The Big Irish Echo Campfire – Speakers

View our friends joining us around the campfire here.

photo of Alison Darcy

Alison Darcy
Founder & President, Woebot Health

Alison is a clinical research psychologist and health tech visionary dedicated to creating smart, scalable and accessible mental healthcare solutions. Her work to explore how digital treatments can help solve human problems began more than 20 years ago, when she created one of the first online support groups for people with eating disorders. That work led to PhD level studies in psychology at University College Dublin and post-doctoral training at Stanford School of Medicine and with the American Psychiatric Association. At Stanford, Alison also worked with AI pioneer Andrew Ng to explore the intersection of AI and healthcare, leading his Health Innovation Lab in Computer Science.

A frequent speaker on digital therapeutics design and development, barriers to care and engagement, Alison has authored more than 40 publications and been awarded research grants and contracts from the NIH, the Davis Foundation and APA. She is also currently an Adjunct Lecturer in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department of Stanford’s School of Medicine. Alison holds a PhD, an MLitt and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from University College Dublin.

photo of Alison LeRoy

Alison LeRoy
Irish Fest Dublin, Ohio

Alison LeRoy is the Director of Events for the City of Dublin. She leads a year-round team of 8 employees responsible for the coordination and planning of the City of Dublin’s signature events and permitting community events.

Alison LeRoy has been involved with the Dublin Irish Festival since 1998 and has served as its director since 2009. Alison’s team also produces the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Dublin’s Independence Day Celebration and Halloween Spooktacular for the City of Dublin.

She is a graduate of Miami University and received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan. Alison is a member of the International Festival and Events Association and is a founding member of the Greater Columbus Events Council and sits on the Association of Irish and Celtic Festivals Executive Board.

photo of Alison Metcalfe

Alison Metcalfe
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.

photo of Anne Cassidy Carew

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.

Bill Byrne
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.

Brett Carey
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.

photo of Carol Wheeler

Carol Wheeler
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

photo of Catherine Barry

Catherine Barry
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

Cathy Reinholdt
President, Irish Railroad Workers Museum, Baltimore


President of the Irish Railroad Workers Museum since January 2020. Served as Board Member for many years prior. Also serves as President of The Venerable Catherine McAuley Division-LAOH Baltimore City 1, Maryland State LAOH Freedom for All Ireland appointee and, President of St. John’s Historical Association.

Retired from Baltimore City Schools in 2017 after 43 years of service as teacher, supervisor and Principal. During tenure as an Assistant Principal and Principal, sat on the Board of PSASA, Public Schools Administrators and Supervisors Association, serving a Vice President for six years.

With Irish heritage on both sides of her family, she has always cherished these connections. Over many trips to Ireland, she has established many friends and connections with a diverse group. Holding a deep passion for a United Ireland and justice for the victims of the Troubles, she continues to support groups associated with Freedom for All Ireland.

Importance is placed on remembering Irish Immigrants and their contributions and preserving their history through her work with the museum. She hopes to expand this understanding to many.

photo of Christine Kinealy

Cathy Ward
The Irish Outreach Center, San Diego, CA

Cathy Ward was born and raised in Co. Wicklow, the ‘Garden of Ireland’. Along with her sisters and brothers, she grew up working on the dairy and sheep farm that her parents owned. Here she learned to work hard and to take nothing for granted. Walking the ‘Wicklow Hills’ continues to be one of her favorite things to do.

After college ended in summer of 1985 she headed to New York City. She spent three years there working in various bars and restaurants. She then departed the “Big Apple” and travelled around the US to places like New Orleans, LA and Pensacola FL, eventually arriving in San Diego in January 1989. She fell in love with the city and its way of life, and settled into work running bars and restaurants around town, but mostly working at the Sheraton Hotel on Harbor Island.

She then moved into Facilities Management and Administration in the construction industry and spent many exciting years working on numerous high rise projects which dramatically altered the Downtown San Diego skyline in the early to mid 2000’s.

