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Dermot Byrne retired as Chief Executive of EirGrid – the Transmission System Operator for Ireland – in September 2012. He left having developed EirGrid into a group structure with responsibilities in Northern Ireland and Ireland. His tenure also saw the successful completion of the €600m East West Interconnector, the development and implementation of the Grid25 strategy, and the establishment of EirGrid as a world leader in the integration of wind power into the power system.__ He has strategic & leadership experience at the highest levels and has advocated on behalf of the Irish energy sector in Europe and beyond. Dermot was appointed Non-Executive Director of Element Power Ireland in October 2013, and in May 2015 he was appointed as a Non-Executive Director with Intellectual Ventures – Invention Investment Ireland.
John spent most of his working life in AIB and worked in many branches throughout the country, including Drogheda, Galway, Portlaoise and several other locations before returning to Dublin in the mid-eighties.He was Branch Manager in Rathgar for a number of years and subsequently Group Pensions & Welfare Manager for AIB Group until retirement in late 90’s. During his working time with AIB John occupied the position of President of Laois Chamber of Commerce and President of Dublin Lions Club.
After retiring from AIB he then worked in Diamond Trust Bank, initially in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania and then Nairobi, Kenya where he was Branch Manager. Upon his return from Africa he took on a number of Management Consultancy roles with large commercial and semi-state companies around Ireland. In early 2004 he was approached to join Vita – then known as Refugee Trust – as Chief Executive, a position he held for five years before becoming Director of Corporate Affairs and Company Secretary.
John has held the position of Company Secretary since 2008
Edele is Marketing Director, Mobile for Development, Regions and Digital, at the GSMA, stimulating digital innovation to deliver both sustainable business and large-scale socio-economic impact for the underserved. Edele is responsible for global marketing and communications, and engagement with mobile operators, tech innovators, donors, governments and international organisations. At the GSMA, Edele initially led marketing for the mHealth programme, implementing a maternal, newborn and child nutrition initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Prior to joining the GSMA, Edele held a number of commercial and marketing leadership roles in the premium consumer goods sector in Spain, the UK and Ireland, for brands including Baileys, Jameson and Rémy Martin. Edele has also worked at the International League Against Epilepsy and at a fintech start-up, focused on mobile top-up transfer to emerging markets.
Edele holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is currently completing an MA in Media and International Conflict, both from University College Dublin.
Padraig O’Ruairc has qualifications in Management, Sales and Development and Mechanics. He has been a member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport since 1996.
He is currently the Business Development and Change Manager of the LocalLink Transport Coordination Units at the National Transport Authority. LocalLink is a community based social and demand responsive transport operation working to reduce social exclusion especially for the elderly and people with disabilities in rural Ireland. He has over twenty years experience in the Logistics, Transport and Development sectors. He has held senior positions in Ireland and overseas in countries like Ethiopia, Balkans, Zimbabwe and North Korea. Additionally he has worked on short assignments in East Timor, Liberia, Uganda and Bangladesh. Roles included Country Directorates, Logistics and Operations Management and Humanitarian Response. He has worked across the private, not-for-profit and public sectors.
In 2012 he was appointed to the National Integrated Transport Committee by the then Minister of Transport. This role involved working with key state agencies and Government Departments to find integrated, efficient and cost saving solutions to community and social transport in Ireland.
Pádraig is married and has two sons; his family is number one love and passion. Apart from family time he spends his spare time helping his local community centre in rural North Kildare. He regularly volunteers at the bingo which is an important social event for elderly and isolated individuals in the area. The community centre is the hearth of the village. He enjoys reading especially history and non-fiction.
Deirdre Clifford is Head of Portfolio and Risk Management at Avolon since 2011.
Prior to joining Avolon, Deirdre worked for over seven years at RBS Aviation Capital primarily within the credit risk function covering airlines in Europe and Asia. She commenced her career in Merrill Lynch.
Deirdre has a Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Languages from Dublin City University.
Damien Farren’s career spans thirty years of senior management roles in technology companies both in Ireland and internationally. The organisations he has worked for include Digicel Group, dotMobi, Sigma Communications, Bank of Ireland, Softbank Corporation and Digital Equipment Corporation. His expertise is in strategic change, business improvement and performance management with a particular focus on the revenue generation and supply chain channels. More recently Damien has been retained as a business consultant in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors and specialises in business transformation and project management.
