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Speakers – New York-New Belfast Conference 2018

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Aislinn Clarke

Aislinn Clarke is an award-winning scriptwriter, film-maker and director, whose work has been professionally produced for film, stage, and radio internationally. Her film work has been screened and showcased at film festivals, events, and markets all over the world, including BAFTA, Cannes, and Berlinale. Her radio work has been broadcast on BBC Radio across the UK, RTE, and in the US, Canada, and Germany. She has been profiled as a theatre director in The Stage magazine, and her theatre work has toured extensively across the UK and Ireland.

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Andrew McCullough

Andrew is WIP’s Director of Communications, based in New York. Originally from Belfast, Andrew received an MA and MSc (in Psychology and International Politics) from the University of Edinburgh, with a focus on political activity within immigrant and diaspora populations. Prior to joining WIP, Andrew was a senior political advisor in the UK Parliament, managing the SDLP’s office in the House of Commons. He was awarded a Parliamentary Researcher of the Year award for his work on policy areas including international development and legacy issues related to the Northern Ireland peace process.

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Brett Zych

Hailing from Ardglass, Co. Down, Brett has been in New York for just over 3 years. He joined Jefferies in June 2016 on the European Equity Sales desk, covering small New York Hedge funds and larger asset managers in the Midwest. Prior to this, he was consulting for several large US banks with KPMG (Oct 2014-May 2016). Brett began his career with Cowen in New York (Jan 2011-Dec 2011) under the auspices of the USNI Mentorship program set by then-US Special Economic Envoy Declan Kelly. Following this, he then spent nearly 3 years in London with Cowen on the US Equity Sales team. Brett is a former pupil of St Patrick’s Grammar in Downpatrick and graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a BSc. in Management and Spanish in July 2010. Brett is a keen fisherman, reader and runner.

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Brian McCabe

The new Chairman of the Executive Council of the Society is Brian E. McCabe. Brian is a member of a large and well-known Irish American family with a distinguished tradition of service in the political, legal, educational, building trades and cultural life of New York City. Brian enjoyed a long and accomplished career in the NYPD Detective Bureau as detective and commander, and was widely recognized for his service in the Irish Peace Process. He is currently a System Director with the Bon Secours Charity Health System and a consultant in investigative and security operations, creative and educational projects. Brian is now Chairman of the Executive Council of the Society, on which he has served for a number of years.

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Cathy Martin

Cathy boasts a wealth of international experience in brand management and communications. With specialisms in the food & drink, arts and fashion sectors, as well as journalistic training at the BBC and TV presenting experience on RTE, Cathy is well placed to deliver your brand promise. A passionate storyteller, an avid reader and a master of timing, Cathy is always ahead of the curve and her intuition and integral knowledge of the Irish media combines style with substance, achieving talkability without the tall tales.

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Corey Johnson

Corey Johnson was elected by his peers to serve as Speaker of the New York City Council on January 3, 2018. He was re-elected in 2017 with 94% of the vote to represent Council District 3, which includes the neighborhoods of Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Flatiron, West SoHo, Hudson Square, the Meatpacking District, Columbus Circle, Times Square, the Theater District, the Garment District and part of the Upper West Side.

Raised in a union household where his mother, a homeless services provider, and his father, a Teamster, instilled in him the values of community service and political engagement, Corey came to national attention in 1999 when, as the captain of his high school football team, he took the courageous step of coming out publicly as gay. Corey’s actions landed him on the front page of the New York Times and he began telling his story to audiences of young people across the country. He would later serve as chairperson of Manhattan’s Community Board 4, becoming the youngest person to chair a community board in the five boroughs.

Corey has earned a reputation as a tenacious advocate for his constituents and a prolific legislator at City Hall. He has passed dozens of pieces of legislation, standing up for tenants, victims of domestic violence, transgender New Yorkers, those involved with our criminal justice system, and more. Corey has also been able to forge consensus on tough issues to achieve long-sought goals in Council District 3. He won the creation of a new public park in Chelsea and negotiated a landmark land-use agreement to save Hudson River Park’s Pier 40 and its athletic fields, while creating nearly 500 units of affordable housing and a new South Village Historic District.

