2010 40 Under 40 – A-F

Name: Colleen Ashton

Biography: Colleen Ashton, Director of Project Management for the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the NYPD, was born and raised in Woodside, NY. Woodside is a culturally diverse neighborhood with a large Irish population. Colleen attributes her strong Irish-American upbringing to her parents, grandparents, great-grandmother and the Woodside community. Colleen is a proud product of Catholic Education. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration as a Presidential Scholar at Iona College and her Master of Business Administration from Syracuse University. Upon graduation, Colleen worked as a consultant at Citibank and The New York Stock Exchange. In addition to her current role at the SBA, Colleen teaches online courses for the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program at Mercy College. Colleen has a strong commitment to community and service. Her greatest accomplishment is the Thomas Ashton Foundation, established in honor of her brother, Tommy, who was 21 years old on September 11, 2001 when he lost his life at the World Trade Center. As President of the foundation, Colleen organizes an annual basketball tournament in Tommy’s memory, which has raised over $150,000 that has been donated to worthy causes in the Woodside community and beyond.


Name: Aoife Elizabeth Butler

Biography: Aoife Elizabeth Butler is honoured and most grateful to receive this award and be considered among such distinguished individuals. Aoife is the eldest daughter of John and Evelyn Butler, and has three siblings, Martin, Noeleen, and Kenneth. She was educated at St. Joseph’s College, Athlone before receiving a scholarship through Elan Corporation and Marlin Capital to attend high school in Chicago. Aoife returned to Trinity College Dublin for her chemistry degree; and between that and reading for her law degree from the University of London volunteered her time in a hospital in Uganda, and worked researching potential cancer drugs. Upon graduation with her law degree Aoife moved to Chicago, Illinois where she was afforded opportunities with Baker & McKenzie, LLP and Welsh & Katz, Ltd. that facilitated her growth to her current position. While in Chicago Aoife was involved with the Ireland Network Chicago, the American Ireland Fund, and the Young Irish Fellowship. She also volunteered for Concern and the Chicago Lights tutoring program. In 2007 Aoife moved from Chicago to New York to further her career. With Paul Hastings she represents pharmaceutical companies as they seek to protect and assert their patent rights; and in a pro bono capacity represents children seeking an education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Outside the office Aoife is a member of the Trinity College Dublin Alumni committee and chairs their mentoring program. She also serves on the committee of the Irish Network New York City; and is the newly elected inaugural President of the Irish Network USA. She is also a member of the American Ireland Fund and the Irish Arts Center.


Name: Jack Butler 

Biography: Jack is Co-CEO of Market Resource Partners, a wholly owned technology marketing subsidiary of Newry based, First Derivatives plc and also the 2009 recipient of the Irish Echo Irish American Business of the Year Award. Jack oversees the internal operations of the firm where he, together with founding partners and Co-CEO’s James Regan and Kevin Cunningham, have increased revenues +1000% and also expanded the firm to over 150 employees since its 2002 inception. Butler holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Darden School of Business. Prior to this he spent seven years at Johnson & Johnson where he held roles in finance, sales, and business development. Butler also holds a bachelor of science in finance and accounting from La Salle University.


Name: Darrah Carr 

Biography: Darrah Carr–choreographer, dancer, professor, writer–coined the term ModERIN to describe her signature blend of Irish and modern dance. Performance highlights include: Darrah Carr Dance’s 10th Anniversary Season at the Irish Arts Center, “The Yeats Project” at the Irish Repertory Theatre, NBC’s “The Today Show,” and an upcoming engagement with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall on March 12th. A Professor of Dance at Hofstra University, she designed “Irish Steps & Studies” for their new Irish Studies program and has taught courses in Dance History, Modern Dance, and Ballet. Carr contributed a chapter to Close to the Floor: Irish Dance from the Boreen to Broadway and writes for a variety of dance publications. She holds an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University. In June, she will begin doctoral study leading to a PhD in Dance. In addition to her work with Darrah Carr Dance, Carr has performed with leading Irish musicians including Mick Moloney, Athena Tergis, Michael Londra, and Andy Cooney and frequently appears in duet with Niall O’Leary. She and husband David are proud parents of daughter Cavan Eileen (17 months).


Name: Peter Robert Casey

Biography: Peter Robert Casey is co-founder of NBA Team Chemist, a ‘decision management tool’ intended for National Basketball Association front office personnel that will launch in June 2010. Casey recently earned an M.A. in Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and is the first media credentialed micro-blogger in college basketball history. Recognized for altering the composition of St. John’s University press row, his social media success story was featured in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NCAA.com and on MSG television. Casey is a sports blogger for The Huffington Post and writes regularly about the interplay of basketball, social media and marketing at PeterRobertCasey.com. His work has appeared on the pages of ESPN The Magazine, SLAMonline, Bounce Magazine and Personal Branding Magazine. He was born in Brooklyn and raised in Warwick, NY. He happily resides with his wife, Martina, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.


