View our friends joining us around the campfire here.
The Big Irish Echo Campfire – Speakers
Irish Fest Dublin, Ohio
New York, NY
Alison Metcalfe, Head of North America, Australia & New Zealand, Tourism Ireland, based in New York, Alison was appointed Head of North America in June 2013, where she has responsibility for leading Tourism Ireland’s Marketing Strategy and Operations in the USA and Canada. In June 2017, Alison also assumed responsibility for Tourism Ireland’s operations in Australia/New Zealand.
Alison joined Tourism Ireland in 2002 and previously held the position of Vice President Marketing, USA. Prior to moving to New York, she was responsible for Tourism Ireland’s operations in Canada based in Toronto. Alison has extensive destination marketing experience and a record of achievement in building and leading high-performance teams. Her career has spanned strategy development, brand management, integrated consumer marketing, communications and stakeholder management. Alison has worked in the UK, Europe and North America.
Alison also serves as Chair of the European Travel Commission, USA Chapter.
Anne Cassidy Carew
President of the United Irish Cultural Center board located in San Francisco, CA
Born and raised in San Francisco, Anne and her family were a part of many Irish organizations growing up: United Irish Societies, Connaught Club, Ulster Social Club and the United irish Cultural Center. Anne’s parents, originally born in Cavan and Sligo, met in Woodside, New York in a local dance hall. In 1967, they drove across Route 66 and settled in San Francisco.
Anne began a career in retail in 1989 while attending SF State University. Graduating from college, Anne pursued retail management. While working at Macy’s she met her husband Ed Carew, 5th generation San Franciscan. After raising two children, Anne went into education and found her calling: working with high school students. It was during this time that Anne pursued her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at the University of San Francisco and followed her father’s footsteps by getting involved with the United Irish Cultural Center. While on the board for four years (2006-2010), she led a brick fundraising campaign and created the sister 501c3 non profit.
Anne is going into her 10th year of counseling high school students and mentoring counseling interns. In addition, she has also been a guest lecturer at San Francisco State University and Skyline and instructor at University of San Francisco and Children Empowerment Inc. non profit. As chair of her counseling department, she is part of multiple leadership committees within her school and district.
Anne rejoined the United Irish Cultural Center board in 2017 and is in her 2nd year as President. She writes a monthly article in the Irish Herald, the oldest Irish newspaper on the West Coast, founded in 1962. The UICC has endured many changes in the last 20 months. At the end of 2018 the UICC shut down the old business structure making way for a new business plan and in 2019, the UICC officially became a 501c3 with a community and cultural programming focus.
In 2020, the Center was preparing to celebrate 45 years on 45th Avenue and to honor the many accomplishments through the years. A library filled with donated photos, books and ephemera. The 27th year of providing scholarships for students going off to high school and college. The partnership with organizations collaborating events and activities: Ancient Order of Hibernians, Comhaltas Ceoltori, Connaught Club, Cork Sister City, Irish Famine Memorial Committee, GAA/Youth GAA, Irish Immigration Pastoral Center, Irish American Crossroads, Irish American Democratic Club, Irish Immersion Weekend, Irish Literary and Historical Society, Irish Marvels, Irish Pipers Band of SF, Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Rebel Cork Association, Rebel Cork Ladies, SF Bay Area Law Enforcement Emerald Society, SF Irish Pipers, Ulster Club, United Irish Societies and local Irish dance schools.
Anne commends her board for being creative and starting three new businesses and a fundraising appeal. A call has gone out to carry on an additional plan of cultivating SF Irish history and for The Center to expand its role of the seanachaí (storyteller) within the community. The UICC is looking for donations of artifacts, memorabilia, photographs and/or stories and plans to expand the library.
Virginia Distillery Co, Lovingstone, VA
Senior Vice President. Global Sales, Aer Lingus
Bill Byrne is the Senior Vice President of Global Sales for Aer Lingus. In this role he oversees passenger sales from Ireland, North America, United Kingdom and Europe. He is based in both New York and Dublin.
Prior to his role with Aer Lingus, Byrne was the Vice President of Inbound Sales for Hertz.
In that role he was responsible for sales of the Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty brands from all global markets for rentals in the United States and Canada. Byrne also looked after all sales programs for Federal and state governmental agencies. Byrne enjoyed a 30-year career at United Airlines lastly as the Managing Director of Specialty Sales. In that role, Byrne was responsible for passenger sales in a number of specialized segments such as On-Line Travel Agencies, Military and Government Travel, Leisure, Meetings and Incentives, and Small Business Products. He also led sales of United Vacations. He has served on the boards of the Alliant Credit Union, the US Travel Association and Choose Chicago.
Byrne received a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University of Chicago and a Masters and Ph.D. from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Byrne is a native of Chicago and a dual National of the U.S. and Ireland. He is married and the father of four children.
CEO of Kalo Physical Therapy, Kailua-Kona, HI
Dr. Brett Carey is a physical therapist hailing from Kona, Hawaii. His family originates from County Tipperary, Ireland. He is the CEO of Kalo Physical Therapy, an outpatient multispeciality group that serves the rural Big Island community. Kalo is the only Physical Therapy group on Hawaii Island that accepts all Medicaid plans and is committed to serving all members of Hawaii’s diverse community.
In 2011, he co-founded IREHAB.com, which provided free access to autonomous treatment applications for lower back pain. In 2013, IREHAB’s lower back pain app became the 43rd most downloaded app out of 7,000 fitness apps. He uses creative, technology based approaches to bridge care gaps in underserved communities.
As volunteer President of We Make HI, Inc, he has secured grant funding in order to instruct non-profit dentists in making free 3D printed dentures for uninsured, low-income adults. We Make HI Inc, also provides free custom hand and finger splints for uninsured adults that have suffered debilitating injuries.
He also serves as Chairman for the Information Technology Committee for the West Hawaii Community Health Centers – a non profit health center network. Previously he served the West Hawaii Community Health Centers as the Board of Directors President, becoming the youngest ever Board President of a Federally Qualified Health Center.
Dr. Carey is passionate about advancing Island economies and believes strongly that Island communities throughout the world should work together towards creative, competitive solutions to ensure autonomy for all Island peoples. He also has a strong passion towards Northern Ireland and constantly seeks to connect the diaspora with the unique history and ongoing political changes of the region.
In past he has been awarded as a March of Dimes Hall of Fame member and the Outstanding Alumni for Old dominion University.
Washington D.C. Metro Area
Community volunteer with a special interest in disability issues (particularly those that affect individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families) youth leadership development (particularly in areas of recent conflict) education programs that focus on students in under-served areas
- National Board member and Vice President, The Arc of the United States
- Advisory Board, Learning Together Project Fund (Cricket Media the The Hopewell Fund)
- Member, Mason LIFE Coordinating Council (George Mason University)
- Founder and Board Chair, Washington Ireland Program for Service and Leadership (WIP)
- DC Coordinator, Project Children
- Chair, Friends of J.O. Wilson Elementary School
- Co-Chair, Washington Interfaith Network (WIN)
- Board Chair, South Africa-Washington International Program (SAWIP)
- Advisory Board Co-Chair, N Street Village
- Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Consultant/Lobbyist, America’s Public Television Stations
- Vice President for Government Affairs, National Association of Broadcasters
- Liaison for Women’s Organizations, White House (President Jimmy Carter)
- Executive Director, The Women’s Campaign Fund
Irish Culture Bay Area, San Francisco, CA
Originally from Dublin, Catherine is Director of Irish Culture Bay Area and the Irish Arts & Writers Festival. She is Vice President of the Irish LIterary & Historical Society, and also works with several Irish organizations in San Francisco, including Crossroads Irish American Festival, SF Irish Film Festival and the Bay Area Irish Oral History Archive.
Catherine worked in publishing and photography in London and Sydney before moving to San Francisco in the mid-1990s. She headed up the relaunch of The Irish Herald in 1996, where she was managing editor until 2002.