Cathy was one of the founding members of Na Fianna Ladies GAA Club. She played in numerous North American Finals and was selected to play for the North American Board Team in Dublin in 2000. She has remained an active supporter of the local GAA scene in Southern California.

In February 2017 she joined the Irish Outreach Center (Founded in 1999) as a Project Coordinator, and worked closely with then Executive Director, Stephen Aherne. When Stephen moved on from the Outreach in August 2019, Cathy assumed her current role as Executive Director. Having lived in San Diego for over 30 years Cathy brought a wealth of experience to the position as she had been intimately involved in the “Local Irish Scene” since her arrival.

Well respected for her positive hands-on approach, great organization skills and outgoing personality she was a natural choice to fill the “Big Shoes” left by her mentor Stephen.

The Mission of the Irish Outreach Center is to be “A Home away from Home and the heart of the Irish Community, a resource serving the Irish in Southern California and fostering Irish American relations”. In effect it is an umbrella organization bringing together and coordinating with the various Irish cultural, businesses, sporting and charitable groups throughout Southern California.

It operates in conjunction with the Irish Government through the Irish Consulates in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Irish Outreach Center is a proud member of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers(CIIC) and appreciates the knowledge and experience that the other Irish Centers bring to the table, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Cathy is married to local Publican Mick Ward, owner of The Ould Sod Pub and has two wonderful teenage children called Aisling and Paddy Óg.

photo of Christine Kinealy

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.

photo of Christine Quinn

Christine Quinn
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.

photo of Cindy Lerick

Cindy Lerick
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.

photo of Colleen Kennedy

Colleen Kennedy
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.

photo of Colm Long

Colm Long
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.

photo of Daniel Mulhall

Daniel Mulhall
Ambassador, Embassy of Ireland USA, Washington, DC

Daniel Mulhall took up duty as Ireland’s 18th Ambassador to the United States in August 2017. He was born and brought up in Waterford and undertook his undergraduate and post-graduate studies at University College Cork where he specialised in modern Irish history.

Ambassador Mulhall joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1978 and had his early diplomatic assignments in New Delhi, Vienna (OSCE), Brussels (European Union) and Edinburgh where he was Ireland’s first Consul General, 1998-2001. He served as Ireland’s Ambassador to Malaysia (2001-05), where he was also accredited to Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. In 2005, he was conferred with an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland for his work in connection with the Asian tsunami. From 2009 to 2013, he was Ireland’s Ambassador to Germany.

Before coming to Washington, he served as Ireland’s Ambassador in London (2013-17). During his time in Britain, he was a regular speaker on political, literary and historical topics at Universities all over the country, including at Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Durham, King’s College London and the London School of Economics. He also spoke at the Oxford Literary Festival, the Newbury Festival, the Liverpool Literary Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. He was a regular speaker at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies and is an Honorary Fellow at the Institute. Before departing for Washington, he was made a Freeman of the City of London in recognition of his work as Ambassador.

During his diplomatic career, Ambassador Mulhall has also held a number of positions at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including as Director-General for European Affairs, 2005-2009. He also served as a member of the Secretariat of the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation (1994-95) which was set up in 1994 in order to promote political dialogue between different political traditions in Ireland. From 1994-98, he was the Department’s Press Counsellor and in that capacity was part of the Irish Government’s delegation at the time of the Good Friday Agreement 1998.

Ambassador Mulhall maintains a keen interest in Irish history and literature. He is the author of A New Day Dawning: A Portrait of Ireland in 1900 (Cork, 1999) and co-editor of The Shaping of Modern Ireland: A Centenary Assessment (Dublin, 2016) and has made numerous contributions to books, newspapers and journals published in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Britain.

A keen advocate of public diplomacy, Ambassador Mulhall makes regular use of social media in order to provide information on the work of the Embassy, to highlight Ireland’s achievements and to engage with Irish communities and those with an interest in Ireland. During his time in Washington, he will provide daily updates on Twitter @DanMulhall and through regular blogs to be posted on the Embassy’s website.