He is a member of the Council’s LGBT Caucus and is the only HIV positive elected official in New York State.

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Daniel Dromm

Daniel Dromm has been a progressive leader in Queens for over 20 years. An award-winning public school teacher, Dromm was elected to the New York City Council in 2009 and represents District 25 (Jackson Heights & Elmhurst). He serves as the Chair of the Education Committee.

Prior to his election, Dromm was an award-winning New York City public school teacher at PS 199Q in Queens from 1984 to 2009. In 2006, Dromm was chosen as “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” by his school’s principal and in 2009, he was chosen as “Educator of the Year” by the Kiwanis Club of Sunnyside. He has also received the Marsho-Raimo Award from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

Dromm is the founder of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee and has organized the first Queens LGBT Pride Parade and Festival, which he still puts on the first Sunday in June in Jackson Heights. Dromm co-founded the Queens Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG), as well as the Generation Q Youth Services Program in Astoria. He also helped found the Queens Pride House.

A fluent Spanish-speaker, Daniel has been honored by the Sociedad Puertorriqueña de Queens. He is a member of the NAACP – Corona/East Elmhurst branch and has also been honored by the Korean-American Association of Central Queens. In October of 2006, Dromm received a Community Leadership Award from the TimesLedger newspapers.

Daniel Dromm graduated from Marist College and earned his master’s degree at City College. He lives in Jackson Heights.

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Dathí MacLochlainn

B’iontach an suim sa nGaeilge a bhí orma ó m’óige. Cé go raith dúshlán ann anseo i Nua Eabhrac, táim buíoch as an deis leis an teanga a fhoghlaim. Táim gníomhach mar mhúinteoir le Daltaí na Gaeilgele blianta agus faoi láthair múinim go seachtainúil lenár gCraobh in Brooklyn agus mar “Cathaoirleach” Chlub Leabhar Nua Eabhrac. (Cuirimse na cathaoireacha in eagar!)

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Erin Rice

Erin is currently the Coordinator of Community Relations and the Political Action Committee for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 825. In her role with the Operating Engineers, Erin works to track projects and economic development throughout Local 825’s territory, which covers all of New Jersey and five counties of New York State, as well as coordinating the Union’s Political Action Committees.

Previously she worked at Lenox Consulting, a US and Ireland based strategic communications firm. Prior to entering the private sector, Erin served as an aide in the office of Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. In addition to her governmental role, Erin also worked on the Congressman’s re-elections efforts, serving as Campaign Manager, and has worked on countless campaigns in various other capacities.

Erin is a founding Member of the Board of the Irish Network’s New Jersey Chapter, and was named 2016 Irish American Youth Ambassador by the Irish Echo. She is a member of the non-partisan Women’s Political Caucus, NJ SEED, and has been honored for her dedication to New Jersey’s Labor community. She was elected to serve as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Journalism Concentration from Montclair State University. A lifelong New Jersey girl, Erin now lives in Montclair.

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Feargall Kenny

Feargall Kenny is the founder, creator and curator of New York Digital Irish. The group aims to provide Irish startups a soft landing in the US through a series of fast pitch events and organized “missions” of Irish startups throughout the year.

Feargall founded and runs the boutique executive search firm Glenborn Corporation in NYC. They focus on senior sales hires for venture-backed US and international startups in the e-commerce and marketing technology arena. Before Glenborn, Feargall spent 15 years in sales and sales management roles with venture backed startups like KickApps, Attributor and Equinix. He was the founder of Citizen photojournalism agency Citizen Image and is the founder of innovative job search platform JobElevation, which offers visual and industry category-based job search tools.

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Gareth Maguire

CEO Gareth Maguire has been at the forefront of the Sport Changes Life movement since the pilot of the Victory Scholarship Program in University of Ulster in 2007.

There has been 28 Victory Scholars in total since its launch in Sport Changes Life, formerly USNI Sport. The idea of bringing elite scholar athletes from America to earn a Masters and at the same time work in the local community and raise the aspirations of young people in sport, all while playing the sport they love came from Co-Founders CEO Gareth Maguire, Professor Deirdre Brennan at the University of Ulster and International business man Mark Marais.

