.
Jim also serves as an Ambassador for the Community Foundation of Northern Ireland, advises the Boston-Belfast Sister City Partnership, and keynoted the Belfast Business School launch. He served on the Obama-Biden Urban and Metropolitan Policy Advisory Committee and has provided commentary to media including BBC Radio Ulster, Foyle, and Surrey. His family hails from Belfast.
Jay Ash is the President and CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, a non- partisan, non-profit organization comprised of 17 of the largest business in Massachusetts. His work there to focus on policies and initiatives that make the Massachusetts economy stronger and more competitive comes after serving as the Commonwealth’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development in Governor Charlie Baker’s first cabinet.
As secretary, Ash was responsible for directing and executing Governor Baker’s agenda on housing and community development, job creation, business development, consumer affairs, and business regulation. During his four-year tenure, Ash headed-up efforts to retain and attract businesses, promote the revitalization of communities, and support the prosperity of the state’s residents. In addition to championing four major economic development bills into law, Ash was the Governor’s lead on the attraction of GE to Boston and the PawSox to Worcester; the implementation of more than 100 community revitalization initiatives, including the groundbreaking of the Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield and the Paramount Theater renovations in Springfield, and the development of strategies that led to greater state support for workforce development and a 96% decrease in the use of hotels & motels to shelter homeless families.
He previously served for 14 years as the city manager in his native Chelsea, where he grew the city’s housing stock by over 10 percent, expanded its commercial base with two dozen major projects, led all Gateway Cities with a 15 percent increase in new employment, developed 10 new parks, secured five credit rating increases, and won two All-America City designations.
Jay previously served as co-founder and vice-chair of the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, as past president of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, as a board member of the public policy think tank MassINC, the staff director to the Massachusetts House Majority Leader, and as an elected trustee of his alma mater, Clark University.
Jessica Benson, VP, IDA Ireland, is responsible for New Forms of Investment for the East Coast of the US and Canada. Based in Boston, Jessica supports multinational companies across a range of emerging sectors including Infrastructure, Energy, AgTech, Marine, and SportsTech to establish and expand their operations in Ireland. Prior to joining IDA Ireland Jessica managed equity investments in high growth Irish start-ups with Enterprise Ireland, and worked on multinational’s international tax strategies in her roles with Deloitte in the US and Ireland. Jessica holds a BA (mod) in Economics and Business from Trinity College Dublin and an M. Litt in Management, Economics and International relations from University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
Joanne Kilmartin has over 25 years experience in both the public and private sector. She has been employed for the last three years as the Donegal Diaspora Executive in Donegal County Council where she continues to engage globally through the Donegal Diaspora project – the objective of which is to reach out to all people, those with a familial link and those who simply have a connection or affinity with our beautiful county, with a view to maintaining and strengthening these relationships for the future development of Donegal and its people, both at home and abroad.
Through her work with the Donegal Diaspora relationships are being developed, deepened and enhanced resulting in tremendous benefits to the local community, economically, educationally and culturally.
Prior to this appointment, Joanne was the Programme Development Officer on a number of European projects including the LADDER project (Local Authorities as drivers for development education and awareness-raising) and with the European Union Programme for Peace & Reconciliation, delivering over €20M of funding to a range of community projects in County Donegal.
She holds a First Class Honours BA degree in Humanities (Community Development).
John Kelpie is the Chief Executive of Derry City ad Strabane District Council. Established in April 2015 as a result of a programme of local government reform in Northern Ireland, the Council area comprises the vibrant and youthful City of Derry/Londonderry, the busy market town of Strabane and a diverse and attractive rural area of designated outstanding natural beauty.
Derry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland/fourth largest city on the island of Ireland and is the principal sub-regional economic driver of a cross border City region of over 350,000 people.
John led on the creation of the new organisation designing an innovative, flexible and responsive staffing structure with a clear vision and purpose to develop a thriving, prosperous and sustainable City and Region with equality of opportunity for all.
The Council is leading and delivering on this vision with its many civic, statutory, community and business partners through its Strategic Growth Plan 2017-2032 driving economic, environmental and social well-being and regeneration and by addressing and targeting poverty, social exclusion and disadvantage.
As Chief Executive, John leads a talented and dedicated senior management team and staff with an outcomes-driven focus on successfully implementing the key objectives of the plan which will see over £3.2 bn of investment and opportunity in the City and region over the next decade, significant physical regeneration and environmental projects delivered, increased community engagement and participation and improved citizen health and well-being.
The Innovation Institute is the UMASS industrial partnership office which harnesses the relationship between companies seeking research projects with our university experts. Our mission is to Educate and Innovate. Currently, we bring in over $200 million a year in research grants and our ambition is to continue to raise the number of industry research projects so our faculty and students get live experience working with businesses. Part of Kathryn’s role is managing and promoting innovation space for spin-out companies both from the university and start-up companies in the community.