Currently Catherine is editor at SF/Arts Monthly
President, Irish Railroad Workers Museum, Baltimore
The Irish Outreach Center, San Diego, CA
Professor Christine Kinealy
Chair Institute of Ireland’s Great Hunger, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT
Now a resident of Connecticut, Professor Christine Kinealy has lived and worked in Belfast, Dublin, Liverpool and New Jersey.
Since completing her PhD at Trinity College in Dublin, Christine has published extensively on modern Ireland, with a focus on the Great Hunger and the Abolition movement. In 1997, she was invited to speak to invited audiences in both in the British Houses of Parliament and in the American Congress on the Great Hunger in Ireland. Christine’s award-winning publications include, This Great Calamity. The Great Famine in Ireland (1994 and 2007) and a graphic novel based on the experiences of children during the Great Hunger, entitled, ‘The Bad Times’ or, in its Irish language version, ‘A Droch Shaol’ (2016). During the last decade, her research has explored the experiences of abolitionists who visited Ireland in the 19th century, including Frederick Douglass, leading to the publication, Frederick Douglass and Ireland. In his own words (2018).
Christine moved to the United States in 2007 to develop the Irish Studies Graduate program at Drew University. In 2013, she was appointed the founding Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University. Through a vibrant series of conferences, exhibitions, publications and lectures, the Institute provides a forum for understanding the perennial problems of hunger, food security and economic inequalities in society, both historically and today.
Christine is a champion of using education, particularly history, as a way of informing young people about issues relating to social justice. Since 2011, she has been a volunteer teacher at an annual Gael Scoil in New Jersey, which provides an immersion course in Irish history and culture for 4 to 17-year-olds.
In 2013, Christine was named one of the top 100 educators in Irish America. In 2014, she was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame and named one of the most influential women in Irish America. In 2017, Christine received an Emmy for her contribution to the documentary, “The Great Hunger and the Irish Diaspora.” In 2018, she was named a Belfast International Homecoming Ambassador, in recognition of her continuing close ties with the city where she lived between 1987 and 1992.
In 2019, Christine was one of five Famine historians who undertook a 100-mile walk from Roscommon in the west of Ireland to Dublin, following in the footsteps of 1,490 poor tenants who were sent to Canada in 1847. Over 600 on them died on the journey. This route is now officially recognized as The National Famine Way.
Christine had two children, Siobhán and Ciarán, born in Dublin and Belfast respectively, and a rescue dog, Cúchulainn.
New York, NY
Christine C. Quinn is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Win (formerly Women in Need), the largest provider of shelter, social services, and supportive housing for homeless families in New York City. Under her leadership, Win is giving thousands of homeless women and children the support they need to break the cycle of homelessness. Win advocates at the city, state and federal level for support that benefits lower-income New Yorkers and those living in poverty; and effectively challenges prevailing public and media perception of homelessness to drive more effective policy.
Quinn is also the Vice Chair of the New York State Democratic Party and serves on the Democratic National Committee. In addition, she is a regular, and occasionally fiery, commentator on CNN and MSNBC.
A champion of women’s and LGBTQ rights, she previously served as Special Advisor to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, where she focused on women’s issues across New York State, and led the effort to pass legislation to stop the epidemic of rape and sexual assault on college campuses. A member of the New York City Council from 1999-2013, Quinn served for seven years as the elected Speaker of the Council, making her the first woman and the first openly gay Speaker in New York City history. She was instrumental in working to see marriage equality pass in the New York State Legislature in 2011 and has been a national leader in the LGBTQ and reproductive rights movements. A long champion and ally of the Irish community, Quinn worked to secure commitment for the largest amount of funds from the Irish government to build the Irish Arts Center in New York City and spent meaningful time in Belfast during her time as Speaker promoting peace and reconciliation.
Prior to serving in elected office, she was the Chief of Staff to then-New York City Council Member Tom Duane, and Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, where she worked closely with the New York City Police Department to reduce hate crimes across New York City.
Christine Quinn currently serves on the Boards of the National Institute of Reproductive Health Action Fund (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice New York) and the Center for Democracy in the Americas. She was a Grove Leader in the inaugural Grove Fellowship Program at the Public Policy Institute at Hunter College and a former Harvard University Institute of Politics Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Education from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
Quinn and her wife, Kim Catullo, live in Chelsea with their rescue dog, Justin.
Irish Fair of Minnesota, St Paul, MN
Cindy Lerick, CFEE, is an independent consultant and the Executive Director of Irish Fair MN, providing services to a broad range of festivals and events around the world. Most recently, her company, The ART of Events LLC, provided management and production services to Cultural Festivals (Saint Louis Art Fair)as they searched for a new Executive Director. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director of the Sausalito Art Festival in Sausalito, California, a position that she accepted in 2017 to help the organization through an internal transition period. Before that move, she served as the Executive Director/President of the Saint Louis Art Fair from 2009 – 2017. Before that, she was the Executive Director of the Uptown Association and the Uptown Art Fair (1996-2007). She also co-produced the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival from 2002-2004. She owned her road racing management and timing company from 1985-2004. Directing, Timing, and producing at least one sporting event each weekend.
She is a Board member of the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA) and coordinates their Certified Festival and Event Executive Program (CFEE).In her spare time, she enjoys kayak, biking, and spending time with her family.
Milwaukee Irish Fest, Milwaukee, WI
Colleen is President of the Milwaukee Irish Fest Foundation and is a past-President of Milwaukee Irish Fest. She also serves on the Board of Directors of CelticMKE, now the parent organization of Irish Fest. She has been involved in Milwaukee Irish Fest since its early days, as her brother, Ed Ward, was its Founder. Irish Fest is truly a passion and essentially a “way of life” for her family.
Colleen’s specific area of responsibility at the Festival is Diplomatic Relations and Guest Relations, caring for dignitaries and ensuring positive guest experiences. She chairs the Fund Development Committee, responsible for festival sponsorship and year-round donations.
Milwaukee Irish Fest, celebrating its 40th year with a totally virtual festival in August, is the largest celebration of Irish and Celtic music and culture in North America.
Milwaukee Irish Fest Foundation, in its 25 years, has provided grants of more than $650,000 to non-profit organizations in the USA and in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The priorities of the Foundation are Irish culture and education, and support of community endeavors.
Outside of her various volunteer commitments, Colleen has had a career in healthcare and in non-profit management, focusing on people with disabilities. She continues to serve as a consultant in the field. She and her husband Tom have two adult children.
Managing Director of Clairmar Consulting Ltd
Colm Long is Managing Director of Clairmar Consulting Ltd, a management consultancy business focused on helping venture backed startups to scale. He previously held the roles of VP, Global Operations at Facebook and VP, Online Sales and Operations at Google. He also holds a Non-Executive Director role on Facebook Payments International Ltd where he is Chairman of the Board. In addition, Colm holds the role of Independent Non Executive Director on the board of Cpl Resources plc.
Founder, The Rising Tides, New Haven, CT
In my 20+ years working in and around the research and advisory field, I’ve worked with and for an impressive list of companies and clients, In doing so, I’ve learned from some of the smartest leaders anyone could ever hope to know, and witnessed first-hand the growth of a dynamic and fascinating industry.
I’ve also had the good fortune to work beside some great leaders, and some fantastic mentors. It is from these individuals that my passion for strengthening the roles women can play in each other’s success grew. As women, not only are the demands on our professional lives extending but as our personal lives are continuing to flourish, I believe we need to move closer to a business culture that appropriately supports both. We need to help each other get to a place where the work/family debate is behind us.
CEO, CIE Tours International, NY
Elizabeth Crabill is CEO of CIE Tours, the largest Irish-owned tour operator in North America. With more than 20 years’ experience leading sales, marketing, and strategy for some of the travel industry’s best brands, she has been involved in general management, innovation, transformation and customer-focused strategy for companies from startups to Fortune 500. Crabill took the reins of the highly established tour operator in 2016, with a mission to grow the business, expand the digital footprint of the brand, raise the visibility of the Irish tourism experience, and introduce a new generation of travelers to the tour experience. She is a graduate of Smith College with an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Dr Elizabeth Stack
Irish American Heritage Museum, Albany, NY
Elizabeth Stack, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany.
