Sandra Healy (Chair)
Sandra is CEO and founder of Inclusio. Sandra’s career spanned 20 years in the global telecoms industry and five years at Dublin City University where she established the DCU Centre of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion. After four years in R&D, Sandra spun-out inclusio in 2020, bringing to the market a science based Diversity &Inclusion performance platform that links D&I to business KPI’s.
Sandra is an Organisational Psychologist and NLP Master Practitioner. Over 15 years she has championed and driven diversity and inclusion practice across industry and is considered a leading expert. In 2014, she provided critical expertise and sectoral knowledge establishing the EU Diversity Charter Ireland. In 2018 and 2020 she delivered keynote presentations at the International Academic Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communities & Nations. Sandra was a member of the Expert Advisory Group for Ireland’s Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality and is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council for An Garda Síochána (Ireland’s Police Force).
Jen is a qualified Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Advisor with over 20 years’ experience working in managerial and leadership roles within the Financial Services sector. She has extensive finance experience and expertise in reviewing key risks and controls throughout organisations, ensuring that appropriate oversight and corporate governance is in place. Over her career, working with organisations such as Standard Life, Allianz and KPMG, she has gained valuable insight in how best in class organisations work and has worked collaboratively with Senior Management and the Board to provide assurance in order to protect the assets, reputation and sustainability of the organisation.
Jen has always had a keen interest in volunteering, especially with organisations that enhance experiences for children. She is currently a Board member of another charity which provides an after-school program and provides a safe and inclusive environment where children are supported in their holistic development through play, choice based programming and encouraged to have fun.
Colm O Shaughnessy
Colm is a Solicitor & Notary Public and principal of OSBROS Solicitors, a full service law firm which he established in 2018. His practice currently focuses on the needs of private clients and their SMEs.
With over 23 years’ experience in the legal field, Colm has worked in both private practice and as inhouse Counsel with AIB.
Colm’s experience is wide and varied given his interest in different areas of law. Past and present clients include commercial entities, property developers, Semi-State bodies, banks, monarchs and private individuals. Colm relishes a challenge and is a trouble shooter.
Colm grew up and lives in Glasnevin with his wife and 4 young daughters.
Founder, secretary and treasurer of Glasnaíon FC – a junior football club founded in 2000 with 2 teams competing in the United Churches Football League. Our players traditionally come from the Glasnevin, Finglas and Ballymun areas. Enjoys keeping fit and participating in ultra-events.
Lecturer, tutor and internal examiner in the Law Society of Ireland Law School (professional course).
Gene Mehigan is Principal Lecturer and Director of Post Graduate Studies at Marino Institute of Education, Dublin. He has leadership responsibilities for Literacy Instruction, Post Graduate Studies and Continuing Professional Development. Gene has been a primary school teacher, a literacy specialist, an educational consultant, and a teacher educator over the past thirty years. His research interests are in early literacy development, particularly among children living in disadvantaged settings and in teacher education.
Gene serves as a consultant for a number of education and policy organisations and has worked in The Gambia as a Government advisor to the Department of State for Education on the development of a sector wide approach for the reform of literacy education. He is past President of both the Literacy Association of Ireland (LAI) and the Irish Learning Support Association. Gene joined the board of Youngballymun in 2015.
Vanessa Fitzgerald has worked for the Health Service Executive for 21 years, having spent most of her career in Disability Services and recently moved into Primary Care as a General Manager for Dublin North Central. Prior to that she spent a significant amount of time on improvement projects for the HSE focusing on reducing patient waiting times. Vanessa believes in person centred care and timely intervention.
In 2017 Vanessa was part of a team that founded the first culture change initiative in the HSE where the focus was on enhanced cultural change through social movement, and she is a viral change fellow with Viral Change.
Vanessa is a Social Worker and has a degree in Sociology from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She recently completed a Diploma in Leadership and Community Healthcare from the RCSI and is working on her Masters in Psychotherapy from DCU
Vanessa is married and a busy mom of three, who likes to run and has recently taken up golf.
Miriam Colum is a Senior lecturer and the head of Department of Inclusion, Religious Education and Student Life in Marino Institute of Education (MIE), Dublin, Ireland. She is the Programme Leader for the Postgraduate Masters of Education (PME) (primary).