CEO Gareth Maguire has lead the way with his vision to help develop basketball and change the lives of young people of Ireland through sport developing EHOOPS Programs and Sports Programs with his wife Deirdre. The Victory Scholarship program has gone from strength to strength in the past number of years with a rebrand of the company in early 2012 to Sport Changes Life.

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Gerald Hanweck

For over 20 years, Gerald Hanweck, CEO and founder of Hanweck, has been at the forefront of derivatives research, strategy and technology innovation. Prior to founding Hanweck, he spent ten years with JPMorgan, where he served as Chief Equity Derivatives Strategist and led the bank’s U.S. Fixed-Income Derivatives Strategy team. Earlier in his career, he worked as a derivatives researcher at Discount Corporation of New York Futures, and as a software developer at Microsoft.

A frequent industry speaker, Mr. Hanweck has also taught master’s-level business courses at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago, in addition to dozens of seminars on financial derivatives. Mr. Hanweck holds a PhD in managerial economics and decision science from the Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University, and an AB in mathematics from Princeton University.

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Geraldine Hughes

Geraldine Hughes received the Los Angeles Ovation, Garland and Drama Critics Circle Awards and a Drama League Award Nomination for Outstanding Performance for her solo play Belfast Blues, which she also wrote. Stage credits include Jerusalem opposite Mark Rylance after (Broadway & West End productions.) Other theatre credits include: Particle Of Dread (opposite Stephen Rea), Cyrano De Bergerac (Broadway), Translations (Broadway), Molly Sweeney (Irish Repertory Theatre), Pumpgirl (MTC), ), Orson’s Shadow, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Weir, The Architect. Television credits include: The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, Nurse Jackie, Mercy, The Good Wife, Law and Order CI, Law & Order SVU, Law & Order, Murder, She Wrote: The Celtic Riddle, ER. She has starred in several features including Warner Bros’ Gran Torino, MGM’s Rocky Balboa, Time Out Of Mind with Richard Gere and National Geographic’s Killing Lincoln. Geraldine received an honorary doctorate from Queens University, Belfast for her contribution to the arts. She will next be seen in the film, The Book Of Henry, in June 2017.

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Glenn Patterson

Glenn Patterson is the author of ten novels, including Gull (2016), which tells the story of John DeLorean and the Belfast factory where the DMC12 sports car was built. The Mill for Grinding Old People Young (2012) was Belfast’s first One City One Book choice. He has also published two collections of his journalism and a memoir, Once Upon a Hill: Love in Troubled Times. He is the co-writer (with Colin Carberry) of Good Vibrations (BBC Films) and wrote the libretto for Long Story Short: the Belfast Opera. He is director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s.

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Jayne Brady

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.

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Jennifer M. Frankola

Jennifer Frankola is an associate in the litigation department and part of the Special Education Group. Jennifer’s practice is dedicated to representing the educational needs of all children and in particular children with special needs and their families at CSE meetings and throughout the administrative hearing process, appeals, and related proceedings.

A former full time public school teacher in the Bronx, Jennifer cares about her clients and families and understands the complexities of the education system. With a hands on approach, she takes the time to understand her clients’ goals and will create a strategy to best achieve their objectives.

Jennifer is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law and was a member of the New York City Law Review and teaching assistant for Constitutional Law. While in law school, Jennifer interned for the Honorable Ronald L. Ellis in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. At graduation, she was honored by the National Association of Women Lawyers.

Jennifer is a 2002-2004 alumna of the New York City Teacher Fellowship. In 2005, she was awarded the Joseph Doherty Civil Rights Fellowship for her human rights work in Durban, South Africa. In 2006, she was selected as a Project Equity Fellow for her work at Advocates for Children of New York, Inc. In 2012, she was honored as Ambassador of the Irish Echo’s Top 40 Under 40 for her work and commitment to civil rights. She is active in the New York and Long Island chapters of the Brehon Law Society and sits on the Junior Board of Nazareth Housing–a New York City non-profit dedicted to homeless prevention. She is a member of the Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA) and the Summit School Business Advisory Board.

Prior to joining Lewis Johs, Jennifer worked at a small law firm in New York City advocating for parents of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. She was involved in working on matters for the Autism Speaks Federal Legal Appeals Project where she assisted in drafting briefs for various cases including the case Student X v. New York City Department of Education(E.D.N.Y. 2008) and the Forest Grove v. T.A. (2009) case to the United States Supreme Court.