UMASS Amherst purchased the Mt. Ida campus in Newton a year ago with the ambition to bring in more students from Amherst to live and work with the companies who are co-located on campus.
Currently, there is a lab, dedicated office and co-working space available for innovative companies. Our advantage is companies in the area can hire our interns and graduates and create an opportunity to cross collaborate in our community.
Kathryn is originally from Belfast Northern Ireland but grew up in Dundalk and has lived in Boston for 30 years. Her career has been mostly in Economic Development, before joining UMASS she was the Director of Economic Development for the City of Newton. Prior to that kathryn and her business partner formed an economic development consultancy business called EDAgency. Contracts included promoting the cities of Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Bristol and Basel, Switzerland.
Kathryn is excited to join the trade mission to Belfast on November 28th, she led a past trade mission in April 2019 and hopes to continue some great discussions and business collaborations. Her Uncle owns Lavery’s bar next to Queen’s so she may even buy a round, join the mission!!!
7 years with Randox Laboratories.
With a Masters in Chemistry Katie is the principal scientist for Randox Health;
Specialising in commercialisation of high complexity products, medical interfaces and streamlining service offerings.
15 years sales experience, Katie has led the direct to consumer launches of ‘Randox Health UK’ and has now relocated to USA for the roll out further Randox wellbeing clinics.
Passionate about bringing life saving and game changing products to the public.
Kevin O’Connor is Head of Business at Derry City and Strabane District Council. Established in April 2015 as a result of a programme of local government reform in Northern Ireland, the Council area comprises the vibrant and youthful City of Derry/Londonderry, the busy market town of Strabane and a diverse and attractive rural area of designated outstanding natural beauty.
Derry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland/fourth largest city on the island of Ireland and is the principal sub-regional economic driver of a cross border City region of over 350,000 people.
Kevin is a member of the Senior Leadership Team of Derry City and Strabane District Council and is responsible for leading Council’s Business team. Kevin is responsible for City & Regional Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Business Development, Rural Development, PEACE IV Programme, Rural Development and Digital Services.
The Council is leading and delivering on this vision with its many civic, statutory, community and business partners through its Strategic Growth Plan 2017-2032 driving economic, environmental and social well-being and regeneration and by addressing and targeting poverty, social exclusion and disadvantage.
As Head of Business, Kevin leads a talented and dedicated business team with an outcomes-driven focus on successfully implementing the key economic objectives of the strategic growth plan.
Kevin is a recent Alumni of the US State Department International Visitor and Leadership Programme with a specific focus on Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development.
Kieran Kennedy joined O’Neills in 1979 and became MD in 1988. Under Kieran’s leadership, O’Neills has grown from 30 staff when it first opened in Strabane in the mid-1970’s to almost 736 today. This growth has included major investment in new production facilities in Strabane. Kieran has a deep understanding of textile manufacturing and a track record of driving significant improvements in product innovation, customer service, efficiency, IT and business transformation.
Kieran is a member of the Business Liaison Group established by Invest NI at the request of the then First and Deputy First Ministers. The Group provided practical contributions to the Executive and Whitehall Ministers on negotiation priorities post the referendum decision.
Kieran is also a member of Manufacturing NI a key body representing manufacturers in NI. Kieran was part of a very successful delegation to Downing Street to meet with the Prime Minister with regards to the issues facing all Ireland businesses with the upcoming Brexit. Following this meeting, significant changes were made to the withdrawal agreement.
Kieran joined O’Neills straight from school at 16 years old and throughout his career has completed many business focused qualifications including the Business Growth Programme run by Invest NI and the Critical Leadership Programme at Queens University Belfast. He recently completed a nine-month Leadership 4 Growth programme at I.E.S.E. University, which was co-funded by Invest NI and Enterprise Ireland, which afforded him and his senior management team the opportunity to enhance his leadership & strategic capability.
Kieran is also Chairman of Strabane Training Services a local community-based training provider employing 25 staff and with 225 young people from socially deprived backgrounds currently in various training programmes.
In his spare time Kieran enjoys watching his beloved Tyrone GAA team and travels all around the country supporting the best team in Ireland.
Laura Hamilton MSc, MBA
Originally from Cork City, Ireland and now residing in Boston, Laura is the Executive Vice President, US Operations at RxCelerate, an outsourced drug development company.
In her role, Laura is responsible for leading all aspects of the company’s expansion into the US, as well as overseeing global Sales, Marketing and Business Development. Prior to this role, Laura was the Director of Business Development at MassBio (Massachusetts Biotechnology Council), onboarding over 650 new companies in 4 years. Additionally, Laura is the President of the Boston Irish Business Association (BIBA).