Dr. Stack is responsible for operating the Museum, located at 21 Quackenbush Square, which hosts a number of historical exhibits, as well as lectures, music evenings and film presentations. The Museum is the only national museum dedicated to preserving the history and culture of the Irish in America, and the new exhibits are a comprehensive look at the contributions made to American history by those of Irish ancestry.
Elizabeth joined the museum from Fordham University, where she taught Irish and Irish American History and was an Associate Director of the Institute of Irish Studies. She completed her PhD at Fordham, writing about Irish and German immigrants in New York at the turn of the twentieth century, as they grappled with the immigration restriction movements of that time. She has a master’s degree in Anglo-Irish Relations in the 20th Century from University College Dublin in Ireland and was a high school teacher in Ireland and the United Arab Emirates before moving to America in 2009. She spent four years working in marketing in Ireland before she began her teaching career, working for the largest real estate company in Ireland before moving to another “below the line” marketing group, where she ran the in-store demonstration program for the largest supermarket chain in Ireland, among other projects.
A native of Listowel, in Co. Kerry, Elizabeth sees a huge connection between her own experience as an immigrant, and the important mission of the museum to preserve and share Irish heritage and culture. “I have learned that because emigration is part of the Irish story, and immigration part of the American, there is a reciprocity that exists between both countries that exceeds familial ties or time of arrival.” The museum strives to build on that relationship, by encouraging members to share the stories of their ancestors, and by helping preserve the culture to pass it on to their own descendants. As an entity that educates about immigration, the Museum strives to contextualize the story of the Irish immigrants as part of the American story.
Founded in 1986, the mission of the Museum is to share Irish American Heritage. The museum is a permanently charted 501(c)3 non-profit with an educational mission – to preserve and tell the story of the contributions of the Irish people and their culture in America. It provides year-round access, especially by school groups, to its exhibits, the Paul O’ Dwyer Library, lectures, presentations, film screenings, book signings and other special programs. As such, the Museum is unique in America, where almost 36 million individuals claim Irish ancestry. It is committed to the basic tenet that preserving one’s heritage is vital to providing a cultural and historical foundation to future generations of Americans.
Chair, North American Province, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, NY
New York City, New York
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. Geraldine’s stage credits include: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, as Professor McGonagall, Jerusalem, opposite Mark Rylance (Broadway and West End). 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, and The Architect.
Television credits include: Kevin Can Wait, Law and Order SVU, The Blacklist (recurring), Blue Bloods, Nurse Jackie, Mercy, The Good Wife, Law and Order CI, Law & Order, Murder, She Wrote: The Celtic Riddle, ER. She has starred in several features including The Book Of Henry, Time Out Of Mind, Gran Torino, Rocky Balboa and in National Geographic’s Killing Lincoln, and most recently Nine Days, with Winston Duke and Benedict Wong. Geraldine received an honorary doctorate from Queens University, Belfast for her contribution to the arts. She is currently filming the new Showtime TV series Your Honor, opposite Bryan Cranston.
Gael Scoil, Hamilton, New Jersey
Gerard is the Director of the Gael Scoil in Hamilton New Jersey. He has served on the committee of the Gael Scoil since it’s inception in 2006, and became Director in 2014. He is a member of the Joe Cahill AOH Division 10, which hosts the Gael Scoil, in Mercer County, NJ. He has been awarded Hibernian of the year, and served as the President of the Divsion for two years. He stepped down as President to concentrate on his passion, which is working with the absolute best committee and volunteers to teach children about Ireland.
The Gael Scoil is a two day program that teaches children from 6-17 about Ireland. Classes are held on food, history, language, music, dance, sports and much more. Instructors range from range from local volunteers and musicians, to championship dancers, university professors and authors.
Vice President, Life Sciences and Food, IDA Ireland, Boston
Ivan Houlihan currently serves as Vice President for IDA Ireland in the North East of the US based in Boston. Ivan works closely with clients in the Biotechnology, Medical Technology and Food industry throughout the North East of the US and Canada. He is responsible for advising clients in these sectors on investment in Ireland.
Prior to his current role, Ivan served as Vice President for the South East of the US based in Atlanta. He has also worked in various roles for the organization in Ireland including Regional Development in the West and Midwest of Ireland and the Medical Technology division.
Ivan holds a Certificate in Equine Science from the University of Limerick, a BBS with a major in e-commerce from the Institute of Technology Tralee and has a Graduate Certificate in Strategic Management from Harvard University. Ivan has undertaken Executive Leadership Programs at Michael Smurfit Business School.
Plumbers Local 130 UA, Chicago, IL
James Maynard, PhD
Curator, The Poetry Collection, University at Buffalo, NY
James Maynard is Curator of the Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo—home of the UB James Joyce Collection, the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of manuscripts and other materials by and about the renowned Irish author. He has published widely on and edited a number of collections relating to the poet Robert Duncan, including Robert Duncan: Collected Essays and Other Prose, which received the Poetry Foundation’s 2014 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, and most recently Robert Duncan and the Pragmatist Sublime. In 2018 he received an Irish Echo Community Champions Award.
Ancient Order of Hibernians, New Orleans, LA
Jeremiah R. Sullivan
My parents immigrated from Co. Cork Ireland to Butte, MT– my mother with her family and my father alone to work in the mines in Butte with his three uncles. I graduated from Butte Central High School, which was run by the Christian Brothers of Ireland. Following High School, I joined the US Navy and served in Southeast Asia and South America. After finishing my tour of duty, I returned to work in the mines in Butte, graduated from college, taught school in Canada and became a bank examiner. I have worked in banking for the past 50 years and am now semi-retired.
I am married to Kay, and together we have three children–Devin, Tara and Keely–and six grandchildren–Redmond, Frances, Finnegan, Peter, Ruth and Bernadette.
Mayor of Philadelphia, PA
Healthcare Consultant, US
Kevin has been working during the past twenty-five plus years in the healthcare administration and hospital operations arena.
During the past five years he has worked as an independent consultant on engagements that focused on performance improvement for hospital operations and supply chain services. Prior to healthcare consulting, he lead the development and execution of financial and clinical supply chain services strategies as the System Vice President for Sharp HealthCare, a San Diego, CA, based, not-for-profit, integrated delivery network that consists of eight hospitals, 2600 affiliated doctors, and twenty one non-acute ambulatory centers. His focus was on identifying and implementing cost-effective solutions supporting quality patient care and improving operational efficiencies throughout the health system.
In previous positions, he has held various leadership roles at Mercy Health System, in addition to administrative responsibilities in an academic medical center, a rural hospital, and healthcare consulting with KPMG Peat Marwick. He brings a broad range of healthcare management experience to the table in for-profit and not-for-profit environments, in addition to acute and ambulatory care settings with responsibilities over ancillary & support services operations, financial management, process improvement, project management, information systems, physician relations, supply chain services, business development, and strategic planning.
Kevin grew up in Philadelphia, PA, and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Healthcare Administration at Drexel University. He also holds an Executive Education Certificate from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in Public Health degree in Healthcare Planning & Administration from the University of Tennessee, and a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration from LaSalle University. He is also an alum from Cardinal Dougherty High School, a Hibernian who also serves on many boards, and was a former member of the Irish American Business Chamber & Network in Philadelphia, PA.
Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, Honorary Consul General of Ireland, Pittsburgh, PA
Jim Lamb is President of the Ireland Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to peace and reconciliation and economic development in Ireland and cultural, commercial, and other partnerships between Ireland and Pittsburgh. Jim serves as the responsible officer of the Institute’s US Department of State-designated Exchange Visitor (J-1 Visa) programs.
During his tenure over 2500 young Irish men and women, Catholic and Protestant, north and south, have participated in Ireland Institute programs including but not limited to the International Fund for Ireland’s Wider Horizons scheme, the Walsh Visa Program, the Rooney Fellowship, Carbon Zero Northern Ireland, the POINTER Programme, and hundreds of individually sponsored Summer Work & Travel, Irish Work & Travel, Intern, and Trainee visa programs.