Name: Shane Clifford

Biography: Shane Clifford is orginally from Annacotty, Co. Limerick and moved to the USA in June of 1998. Shane currently works in the Hedge Fund Industry for Permal Group Inc. Shane is respnsible for Relationship Management and Business Development in the US Institutional Market. In the past he has worked for BlackRock and Merrill Lynch. Shane is a graduate of the University of Limerick where he studied business and has an MBA in International Management from Boston University. A resident of Hoboken, NJ with his wife Tricia and son Liam, they are awaiting the arrival of their second child in April.


Name: Sarah Conaghan 

Biography: As children, spending the summer with their family in Donegal, Sarah Conaghan and her sisters, Karen and Mary, would be glued to their Granny’s TV set watching the Rose of Tralee competition. They scored contestants on their gowns and hairstyles. While most of her friends dreamed of becoming Miss America, Sarah was busy fantasizing about someday being crowned the Rose of Tralee. Conaghan, 33, the daughter of Thomas and Mary, both Irish immigrants, grew up in Villanova, PA, just outside Philadelphia. But there was no Philadelphia Rose competing in the international festival in Kerry until she founded the Rose of Tralee Center in 2002. “My dream of being the Rose of Tralee never did come to be as I didn’t enter the contest but in the end I think I ‘won’ something even better,” she says. Conaghan has introduced the Rose of Tralee tradition to a whole new generation. Three years ago, she started the Rosebud and Rose Petal Programs for girls 5 to 17 who can participate in the magical experience in a non-competitive setting. The Rose of Tralee Center has also been cutting a high profile in the city. Jocelyn McGillian, the 2009 Rose, was formally introduced on the field at Citizens Bank Park during Irish Heritage Night at the Phillies. There is a Team Rose of Tralee at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure breast cancer charity walk and the Autism Speaks walk. This year, they’ll be operating an Alex’s Lemonade Stand to raise money for childhood cancer. They also conduct drives for their local food pantry. “It’s not just about sashes and tiaras,” says Conaghan. “Our Center has a strong charitable focus.” As does Conaghan, who, this year also became managing director of the Mid-Atlantic USA Rose of Tralee Centre, which encompasses Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, as well as other east coast cities. She’s actively involved in immigration reform activities, volunteers at the Commodore Barry Memorial Library, is a member of the Donegal Association of Philadelphia, and the Inspirational Irish Women Awards committee at the Philadelphia Irish Center. “The Irish Center is the hub of our community and it’s been a part of my life for nearly thirty years. I “grew up” there as my parents have been actively involved for decades. It and the people there are near and dear to my heart”, says Conaghan. She is also an animal rights supporter whose favorite quote is, “I only hope that I can be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am.”


Name: Ashley Davis

Biography: Now selling out shows in major venues in NYC and abroad, Ashley has just released her sophomore effort “Down By the Sea” Raised on the plains of Kansas, Davis is a musician whose songs are as much a product of the natural beauty found in her childhood environment. Through her many travels and experiences, an MA from the University of Limerick in Traditional Irish Music, Ashley’s music has a piece of everyone she meets within it. Her live shows are known for their stunning blend of traditional and original songs along with Davis’ tales of daily life around her.


Name: Matthew J. Doherty

Biography: Matt is a Councilman in Belmar, NJ where he lives with his wife and two daughters. Matt is active in Irish organizations in NJ, and has participated in the Blood Sunday march in Derry with the AOH. While attending the march in 2009, he was able to meet with Belfast Lord Mayor Thomas Hartley and discuss policing issues in Northern Ireland. As a graduate of Georgetown University and an Irish-American, Matt believes it is important to provide his daughters with the same educational opportunities he had, and to encourage them to remember their heritage.


Name: Maryellen Flaherty- Hewitt, MD

Biography: Maryellen Flaherty-Hewitt was born in New York, NY, the only child of Ed and Marion Flaherty. She grew up in Yonkers, attended grade school at St Margaret of Cortona and high school at Holy Child in Rye, NY. During these years she was an accomplished Irish Stepdancer who trained with the Margaret Pike Studio. She went on to graduate from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA with a B.A. in Chemistry/Pre-Med. Maryellen received her medical degree from SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, NY; she completed her Pediatric Residency at New York- Presbyterian Hospital Cornell Medical Center and was appointed as Pediatric Chief Resident in 2001-02. She is currently the Section Chief of Pediatrics at Hospital of St. Raphael in New Haven, CT and Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine. Her clinical interests include medical education, developmental screening in the office setting and early childhood literacy. She co-directs a childhood literacy program called Reach Out and Read in the Pediatric Clinic and was recently recognized by the CT-Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics for her work in Child Advocacy and Community Outreach. She is proud of her Irish heritage, with her grandparents hailing from Counties Kerry, Clare and Leitrim!

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