In 2018, Laura received the Irish Echo 40 Under 40 Award, as well as their Business Innovator Award. In support of early-stage innovation, Laura is a Mentor and Judge at MassChallenge within their Bridge to MassChallenge program, advising foreign companies on aspects of market entry and market intelligence as well as Sales, Marketing and Business Development strategy. Laura has been a BIBA Board Member for several years and was awarded the Boston Irish Business Young Leader Award in 2015. Prior to her work in the BioPharma industry, Laura worked for a Financial Services company, First Marblehead Corporation in Boston.
Laura is a proud member of the Irish Network Boston Board of Directors and is affiliated with many worthwhile organizations: Quincy Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate – 1787 Society, and the American Heart Association. Laura is a three-time graduate of Northeastern University, holding a BSBA in Finance, a Master’s Degree in Innovation and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA). Laura is passionate about business, disruptive technology, economic development, international trade and investment, and innovation.
She takes great pride in facilitating introductions and making connections across her vast, global business network
Professor Liam Maguire
Professor Liam Maguire is the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment.
Originally from County Fermanagh, Liam obtained MEng and PhD degrees in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Queen’s University, Belfast. He joined Ulster University as a lecturer in 1994 and held Senior Lecturer and Reader positions before becoming a Professor of Computational Intelligence in 2007. Prior to being appointed Dean of the Faculty of Computing and Engineering in September 2014, Liam held several senior positions including Head of School and Director of the Intelligent Systems Research Centre.
His research interests focus on data analytics and machine learning with particular focus on bio-inspired approaches. Author of over 250 research papers, Liam has secured extensive research funding and supervised 18 PhD and three MPhil students to completion. In addition to editing special issues of journals and organising conferences, Liam regularly delivers keynote talks at international conferences. His research enables him to collaborate with staff from every faculty in the University either through funded projects or joint research staff/student supervision.
Liam is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and a chartered engineer with an extensive network of colleagues in the digital and engineering sectors in Northern Ireland. Most recently he has been appointed to the NI Digital Catapult Advisory Board. His research and teaching links extend across China, Japan, the USA and throughout Europe.
Dr Malachy Ó Néill
Dr Malachy Ó Néill is Provost of the Magee Campus (Derry) of Ulster University and Senior Lecturer in Modern Irish. He spent five years as Head of the School of Irish Language and Literature prior to taking up his current position and has been an elected member of the University Senate since 2012. He is an appointed member of the Irish Language and Culture Committee (Royal Irish Academy) and Fóram Forbartha Teanga (the Language Development Forum of Foras na Gaeilge). His research focuses on Irish language sources of the Ó Néill dynasty, pedagogical development in modern Irish, and Irish language theatre. Dr Ó Néill was a member of the Review Board of the Official Irish Language Standard (2016). Dr Ó Néill was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2019, the highest accolade in UK Higher Education
As the founder of College Bound Dorchester, Mark is the vision behind the solution of Boston Uncornered. Before becoming CEO in 2007, he was Vice President for Business Development at Lighthouse Academies, Chief Operating Officer of B.E.L.L., among other roles in both the public and private sector. Mark spent four years in India as a child and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand for three and a half years following his graduation from the University of Michigan. Mark earned his MBA from Yale University. He serves on the board of Roxbury Community College. He and his wife, Mary, are raising two teenage boys in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Easily obsessed, having run 3 marathons in crocs, you are likely to find him these days hanging upside down at his rock climbing gym.
Dr. Mark White
Mark is the Director of Enterprise, Employment and Property at Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Irish State Agency responsible for supporting and developing those parts of Ireland where the Irish is the spoken language of the community. Údarás is the Enterprise Development Agency for these areas.
Mark’s background is entrepreneurial: in 1999 he co-founded and was CEO of a weather forecasting business Nowcasting Weather, which was sold to Meteogroup, Europe’s largest private weather company with operations in 17 countries around the globe. In Meteogroup he had a range of senior corporate roles internationally in the EU, US and Asia.
Dr. White received a Ph.D in Marine Science from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He has worked in a wide variety of marine based commercial operations in technical and managerial roles including fish and shellfish aquaculture, and in marine research management in Ireland’s Marine Institute.
Mary Ann Picard, MBA, MS
Mary Ann is a business development executive with twenty years’ experience. She has a specific focus on establishing and maintaining long-term corporate relationships.
As the Director of Operations for M2D2, an incubator program for emerging biotech and medical device entrepreneurs, she is a highly motivated professional who works
locally, nationally and internationally to combine her areas of expertise to establish interactions among entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, students, industry, investors, state agencies and others to contribute to a rich entrepreneurial business ecosystem in Massachusetts.