Jim has led eight (8) business and trade delegations to Ireland and has hosted dozens of Irish company executives, entrepreneurs, professionals, government and political representatives and community leaders, facilitating two-way trade, cultural exchange, and strategic partnerships between Ireland and Pittsburgh.
In 2011 Jim was appointed by the Irish Government as its first Honorary Consul of Ireland for Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In this role Jim advocates for the rights of Irish citizens residing in or visiting the greater Pittsburgh area. Jim also represents the Irish government and its interests as they pertain to Pittsburgh-area business, community, political, and government initiatives.
Jim also performs as a professional musician, primarily in Pittsburgh-area Irish pubs, festivals, and other Irish cultural events. His band has performed in several US cities, on various Caribbean cruises, and in Ireland on multiple tours.
Jim is a native Pittsburgher tracing his roots to Co. Galway and Co. Monaghan. His wife, Ann Burns Lamb hails from Creggan, Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh. They reside in Pittsburgh with their son, Ciaran who attends Penn State University.
James F. Coyne is the Business Manager of Plumbers Local Union 130 UA. Jim is a 43-year member of the Union and in his first 25 years of his plumbing career, he worked on many commercial buildings and high rises in downtown Chicago. In 1987, Jim was appointed a part-time officer. He held multiple part-time positions until the year 2000 when Business Manager Gerald M. Sullivan, his mentor, appointed Jim to a full-time position as Recording Secretary. In 2002, Jim was appointed as the Financial Secretary-Treasurer where he served for the next 10 years. In 2012, Jim was elected as the Business Manager in the largest plumbing local within the United Association and has a jurisdiction of 17 counties in northern Illinois. In 2018, Jim and his slate of officers were re-elected to another term by “white ticket.”
In 2017, Jim and the Local 130 JAC Trustees constructed a new 50,000 square-foot State of the Art Training Center on the Local 130 campus in the West Loop. In 2018, the members of Local 130 approved Jim’s plans to construct a multi-use parking garage on the northside of Plumbers Hall. Our plan is to break ground in the fall of 2020. On August 1, 2019, Plumbers Local 130 celebrated the opening of their first Wellness and Vision Center in Lemont, Illinois. Local 130’s motto is “The Plumbers Protect the Health of the Nation,” and Jim feels it is important to protect the health of our members and their families. In fact, the health and well-being of Local 130 members is his top priority. Healthcare will be affordable and accessible to all Local 130 members and their families with zero co-pays and no deductibles. In August 2020, Jim and the Local 130 JAC Trustees will break ground on a new 35,000 square-foot State of the Art Training Center in Joliet.
The Plumbers Local 130 Business Manager serves as the General Chairman of the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee which produces the annual downtown parade. The Plumbers Union hosts the annual Parade Queen Contest as well as the annual parade fundraiser, the Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner and this year’s event heralded the highest attendance ever in history. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jim and the Board of Directors made the difficult decision to postpone the 65th Anniversary of the Chicago St. Patrick’s day parade in March of 2020. The Board of Directors eagerly wait for the day when it is safe to march down Columbus Drive again and celebrate our Irish heritage together.
For more than six decades, the Plumbers Local 130, UA has dyed the Chicago River a beautiful shade of green. This annual tradition has attracted hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. The dyeing of the river is the largest tradition as the kick-off to Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day events.
Jim is humbled by the special honors presented to him recently which include the prestigious Irish Labor Leaders Award (Irish Echo Newspaper) and Irish-American Labor Council Honoree in 2018, and Irish Person of the Year (Emerald Society) in 2019.
Jim was born and raised in Chicago by his parents Geraldine and James J. who is a 72-year Local 130 member. Jim’s Irish roots trace back to his grandfather who emigrated from County Galway and his grandmother who hailed from County Mayo. Jim and his wife Michele reside with their dog Roxie in Chicago. They have one son and three daughters, one daughter-in-law and two son-in-law’s and are the extremely proud grandparents of 11 grandchildren, ranging from one to fourteen years of age.
Harp & Shamrock Society of Texas
Joan Moody is a 3rd generation American of Irish descent on her mother’s side. Recently found out from DNA that 11 of Ireland’s 32 counties are in her heritage. She is a past president of the Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas, Past Irishman of the Year recipient as well as past recipient of the Cusack Award both of which are high honors of the Harp and Shamrock Society. She has been honored by the Irish Echo with its Texas Irish American Leaders Award in 2009, Irish Small Business Entrepreneurial Excellence Award in 1011 and the Community Champion Award in 2018. She currently sits on the Scholarship Committee of the Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas as well as on the Board of Directors. Last year she became Editor of the Society’s newsletter and also is working on setting up the San Antonio Rose of Tralee committee, the Fundraising Committee and the Media Relations Committee.
For information on the Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas visit the website at www.harpandshamrock.org.
Joan also tries to go to Ireland every year where possible.
Mulkerin School of Irish Dance, West Haven, CT
Kathy lived most of her young life in Stamford, CT. She started Irish dancing with the Kathleen Mulkerin School of Irish dance at the age of 5. At 7 she was the youngest performer on the first of her many tours to Ireland with the well-known Mulkerin Emerald Dancers.
At age 8 Kathy acted and sang in Summer stock in Chataqua New York, where she played the part of the youngest Von Trapp Child in the Sound of Music. Kathy spent much of her time after that, performing in plays, musicals, dance shows, commercials and movies.
Kathy has performed on stage and television in the United States, Canada and in Ireland. While in college, Kathy performed with The Emerald Dancers at Carnagie Hall. Kathy had also competed in and won many awards throughout the United States, Ireland and Canada for her solo and group dancing.
Over the years Kathy also took classes in Ballet, Jazz and modern dance, acting and singing, but Irish dance always remained in her blood.
Kathy attended Southern Sem and Longwood Colleges in Virginia, where she majored in Education. After college Kathy worked part time as an Irish dance teacher and full time as the director of a daycare center in New Haven. Kathy continued teaching both in the fields of dancing and computer education until 2000, when she decided to focus completely on Irish Dancing.
Kathy teaches classes in Norwalk, Milford, Shelton, West Haven, and Guilford. The school also has classes in Killingworth and Westbrook.
In 2011 and 2016, Kathy took a group of 16 of her most advanced dancers on a 2 week performance tour of Ireland. There they performed in shows throughout Ireland, as well as being able to learn more about the Irish people, their culture, music, and dance. This is the 8th trip to Ireland our dance group has made since 1963.
Kathy says her goal is to “teach the dancers a love of Irish dancing, it’s music and culture.”
Her belief is that life is short, enjoy what you do, and let dance be a part of every day.
President-Elect GAA, New York, NY
Larry McCarthy Ph.D., from Cork, is an Associate Professor, in the Department of Management at the Stillman School of Business, at Seton Hall University, New Jersey. He teaches in the sport management program at SHU and his research focuses on sport marketing. His work has appeared in the Journal of Sport Management, Sport Marketing Quarterly and the European Journal of Sport Management. He is Director of the Institute of International Business at the Stillman School. He is a former Secretary and Chairman of the NY GAA and was elected Uachtarán-tofa of the GAA in February of 2020.
President Irish Cultural Societies of San Francisco, CA
Eidson Distinguished Professor in American Literature
LeAnne Howe, Eidson Distinguished Professor at the University of Georgia, connects literature, Indigenous knowledge, Native histories, and expressive cultures in her work. Her interests include Native and indigenous literatures, performance studies, film, and Indigeneity.
Howe’s newest book Savage Conversations, 2019, Coffee House Press, set in 1875, concerns Mary Todd Lincoln and the Savage Indian she said tortured her nightly during her confinement in an insane asylum at Batavia, Illinois. Other recent publications include, “On Lubnaan With Paula Gunn Allen,” in Weaving The Legacy: Remembering Paula Gunn Allen, Sellers and Case, West End Press, 2017; “Gatorland” in Bullets Into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence in the U.S., Clements, Teague, and Rader, Beacon Press, 2017; and, “Imagine There’s No Cowboy: It’s Easy If You Try,” in Branding the American West, Wardle and Boehme, 2016, Oklahoma.