Damien holds a Master of Science degree from Trinity College, a Master of Business Administration degree from UCD as well as a range of other business qualifications. His professional memberships include the Institute of Directors, the Marketing Institute of Ireland and the Project Management Institute.
Having spent time working and living abroad Damien and his family are now based in Dublin. He enjoys time outdoors and entertains his friends by sailing, hill-walking and cycling with more enthusiasm than skill.
Barry Magee, a native of North Armagh, began his career with Eircell, after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in HRM. He also holds a number of business diplomas in both Business and Finance.
Barry has worked commercially for and indirectly with a number of Irish and global brands spanning over a 21 year career in R&D, manufacturing, sales, marketing, customer engagement, change management and C-Suite capacity. These brands include Eircom, Vodafone, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Costco and Wal-Mart. Barry headed up the project team that brought Lily O’Brien’s Irish Chocolates to the United States and South Korea for the first time, where they are well renowned today.
Barry is held in high esteem for his charity work over the years within the wider community and he has spent seven years as General Manager of NCBI. A very engaging public speaker, Barry has headed up a number of Community Employment programmes nationally and in 2008 appeared on the RTÉ’s Nationwide programme to champion the cause of fundraising, volunteering and donating locally.
Barry brings a wealth of business, networking and grass root experience to Vita, particularly in the area of client engagement, fundraising, donor engagement, philanthropy, marketing, HR, finance and corporate governance.
In his spare time, Barry has a keen interest in Irish history and heritage, quantum mechanics, psychology, traditional Irish music, rugby, giving back to society and everything GAA and science.
Kevin Farrell has had over 30 years of experience in development and humanitarian work overseas, initially with CONCERN in Bangladesh, and subsequently with UN World Food Programme in Lesotho, Nepal, and Ethiopia. He later served as WFP’s Representative in Uganda, Somalia and Zimbabwe, with direct responsibility for major humanitarian programmes, and also as UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Northern Iraq during the mid-1990’s.
Following his retirement from the UN in 2007, Kevin was invited by Government to be a member of Ireland’s Hunger Task Force which in 2008 defined Ireland’s role in global efforts to tackle hunger and malnutrition. He then served for three years as Ireland’s Special Envoy for Hunger, initially preparing recommendations to Government on Ireland’s response, and subsequently representing the country in several international meetings and seminars on issues around agriculture, nutrition and governance. In this capacity he engaged actively with a number of governmental/bilateral bodies, as well as with multilateral and non- governmental bodies to advocate for a much stronger hunger policy, and to promote the leading role which Ireland now plays in that response.
Dr Lance O’Brien, MA, PhD, MBA
Dr. Lance's Profile
Dr Lance O’Brien, MA, PhD, MBA, is Head of Strategy & International Relations at Teagasc. He is a member of the Teagasc Senior Management Team and works on the development of Teagasc organisational policies and strategies, its relationships with international organisations, as well as leading its international agricultural development programme. He is chairman of Teagasc’s International Food Security Committee. In that capacity, he works closely with Irish Aid and international research organisations on research capacity building in Eastern Africa. He has particular expertise in foresight and has produced a number of publications and delivered lectures internationally on foresight. He has contributed to national research policy initiatives in Ireland and to a number of Irish agricultural and food policy developments, including the two recent industry-led strategies–Food Harvest 2020 (2010) and Food Wise 2025 (2015). He led the two major Foresight projects undertaken by Teagasc, namely Teagasc 2030 (2008) and Teagasc Technology Foresight 2035 (2016). He was also a member of the Third EU SCAR Foresight Expert Group, whose report-Sustainable Food Consumption and Production in a Resource-Constrained World, was published in 2011. He was a member of an International Expert Panel which developed a long-term science agenda for agriculture in Africa-Connecting Science-A Science Agenda for Transforming Agriculture in Africa (2014).
Deirdre Hannigan is the Group Chief Risk Officer for AIB since 2017, before which she was the Chief Risk Officer for NTMA, Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency. She is a graduate of Dublin City University and University College Dublin. Prior to joining NTMA Deirdre held a number of senior positions in the financial services industry working in Ireland and internationally.
Most recently she worked in GE Capital International where she was International Credit Review Director and before that held roles in Enterprise Risk Management and as Chief Risk Officer Ireland. Before joining GE she worked in Bank of Ireland in strategy and risk and Rabobank where she established a corporate banking business. She commenced her career with AIB.
Deirdre is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Also, in 2010 she was admitted as a Chartered Director to the Institute of Directors in London.