M2D2 is a joint project between University of Massachusetts Lowell and University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester MA.
Mary T. Concannon
Mary T. Concannon, a first-generation Irish language speaker, is a native of Norwood Massachusetts. She received a B.A and Higher Diploma in Education from NUI Galway, Ireland and a master’s in education from the Lynch School at Boston College.
Mary is a Middle School Counselor and Irish Study Teacher at Catholic Memorial School in West Roxbury. The Irish Study program at C.M., begun by Mary, has received recognition by the Irish government as a unique program at secondary level program in the U.S.; allowing CM students to learn the Irish language, culture and traditions. Over the past ten years, Mary has partnered with Muintearas, Teoranta in Lettermore, Galway an agency providing education and employment opportunities in rural economically depressed areas of the Gaeltacht of Connemara. Five groups of C.M. boys have travelled to Connemara, staying with native Irish speakers and participating in activities designed to immerse them in Gaeltacht life and culture.
Mary is also a part time Irish language teacher at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton working with adults who wish to learn the language. She serves on the Boards of Cumann na Gaeilge i mBoston and the Eire Society of Boston.
Maureen Bennett represents life sciences and health care clients conducting global clinical trials and research collaborations. For almost 20 years, Maureen has advised clients on the contractual, regulatory, and ethical issues associated with clinical research. She negotiates clinical trial agreements, reviews informed consents, provides advice regarding novel patient recruitment strategies and assists with interactions with regulatory agencies, including the FDA. Maureen also advises clients on emerging regulatory issues affecting clinical research, including the utilization of social media in patient and physician recruitment, the development of virtual clinical trial and telemedicine networks, and personalized medicine strategies implementing the use of biomarkers and companion diagnostics.
Maureen also represents clients in the structuring of complex outsourcing arrangements between life sciences companies and contract research organizations (CROs). Maureen has recently assisted a pharmaceutical company in the negotiation of a master services agreement with a CRO for a Phase 3 clinical trial with over 100 sites on four continents. She also represents clients in the assessment and mitigation of regulatory risks and the negotiation of liability allocation arrangements in M&A, licensing, and other commercial transactions.
Maureen is the Life Sciences coleader for the Firm’s Health Care and Life Sciences Practice Group and is currently serving as cochair of the Boston Bar Association’s Health Care Section. She was honorary cochair for the 8th Annual Boston-Northwest Ireland Golden Bridges Giant Step Conference 2015 and is a regular speaker at industry conferences. Maureen is a member of the Firm’s LGBTQ affinity group.
Michael Quinlin is executive director of the Massachusetts Commonwealth Marketing Office, which produces marketing materials on business development, international trade, travel & tourism and sports marketing. He publishes a regular MA Spotlight series about tourism, business and cultural leaders on MassVacation.com and oversees MassItsAllHere.com . He serves on Massport’s International Stakeholders Committee, which strategizes about new air service out of Boston Logan International Airport.
He previously worked at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority during the Boston Harbor Cleanup; at Boston City Hall during the Raymond L. Flynn Administration; at MIT’s Center for Advanced Engineering Studies; and at scholarly publishing houses in New York City and Cambridge.
He and his wife Colette created Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) in 2000 to connect the state’s Irish cultural community with the tourism and hospitality industry, while strengthening travel ties between New England and Ireland/Northern Ireland. BITA operates IrishMassachusetts.com and issues a free Travel & Culture magazine for tourists three times a year.
Quinlin created Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail, a three-mile walking tour of Irish landmarks ( IrishHeritageTrail.com). He is author of Irish Boston (Globe Pequot Press) and a longtime contributor to the Irish Echo Newspaper and Irish America Magazine.
Councillor Michaela Boyle
It’s an honour to be elected as Mayor of the Derry City and Strabane District.
“I will be a representative for everyone across our communities, promoting equality and inclusivity.
“One of my key priorities is to continue the work of our MPs in developing and transforming the north west region to deliver upon the Strategic Growth Deal and secure additional financial assistance from both governments and the EU.
“The economic potential of the north west region has not yet been realised. We need to build on the foundations of existing collaborations in health, education and infrastructure.
“It’s vital that key projects such as the A5, the expansion of the Magee campus, the medical school, the Riverine and other projects are delivered in order to open up the entire north-west region and bring the benefits on an all-island basis.”
Natasha is the Community Manager for the Catalyst based in North West. Catalyst is a not-for-profit organisation that has 4 campuses across Northern Ireland. With over 2,700 people working across the 4 campuses, it engages annually with over 900 entrepreneurs and 570 business experts. Catalyst is an entrepreneurial eco-system that fosters innovative thinking and helps knowledge-based industries to learn from each other, develop new ways of thinking and gain from commercial opportunities through collaboration with each other. Catalyst provides programmes for early stage right through to growth and scaling and investment introductions.