Jennifer holds a Masters degree in Education from New York University and a Bachelors degree from Manhattan College. Jennifer is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and in the federal courts of the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York. An avid hockey enthusiast, she is a die hard New York Islanders fan.

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John Anthony Brennan

Author John Anthony Brennan comes from Crossmaglen, a small tough town in County Armagh, Ireland. A town like Ireland herself, which has endured and survived through the centuries, despite the influence of the invaders’ harsh heel. He left his beloved, sacred green isle many years ago to explore the world and has been island hopping ever since.

He has traveled extensively, visiting many of the sacred sites and incorporates his experiences in both his prose and poetry as he believes that a common thread connects us all. He has previously written a philosophical memoir; a collection of memoir style poetry and a book on the history of Ireland. His latest production, “In the Realm of Spirit” due in August 2018, is a collection of poems that captures the essence of the seen and unseen world around us.

His first book titled, “Don’t Die with Regrets,” written to inspire others to always follow their dreams, won the prestigious 2015 “Next Generation Indie Book” award in the Memoir category.


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Larry Kirwan

Larry Kirwan was the leader of the Irish political rock band Black 47 for 25 years. A playwright and novelist, an Irish Echo columnist and host/producer of Celtic Crush on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, he has written 16 plays and musicals, three novels, a memoir, and A History of Irish Music. He is president of Irish American Writers and Artists. His play, Rebel in the Soul, finished a successful run at The Irish Repertory Theater, NYC, on May 21st and he is currently recording songs for his latest musical, IRAQ.

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Margaret Molloy

Margaret Molloy is Global Chief Marketing Officer at Siegel+Gale & Creator of WearingIrish

Margaret is the New York-based, global chief marketing officer at the renowned branding firm Siegel+Gale. A native of Ireland and a Harvard Business School graduate, she is regarded as one of the most influential global marketing leaders and consistently appears on top CMO lists, including Forbes’ top CMOs on Twitter. A strategic marketer, she is a sought-after speaker and has published articles in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fast Company and beyond.

Margaret created #WearingIrish in March 2016 as a passion project to showcase Irish fashion designers. Acclaimed by the iconic Women’s Wear Daily, WearingIrish is now a movement online and offline with a live event program hosting 10 winning Irish designers in New York City in May 2018. Margaret is the curator of the program.

Margaret has receiving many accolades, including: Overseas Business Woman of the Year 2017 by Image magazine; 2017 Marketer of the Year by The Drum; Top 50 Power Women and Top 100 Irish Americans in Business in 2016 and 2017 by Irish America; and the 2018 Creativity and Arts awards in Fashion and Design by Irish Central. Margaret brings a potent blend of grace, gravitas, and grit to everything she touches. Follow Margaret on Twitter @MargaretMolloy and Instagram @WearingIrish. Margaret lives in Manhattan with her husband, economist Jim O’Sullivan, and their sons, Finn and Emmet.

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Marianne Reilly

Marianne Reilly ’82 was introduced as Manhattan College’s director of intercollegiate athletics on March 30, 2016 by the school’s president, Dr. Brennan O’Donnell, and vice president for student life, Dr. Richard Satterlee.

“Marianne Reilly brings to Manhattan an impressive record of accomplishment as an administrator and educator,” said O’Donnell. “As an accomplished student-athlete, a former coach, and an alumna of the College, she has a deep understanding of what is needed to excel in this important position.”

“I am extremely excited to be to be able to come home to Manhattan College,” Reilly said. “It is a dream come true and I would like to thank both President O’Donnell and Dr. Satterlee for this amazing opportunity.”

One of 39 female ADs at the Division I level, Reilly returned to her alma mater as the first female athletic director in the school’s history. She arrived in Riverdale with a diverse portfolio of work in collegiate athletics administration after spending three decades at nearby Fordham University, where Reilly began her career as an assistant in recreation, facility management and club sports. She was elevated to associate director of athletics in 1996 to accompany her responsibilities as the senior woman administrator for the Rams’ athletic department.

