Our Patron & Board

Our Patron

Our Patron is Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland.

Our Board

Gerry Culligan (Chairperson)

Start date: April 2016

Gerry Culligan is Commercial Director, Iarnród Éireann/Irish Rail since January 2012 with responsibility for delivering profitable revenue growth and enhancing customer experiences.

Gerry has over 25 years commercial and financial experience across a number of industries, holding senior Executive Director roles in Financial Services with Aviva, in Communications with Eircom and in Grocery with Mars Ireland. Gerry has previously held positions as non-executive Chairman of Eircom Phonewatch, Ireland’s leading residential home security company and is a former Director of the Eircom Employee Share Ownership Trust.

Gerry is an accountant (FCMA), a member of the Institute of Taxation in Ireland (AITI) and a member of the Marketing Institute of Ireland (MMII). Also, he holds a Non-Executive Directorship at Trócaire.

Skills: Strategic Development and Implementation, Business Transformation, Commercial Acumen and General Management.

Michael Kavanagh (Treasurer)

Start date: January 2018

Michael is the CEO of the Association of Compliance Officers in Ireland (ACOI), a Board member and chair of the audit committee of Carmichael, vice chair of the Sport Ireland/FAI Governance Oversight Group,  a member of the consultative group to the Corporate Reporting function for ESMA (European Securities Markets Authority), a council member and Chair of the Education committee of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a member of the Irish committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales.

Prior to that Michael was Director of DPP with KPMG Ireland, CEO of IAASA (The Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority),  Head of Financial Reporting Supervision with IAASA and Technical Manager and Head of the practice review function at the Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He established Ireland’s statutory accounting enforcement function (tasked with examining whether the financial reports of listed entities comply with financial reporting standards) and oversaw the establishment of Ireland’s statutory Audit Inspection regime (tasked with inspecting the quality of audit work conducted by Ireland’s large audit firms) . For 12 years, he was the Irish Observer at the Corporate Reporting Council of the FRC which produces UK and Irish accounting standards. He was also Ireland’s representative at ESMA’s European Enforcers Co-ordination Sessions which is tasked with co-ordinating accounting enforcement across Europe having chaired a number of ESMA sub-committees.  Michael has acted as examiner, moderator, lecturer and solution writer for various accountancy bodies.

Michael is a qualified accountant and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA Ireland) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW).

Skills: Accountancy, Senior Management, Public Sector Governance.

Christina Donnelly

Start date: February 2017

Christina is the National Coordinator of Chronic Pain Ireland, the national support group for people living with chronic and persistent pain and their families.  She currently sits on the National Clinical Executive Committee and on the Board of Carmichael.  She has over thirteen years’ experience working and volunteering in the Charity Sector in Ireland. 

Christina holds a BA (Hons) in Business Studies and previously worked within the third level educational sector in a variety of senior managerial roles over a seventeen-year period. 

Skills: Project & Change Management, Event Management, Communications.

Gerry Egan

Start date: April 2017

Gerry is an independent consultant working with commercial and nonprofit clients to improve their governance and compliance structures, processes and culture (including data protection) while also providing support to enhance relations with Government, develop and implement compelling strategies and improve strategic communications.  

Previously Gerry held a number of senior leadership roles in Coillte, the State forestry company and was Group Director of Strategy and Governance until September 2016 as well as being Chairman and a Director of a number of subsidiary and associated companies.  An advocate of sustainable business practices and expert in environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting, Gerry led Coillte to win the European Business Award for Corporate and Environmental Sustainability in 2013 and has been a judge in that competition since 2014.  Gerry was the first external Director to be elected to the Board of Dóchas, the Irish Association of international development organisations. 

Gerry holds a M. Sc. (Mgmt.) degree from Trinity College and is Chartered Director.  

Skills: Corporate Governance, Strategy, Data Protection, Business Development, Change Management, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting and Strategic Communications.

Clodagh O’Brien

Start date: January 2018

Clodagh is a partner in Crowe Horwath’s Consultancy department and she and her team joined from Newmarket Consulting where she was Managing Director. Clodagh has almost 20 years’ experience working with organisations in the commercial, nonprofit and public sectors. Her particular interests are arts and culture, the creative sector, education, health and social care, and tourism.