Natasha’s role as Community Manager is about stimulating entrepreneurship and innovative thinking in the North West.
Natasha holds a LLB Law with Economics and a MSc in Communications, Marketing and PR, as well as professional qualifications in Marketing.
Niamh is a seasoned economic development executive with over 15 years’ experience driving inward investment to Northern Ireland in various roles in Brussels, Belfast and Boston. Niamh began her career in France as a data analyst intern. This early love of data and analytics has permeated her career including within her current position in Invest Northern Ireland, where she directs the team who find and engage the most innovative and high-growth companies in the U.S. Niamh and the wider Invest NI Americas team have helped attract investment from leading U.S. companies in fields ranging from cyber security and payments technology to manufacturing, banking, legal services and insurance.
Niamh is passionate about Diaspora initiatives and has founded and led several Irish expat networking groups in Boston. Niamh continues to supporting the work of NI connections throughout the Americas and enthusiastically supports Ulster University alumni mentoring initiatives.
Niamh is a native of County Armagh and an honorary “Derry Girl”, having graduated from University of Ulster’s Magee Campus with a BA Hons in International Business Communication.
Councillor Nicholas Crossan
Cllr Nicholas Crossan is a member of the Inishowen Municipal District and was elected Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council in June 2019. He has been involved in local politics for 25 years with 19 of these spent as a member of the former Buncrana Town Council. During this period he also served on the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland. His focus over the years has been the promotion and continuing development of the Inishowen Municipal District. He is currently chair of the Tip O’ Neill Diaspora Awards Committee which on an annual basis recognises the achievements of members of the Irish Diaspora in their chosen field and their support for Ireland and its Diaspora.
Cllr Crossan served as Mayor of Buncrana Town Council on two separate occasions.
He is currently sits on the Donegal County Council Corporate Policy Group and has been an active member of the County Donegal Joint Policing Committee. His involvement with the Donegal Tourism Associate Members Committee reflects his keen interest in and promotion of the tourism product in Donegal.
Nuala McGowan is the Senior Director of Research Finance and Compliance for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the largest school at Harvard University. Nuala supports faculty and administrators in the management of sponsored programs. Nuala has been in Research Administration and Compliance for over 15 years, beginning her higher education career at MIT, with their Internal Audit division, before moving to Harvard University in 2007. Nuala was the recipient of the Harvard Dean’s Distinction Award in 2013.
After completing her education in business and finance, at the North West Institute in Derry, Nuala received her Morrison Visa and traveled to Boston in 1995. She began her career as a financial analyst with Staples, Incorporated, and advanced to a Senior Business Analyst position on their Y2K team. Nuala continued her career in corporate retail with two fortune 100 companies as a Senior Internal Auditor.
Nuala played Gaelic football for Tir na Nog LGFC for many years and was the recipient of the Boston GAA “All-Star” award in 2009. Nuala also played for the Eire Og Camogie Club for seven years and served as chairperson of the club for four years.
Nuala was born in Donegal Town, the daughter of Mary McGowan, and the late Eddie McGowan. Nuala is one of nine and has a sister living close by in New York. The remainder of her siblings reside in Donegal Town, and several play a role in operating their family business, Daytona Heavy Haulage. Nuala currently lives in Arlington, MA with her wife, Erin and their six-year-old son, Rónán and soon to be three-year-old daughter, Meabh.
Paul is the Director of Internship Placements at the Irish International Immigrant Center, Boston, Massachusetts. For the past four and half years he has been helping hundreds of young Irish men and women secure outstanding jobs and internships throughout the United States in their various fields of occupation. Paul graduated in 1982 with a BA In Combined Humanities from the University of Ireland and also graduated in 1994 with a Masters in Social Science from Queen’s University, Belfast.
Paul has been teaching humanities, with a focus on Irish Literature for over fifteen at Universities in Massachusetts, in addition to having taught for over ten years at the Boston University Prison Education system.
He has also served as a Resident Director on three separate occasions with US universities and has been proud to introduce many young US students to Belfast and to the island of Ireland.
Ray O’Hanlon is the editor of the New York-published Irish Echo newspaper. A native of Dublin, O’Hanlon has reported from three continents in a 38-year newspaper that has unfolded on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to his work as a reporter and editor, O’Hanlon has been a frequent contributor to U.S., Irish and British media outlets reporting on Ireland, Irish-American affairs, and Anglo-Irish relations. He has appeared on CBS 60 minutes, ABC World News Tonight, and the Lehrer News Hour on PBS. He has also been interviewed on RTE, BBC and ITV, both television and radio. His book, The New Irish Americans (Roberts Rinehart, 1998) was the recipient of a Washington Irving Book Award. The South Lawn Plot (Gemma Media, Boston) his first fiction work, was published in 2011. He is currently writing a book on Irish immigration to the United States.