Daniel Mulhall is married to Greta and they have a daughter and a son.

photo of Deirdre Feerick

Deirdre Feerick
Transport Workers Union of America, NY

Deirdre Feerick is the granddaughter of Agnes Hughes Feerick. Agnes was born in 1902 in Cong, County Mayo. She emigrated to America and arrived in 1920, to her aunt and uncle’s home in Jersey City. Through other friends from Mayo, she met John Feerick from Ballinrobe, at a dance in New York City. After they married, they settled in Sunnyside, Queens.

Deirdre was raised in Long Island City and Sunnyside, Queens. She is the daughter of a NYPD Detective, later a Teamster 817, and a registered nurse. She graduated from Saint Raphael’s grammar school, Dominican Academy, State University of New York at Albany and Brooklyn Law School.

Deirdre’s professional career in government began in the Oversight and Investigations Unit at the New York City Council. In that capacity, she evaluated the efficiency of the city agencies and made them more accountable and responsive to the residents of New York. She then served as Counsel to the Legislative Division of the NYC Council where she helped craft legislation to protect the most vulnerable among us, including domestic violence survivors and children. she also helped secure funding for important programs and services , meeting with key advocates and organizers to ensure their voices were heard at City Hall. Later Deirdre became the Counsel and then Deputy Director of the Administrative Services Division of the NYC Council. Today, Deirdre is the senior Director of the Legal Department at the Transport Workers Union of America Local 100.

Deirdre has been a district leader for the Queens Democratic Party, a member of the Board at the Celtic Park co-op, and a board member for Sunnyside Artists. She continues to volunteer her time for community causes that she believes make things better for those in need.

Deirdre enjoys spending time with her extended family, in New York and wherever a gathering is held, for it always the best of times.

photo of Denis Hamill

Denis Hamill
Journalist, Novelist, Screenwriter, Producer, Queens, NY

Denis Hamill is an American journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and producer. He was born in 1951 in Brooklyn, New York to Billy Hamill and Anne Devlin. His parents were Northern Irish immigrants from Belfast who had come to America to escape from the social intolerance in Ireland. He is the fourth of the seven Hamill children. His eldest sibling, Pete Hamill, is also a renowned columnist for the New York Daily News while the second brother, Brian, is a noted photojournalist. His career as a journalist began with an apprenticeship at Flatbush Life, a Brooklyn weekly. Within a year, Denis switched to Village Voice, where he penned down articles that won him the prestigious Meyer Berger Award from Columbia University for best New York City reporting a year later.

His reputation was far-reaching as he uncovered the truth for several recognized print media journals such as the New York magazine, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, the New York Newsday, the Boston Herald American, and the New York Daily News. In 1998, Hamill authored his debut novel, “3 Quarters”. The book narrated the story of friendships turning into hostility, cops being corrupted and people being murdered, all for the sake of ‘three quarters’. The novel was critically acclaimed and hailed as one of the best crime novels of that year. 3 Quarters was followed by “Throwing 7’s” (1999), “Fork in the Road” (2000), “Long Time Gone” (2002), “Empty Stockings” (2003), “Sins of Two Fathers” (2003), and “Ten Spot” (2005), all of which were well-received by the readers. Fork in the Road, a tragic love story, is being filmed into a major motion picture by Academy Award-winning director, Barry Levinson (“Rain Man” – 1989).