She is currently at work on a new film documentary Searching for Sequoyah about the life and disappearance of Sequoyah, creator of the Cherokee syllabary in 1841; co-producer James M. Fortier. See searchingforsequoyah.com.
Professor Howe (Choctaw) is the recipient of a United States Artists (USA) Ford Fellow, Lifetime Achievement Award by the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas, American Book Award, Oklahoma Book Award, and she was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to Jordan. Recently in October 2015, Howe received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association, (WLA); and in 2014 she received the Modern Languages Association inaugural Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages for Choctalking on Other Realities. She received an MFA from Vermont College of Norwich University, (2000) and shares a Native and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) award for literary criticism with eleven other scholars for Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective, named one of the ten most influential books of the first decade of the twenty-first century for indigenous scholarship, 2011. She’s lectured nationally and internationally giving the Richard Hoggart Series lecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK, 2011, and the Keynes Lecture at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, 2013, among others. In 1993 she lectured throughout Japan as an American Indian representative during the United Nations “International Year of Indigenous People.”
Liam Ó Cuinneagáin
Oideas Gael, Ireland
Liam Ó Cuinneagáin is from Gleann Cholm Cille. He is a graduate of St. Patrick’s Teacher Training College and of University College, Dublin. He is an alumnus of the Tourism Program, Irish Institute, Boston College (1998). He is co-founder of Oideas Gael (1984) with former UCD Dean of Celtic Studies and professor of Irish, Seosamh Watson, its current cultural director. Oideas Gael received the National Rural Tourism Award in 1997. He served two terms as Cathaoirleach of Údarás na Gaeltachta (2002-2012). He was Donegal Person of the Year (2013). Oideas Gael attracts adult students and university semester participants from all over the globe.
Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, Ambler, PA
Lisa Maloney is currently Senior Vice President –Closing at Berkadia Commercial Mortgage where she is responsible for all of the closing, post-closing and delivery functions at the Company.
Prior to working for Berkadia, Lisa was Senior Vice President/Senior Counsel of Capmark Finance LLC, responsible for supporting the legal activities for the European and North America asset management divisions of Capmark Finance LLC.
From 2001-2006, Lisa was General Counsel and responsible for the legal activities for the European operations of Capmark Management PLC (formerly GMAC Commercial Mortgage Bank Europe, PLC). The Company had headquarters in Dublin and operations in Mullingar, London, Frankfurt and Paris. She was responsible for the establishment and implementation of a strategic plan for the start-up of the European operations. Operations ultimately included over 200 professional personnel.
Prior to joining Capmark Management Plc (formerly GMAC Commercial Mortgage Bank Europe, PLC), Lisa was an associate at William Fry Solicitors in Dublin where she focused on banking law, primarily as lender’s counsel.
From 1996-2000 prior to moving to Ireland, Lisa was an associate in the business and finance department at Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia.
In addition, Lisa is a board member and Vice President of the Irish American Business Chamber and Network as well as the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center. Lisa is also a board member of the Mayo Association of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame.
Lois Galgay Reckitt
Maine House of Representatives, South Portland, ME
Lois Galgay Reckitt graduated from Brandeis University in the midst of the turbulent 60’s with a degree in biology. In 1968, she moved to Maine and took her first job at SMVTI teaching marine science. She spent the decade of the 70’s at the YWCA in Portland where her day job was directing the operations of the swimming program.
It was then that she discovered her passion for activism – both in the feminist – and then the LGBT movements. By the 80’s she was director of Family Crisis Services where she served for 37 years abused women and their children. In this same period, she co-founded the Maine Women’s Lobby, lobbied for passage of Maine’s first civil rights law for the LGBT community. Nationally, she co-founded The Human Rights Campaign Fund and served two terms as Executive Vice President of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
Now that she is purportedly retired, Lois represents the ocean end of South Portland in the Maine State Legislature and has since 2016.
William Flynn Center for Irish Studies, University of St Thomas, Houston, TX
Lori Meghan Gallagher, J.D., Director of the Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas (UST) in Houston, was born in northeastern New Mexico to a cattle-ranching family that immigrated from Donegal, Ireland.
UST’s Irish Studies program has been listed among the top ten Irish Studies programs in the country. In 2010, UST named its Center after William J. Flynn, who was Chairman Emeritus of Mutual of America Insurance Company in New York and who played a significant role in facilitating the Irish peace process.
Ms. Gallagher teaches early Irish history, politics, law and culture, the Irish Peace Process, the Irish American Experience and Transformative Irish Women. She leads study abroad throughout Ireland.
Before joining UST in 2002, she was the partner-in-charge of the Appellate Section of Andrews Kurth LLP, where she practiced law for 18 years.
She received her undergraduate degrees in English and Journalism and her J.D. degree from the University of New Mexico. She received a postgraduate diploma in Irish Literature from Trinity College, Dublin on a Rotary Foundation Scholarship.
Her career at UST enables Ms. Gallagher to combine her Irish heritage and love of Irish literature, history, politics and culture with her legal background.
Máirín Uí Chéide
Cumann na Gaeilge, Boston
Máirín Uí Chéide was born in Galway Ireland and grew up in Ceantar na nOileán in the Conamara Gealtacht. She is a native Gaelic speaker and has continued to do so in Boston where she has lived since 1986 with her husband Páraic and five children. She has immersed herself in the cultural and language movement since her arrival to the United States, traveling around the country teaching and performing the art of Seanós singing. She has recorded many of her songs and has a collection in Burns Library of Boston College. She has many awards from Oireachtas na Gaeilge including the coveted Corn Uí Riada.
Máirín was inducted into the North American Comhaltas Ceolteoirí Éireann Hall of Fame in recognition of her ardent championing of Irish cultural traditions. She has also taught Irish language and singing for many years to students from across the globe, maintaining the oral nature of the transmission of the culture as much as possible. She has taught music in the Archdioceses of Boston for over 25 years. She is a cofounder of Boston le Gaeilge focusing on the spoken and written word that connects us with home and The Dorchester Irish Heritage Festival. She has presented successful Irish Language Radio programs both in the US and Ireland for many years.
She is a frequent participant, adjudicator and teacher in Toronto, Oireachtas Gaeilge Chanada, Seanós NorthWest held in Olympia, Washington State, Seanós Cois Locha, Irish Arts Week, Catskills NY, NYU Glaukam House, Silver Spring MD, Irish Nashville Tom Crean Festival and Minnesota Irish Center. She is an advocate of immigrants and has been active in political platforms for immigration reforms for all.
New York, NY
Martin Cottingham is a Principal specializing in transaction management in Avison Young’s New York office. A real estate veteran with over 23 years of experience, Cottingham’s success leading major initiatives at Avison Young is the product of his hard work, knowledge of the industry and
Cottingham is a preferred provider for national transactions for JPMorgan Chase, providing an array of services including office and retail leasing, consulting and sales in cities across the country.
His tireless efforts working with NYU Winthrop University Hospital’s real estate task force reduced portfolio operating costs across the owned and leased facilities in the hospital’s network, enabling the institution to identify over $5 million in savings. Cottingham also worked with city officials to transform vacant lots on Brooklyn’s Coney Island Boardwalk into the stunning 5,000-seat Ford Amphitheater.
Cottingham’s accomplishments have been recognized by the Real Estate Board of New York, which named him a finalist for the Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Award for arranging the relocation of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) headquarters from Harlem to 1133 Avenue of the Americas. The NBPA project also received the Design & Construction of a New Facility Award from the New York Chapter of the International Facility Management Association.
Previously, Cottingham was a Managing Director of the Corporate Services Group, for Grubb & Ellis (now Newmark Knight Frank), where he oversaw the firm’s corporate services in the Northeast region. Prior to joining Grubb & Ellis, Cottingham was a Managing Director at Bear Stearns & Company, where he was responsible for all global facility management, property management, design, development, construction, facility planning, furniture procurement and corporate services units for a real estate portfolio totaling more than 4 million square feet. Prior to being named Managing Director, Cottingham oversaw all site activities for the development of Bear Stearns’ 1.2 million-square-foot world headquarters at 383 Madison Avenue.
