IUSA Board

Elected at the  Ninth Annual Alumni Congress on 23 January 2020, the board will serve until the next congress in 2021.

Please feel free to contact them for further information.  If you are interested in serving on the board, please contact the board on info@irishusalumni.com

President – Kate Acheson

Kate Acheson National Youth Officer with the Fine Gael Political Party. Kate holds a BA in Public Relations and Communications and her areas of speciality include event management, communications, public speaking and campaign co-ordination. Before joining Fine Gael, Kate served as the Deputy President for the national Students’ Union; the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). In this role, Kate represented the views of more than 250,000 members to key stakeholders and was responsible for the development and roll-out of all media, events, and campaigns undertaken by the USI on a national and international level. Kate has loved America from a very young age and planned her college summer months around trips to the United States. In 2008 she completed a J1 to Fire Island, NY. Kate’s nomination by the U.S. Embassy as the Irish delegate on the International Visitor Leadership Programme; ‘Women in Politics and Social Sectors ‘, in October 2014 was a huge honour and an experience she valued greatly.

The hospitality, the worldwide connections and the insight into over 48 American organisations have enthused her to offer her services to the IUSA board.

Vice President – Chris MM Gordon   Chris MM Gordon CEO of the Irish Social Enterprise Network (Socent.ie), Managing Partner of Collaboration Ireland and Country Partner for BCorp Ireland. Chris is an Adjunct Teaching Fellow of Trinity Business School. Chris also volunteers as Chair of Far and Wild social enterprise and is the former Director of Social Enterprise NI. Chris is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management in the UK, Social Innovation Fellow from StartingBloc in the US, a Constellations Society Fellow from France, Tällberg Pathfinder Fellow from Sweden and a US Department of State awardee on Social Enterprise and Tackling Long Term Unemployment programme. Chris is also a Member of the Institute of Directors Ireland. Chris’ passion is in outdoor facilitation, youth work, social inclusion and community development. Chris has a degree in Theoretical Physics from Queen’s University Belfast, a Masters in Business from the University of Ulster and has qualifications from the Institute of Banking, LIA and UCD.

Siobhan Byrne Learat

Treasurer – Ms. Thea Gilien

Thea Gilien is the Boston College Ireland Director of Programmes, responsible for internal operations and events, and for external relations at local, regional and national levels. She is also the local point of contact for Irish Institute alumni.

Thea oversees the Dublin Summer Internship Programme – work placements for the highly motivated Boston College students interested in developing independence, intra-personal social and professional skills, and international work experience before graduation.

As board member of the National Association of Study Abroad Providers in Ireland (ASAPI), Thea is interested in promoting the role and value of the American study abroad experience in Ireland – for both the BC college student and their host country.

Siobhan Byrne Learat

Secretary – Ms. Claire Cummiskey

Claire is a Manager with Fragomen Ireland. She has over 10 years of experience in the Irish immigration sector including assisting corporate clients to comply with Irish immigration requirements. Claire’s areas of focus include employment permits, visa applications, residency applications and family reunification. Prior to joining Fragomen, Claire worked in both the non-governmental (NGO) and corporate sectors, providing support to non-EEA nationals from diverse backgrounds in relation to Irish immigration requirements. She holds an LLM (Criminal Justice) and BCL Law and German from University College Cork.

Ex-Officio – Vincent Mc Carthy

Vincent Mc Carthy is the Co-founder & CEO of The Festival of Curiosity, which is Dublin’s annual international festival of science, arts, design & technology with over 45,000 attendees each year.

Vincent previously was the Curator of Dublin City of Science 2012 at the Irish Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser. He worked with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs as a consultant on science and technology projects in Mozambique. He was a contributor for RTE? Young Peoples on Science and Technology and features regularly on Irish radio shows.

He is also the Chair of the International School of Dublin, Director of Respond Housing Association and a member of the Smart Dublin Advisory Network.

Vincent participated on an U.S. State Department International Visitor Leadership Programme on ‘Education in the Digital Age’ in November 2014, where he visited educational institutions in Washington DC, Boston, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

Vincent has a Joint Honours BSc in Physics and Mathematics from University College Cork and an MA in International Relations from Dublin City University.