Denis tried his hand at screenwriting for the first time in 1985 with “Turk 182,” which he co-wrote with his younger brother, John. The movie was built around a youngster, Jimmy Lynch, who gets involved in a conflict with the city mayor, John J. Tyler, when his firefighter brother, Terry, is denied his benefits by the city council after getting seriously wounded on the job. The film turned out to be a big-time flop and earned much less than its production costs. Screenplays were not Denis’s best suit which would be evident from his subsequent writings, all of which failed to sell enough tickets at the box office: “Critical Condition” (1987; Hamill made a cameo appearance as a maintenance man), “The Assignment” (2016), “Last Laugh” (2003), and “Under New Management” (2009). Hamill was also the producer for the latter two. He currently resides in Queens, New York, working as a journalist for the British daily, The Independent.

photo of Eileen Scully

Eileen Scully
Founder, The Rising Tides, New Haven, CT

Eileen Scully is an international keynote speaker, author of “In the Company of Men: How Women can Succeed in a World Built Without Them,” and founder and CEO of The Rising Tides, a consulting firm that makes workplaces better for women through assessment and advisory services.

She is a SheSource Expert with the Women’s Media Center, and has been interviewed by Forbes, the Boston Globe, Standard and Poor’s Global Market Intelligence, Thrive Global, Psychology Today, and Inc..

In December of 2018, Eileen was named to Irish America Magazine’s 2018 Business 100 list, the second consecutive year she received this prestigious and deeply meaningful honor. Irish Echo named Eileen one of their Community Champions in April of 2019.

In June of 2016, she was invited by the Obama White House to participate in the United State of Women, one of five thousand global advocates for women and girls.

In April of 2017, she spoke at the first ever Diversity in Marketing and Advertising Summit in London, the only event of its kind focused on fostering greater diversity and inclusion in the industry.

In August of 2018, Eileen spoke at the first Women In Engineering conference sponsored by the global Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in Tunisia.

In September of 2018, she delivered her first TED talk, “How Women Can Succeed in a World Built Without Them,” at the TEDx conference in Sfax, Tunisia.

In November of 2018, The Rising Tides launched the Leadership Diversity Index, the first comprehensive measurement of the representation of women and people of color on corporate boards of directors and executive leadership teams.

In September of 2019, her book “In the Company of Men: How Women can Succeed in a World Built Without Them” will be published.

She serves as a founding committee member on the Women’s Networking Initiative for the Irish Business Organization of New York. She is a past Chair and former board member of the Get in Touch Foundation, and a former advisor to the Innovadores Foundation. In her spare time, she volunteers as an event photographer for Special Olympics Connecticut and Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS).

Eileen studied at Hofstra University and Cornell University.

photo of Elizabeth Crabill

Elizabeth Crabill
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.

photo of Elizabeth Stack

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. 

photo of Frankie McCormick

Frankie McCormick
Chair, North American Province, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, NY

Frankie McCormick currently serves as North American Chairperson for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. He has the responsibility for the oversight of all six Regions including Canada.

Prior to accepting the nomination for North American Chair at the Chicago Convention, Frankie served as Chair for the Mid Atlantic Region of Comhaltas from 2006 thru 2017.

Born in Co. Tyrone and raised in Co. Armagh, Frankie was a member of the An Portmor Branch of Comhaltas. Starting in the late 1970’s many All Ireland Fleadhanna were attended with family and with success. In addition, Frankie was a member of the All Ireland winning GAA Scor Instrumental Group in 1985 representing his Football Club An Portmor.

After completing a City & Guilds four year apprenticeship in 1986 from Armagh Technical College in Northern Ireland as a Carpenter & Joiner he emigrated to New York settling in the Bronx and joined the Carpenters Union. A year after that he joined the Michael Coleman Branch of CCE in the Bronx and started participating in the Mid Atlantic Fleadh as an Adjudicator.

Work as a Construction Superintendent took him to Florida in 1991 for a four year Project with Marlex Housing in Boca Raton. Upon his return to New York in 1995, having played in Bands since the age of eleven, he joined the popular Band, Celtic Cross and is still a member today. Frankie has been running Projects for the past 8 years as a Construction Superintendent for JT Magen in New York City and resides in Port Washington Long Island.

photo of Geraldine Hughes

Geraldine Hughes
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.

photo of Gerard O'Rahilly

Gerard O’Rahilly
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.

photo of Ivan Houlihan

Ivan Houlihan
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.

photo of James Coyne

James F. Coyne
Plumbers Local 130 UA, Chicago, IL

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.

photo of James Maynard

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.