Ronan Doherty is a native of Gleann Cholm Cille in southwest Co. Donegal, Ireland. He is a web applications developer, specialising in language technology. Working with Dublin City University, he has helped develop large-scale online linguistic and cultural resources including duchas.ie (The National Folklore Collection of Ireland), logainm.ie (The Placenames Database of Ireland) and tearma.ie (The National Terminology Database for Irish). His commercial and public-sector work has received several awards, including Eir Spider and Irish eGovernment prizes.
He studied the Irish language at undergraduate and postgraduate level at Maynooth University and has taught Irish language and literature to adults and third-level students for over ten years, at Maynooth University, Dublin City University, Oideas Gael, Gaelchultúr, and elsewhere. He is a Fulbright awardee and spent the 2011–12 academic year teaching at the Department of Irish Language and Literature at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
Ronan has worked with Oideas Gael, a successful provider of Irish language and cultural courses for adults, since he was in his teens. It was there that he first appreciated that Irish was a unique and valuable cultural resource, and could be a driver for economic development—the subject of his talk at this year’s Golden Bridges.
Ryan D. Mahoney
Ryan Mahoney is Executive Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University. The museum contains the world’s largest collection of Great Hunger-related art by noted contemporary Irish and Irish American artists as well as a number of period paintings by some of Ireland’s most important 19th-century artists.
Prior to joining Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, Mahoney was the Executive Director of the Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany, NY. He holds has a dual-degree in history and political science from St. John Fisher College and a master’s degree in public history from the University at Albany. He has served as a national board member of the Irish American Cultural Institute, as well as a board member of the United Irish Societies of the Capital District, Inc. He has also been active with the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Albany St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. In 2016 Mahoney was named an Irish Top 40 Under 40 by the Irish Echo.
Rónán Mac Con Iomaire
Rónán Mac Con Iomaire is Director of Regional, Community and Language Development at Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Irish State Agency responsible for supporting and developing the Irish-speaking regions of Ireland.
Prior to his appointment at Údarás na Gaeltachta, he worked as a journalist and as Group Head of Irish Language at Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTÉ.
Rónán is an award-winning author, having won New Writer of the Year award for Rocky Ros Muc, a biography of Boston-based Irish boxer, Seán Mannion, a book that went on to become the fastest-selling Irish language book of all time. The book was followed by an award-winning documentary film of the same name, and an English-language book, The Man Who Was Never Knocked Down, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018.
He has previously founded a public relations company, and spent a number of years as a publican in Galway city. He has a strong interest in athletics and in 2010, founded a triathlon and cycling club in the west of Ireland.
Sara Stanton grew up in County Mayo in the West of Ireland. After graduating with an honours degree in Hotel Management Business from GMIT in Galway, she emigrated to the U.S. on a Morrison Visa in 2003. After 10 years working at Hyatt Hotels in Washington D.C. and Chicago, Sara moved to Boston, Massachusetts to work for Brian Moore International Tours as a Group Travel Manager. Sara’s success quickly accelerated and she became President of BMIT. In this role she was instrumental in growing the business and generating substantial travel numbers to Ireland.
In 2012, with the strong encouragement and support of her existing clients, Sara founded Cara Group Travel. Cara Group Travel sends over 3,500 travelers to Ireland and Northern Ireland every year. Her company has created countless memories, vivid experiences and cherished stories for a wide range of clientele including academic, heritage, musical, professional, religious, sporting and touring groups. This includes sporting events such as the Belfast Friendship Four Ice Hockey Tournament, large incentive groups such as Domino’s Pizza Franchise owners, trade missions with EO Boston, Belfast -Boston sister city group and the Cork County Economic Development Partnership with the City of Quincy.
Sara has developed a very dynamic, knowledgeable and creative team. Cara Group Travel prides itself on exceeding expectations and in particular identifying that distinctive event that changes a client’s experience from a great one to an unforgettable one. Sara’s hands on and personal approach has resulted in long lasting client relationships and a unique position for her company within the travel business.
Sarah Delude, International Business Strategy Manager, City of Boston
Sarah has worked in international relations for over 13 years and joined the City of Boston in 2016 as co-manager of a new Global Affairs team. In this role, Sarah focuses on scaling up international relations through public diplomacy, economic partnerships, business and community engagement, and marketing Boston as a global and welcoming city. Prior to joining the City of Boston, Sarah worked in public diplomacy as Head of the Politics, Press and Public Affairs Section at the British Consulate-General in Boston, where she also held the Policy and University Engagement portfolio. Sarah also held roles at the Center for European Studies, an interdisciplinary research center at Harvard University. There, she was responsible for programming, communications, external relations, student advising, and a vibrant visiting research scholars program. Sarah earned a B.A. from Syracuse University in International Relations and a Master’s degree from Harvard in Government.
