Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
I have a long history of entrepreneurialism and I am known for my doggedness. This is demonstrated in my human rights work with Gypsies and Travellers, an extremely marginalized group. I implemented an international human rights monitoring program for the forced eviction of 400 Travellers from their own land, which became an international news story. I also wrote the first ever UN Shadow Report on their rights within the UK context and appeared before the UN in Geneva, where all my recommendations were adopted. It was a political issue and I saw it needed to be about human rights. I also noticed that there were no Traveller representatives on national and international ethnicity task forces and spent months cold¬calling securing slots.
Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?
We are based in the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, an independent state agency which has kindly provided us with office facilities. We are the only non-state organisation based inside their office. We also have a partnership with the Law Society of Ireland (the regulatory body for solicitors in Ireland) which has also generously provided us with facilities to run all of our youth programmes since 2012. We are a Partner of Gaisce President’s Award, as an operating body delivering the award.
We are currently in the process of establishing an expert advisory group which will give expertise on particular aspects of the organisation including our youth programmes and fundraising/strategic strategy.
We currently have secured funding from corporate partners including Mason Hayes and Curran (Top 5 Law firm in Ireland), IPB Insurance and Vodafone Foundation.
In terms of mentors and advisers, we have won a number of awards which have provided ongoing mentoring and advisory through me being appointed an Ashoka Fellowship and also winning a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award both in 2014. I also was awarded the Ray Murphy award for Chief Executives, which has given me €4000 to spend on specialist leadership training and coaching.