Judge James McKay III
Ancient Order of Hibernians, New Orleans, LA

Judge James F. McKay III is presently serving a ten year term as Chief Judge on the Louisiana Court of Appeal 4th Circuit. Judge McKay is a native of New Orleans, where he attended and graduated from De La Salle High School in 1964. After graduating from De La Salle, he attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in History with minors in English and Political Science in 1969. Thereupon, he entered law school at Loyola University in New Orleans from which he was awarded his Juris Doctor in 1974. While enrolled in law school, he also worked as an adult probation and parole officer.

From 1974-1978, Judge McKay worked at the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office where he served as a Senior Trial Attorney. From 1978-1982, he served as the Chief Prosecutor of the Criminal Division for the Metropolitan office of the State Attorney General’s Office. On December 12, 1982, he was elected to the Criminal District Court bench where he served until 1998. Judge McKay was elected to the Louisiana Court of Appeal 4th Circuit on March 7, 1998. Since January 1, 2013, he has served as Chief Judge of this Court.

Judge McKay is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Judges Association where he served as President in 2009. He previously served as Vice President, National Secretary and has twice been elected to the Board of Governors. In 2007 he received the Judge William H. Burnett Award from the American Judges Association. Judge McKay is also a member of the American Bar Association, the Louisiana State Bar Association, the Fourth and Fifth Circuit Judges Association, Francophone Section of the Louisiana State Bar Association and the American Judicature Society.

Judge McKay is also active in a number of civic and fraternal organizations. He served as National Treasurer of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, from 2008-2012, National Vice President from 2012-2016, Nation President from 2016-2020 and thereafter remains Past National President for life. He also has served as president of the Firemen’s Charitable and Benevolent Association since 2000. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus (St. Dominic’s Council) and the De LaSalle Alumni Association (past president). In 2010 Judge McKay was appointed as the Honorary Consul General of Ireland for the State of Louisiana.

Judge McKay is married to Marie Soniat McKay and they are the parents of four children: James F., IV, Michael B., Katherine L. and Colleen S. McKay.

Jeremiah R. Sullivan

My parents immigrated from Co. Cork Ireland to Butte, MT. ;  my mother with her family and my father to work in the mines in Butte with his three uncles.  I graduated from Butte Central High School taught by the Christian Brothers of Ireland.  I did my military service with the US Navy in the far east and South America.  I worked 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.  I am now semi retired.

I am married to Kay together we have three children; Devin, Tara and Keely.  We have six grandchildren; Redmond, Frances, Finnegan, Peter, Ruth and Bernadette.

Both my parents were native Irish speakers.  They used the language to talk to each other from time to time but did not teach it to the children.  After their passing, I did not hear the language spoken again. 

In the early ninety’s I attended a meeting with Project Children.  The speaker was Michael Culbert from Belfast.  He began his talk in Irish.  It was the first time I had heard the language in many years.  I well remember the thrill I felt upon hearing Michael speak.  The desire to be part of the revival of the language and the hope to be able to speak some Irish became a lifelong objective for me that night.

Mayor Jim Kenney
Mayor of Philadelphia, PA

A lifelong City resident, Mayor Jim Kenney grew up the oldest of four children in a South Philadelphia rowhome. On January 4, 2016, Jim was sworn in as the 99th Mayor of Philadelphia. In his first budget, the Mayor worked closely with City Council to fund bold anti-poverty initiatives to make progress for every neighborhood. Right now, nearly 2,000 children are in quality pre-k, eleven community schools launched since last fall, and the work to rebuild our parks, rec centers, and libraries continues — all because Philadelphia became the first major city to pass a tax on sweetened beverages.

Kevin Davis
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.

Jim Lamb
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.