In her prior position, Reilly served on the leadership team of Fordham’s Athletic Department and supervised NCAA compliance, academic eligibility and athletic training while also serving as a sport administrator for a number of varsity programs. Reilly also served on the Atlantic 10 Conference’s Strategic Planning Committee.

During her years at Fordham, Reilly mentored many coaches, administrators and student-athletes and oversaw the successful development of the women’s basketball and softball programs. In 2013, Fordham’s women’s basketball team christened Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center by reaching the championship game of the A-10 tournament, a game that garnered the highest attendance ever recorded for an A-10 women’s basketball championship. The following year, the team won the Atlantic 10 Championship, just three years into the tenure of Head Coach Stephanie Gaitley. The softball program steadily became a regional powerhouse under Reilly, as well, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in six of seven seasons, with the winningest coach at Fordham University, Bridget Orchard, at the helm.

In Reilly’s first year at Manhattan, there were extensive renovations to athletic facilities. In the fall of 2017, Gaelic Park received a new turf surface and upgraded on-site lockers rooms. Draddy Gymnasium opened up the 2017-18 season with new basketball, volleyball, and practice courts, as well as new chair-back and bleacher seats, an upgraded sound system and a newly located Marro Family Communication Studio for pre- and postgame interviews.

Reilly recently completed a comprehensive strategic plan to help guide the priorities for the athletic department over the next few years with regard to facilities, support services, scholarships, fundraising and athletic branding.

“We are delighted with the progress we have made thus far with regards to facility enhancements and employment hires,” Reilly said. “I have a creative, energetic staff that makes coming to work each and every day a joy, and that energy produces an environment for everyone to thrive. We are excited to see the advancements we will make in our next phase.”

A graduate of Manhattan College with a degree in physical education, Reilly was the first woman inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame and the first 1,000-point scorer in program history. In 2014, she was inducted into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Honor Roll at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA.

Reilly also had two stints with NCAA coaching: She served as an assistant coach at Fordham University and as head coach at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. A former teacher in the local public and catholic schools in New York City, Reilly earned a master’s degree in education and administration from Lehman College, and a professional diploma in administration and supervision from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education. She currently serves on the board of trustees at Saint Barnabas High School in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx.

Reilly and her husband, Tom Delaney ’71, a cornerstone of the Manhattan College rowing program, reside in Tuckahoe, NY and enjoy their summer home in Sea Girt, NJ.

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Maura Kelly

Maura Kelly is an Emmy award-winning producer and experienced media and marketing executive. Her career spans leadership positions in broadcast television at PBS/ WNET where she built successful media franchises and helped raise over $15 million for programs and EdTech initiatives — to working with top-tier media companies, such as The Jim Henson Co, PBS Kids, and the Tribeca Film Institute. Through her consultancy practice, Purple Mountain Media, Maura helps organizations and creators develop and launch projects and cultural initiatives that leverage creativity, content and technology. Her non-profit work has placed her in Ethiopia and Peru. Maura is on the Board of IIBN-NY and is an Advisory Board member of EdSnaps, a STEM based initiative for girls in the Bronx. In 2017, she was a senior advisor to LEAP (Leadership & Executive Acceleration Program) for women, and for three years served on the Board of NY Women in Film & TV, a leading association that promotes gender equality in the entertainment sector. Maura holds a Masters from NY Institute of Technology where she was also an adjunct lecturer. (@MauraKellyMedia)

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Michael Alcorn

Michael Alcorn joined the staff at the School of Music at Queen’s University Belfast in 1989 as Composer-in-Residence and later took up a lecturing position at the University. He devised and developed the Music Technology pathway at Queen’s, the first such programme in Ireland, and led the successful bid to develop the Sonic Arts Research Centre, a multi-million-dollar research centre that linked researchers in music, electrical engineering and computer science. SARC was opened in 2004 and remains a key international research facility for work in immersive 3D audio as applied in the game and film industries. Michael Alcorn’s compositional interests lie at the intersection between instrumental writing and areas of new media creative practice involving experimental technologies. His music has been performed and broadcast in the UK, Europe, North and South America, and the Far East. He has received commissions from the BBC, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Nash Ensemble, Singcircle, the Smith Quartet, Darragh Morgan, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Opera Theatre Company and the Ulster Orchestra. In recent years he has worked on film music and sound design projects in the UK and US. He was Director of SARC from its inception in 2001 and later became head of the School of Music, Film and Drama. Along with colleagues at Ulster University he has been leading a major research and capacity-building project around the enhancement of the creative industries, particularly the screen industries in Northern Ireland. He is now Professor of Composition and Dean of Internationalisation in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