Miriam coordinates the TOBAR programme that has a singular focus on supporting Irish Travellers’ access to and throughout initial teacher education (ITE) programmes. Phase one of TOBAR (2018/19 – 2020/21) was positioned in MIE and phase two (2021/22 – 2023/24) is a shared initiative between MIE and Trinity College Dublin. Miriam has an extensive teaching profile in MIE and teaches/ has taught across B.Ed., B.Sc. in Early Childhood, B.Sc. in Education Studies, PME and Masters Programmes in MIE in the area of inclusive education. She designed and delivers the elective ‘Supporting Children with Special Educational Needs in all School Settings’ to final year B.Ed. students. She is a special education and psychology dissertation supervisor for students on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
Miriam is a former primary school teacher with experience in mainstream and special school settings. She previously lectured in St. Angela’s college, Sligo and was a coordinator on the national certificate for SEN for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) and was module leader for the online blended learning module: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
Miriam is on many internal committees in MIE comprising Coiste na Gaeilge, examining aspects of the Irish language in MIE; STER (2020/21) a student staff partnership initiative; MIE Safeguarding Committee; COVID_19 committee; TOBAR committee; Staff Student Liaison committee and she is the I.T. Champion for her department. She also edits the quarterly MIE staff publication ‘Marino Matters’.
Miriam is committed to working with the community to enhance inclusive practice and is a member of the ‘Children and Young People’s Service Committee’ in North Dublin. In 2019, Miriam was appointed to the ‘National Council for Special Education’ consultative forum. She is a member of the editorial board of the ‘REACH Journal of Special Education in Ireland’ and is on the executive committee of the ‘Literacy Association of Ireland’ where she is the editor of the biannual newsletter (2019 – present). In 2021 she was invited to sit on the executive committee of the ‘Inclusive Education Special Interest Group’ (IESIG) of the Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI), interrogating and communicating research within the field of inclusive education under the ESAI flag. She also edits the annual newsletter for the IESIG.
Her research interests are in special education, inclusive education and educational leadership and she actively publishes in these areas. She is currently leading the ‘Supporting Inclusion and Diversity in Teaching’ (SiDiT) Erasmus+ project in Ireland with partners in Greece (overall lead of SiDiT project), Italy, Croatia and Belgium.
Miriam is in her final year of her doctoral studies (PhD) in the area of Leadership for Special Education.
Geraldine French is an Associate Professor, the Head of School of Language, Literacy and Early Childhood Education, the Programme Chair of the Master of Education in Early Childhood Education and Senior Fellow of Advance HE (SFHEA) in the Institute of Education, Dublin City University. Geraldine has worked for a variety of governmental and voluntary organisations, national and international, in conducting continued professional development, research, needs analysis, evaluations and consultancy for strategic planning with a particular focus on educational inequality. She has published in the areas of parenting and the experience of poverty amongst families with very young children. In the context of early childhood settings Geraldine has published on quality professional practice, supporting early language, literacy and numeracy and nurturing babies’ learning and development.
Lillian has lived in Ballymun for the past fifty years. She worked for over thirty years in the field of community development and in particular worked in the Community & Family Training Agency (CAFTA) as a facilitator / trainer on accredited courses. She also facilitated courses for the National College of Ireland (NCI) in community and family support.
Lillian was involved in a housing regeneration programme during the social regeneration of Ballymun over a ten year period. Lillian is involved currently on the pastoral council of the three local churches and she sits on the Board of Management of ST. Josephs Junior School. Lillian joined the Board of Youngballymun in 2009.
Dr. Ann Devitt
Dr. Ann Devitt is Associate Professor of Language Education and Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning at the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin. She is the Academic Director of The Learnovate Centre and has extensive research experience in both academia and industry. She is the Trinity College representative on the LERU Digital Education Group. She is also a member of the Royal Irish Academy Languages, Literature, Culture and Communication Committee.
In previous roles, Ann has been Director of Research in the School and Chair of the Faculty and School Research Ethics Committees.
Ann has recently completed Irish Research Council funded project on Family Digital Literacy in partnership with NALA and conducted the NALA review of family literacy provision outside ETBs in 2022.
Her research profile is available here: https://www.tcd.ie/education/people/devittan/
Tony is Professor Emeritus of Social Policy in University College Dublin. He is a sociologist by training and before joining UCD in 2007 spent fifteen years as a social researcher in the Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin. He has published on a range of topics connected with social policy and social trends in Ireland, the European Union and the United States.
He is a board member in a number of NGOs connected with social advocacy and social services in Ireland. Tony joined the Board of Youngballymun in 2016 and held the position of Chair of the Board from 2018 to 2020.