Seamus Neely, Chief Executive, Donegal County Council
Seamus Neely has been the Chief Executive of Donegal County Council since 2010. Seamus started his public service career with Donegal County Council before moving to various roles in Local Government in Cavan and Monaghan Town and County Council. Seamus holds an honours degree in Business Studies from the University of Ulster and an MBA from Dublin City University. He is currently a Board Member of Transport Infrastructure Ireland and is Chairman of Donegal Tourism Ltd.
Seamus has led the process of organisational change through a local government reform programme that has resulted in the merger of the four former Town Councils in Donegal with Donegal County Council. These reforms enabled the preparation of a Local Economic and Community Plan for Donegal that provides the basis for the collaboration with Derry City and Strabane District Council in the promotion and development of the North West City Region incorporating Letterkenny / Derry and Strabane as an economic driver for a cross border population of over 350,000 people.
Sean P. Moynihan
Attorney Sean P. Moynihan is the founder and principal of The Moynihan Group. He is a 1992 cum laude graduate of Providence College and a 2001 cum laude graduate of Suffolk University Law School’s evening division program. He was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in January of 2002. He has a dynamic record of professional experience in the insurance, financial services, non-profit, and public sectors of the economy.
Mr. Moynihan spent over a decade in the public service arena. He served in various positions within the Massachusetts House of Representatives including Counsel to the House Ways and Means Committee, Counsel to the Office of the House Majority Leader, and Legislative Director. During his time in the Ways and Means Committee and the Office of the House Majority Leader, Attorney Moynihan worked on a myriad of significant public policy issues – in particular – energy and the environment, life sciences/biotech, education, labor, and the administration of justice in the Commonwealth.
Attorney Moynihan, who holds dual citizenship with the United States and Ireland, has worked with international organizations, in particular those located in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Moynihan Group has co-sponsored and organized the “Gateways to Tomorrow / Boston – Northwest Ireland” conferences held in Boston since October 2009. Moynihan’s efforts in establishing links between his home state of Massachusetts and Ireland was the subject of this article published by the Irish Echo.
Attorney Moynihan serves as Chairman/President of Irish Network Boston (IN Boston) and as Vice President for Global Partnerships of the Boston Irish Business Association [BIBA]. He also serves on the Irish International Immigrant Center’s (IIIC) Internship Advisory Panel. His past volunteer efforts include serving as a “Connector” with the former Boston World Partnerships (BWP) non-profit organization and as a trustee of the Irish Pastoral Centre.
Mr. Moynihan is a former Chairman of the Northboro Democratic Town Committee of Northboro, MA. He has managed and worked on numerous municipal, state legislative, congressional, and presidential campaigns.
Born in Boston Massachusetts Sean J. Somers has deep roots in the U.S. as well as in Ireland. His father hailing from Co. Kerry and his mother from Boston MA Sean has had the luxury of experiencing life on both sides of the Atlantic. Sean is married to Katherine Somers who he explains is a woman of great dignity and character and someone who has made him a battered man since the day she entered Sean’s life.
They have a 1 year old son J.R. Somers who was baptized in May 2019 in the same small village his father grew up in Listowel Co. Kerry. Sean & Kate are happily growing their family and are expecting another child in March. Sean comes from a long lineage of Irish Publican’s going back over 100 years. He is an experienced Entrepreneur, Investor, Advisor, Mentor, and Business Strategist with a demonstrated history of working in the hospitality, technology, and non-profit sectors and winning. The Somers family own and operate the largest Irish Hospitality Group in the Northeast – The Somers Pubs Group… Outside of the Pubs Sean has an ownership interest in Canary Technologies, Keel Vodka, U-Out Boston, & Foundation for a Green Future (a non-profit). Sean sits on the Board at Worcester Academy.
From building out Nightlife Venues, Developing and Executing Brand Strategies, to taking Start-Ups to Market with Commanding Success, Sean has seen a lot, done a lot, and is eager to do more. He is passionate about trans Atlantic commerce and his ‘go to market’ style is one that challenges the status quo and motivates winners. Proud to have won with Grassroots Marketing, astounding Brand Identifier & Brand Developer. When asked how he stays out in front he answered: “intense research and vigilant preparedness of the ‘consumer’ in question in all areas both vertical and parallel.” The word ‘Quit’ can not be found in Sean’s vocabulary. His action-centric work philosophy and ‘we’ not ‘me’ approach partners him with dedicated engaged forward thinkers.
