Our Dublin Staff

John Weakliam
John's Profile

John has a financial education and career background and worked with HSBC in Eritrea where he established bank training programmes and completed a master’s degree on Financing for Eritrean Firms.  John set up the Vita programme in Eritrea in 2000 and travelled to Ethiopia to help establish Vita’s first programmes there in 2005.  He returned to Ireland in 2007 and has been CEO of Vita since 2008.  John has focused on developing next generation models of development including the Irish Potato Coalition which was set up in 2014 and the Vita Green Impact Fund which was launched in 2016.  Originally from Dublin, John is married to Smret with whom he has five children.  John enjoys languages as well as a tune on the guitar.

John Gilliland
Head of Programmes
John's Profile

John’s background is in forestry where he started his career in Ireland. He worked for 3 years as policy advisor to Kader Asmal who was Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry in post apartheid South Africa. On returning to Ireland John became CEO of Coillte Consult where over the next 10 years he worked across Africa and central Europe on a wide range of EU and World Bank development projects. John has worked with Vita as an advisor since 2009 and became Head of Programmes in 2013.

Judith O’Connor 
Head of Finance and Administration 
Judith's Profile

Judith has worked in various industry contractural financial roles for nearly 20 years whilst completing her degree, ACCA & finally MBA. Whilst stepping back from paid roles to raise her family in 2011, she has worked in the voluntary sector for Educate Together on the startup and becoming Chairperson of the Board of Management for her local school.

Growing up on a small farm in Devon, agriculture and sustainability has always been of interest. An interest in horticulture was developed further by volunteering for GIY on a local and national level for several years and completing an Organic Horticulture course. When not found thoroughly enjoying her work with Vita, Judith can quite often be found in her polytunnel growing her own! 

Emily Hosford 
Programme Officer 
Emily's Profile

Emily has a background in international development and human rights. She has worked with local community development and civil society organisations in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda and has managed a child safeguarding and protection programme in these countries. Emily’s qualifications include a Masters in Globalisation & Development from University College Cork. Outside of work, she enjoys tai chi, cinema and keeping up with current affairs.

Sam Kappler 
Programme Officer 
Sam's Profile

Sam is originally from Edinburgh in Scotland. He has a background in politics and sociology, which he studied it at university. Before joining Vita, Sam worked with World Vision on introducing long-term community development programmes in Sub Saharan Africa and the Balkans. Outside of work, Sam enjoys spending time in the mountains and watching soccer.

Ciara Feehley
Head of Communications and Fundraising
Ciara's Profile

Ciara Feehely joined Vita in 2015 after having been on the board for several years. Her last position was in EirGrid as their Senior Lead Communications Specialist,  she has also worked with RTÉ and the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association.

Gerry Murphy
Communications and Marketing
Gerry's Profile

Gerry Murphy has involvement in strategy and partnership development within Vita. For over 30 years he worked directly in a number of senior marketing and sales management roles with Flahavan’s , Britvic, CPC Knorr and Unilever Ireland as well as dealing directly with major suppliers in Ireland, the UK,  Canada and the USA.

Gerry co-managed the InterReg2 Fund on behalf of the Irish Exporters Association and he worked as the Marketing / Business Advisor for ROI with Invest Northern Ireland, In the recent past he has held Board positions with Age Action Ireland and MS Ireland. He is a Management Science graduate of Trinity College Dublin and holds graduate membership from both the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK) and M.I.I.


Aideen Stapleton, Office Administrator 
Aideen's Profile

Aideen joined Vita in December 2019. She holds an honours BA in Biblical and Theological Studies and Archaeology from Trinity College Dublin.

Before joining Vita, Aideen worked for Holocaust Education Trust Ireland as their Education and Programme Manager and previously was the Bookings & Events Coordinator for Glasnevin Cemetery Museum.

In her spare time, Aideen has a keen interest in Irish history and heritage and enjoys travel, music, cinema, gardening, and reading.

Louise Williams
Communications and fundraising 
Louise's Profile

Louise worked as a radio journalist in London and elsewhere, tracing the history of coffee in Ethiopia and the route of migrants across West Africa to Europe. After stints as a humanitarian in the Central African Republic and DR Congo, she has made a base in Ireland. She lives in Dublin where in her spare time she is a passionate campaigner about feminism and cycling.


Rebecca Gant, Office Administrator
Rebecca's profile

Rebecca Gant joined Vita in September 2020. She grew up in Cincinnati and worked in gang prevention in Guatemala City as well as spending time living in Colombia working with Venezuelan refugees.

Rebecca is completing a Masters in International Development and spends her spare time exploring Dublin’s parks, gardening and making art.