Irish Fulbright Alumni Association Representative – Sinéad Murnane

Sinéad Murnane is the President of the Irish Fulbright Alumni Association and a yoga teacher. She was the recipient of the 2010 Fubright-CRH Award, which took her to Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she undertook research in knowledge sharing in multi-disciplinary teams.?

Membership Secretary – Ian Fahey

Ian Fahey currently works as Special Adviser to the Attorney General of Ireland.

A Business & Law Graduate of University College Dublin and former Auditor of UCD Law Society, he previously worked as a Parliamentary Assistant in Oireachtas Éireann and the European Parliament.

An avid-political nerd, he organised and led UCD’s first ever delegation to the National Model United Nations Conference (NYC 2015), where he was awarded a Best Delegate Award out of 5,000 students. He sat on the US Embassy Youth Council for two terms and participated in the European Parliament Youth Event 2016, where he worked closely with youth leaders across to discuss issues facing young people across Ireland and Europe.

Ian has also helped to lead national campaigns on Marriage Equality; Mental Health; and HIV Awareness.

Board Member – Ms. Claire McGowan

Claire Mc Gowan is Head of Student Affairs at Boston College Ireland. Her responsibilities include the creation and management of all programming related to Boston College summer programs in Ireland, as well as for the Dublin Internship program. She works closely with faculty and staff members from across the University, and provides generous, professional and pastoral support to students. Claire is also responsible for other BCI events throughout the year, including service projects and Culture Night, as well as managing the BCI social media accounts. She is also a point for contact for both Boston College and Irish Institute alumni.

As a graduate of the UCD Clinton Institute for American Studies, Claire continues her engagement in the Irish-American study abroad sector as an executive committee member of the Association of Study Abroad Providers in Ireland (ASAPI), and also advises U.S. academic institutions on building study abroad programs in Ireland.

Press Secretary – Richard Moore

Richard Moore is the Managing Director of a public relations company, Mcomm Communications Consultants, in Dublin city centre.  A former journalist with experience of both regional and national newspapers, he spent over 15 years working at various Press and Special advisory roles in five separate Government Departments, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice. He served as Press Advisor in the Department of Foreign Affairs during a crucial part of the Northern peace process which resulted in the signing of the St Andrew’s Agreement in Scotland in 2006. He has also been involved in bilateral and aid programmes and UN work.  During his tenure at senior level in Government, he handled national and international media and was central in developing policy and strategic options. A native of Ballinasloe, Co Galway, he is a frequent contributor to current affairs programmes and national media.

Communications Officer – Niamh Ni Conchubhair

Niamh is Programme Manager and Producer at axis: Ballymun, a producing and receiving venue and an arts development organisation. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies and Modern Irish from Trinity College Dublin. She has worked in arts and events management and production for over a decade. Recent production credits include ‘#minefield’ and ‘Charlie’s a Clepto’ by Clare Monnelly, ‘They Windy Lady’ by Pom Boyd, ‘Granuaile, Pirate Queen’ by Gabrielle Breathnach and Veronica Coburn, ‘The Hijabi Monologues’ with The British Council and The Immigrant Council of Ireland, ‘Waiting for Elvis’ by Eileen Gibbons, and ‘The Parting Glass’ (national tour, New York, Paris, Stockholm).

She has worked as co-ordinator on ‘Out of the Silence’ an Arts & Mental Health Festival and ‘Borradh Buan’ an Annual Irish Cultural Festival and as a producer on ‘Hip-Nós’ a fusion of traditional and contemporary art forms that has toured in Ireland and to New York and Cape Town.

Prior to her work with axis she worked as a freelance facilitator and project co-ordinator for primary schools and for the HSE. In 2011 Niamh participated in the U.S. State Department’s IVLP Program exploring social change through the arts, and the Intercultural Cities programme with the Council of Europe. She is Chair of the board of Arts and Disability Ireland and works with organizations such as The British Council, Youth Theatre Ireland and Foras na Gaeilge on specific projects. She is a former board member of Theatre Forum Ireland, Fíbín Teo and TEAM Educational Theatre Co. and is currently a board member of The Ireland United States Alumni Association.