Sean’s tank is never empty – always trying to improve and grow. Self-awareness, Custom Service, and Leadership always top of mind for Sean J. Somers.
Stephen Gillespie is the Director of Business and Culture at Derry City and Strabane District Council. The Business and Culture directorate encompasses a range of services the local Council provides such as economic development and job creation, business support and engagement, ICT, tourism, arts and culture, visitor services, heritage and museums and marketing and communications.
With the advent of Local Government Reform, which has seen the creation of a new organisation and the transfer of new powers, Stephen believes that there is a unique opportunity to improve the way local Council’s provide services for their stakeholders. ‘The organisational structure for this Council now allows us to better serve the needs of our ratepayers. This is an exciting time with the Business element as there are new strands of funding available to help support our local businesses. The Community Plan is critical as it’s now well underway and it will help shape our new Council for years to come.’
Stephen believes the cultural / tourism aspect of his directorate has an important role to play for tackling exclusion and disadvantage in Derry City and Strabane District ‘This Council area has a myriad of culture based talents, we are a creative and innovative community that lead the way in a range of sectors. We have proved through a range of tourism initiatives and projects, including City of Culture 2013 and our commitment to the Clipper Race that we can perform on a world stage and we need to capitalise on our strengths leading the way in creative and innovative
Steve Burke was recently named Executive Director of the Irish Cultural Centre of New England, whose mission is to preserve and promote Irish culture and heritage through sports, music, literature, dance and other cultural activities. Steve brings a wealth of corporate business development, marketing, and non-profit governance and fundraising experience to the role.
He founded and directs the Boston to Belfast Youth Empowerment Program, an outgrowth of Mayor Walsh’s sister city agreement with Belfast. The program, now in its third year, uses the power of sport and international travel to instill leadership skills, civic engagement, cross-cultural awareness and friendship among and between Boston and Belfast teens. Steve was recognized by the Irish Echo as a Community Champion in 2018 for his efforts in strengthening the bonds between youth of the two cities.
A former business development executive at international law firms Proskauer Rose, Mintz Levin and Ropes & Gray, and past president of the Massachusetts Sports Partnership, Steve is a member of Irish Network Boston and the Boston Irish Business Association (BIBA), and an active board member of the Dedham Community House and City Year Boston. He is a graduate Holy Cross College and the New England Law School.
Susan K. Whoriskey, PhD
SVP, Technology Strategy & Business Development, Trucode
Susan advises Trucode, a privately held biotechnology company as Senior Vice President of Technology Strategy and Business Development. Previously, she served on the founding Executive Teams of Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA), and Moderna Therapeutics (MRNA). As a member of the Executive Teams, Dr. Whoriskey had responsibilities for technology strategies, intellectual property and business development. She has played key roles in building teams, managing the translation of academic inventions into therapeutic modalities, completing venture capital financings, negotiating corporate partnerships, completing IPOs (CBST, MNTA, MRNA) and follow-on financings and achieving four FDA drug approvals to date.
She has been a consultant to the venture capital firm Polaris Venture Partners and an Entrepreneur in Residence at MIT. Dr. Whoriskey earned her BS from University of Massachusetts-Amherst and PhD from UCLA and was a Research Fellow in Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School with a 2009 Nobel Prize winner. She is an inventor on over 50 issued and pending patents and a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Biotechnology and Entrepreneurism from the University of Ulster.
Vinny McGroary is a member of the senior management team overseeing the Further Education and Training Service of the largest education and training provider in Co Donegal, Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) with over 26,000 students on an annual basis; its FET Service accounts for around 11,000 of these students.
Originally from Donegal Town, Vinny began his career at the opposite end of the country in Co Cork in 1984 working initially as a Software Developer before returning to Donegal to work as a computer instructor with the then national training authority, FÁS, until 1993. He spent the next two decades in a variety of roles within FÁS including Finance Officer (1993-98), Project Co-Ordinator (overseeing the installation of a new national finance system (SAP) in Dublin from 1998-2000), Assistant Manager of the Gaoth Dobhair and Letterkenny Training Centres (2002-2008), Finance and HR Manager (2008-2014) and Apprenticeship Manager (2009-2014), both covering the North West Region, and Area Training Manager covering Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim (2011-2014). When the functions of FÁS were subsumed by Donegal ETB in 2014 he took on the roles of Finance and HR Manager from 2014-2017 and subsequently his present role as Area Training Manager in 2017 with its FET Service.
Vinny is a former Chair of the Irish Management Institute (IMI) Northwest Region and the National Apprenticeship Managers group (2014-2018). He holds a B.Sc. in Applied Mathematics from University of Limerick and is the proud owner of 2 All Ireland Under 18 soccer medals for County Donegal.