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Michael George

Prior to joining Versant in 2017, Mr. George served as a Managing Director of Fortress Investment Group LLC. Prior to joining Fortress in 2009, Mr. George spent ten years with Deutsche Bank where he was most recently a Managing Director in the Institutional Client Group with responsibility for the Bank’s largest North American clients. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank in 1999, Mr. George served as Co-Head of Mortgage Backed Securities Trading at Lehman Brothers where he started his career in 1986.

Mr. George graduated from St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge University with an undergraduate degree in Engineering Science and a postgraduate diploma in Computer Science. Whilst at Cambridge University Mr. George played Rugby for the University 1st XV for three years, ‘walking-on’ to the team.

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Nathan M. Richardson

Nathan M. Richardson is an accomplished performance poet and published author based out of Suffolk, Virginia. His published collections are “Likeness of Being” and “Twenty-one Imaginary T-shirts.” He has also contributed to the following anthologies: The Poets Domain, The Cupola, The Channel Marker and Skipping Stones. Richardson teaches a variety of workshops for emerging writers and his past residences include creative writing instructor for the Camp Rise Summer Arts Program which was awarded the 2012 National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award from The White House.

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Peter Shirlow

Professor Peter Shirlow (FaCSS) is the Director at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies. He was formerly the Deputy Director of the Institute for Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, QUB. He is the Independent Chair of the OFMDFM Employers’ Guidance on Recruiting People with Conflict-Related Convictions Working Group and a board member of the mental health charity Threshold. He is a Visiting Research Professor at the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. He sits on the editorial boards of Irish Political Studies and International Planning Studies.

Professor Shirlow has undertaken conflict transformation work in Northern Ireland and has used that knowledge in exchanges with governments, former combatants and NGOs in the former Yugoslavia, Moldova, Bahrain and Iraq, He has laos presented talks to members of the US Senate and House of Representatives and is a regular media contributor.

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Philip Cassidy

Philip has responsibility for solutions, pricing and strategic projects as well as developing, deploying and maintaining our technology platforms. They enable improved customer engagement and better business outcomes on behalf of more than 450 clients supported by Concentrix staff. Under Philip’s leadership, Concentrix has created an ecosystem to streamline front- and back-office functions that adapts to industry-specific processes while improving performance via actionable data.

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Raffaella Folli

Raffaella Folli is a Professor of Linguistics, Head of School of Communication and Provost of the Belfast and Jordanstown Campuses at Ulster University . She studied Philosophy at the University of Milan. In 1998 she completed an MPhil in Linguistics at the University of Oxford and then in 2001 a DPhil in Linguistics, also at the University of Oxford. She joined Ulster University in 2005 having previously held research positions at the University of Arizona (2001-2001) and then the University of Cambridge (2002-2005) .

Her main research area is theoretical syntax. Her standing in linguistics is evidenced by her extensive publications in top journals in the field, various grants from different research councils and extensive collaborations with academics in the UK and the US. In 2011 she was awarded a Distinguished Research Fellowship award in recognition of her research achievements.

She is part of the linguistics team that in 2012 established the Ulster Centre on Multilingualism (UCoM), an information service for people raising or working with children growing up with more than one language. As part of UCoM, she is involved in Language Made Fun, a programme designed to support the language needs of multilingual children or migrant children in Northern Ireland. The programme is in collaboration with the Barnardo’s and is funded by a grant by Big Lottery Fund.

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Richard Cushnie

Richard Cushnie is First Secretary and Deputy Director at the Northern Ireland Bureau. His role is to promote Northern Irish interests in the US and Canada, including building relationships of mutual benefit, monitoring policy developments, and supporting inward visits as well as visits to Northern Ireland by American and Canadian contacts. Richard also supports InvestNI and Tourism Ireland in highlighting the significant business and tourism opportunities in Northern Ireland.