She has worked in multi-national and owner-managed environments, in national and international contexts. Prior to joining Newmarket, she worked in a marketing capacity in the media, leisure and electronics sectors in Ireland and the UK.

Clodagh graduated from Dublin City University in 1993 with an honours degree in International Marketing and Languages (German and Spanish) and graduated from NUI Maynooth in 2010 with a Masters in Sociology.

Skills: Strategy, Organisation Review and Development, Marketing and Digital Marketing, and Business Planning

Joe Ritchie

Start date: January 2018

Joe is the Principal of Donal M Gahan Ritchie & Company Solicitors which is a general legal practise based in Dublin 2. Joe has over 20 years’ experience of dealing with a variety of legal matters.

Joe is a qualified solicitor and was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in 1998.

Skills: Legal Compliance, Commercial and General Management.

Margaret Rogers

Start date: March 2018

Margaret retired as CEO of Heart Children Ireland (HCI) in August 2021. HCI is the support group in Ireland for parents and families of children with a Congenital Heart Disorder. Heart Children also supports those with acquired heart disease. 

She has over 21 years’ experience as the CEO of a charity. Margaret is also the Vice Chair and a Trustee of the Grant Making Committee of the Hospital Saturday Fund. She also has over 20 years’ experience working in credit control at EBS Building Society. 

Skills: Fundraising, Event Management, Project Management, Public Speaking and nonprofit management.

Orla Cunningham

Start date: December 2020

Orla Cunningham is currently the Interim COO with Trinity College Dublin having previously worked with Bank of Ireland for c30 years. During her career she has held numerous leadership positions and managed multiple projects which include Outsourcing, GDPR, IT change, Procurement, Operations Management, Facilities Management, Real Estate Restructure, Training and COO Markets and Treasury.

She holds a Bachelor of Business Studies degree from Trinity College, a CIPD diploma in Human Resource management from the National College of Ireland and a Diploma in Corporate Governance from the Corporate Governance Institute. She is also a co-opted Board member of the Children’s Rights Alliance and Common Purpose Ireland.

Skills: Business Transformation, Change Management, Project Delivery, Cyber Security, HR, Administration, Team Leadership, Process Re-engineering.

Martin Lyes

Start date: December 2020

Martin Lyes has held a number of senior management roles in the public sector and was Divisional Manager for Research & Innovation with Enterprise Ireland for 14 years. He has extensive experience of leading large teams in the delivery of technology and innovation programmes against strict deadlines and deliverables. He has also been deeply involved in leading staff through significant periods of change, including organisational mergers. 

During his working life Martin has been involved in strategy development at an organisational, national and international level and retains an active network of contacts across European research and innovation agencies. He was Chair of the European Association of Innovation Agencies for a number of years, a Governor of the European Science Foundation and Delegate to a range of EU programmes. 

Currently, Martin undertakes consultancy roles nationally and internationally, most recently in Abu Dhabi and Kuwait, where he specialises in research strategies and innovation led change. He has been on the boards of a number of not for profit organisations and most recently was Chair of the St Michael’s House Group of companies from 2016 – 2020 where he oversaw significant corporate governance changes.  

Skills: Organisational Innovation, Change Management, Performance Monitoring.

Monika Vikander-Hegarty  

Start date: December 2020

Monika Vikander-Hegarty is a strategic leader with a track record of building relationships with all levels of employees. Serving as a Director of Teleflex Medical Europe Limited and several subsidiary companies. Monika is currently Vice President Global Talent Development, JOIN & Commercial Services EMEA. Monika is an active member of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Council and has served as member of the EMEA and APAC Regional Boards. She has extensive experience in leading key strategic change initiatives globally and across regions. Monika has a specific interest and experience in developing Board leadership effectiveness and C suite succession planning and driving cultural change through employee engagement strategies. Monika values close collaboration with executive leadership. 

Skills: Strategic Leadership, Board Leadership, Change Management