Irish Cultural Center of New England, Canton, MA
President of the Irish Cultural Center of New England. Founder and CEO of CHC Home Care, Inc., a Boston private home care agency that allows clients to remain safely in their homes while receiving care. Martina has been a longtime supporter of numerous Irish organizations, and is a member of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and Irish Network Boston. She was born and raised in Co. Clare. Martina resides in Back Bay with her husband Craig.
Mayor of Boston, MA
Maine Irish Heritage Center, Portland, ME
Irish American Partnership, Boston, MA
Mary Sugrue is the Chief Executive Officer of the Partnership. Ms. Sugrue has been with the Partnership for 29 years, serving in various capacities before assuming the role of CEO. Originally from Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry, she graduated from National University of Ireland Carysfort College Dublin with a degree in education and spent three years teaching primary school in Ireland. As an Irish teacher by training, she possesses an indispensable perspective for furthering the Partnership’s mission through impactful grants to schools, educational programs, and community development initiatives.
Irish American Theatre of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Maureen A Kennedy is the Founder & Artistic Director of the Irish American Theater Company, (2004) and Co-Founder of the Irish Heritage Center of Greater Cincinnati (2009) serving Director and Vice-President. Maureen is also a member of the Irish Salon.
Maureen has enjoyed a lifelong involvement in theater and dance. At D’Youville College she was a Theater Major and continued her studies with the Studio Arena Theater, Buffalo, NY, and at UCLA. Maureen preformed throughout Europe and the US. She is an award-winning choreographer, a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation for Television and Radio Artists. Maureen was one of the founding members of the NoHo Arts District, North Hollywood, California, and a participant in the founding of the Columbia Tusculum Arts Corridor. The mission of the Irish Theater Company is “Bringing the people and the stories of Ireland to Life”. In 2015 she brought the first Irish Theater Festival to Cincinnati.
As a passionate Irish descendent, Maureen makes yearly trips to the Emerald Isle. When in Ireland Maureen spends her time researching new talent, meeting with, musicians, actors, directors, producers, writers, and Irish officials. She enjoys discovering new areas in Ireland and its treasures. She visits with her County Clare family, & her husband’s family and of course with Irish friends.
She is most proud of the Irish American Theatre company 2017 winning 8 of 11 awards at the Acting Irish International theatre festival in Rochester NY. The Theater Company has been the recipient of many honors for their productions over the years starting with their very first play Moll. The company travels yearly to Canada, across the US and or to Ireland. This year the company traveled to Listowel, County Kerry, for this Festival during which one of the cast members won the Oscar Wilde Award for his performance.
Maureen can be found at the Irish Heritage Center nearly every day, where she has been a full- time volunteer since its opening. You can see her handiwork in all areas from booking talent for music, theater, film and literature presentations, meeting with visitors, volunteers and members, designing building renovations, helping those to plan their Irish Travel, setting up genealogy sessions, Irish teas, luncheons, parties, weddings and public relations interviews on TV and Radio. Other efforts include mentoring young professionals like the first Cincinnati Irish Rose Ohio winner, the Museum development intern, and the young talent group of teens. With the passion she holds for everything Irish, Maureen is building an Irish Center in perpetuity for future generations to enjoy.
Michael P. Monahan
IBEW International Vice-President Second District, Boston, MA
Michael P. Monahan, currently serves as the International Vice President for the Second District of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (I.B.E.W.), representing over 40,000 members in New England. Michael was first appointed to this position January 1, 2015 upon the retirement of the seated International Vice President Frank J. Carroll, he then was elected as International Vice President at the I.B.E.W.’s 39thInternational Convention in St. Louis, MO, in September of 2016.
He was appointed by I.B.E.W. International President Edwin Hill to the Steering Committee for the Electrical Workers Without Boards North America (EWWBNA) February 14, 2016.
He was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve on the Board for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative January 7, 2015.
Mike was appointed to the position of I.B.E.W. International Representative by International President Hill on September 22, 2014; and was assigned to the I.B.E.W. 2ndDistrict. A position his father and grandfather also served in.
He was appointed by Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, to the City of Boston Zoning Board of Appeals in 2000, where he served until being appointed to the Board of Directors of the Boston Redevelopment Authority in September 2013.
A fourth-generation member of Local 103, Mike was initiated into Local 103, IBEW, in 1983 as an inside apprentice wireman. He rose through the ranks quickly from Executive Board Member to Business Agent and then to Business Manager in 2003where he served as did his father and grandfather, where he represented over 7,500 electrical and telecommunication members in the Greater Boston area. At Local 103, Mike Monahan was a head negotiator for 50-plus collective bargaining agreements and helped oversee over $1 billion in member benefit funds. Mike is recognized as one of the most talented and effective leaders that Local 103, IBEW, has seen in its history.
With a top down organizing strategy, Mike was successful in signing more than 150 non-union contractors to a collective bargaining agreement with Local 103.
Clune Construction Inc, Chicago, IL
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Mike Clune began his career in the construction business at an early age in Europe and the Middle East. In 1978, he moved to Chicago, Illinois, a decision that would set the direction for the rest of his life. Shortly after his arrival, he secured an entry-level job at the company he would ultimately use as the foundation for building his own firm. Over the years, Mike’s personal work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit guided him in transforming that company into Clune Construction.
Mike served as CEO of Clune Construction for 30 years and with his partners, Mike oversaw the growth of the company from one office in Chicago to five offices across the country. Today, as Chairman, Mike leads firm-wide business development efforts focusing on maintaining client relationships and overseeing strategic planning for the company.
Mike strongly believes in giving back to the community and is an active Board Member for Mercy Housing Lakefront, Chairman of the Irish American Partnership and Emeritus of Chicago House. In addition, he is a long-time supporter of Streetwise in Chicago, lends his support to Rebuilding Together and is Co-founder of C.R.A.S.H. USA (a non-profit organization offering direct and indirect help for those less fortunate in the community).
St Paul, MN
Natalie is owner of The Celtic Junction , a center for traditional arts in Saint Paul and Executive Director of the Celtic Junction Arts Center, a 501c3 non-profit that is housed in The Celtic Junction and includes the Eoin McKiernan Library.
She is a co-founder of O’Shea Irish Dance, teaches actively with her husband Cormac, whom she met while touring internationally with Riverdance. She is also founding Vice President of The Center for Irish Music, St. Paul, MN and of Theater M, New York, NY. She is currently creating a youth program for acting & the creation of original theatrical works with Julia Carey at The Celtic Junction.
Writer and Director at Stepping Stone Theater for Kickin’ It Irish & for Get Up Your Irish, (Story of an Immigrant Boy) both original works featuring music, dance & local history. Assistant Director to Julia Carey, for multiple works at Guildford School of Acting, London, & NY School for Film and Television as well as for productions in NY’s Off-Broadway at the John Houseman Theater, Judith Anderson Theater, The Theaters at 45 Bleeker Street, Circle Repertory Theater and The Mint Theater. She has extensive design experience, having served 6 years as Scenic & Lighting Resident Designer of the Theater Exchange, Minneapolis & Theater M, NY; spanned Manhattan doing corporate and headliner events for Mariah Carey, Jamiroquoi, Take That and with See Factor, NY & has a dozen local Twin Cities Theater lighting designs to her credit, including The Ordway, for Carmel Quinn in Concert and other productions at The Theater Garage, Park Square Theater, Teatro del Pueblo, The Southern, Teatro Latino, The Illusion Theater and Theater de la June Lune. A Field Rep for Vari*light, London, England she trained in WholeHog & WYSIWYG; Assistant Production Director for the Minnesota Opera Company; Assistant Lighting Designer for the Guthrie Theater; B.A. Graduate of Theater from St. Olaf College. Teaching experience includes Dance, Art, Creative Dramatics and Character Study.