She coordinated the ‘Imeall’ venues network and was on the ‘New Stream’ arts management programme with the DeVos Institute, Washington and BusinessToArts. She was awarded a bursary to participate in the Next Generation programme at On The Edge global gathering of Theatre for Young Audiences in Birmingham, and in 2017 was awarded a French Language Bursary to study at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris.

Board Member– John Kearns

John Kearns is Chief Executive of Partas, a social enterprise with over 60 staff, working to foster entrepreneurship, business training and social economy since 1984. Partas operates four Enterprise Centres and a micro-loan fund and conducts research on a national and EU level into many areas of social an economic policy, particularly self-employment and social entrepreneurship. Partas has also developed a range of innovative new projects such as Ireland’s first social enterprise brewery (Priory Brewing), artisan food hub (The County Fare) and a new co-working hub (The Edge).

John is a member of the ‘Social Enterprise Task Force’ in Ireland and is the Irish representative on the expert advisory group to the European Commission on Social Enterprise. He has also worked with partners throughout Europe on developing their social enterprise policies and practices. As an entrepreneur in the music business, John had been responsible for some of the most successful recording and live events in Ireland. He holds an MBA in
Entrepreneurship and is an alumnus of the Irish Institute at Boston College.

President Emeritus – Declan Dunne

Declan Dunne is an experienced General Manager with a private sector background. He is the CEO of Sophia Housing Association. Sophia is a homeless agency and approved housing body operating across Ireland. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Mensa member and has been an invited speaker at OECD events internationally. His board experience includes Ballymun Regeneration and the National Education Welfare Board, where he also chaired both Audit Committees, and the National Childcare Coordinating Committee at the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Declan is an alumnus of the Boston College Irish Institute Programme. He has served on the IUSA Board from its formation and chairs its education committee.

Board Member –  Julia Carmichael

Julia Carmichael is the Chief Compliance Officer for IPB Insurance with over 15 years’ experience in retail /commercial banking and insurance. Her previous roles include CCO for Aviva Group Ireland, Postbank Ireland, a start-up enterprise, Head of Enterprise Risk and Information Security for Ulster Bank RBS Group, Finance Administrator and Treasury Manager for Baxter Pharmaceutical and as a Senior Manager for Credit and Risk Management for MBNA Europe.  Julia has worked in several regulatory jurisdictions and international financial institutions across Europe.  She actively supports the development of education for in financial management and personal development for women in business.  As an active member of her local community she has been elected twice to Dublin City Council from 2004 – 2013 as a councillor for local government.  During that period she has chaired the Dublin City Arts, Culture and Sports Strategy Committee which included initiatives such as the Tall Ships, One City One Book with the Dublin City Arts Officer, the Dublin City Economics sub-committee and also as a member of the Leaders Group.   As a non-executive director she has been a member of several professional, not-for-profit organisations and local organisations, such as Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Dublin Enterprise Board, Ballymun Regeneration Ltd, the Royal Irish Academy of Music, the Ballymun Partnership and St James Hospital Dublin. She is currently completing her Msc in Compliance and Regulation in UCD.

Board Member – Dr. Susan Crawford

Dr Susan Crawford is a lecturer in Sports Studies and Physical Education, The School of Education, University College Cork. Susan specialises in research and lecturing in Autism, Disability related issues and Health across the lifespan. She is the recipient of The President’s Award, Fulbright Scholar, Digital Champion and more recently Social Entrepreneur of the Year Academy member.  Susan is actively involved in addressing quality of life issues for children and adults on the autistic spectrum. She is currently developing an online programme to promote movement skills for individuals on the spectrum. Susan is a keen runner and has completed fundraising marathons and runs raising awareness of autism related issues. Susan is also a qualified nurse, midwife, sports massage therapist, Sport and Exercise Scientist and has worked both nationally and internationally in these areas.

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