Richard brings extensive political, policy and leadership experience to the role. Previous posts within the civil service have included political and policing transformation in the Northern Ireland Office, leading major reform projects in Northern Ireland’s Departments of Education and Justice, and a secondment to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (where he was First Secretary in Dublin for four years and Director of Communications for the historic State Visit to Ireland by the Queen). Richard has also worked in the Irish Department of Justice, providing policy advice to Ministers on equality issues. Before joining the civil service he was a journalist in the North West of England.

A native of Killyleagh in Northern Ireland’s beautiful Strangford Lough area, Richard has a degree in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. He is married with two children.

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Richard M. O’Meara

Richard M. O’Meara is a retired Brigadier General, USA, and trial attorney who presently serves as the Director of the Division of Global Affairs, Rutgers University. He has received a PhD in Global Affairs from Rutgers University 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 US Army Command and General Staff College amongst other schools. He presently teaches in the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University and the Holocaust Studies Program, Stockton 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 Crimes, 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, Contemporary Issues in International Law, The American Way of War, Evolution of the Global System and Human Development.

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.

His recent work includes Going Home For Apples and Other Short Stories (Amazon); Governing Military Technologies in the 21st Century, Ethics and Operations (Palgrave/Macmillan); chapters in Robot Ethics, The Ethics and Social Implications of Robotics (MIT Press) ; Routledge Handbook of Ethics and War, Just War Theory in the twenty-first century (Routledge); and articles JUS POST BELLUM: Reflections on the Right Way to End a War, Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis (Syracuse University) and International Governance of Autonomous Military Robots, Columbia Science and Technology Law Review (Columbia University School of Law).

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Robert W. Walsh

Rob Walsh serves as the Executive Director of the HELP USA Fund, an organization that has grown to become one of the nation’s largest homeless service providers and low income housing developers. HELP serves at-risk populations, including families, veterans, and victims of domestic violence. From January 2002 to December 2013, he served in the Bloomberg Administration as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). During his twelve year tenure, he reshaped SBS to become one of the city’s most innovative agencies in serving the needs of its 200,000 small businesses. Walsh re-energized the City’s 73 business improvement districts and created an award-winning commercial revitalization and neighborhood leadership program. Under his leadership, NYC Business Solutions Centers were established throughout the City and he introduced NYC Business Express an online tool for the license, permit, tax, and incentive information businesses need to operate. He created a wide array of entrepreneurial courses and built a new business-focused approach to the workforce system that placed nearly 200,000 people during his tenure.

Prior to his service with the city, Walsh served as President of Charlotte Center City Partners in North Carolina, an organization dedicated to improving and growing Charlotte’s central business district. He led the Charlotte Center City 2010 Master Plan that laid the groundwork for significant private and public investments in the city. He initiated the recruitment efforts that attracted Johnson & Wales University to the City.

From 1989 to April 1997, he led the Union Square Partnership, where he played an instrumental role in the neighborhood’s revitalization. During the 1980’s, he worked in the administration of Mayor Ed Koch. He began his career in public service as a New York City Urban Fellow, a program he later directed. Walsh holds a Bachelors in Political Science and Masters in Public Affairs from Fordham University. He participated in the Senior Executive Program in State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. He currently teaches in the Baruch School of Public Affairs where he directed the Executive Masters in Public Administration Program for two years. In addition, he is an on-air personality for 1010 WINS Radio and does a segment called “The Bottom Line for Small Business” which airs every Monday and Friday. He is also the host of the 1010 WINS Small Business Challenge.

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Suzanne Aquino

Global Category Head-Professional Services, Chain IQ

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Thomas P. DiNapoli

Thomas P. DiNapoli is the 54th Comptroller of the State of New York. A life-long Long Islander, Tom was raised in a middle-class, union household and saw the value of hard work and stretching every dollar in the example set by his parents.

In 1972, Tom won his first election and served as a trustee on the Mineola Board of Education, becoming the first 18-year-old in New York State to hold public office. He attended Hofstra University, earning a bachelor’s degree in history and graduated magna cum laude in 1976. He worked in the telecommunications industry for 10 years, and went to night classes and earned a master’s degree from The New School University’s Graduate School of Management and Urban Professions.