Natalie had early dance Training in ballet, tap & jazz at Pat Peare School of Dance & for musical theater training. She continued her training with the St. Olaf College Dance Department; Ballet with Susan Bauer, Modern Dance with Judith Rock & Sherri Saterstrom; Tap with Toni Rizzo; Renaissance & International Folk Dance with Anne Von Bibra. She continued with additional Ballet training at Minnesota Dance Theater and Irish Dance Training with Scoil Rince Uí Shé & Cormac O’Sé.
Co-Chair Solas Nua, Washington D.C.
Brought up and educated in Ireland, Paddy came to the U.S. in 1988 and has lived most of the time in Washington D.C. He co-founded two software companies in Ireland, worked on Wall Street and with Sallie Mae and has recently retired as Executive Vice President and member of the Board of Silver Diner. Paddy has a BA in European Studies from University of Limerick, which later awarded him an honorary Masters of Philosophy degree. He studied Organizational Psychology and Learning at George Mason University. For many years he has conducted leadership workshops for the Washington Ireland Program in Ireland and in the U.S. and for Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI).
He currently works as an independent consultant specializing in helping small entrepreneurial companies grow successfully.
Dr J. Patrick Greene
Museum Director and CEO, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
Dr J. Patrick Greene joined EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum as its new Museum Director and CEO in September 2019. Dr Greene has extensive experience in the museum, cultural heritage and tourism sectors in Australia, Europe and the UK. A published author, keynote speaker, archival researcher and archaeologist, Dr Greene is internationally recognised as a visionary leader.
Patrick directed the development of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, where he spent 19 years as the Director. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Museums Victoria in Australia in August 2002. Under his leadership Museums Victoria became the largest and most-visited encyclopaedic museum organisation in Australia, comprising the Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks Museum (incorporating the Melbourne Planetarium), the Immigration Museum, the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building, the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre and IMAX Melbourne cinema.
Patrick led the organisation and developed the concept of the networked museum that broke down barriers and encouraged teamwork.
EPIC was named Europe’s leading Tourist Attraction in 2019. Patrick has led the Museum’s growth as an internationally recognised visitor attraction, and more recently its response to the Covid-19 emergency.
Notre Dame, IN
Patrick Griffin, the Madden-Hennebry Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, joined the Keough School in January 2018 as director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies.
Griffin’s research explores the intersection of colonial American and early modern Irish and British history, focusing on Atlantic-wide themes and dynamics. He has published work on the movement of peoples and cultures across the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the process of adaptation. He also examines the ways in which Ireland, Britain and America were linked during the 17th and 18th centuries. He has studied revolution and rebellion, movement and migration, and colonization and violence in each society in comparative perspective.
Griffin, who holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, is the author of several books, including The Townshend Moment: The Making of Empire and Revolution in the Eighteenth Century (Yale University Press, 2017), a chronicle of two British brothers who helped incite revolution in America and insurgency and reform in Ireland, and The People with No Name: Ireland’s Ulster Scots, America’s Scots Irish, and the Creation of a British Atlantic World (Princeton University Press, 2001). He also is editor of Experiencing Empire: Power, People, and Revolution in Early America (University of Virginia Press, 2017).
Griffin is the recipient of several awards, including grants and fellowships from the American Council for Learned Societies (2004-2005), the Huntington Library (2015), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (1997), and the Filson Historical Society (2001). He joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2008 and served as chair of the Department of History from 2011-2017. He recently was honored with the James A. Burns, C.S.C., Graduate School Award for his numerous contributions to graduate studies.
New York Irish Center, NY
Paul Finnegan has been the Executive Director of the New York Irish Center (NYIC), a vibrant community center based in LIC, Queens, since 2009. During this period he has given expression to NYIC’s mission, drawing on just three words for its direction: Community, Culture, Care. To that end, in partnership with a dedicated and committed Board, he has overseen great development in NYIC’s infrastructure and programs.
The NYIC’s ethos is rooted in the Irish immigrant experience of New York City, particularly in the recent waves of immigration from Ireland since the 1980s. Its mission can be summed up simply as “Community Is Our Culture”, and its social and arts offerings are all provided in an Irish cultural context. This includes public events (Irish music concerts, plays, movies, seminars and talks), along with classes in music and language for all ages, where native Irish and those of Irish descent can gather. And since Irish culture is attractive to many beyond the Irish, the NYIC attracts a very diverse audience to many of its events. And of course, a traditional Irish céad míle fáilte is extended to all.
NYIC has developed increasingly progressive programs in recent years, with its Story Continues networking series, geared for the LGBTQ community, and its celebrations of mixed-race Irish, which is timely again as the United States continues to struggle with its historic issue of racial justice. NYIC also maintains a strategic partnership with Solace House, a provider of mental health services.
The NYIC is very attentive to its senior community with some of its Irish immigrant members reaching 85 years and above, providing various weekly programs to gather and socialize including a lunch each Wednesday and weekend activities. It is the NYIC’s way of ‘giving back’. NYIC has pivoted to provide much of its offerings on line with COVID-19 but maintains a physical link to its seniors by delivering lunches to their doorstep.
NYIC has also played a key role, in collaboration with four other New York Irish organizations, for Slainte2020.org – a platform which has delivered a half-million dollars in community donations to those in desperate financial straits following the abrupt shutdown of the New York City economy in March.
This is the second time Paul has been the chief executive of a not-for-profit in New York’s Irish community, having served as the Executive Director at Emerald Isle Immigration Center (EIIC) for several years in the mid 1990s. During that time he also formed the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers (CIIC), a national umbrella group, and convened its first national gatherings in Washington DC in 1996, and Boston in 1997.
In between, he worked for over a decade in information systems in the U.S. foodservice industry, primarily in Internet branding and marketing, along with B2B software implementations across an industry-wide platform of supply-chain partners and customers.
Paul was raised in Galway City, Ireland, where he received an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from U.C.G. (now NUI Galway) in 1986. He also received a Master’s of Science in Business Computer Information Systems from Baruch College (C.U.N.Y.) in Manhattan in 1997, where he has also taught as a part-time adjunct professor in their CIS Department.
He lives in Glendale, Queens, with his wife Rosa, native of the Dominican Republic, and their two children, Kevin (20) and Sara (15). Both of his brothers, Sean and Paraic (Patrick), also live in the U.S., while his sister Maureen lives in Ireland. His father, John, was a professor in the Civil Engineering Dept of NUI Galway for many decades prior to his retirement and recently passed away in the family home in Renmore, Galway, at the great age of 90. Paul’s mother, Máire, passed in 2010, RIP.
State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, Sacramento, CA
Robbie Hunter was elected President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California at the SBCTC’s 61st convention in Santa Monica in October 2012. SBCTC is the umbrella organization for 180 local unions that represent 450,000 skilled construction workers, including 68,000 apprentices.
Previously, Hunter served as Executive-Secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, where he negotiated agreements that incorporated all affiliated construction trades on individual projects, as well as master agreements with public and private entities like the Port of Los Angeles, LAX, Los Angeles Unified School District and Los Angeles Community College District. He had held that position since March 2011.
Before that, he was Council Representative for the Council, starting in 2009. He was in charge of public sector contract negotiations and representation, as well as organizing in north Los Angeles County.
Hunter is an Ironworker, and was the president of Local 433, Structural Ironworkers, which is the largest Ironworker local union in the United States and Canada, from 2003 to 2009. He served on the District Council of Ironworkers for California and Nevada, and as a board member/apprenticeship instructor/trainer for the Joint Labor Management apprenticeship program in California and Nevada.
Hunter is a native of Belfast, Ireland. His great-grandfather, John Quinn, was a close confidant of James Connolly and nominated Winifred Carne, the first woman to run for English Parliament after women won the fight to vote. John also led the general strike of 1907 with Jim Larkin and was imprisoned for actions on behalf of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) One Big Union(OBU).
Ryushin Paul Haller
Zen Center of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
From Belfast, Northern Ireland, Paul Haller left home in 1971 and journeyed throughout Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and Afghanistan. He ended up in Japan, where he lived for a year and was introduced to Zen practice. Subsequently travelling throughout southeast Asia, Paul was ordained a Buddhist monk in Thailand where he spent six months alone meditating in a remote cave.
