Meet Vita’s Board
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.
Dermot is also chairperson of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and 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.
Having managed and supported successful development programmes across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean for 16 years, Stewart has an in depth knowledge of international development. He comes from a farming background in the midlands and has a passion for agricultural development, especially Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) programming.
For ten years Stewart worked with Concern Worldwide in Haiti, Afghanistan, Cambodia and most recently, in Malawi as Programmes Director. In 2015 he started his own consulting business. In 2020 he was lead consultant supporting the National Task Team on Rural Africa in developing recommendations to better coordinate initiatives across public, private and NGO actors in the rural development and Agri-Business sectors in Africa. He also completed a review of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs international agricultural research initiatives in 2021. Internationally he was lead consultant on developing a set of CSA knowledge products for use across all 15 SADC states and has also led a national level CSA scoping study in Malawi.
Stewart is a firm believer in the power of people and in enabling them to achieve success by having strong management systems in place. He has Diplomas in Project Management and in Executive and Leadership Coaching and draws on both of these skill sets in all of his work. He also has a Degree in Agriculture and Environmental Science and a Masters in Humanitarian Action from UCD.
Céline Reilly is the Executive Manager for the Environment & Transportation Department for Dublin City Council. She is a graduate of both NUI Galway (Bachelor of Engineering) and UCD (Masters in Water and Environmental Engineering) and is a Chartered Member of Engineers Ireland.
Since 1982, Céline has worked primarily in local government, initially as a Civil Engineer, and latterly – since 2006 – in a managerial role. Céline now combines her role as Executive Manager with that of Energy Performance Officer for the Council and has recently coordinated the Climate Change Action Plan for Dublin City Council. She also has experience in the planning and design of Water Treatment Works, garnered during a period working with consultants in the UK in the 1980s.
Among the projects for which Céline has current responsibility are the following: delivering on energy targets for the City Council; coordinating the implementation of the Council’s Climate Action Plan; progressing initiatives on climate mitigation, adaptation and communication; initiatives on waste management and illegal dumping and initiatives on air quality and also delivering a Housing with Support development for older people;
Céline sits on the Environment subcommittee of the CCMA and represents this committee on the National Climate Action Steering Group, the EPA NEICE steering committee, the National Biodiversity Action Group, the Flood Forecasting Communications working group and the board of the National Waste Collection Permit Office. She also sits on the National Waste Enforcement Steering committee, the board of ESHI, (the Environmental sustainability and Health Institute) and the board of the East Link Toll Bridge.
Pat Kane is the founder of reuzi, a one-stop shop for minimal waste lifestyle based in Dublin, Ireland.
The aim of reuzi is to break the stigma around sustainability. Sustainability is not exclusive to scientists or the ‘all-or-nothing’ folk. reuzi wants to make sustainability an easy to digest subject with fun, colourful products and educational services.
Before starting her entrepreneurial journey Pat held various executive positions, working for large multinationals across a few different countries.
She was a senior executive at Digicel in the Caribbean and Central America as well as Director of Customer Experience at Paddy Power Betfair plc.
Pat holds a Business degree from Ibmec RJ, a Master of Business Marketing from PUC-RJ and has completed a Business Sustainability Management course with the University of Cambridge.
She is also a columnist for parent’s magazine Mums & Tots and contributes to several websites on a regular basis, having featured on The Irish Tatler, Image.ie, The Spill Podcast, RSVP Magazine, Food & Wine Magazine and Irish Daily Mail, Irish Times, Sunday Times and Sunday Independent, to name a few.
Living in Dublin with her husband and their two boys, Pat believes that being happy involves being healthy (body & mind!) and wholeheartedly embracing the world we all share… and having a great time while doing it!
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.
Paul Nolan’s career covers 30 years in senior management roles in the financial services industry. His expertise is in finance, investment, business change and strategic management.
Paul is a fellow member of the association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).
Having travelled widely Paul now spends his time with his family engaging in numerous outdoor pursuits.
Dr Lance O’Brien
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).