Jim Coyne
Chicago, IL

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.

photo of Joan Moody

Joan Moody
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.

photo of Kathy Carew

Kathy Carew
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.

photo of Larry McCarthy

Larry McCarthy
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.

photo of Liam Frost

Liam Frost
President Irish Cultural Societies of San Francisco, CA

I am a native San Franciscan Married with 4 children and 3 grandchildren. I retired after 31 years with the San Francisco Police Department. I currently work part time as a security consultant. I serve on 3 community boards and until recently served on the San Francisco Entertainment Commission. I am on the San Francisco Bay Area Law Enforcement Emerald Society Board and am a Past President and currently President of the United Irish Societies of San Francisco. The United Irish Societies are responsible for putting on numerous events surrounding the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Season including the Parade, the Grand Marshal Dinner, The Mayor’s City Hall Flag Raising, the Festival, Father Peter Yorke Day, Robert Emmet Day, Kate Kennedy Day as well as visits to Convalescent Homes in San Francisco. I volunteer at the San Francisco Veteran’s Hospital.

photo of Leanne Howe

Leanne Howe
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.”

photo of Liam Ó Cuinneagáin

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.

photo of Lisa Maloney

Lisa Maloney
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.

photo of Lois Galgay Reckitt

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.

photo of Lori Gallagher

Lori Gallagher
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.

photo of Máirín Uí Chéide

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.

photo of Martin Cottingham

Martin Cottingham
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
unique background.

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.

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Martina Curtin
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 Marty Walsh
Mayor of Boston, MA
Mary McAleney
Maine Irish Heritage Center, Portland, ME

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Mary Sugrue
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.

photo of Maura Kelly

Maura Kelly
Director of LEAP (Leadership Executive Acceleration Program), New York, NY

Maura is a mission-driven strategist and Emmy-winning producer with experience in management, digital marketing and partnership development. Through her consultancy practice, Purple Mountain Media, Maura helps organisations and nonprofits develop and launch projects, and creative engagements that amplify their brand and social impact. Her career spans leadership positions in broadcast television at PBS/ WNET where she helped raise over $17 million for programs and EdTech initiatives — to working with top-media companies, such as The Jim Henson Co, PBS Kids, Tribeca Film Festival.

Passionate about women’s leadership and gender equality, Maura is the Director of LEAP (Leadership Executive Acceleration Program) for emerging women executives, and an Adviser to EdSnaps (Educational Snapshots), a nonprofit that introduces underserved girls to STEM careers. Maura was elected to the Board of Directors of NY Women in Film & Television, a leading association that promotes gender equality in the entertainment sector. Maura holds a Masters from NY Institute of Technology where she was also an adjunct lecturer.

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Maureen Kennedy
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.

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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.

photo of Mick Mulvaney

Mick Mulvaney
United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland

Mick Mulvaney is an American politician who currently serves as United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. He previously served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from February 2017 until March 2020. He also served as acting White House Chief of Staff from January 2019 until March 2020. He previously served as the acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from November 2017 to December 2018.

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Mike Clune
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).

Natalie O’Shea
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.

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Paddy Meskell
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.

photo of Padraic Ó Raighne

Padraic Ó Raighne
Marketing Manager, TG4, Galway, Ireland

Padraic Ó Raighne is TG4’s marketing manager and works on various aspects of the station’s promotional strategies from traditional and digital advertising to sponsorships and events. One of the main focus of TG4 is to develop and foster international partnerships with particular emphasis on the Irish Diaspora. Padraic has worked on TG4’s flagship traditional music awards Gradam Ceoil since its inception in 1998 and has coordinated a number of musical performances for Gradam recipients in Ireland and abroad. Outside of TG4 Padraic has worked on various community development projects relating to tourism, sport, the Irish language and the arts. Padraic is a native of Lettermore in the Connemara Gaeltacht of County Galway.

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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.

photo of Patrick Griffin

Patrick Griffin
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.

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Paul Finnegan
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.