Moving to Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in 1974, Paul was ordained as a priest in 1980, receiving the Dharma name Ryushin Zendo, “Dragon Heart, Zen Way”. In 1993 he received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi.
Founder of Outreach at San Francisco Zen Center where he is former Abbot, Paul is interested in finding ways of expressing our practice in society, both as compassionate service and making it available to as many people as possible.
Paul is our Abiding Teacher at Black Mountain Zen Centre and visits twice a year to teach and lead sesshin (retreats).
Co-founder and COO of Analytics Engines
Dr Scott Fischaber – Co-founder and COO of Analytics Engines with over 10 years’ experience in running the company’s operations. Originally from Oklahoma, he moved to Belfast from Colorado, where he worked for the world’s largest programmable logic device company, and spun out the company from QUB after completing his PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
San Francisco, CA
Seamus McAteer is an experienced entrepreneur and operator. with multiple successful exits Most recently he headed up commercial activity at Otter.ai, Inc. which is building technology to transform recorded voice conversations into usable data. As an independent board member and advisor he works with a number of leading edge companies in data analytics, mobile technology, and AI.
Seamus was co-founder and CEO at Datasnap.io an analytics platform that linked user physical world engagement to online behavior via micro-proximity technology. Datasnap.io was acquired by Neustar in Oct ’16 where Seamus was VP New Ventures. Metaresolver a mobile ad platform that Seamus founded and led as CEO was acquired by Millennial Media where Seamus was SVP of Analytics and Insight. MMetrics, a company Seamus co-founded and led as Chief Product Architect and board member, delivered currency data used by companies in the mobile sector and was acquired by Comscore.
As an independent board member he helped with the sale of Motally to Nokia, Zokem to Arbitron, and he was a member of the executive team at Majestic Research when it was acquired by ITG.
Seamus lives in Northern California and can be found cycling with his son or running in San Francisco or Napa.
Shaun recently retired as the Global Chief Operating Officer for KPMG International. In this position, he managed the day to day operational aspects of the firm’s Global Strategy and oversaw the delivery of global initiatives. Working with the Global leadership team he drove high performance and efficient service delivery across the KPMG network.He currently chairs KPMG’s Northern Ireland Advisory Board.
Shaun is a Non-Executive Director of CRH plc, an international group of diversified building materials businesses, where he is the Chair of the Audit Committee.
He also sits on the Board of Park Indemnity a private Bermuda based captive insurance company.
Shaun held numerous leadership roles within KPMG in including Vice Chair – Operations for KPMG LLP (2010-2015), Vice Chair in charge of KPMG’s U.S. Tax practice and Regional Head of the Americas Tax practice (2005-2010), member of the firm’s Management Committee (2005-2015) and leader for KPMG’s US and Global Transaction Services practices and Regional Coordinating Partner for the Transaction Services practice in the Americas (2001-2005)Shaun grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and joined KPMG International’s Irish member firm in Dublin in 1980 and transferred to the U.S. firm’s San Francisco office in 1984. He was admitted to the U.S. partnership in 1999.
Shaun earned a Bachelor of Commerce, First Class Honors from University College, Dublin.He is a Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a Fellow of Chartered Accountants IrelandIn 2015 Shaun was awarded a degree of Doctor of Science Economics, honoris causa by Queens University, Belfast.
Executive Director of International Business Group for Invest NI
Steve has extensive local and international business experience, with a strong focus on identifying and developing opportunities in emerging markets. At Invest NI, he leads the Trade Division, International Investment Division and Invest NI’s International offices to deliver inward investment and export growth targets.
Prior to Invest NI, Steve was the Business Development Director with Wrights Group for 5 years. He was responsible for growing the company’s export business, researching and identifying new markets, new products and service opportunities. He also played a key commercial strategic role at Board level.
Steve previous positions include: Group Sales and Marketing Manager with the McAvoy Group (3 years). He has also held key roles in McCormick MacNaughton (4 years), European Sales Manager for Powerscreen (2 years, responsible for markets including Scandinavia and Eastern Europe) and Global Business Development manager for Mitsubishi Materials Japan (6 years, based in Tokyo, responsible for markets including Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa).
Originally from Ballymena, Steve currently lives in Hillsborough with his family.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Terry George is a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland. He moved to New York in 1981. His first dramatic work, the prison escape play, The Tunnel, was staged at the Irish Arts Center in New York in 1986. The Tunnel was the first of numerous collaborations with writer/director Jim Sheridan. In 1992 George and Sheridan wrote In the Name of the Father. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards including best screenplay. In 1996 George was named Young European Film Director of the Year for his directorial debut Some Mother’s Son. Since then he has written and directed numerous television shows and feature films including, The Boxer, A Bright Shining Lie, The District, Hart’s War, Reservation Road and Luck. In 2004 he wrote, directed and produced Hotel Rwanda. The Film was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Screenplay. In 2011 his short film The Shore, produced by his daughter Oorlagh George, won the Academy Award for best Live Action Short Film. His latest film The Promise tells the story of the Armenian genocide of 1917-19 and has received numerous awards around the world.
Wren Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Thom MacNamara is an award winning writer, producer, director and performer with over 40 years of experience in film television and live performances. After attending The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, he cut his teeth in the Off Broadway theaters of Greenwich Village until he was accepted to Ringling’s prestigious Clown College of Circus Arts. After graduating at the top of his class, Thom was offered a contract with the world famous Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus where he toured the U.S. with the Blue Unit and Internationally with the Gold Unit. After leaving the circus, he was hired by McDonalds Hawaii to portray Ronald McDonald in the Southern Pacific Region from Maui to Guam. and eventually settled in Los Angeles as the Production Manager for a team of 5 Ronald performers, overseeing the logistics of hundreds of events each year from school assemblies to stadium appearances. While with McDonalds, Thom completed the two year, Los Angeles City College, Film and Television program and added producing movies and TV to his skillset. Eventually Thom joined The Producers Guild of America where he became a founding member of the Associate Producers Council. He was also on the International Committee as the guild’s liaison for producing in Ireland when the Irish Film Board’s incentive was known as Section 35. Thom has always been active in the Irish community in Los Angeles and was the Executive Director of The Celtic Arts Center where he spearheaded designing and transforming an old furniture store into a premier, Avant Garde theater. He went on to produce numerous plays, performances and concerts during his tenure and was awarded a commendation from the Los Angeles City Council for his work.
Currently he is the proprietor of The Wren Theater, a unique, 40 seat, state of the art theater, hand crafted by Thom in the style of the Gilded Age melodrama theaters from the turn of the last century. The facility boasts an excellent sound system, video projector, compact professional lighting system, Pro Tools sound recording, a four camera live switching system and Final Cut professional video editing software. The Wren has been honored as an official theater for the acclaimed Hollywood Fringe Festival for the last two years.
New York, NY
Senator 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.
William S. McKiernan
San Francisco, CA
Bill founded CyberSource Corp. in 1994 and served as its Chief Executive Officer from December 1997 to January 1, 2010. Mr. McKiernan served as Chief Executive Officer of Beyond.com corp., from 1994 to March 1998. From 1992 to 1994, he was employed by Network Associates (formerly known as McAfee Associates, Inc.) a developer of computer security software, where he served as President and Chief Operating Officer during its initial public offering since October 1992. Prior to joining McAfee Associates in 1992, Mr. McKiernan served as Vice President of Princeton Venture Research, Inc., an investment banking and venture consulting firm from 1990 to 1992. He also held management positions with IBM/ROLM, a telecommunications company, and Price Waterhouse. He is the Founder of CyberSource Limited and serves as its Executive Chairman. He served as Chairman of the Board of Cybersource Corp. since December 1997. He Founded Beyond.com, an online reseller of computer software, in 1994 and served as its Chairman of the Board since March 1998. He serves as a Director of Vertical Software, Inc. He served as a Director of Cybersource Corp. since December 1997. Mr. McKiernan holds a B.S. from Boston College and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.