In 1986, he ran for the New York State Assembly and was elected to represent the 16th District in northwestern Nassau County for the next 20 years. Tom was elected State Comptroller on Feb. 7, 2007 by a bipartisan majority of the State Legislature. He was elected Comptroller by New York’s voters in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. Tom is known for his integrity, independence and even-keeled leadership.

His record of accomplishments include identifying billions in waste, fraud and cost savings in government, uncovering corruption in State and local governments, leading to dozens of arrests and tens of millions in restitution, providing robust oversight of school district operations and education spending, successfully advocating for State law changes to increase oversight of special education contractors after widespread abuse was found, developing an early warning system to identify municipalities and school districts showing signs of fiscal stress, managing the third largest public pension fund in the nation through difficult losses during the Great Recession, reformed how it operates and received high praise for industry leading standards, investing nearly $2 billion in private equity and loan programs to benefit New York-based businesses and provide a return to the State pension fund, earning a reputation as one of the leading shareholder voices on many corporate concerns including environmental issues and corporate political spending, opening up government spending on his transparency website Open Book New York, leading the fight for prudent fiscal and procurement reforms to help New York change how it does business and put it on better fiscal footing, and streamlining claims process for individuals to recover lost money. Returned $424 million in unclaimed funds to owners in State Fiscal Year 2016-2017.

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Tim Kennedy

Senator Tim Kennedy, born on October 20, 1976, is a lifelong Western New York resident. Tim grew up in a blue-collar family in Buffalo, where his parents, Marty and Mary Kennedy, raised Tim and his four siblings to work hard, focus on their education, help their neighbors, and get involved in their community. Tim and his wife, Katie, live in the City of Buffalo where they are raising their three children, Connor, Eireann, and Padraic.

Since being sworn into office in January 2011, Tim has kept a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable in our community. He spearheaded the passage of Jay-J’s law, legislation that Tim introduced to stiffen penalties on repeat child abusers. The legislation was inspired by Jay J Bolvin, a young boy who was brutally abused by his father. Sadly, Jay J’s father received a light sentence due to antiquated sentencing laws. Tim worked with colleagues in both the Senate and the Assembly to secure passage of Jay J’s Law. Since then, he has pushed through several pieces of legislation to reform Child Protective Services, as well as Jackie’s Law, which protects victims of domestic violence from GPS stalking.

Tim has also fought to protect Western New York’s seniors. He worked with community and government leaders to secure funds to transform the former Holy Family Elementary School in Buffalo into a senior apartment complex. He also fought for a significant increase in eligibility for EPIC, a state program to help pay for prescription drugs. With Tim’s support, the income eligibility for single seniors has increased from $35,000 to $75,000, and has increased for couples from $50,000 to $100,000. This has opened up eligibility to thousands more seniors in Western New York.

Above all, Tim knows the importance of growing and protecting Western New York’s workforce. He fought to secure passage of SUNY 2020, legislation which is allowing the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College to thrive. He also has worked to secure funding to support workforce training programs to the long-term unemployed, opening them up to rewarding good-paying careers. Tim voted to fund the Buffalo Billion, which is creating thousands of jobs in Western New York, giving the local economy the boost needed to break away from decades of decline. He also regularly works one-on-one with local companies to link them with state resources that allow them to grow their workforce.

Tim went to St. Martin’s Elementary School before attending St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute. He then received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in occupational therapy at D’Youville College. As he studied at D’Youville, Tim began to truly understand the challenges facing Western New York. Recognizing that any challenge is an opportunity for a community to grow stronger, Tim was inspired to get involved in government to help move the community forward. As a licensed occupational therapist, Tim has spent his entire career working to help people. For 11 years, Tim worked with geriatric and pediatric populations to help them recover from injuries and fully participate in all life situations.

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Tom DiGati

Tom is the VP of Client Success at Unosquare, a Portland, Oregon based software engineering firm that provides IT consulting and builds web and mobile applications for BFSI, Healthcare, and Software customers. Unosquare has been one of the 100 fastest growing private businesses in Oregon four years in a row and was most recently named on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in the USA for 2015, 2016 and 2017. Tom lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with his wife and two children.

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