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Ray O’Hanlon
Editor of Irish Echo

Ray O’Hanlon is the editor of the New York City-published Irish Echo newspaper. A native of Dublin, O’Hanlon has reported from four continents in a newspaper career spanning 41 years. In addition to his work as a reporter and editor, O’Hanlon has been a frequent contributor to U.S., Irish and British media outlets reporting on Ireland, Irish American affairs, and Anglo-Irish relations. He has appeared on CBS 60 minutes, ABC World News Tonight, and the Lehrer News Hour on PBS. He has also been interviewed on RTE, BBC and ITV, both television and radio. O’Hanlon’s book, “The New Irish Americans” (Roberts Rinehart 1998) was the recipient of a Washington Irving Book Award. “The South Lawn Plot,” his first fiction work, was published in 2011. His book on Irish immigration to America, “Unintended Consequences,” is set for publication in the spring of 2021. O’Hanlon and his wife Lisa, a native of Danville, Illinois, are the parents of three grown children and live in Ossining, New York.

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Robbie Hunter
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).

photo of Ryushin Paul Haller

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).

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Scott Fischaber
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.

photo of Shaun Kelly

Seamus McAteer
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.

photo of Shaun Kelly

Shaun Kelly
Naples, FL

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.

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Steve Harper
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.

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Susan K. Whoriskey, PhD
Biotechnology Executive, Technology Strategy & Business Development

Susan Whoriskey, PhD has served sequentially on the founding Executive Teams of four biotech companies: TruCode, Moderna (MRNA), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA) and Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST). TruCode is privately held. Moderna pioneered mRNA technology for drug development, is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine and has numerous other candidates in clinical trials to treat other diseases. Momenta received the first ever FDA approval for a generic version of a complex mixture drug while transitioning the application of its technology to novel drug development for unmet diseases and was sold to J & J in 2020 for $6.5B. Cubist received FDA approval for one of the first new classes of antibiotics approved by the FDA in 50 years to treat multi-drug resistant S. aureus and was sold to Merck in 2014 for $9.5B. As a member of the Executive Teams, Dr. Whoriskey played key roles in foundation setting, building teams, managing translation of academic inventions into therapeutic modalities, overseeing intellectual property strategy, completing venture capital financings, negotiating corporate partnerships, completing IPOs and follow-on financings and achieving four FDA drug approvals to date. She has been a consultant to Polaris Venture Partners and an Entrepreneur in Residence at MIT. Dr. Whoriskey earned her BS from UMass-Amherst and PhD from UCLA and was a Research Fellow in Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School with a Nobel Prize winner. She is an inventor on 50 patents and a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Biotechnology and Entrepreneurism from the University of Ulster.

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Terry George
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.

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Thom MacNamara
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.

Thomas O’Malley
New York, NY

photo of Tim Kennedy

Senator Tim Kennedy
Western, NY

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.

photo of William S. McKiernan

William S. McKiernan
President, WSM Capital LLC, San Francisco, CA

Bill McKiernan is president of WSM Capital, LLC a private equity firm he founded to invest in payment and other technology companies.  Prior to founding WSM Capital, Bill founded CyberSource Corporation in 1994. CyberSource provides payment processing and other related services to online businesses. He was Chairman and CEO for 16 years. He built the company into one of the dominant players in the eCommerce payment market with over 300,000 customers processing over $120 billion per year.  CyberSource processed 1 of every 4 e-commerce transactions in the US and 1 of 8 worldwide.  In July 2010, Visa, Inc. acquired CyberSource in a transaction valued at $2 billion. Mr. McKiernan served as Executive Advisor to Visa, Inc. for two years following the acquisition before founding WSM Capital in 2012. 

Mr. McKiernan holds a BS from Boston College and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Prior to founding CyberSource he held positions at Price Waterhouse, IBM, and McAfee Associates.

He is on the boards of trustees of Boston College, Bellarmine College Prep and the American Ireland Fund. He is on the board of directors of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and the Harvard Business School California Research Center Advisory Board. He also sponsors an annual National Business Plan Competition in Ireland through the American Ireland Fund.

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