William Beausang
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Assistant Secretary, Department of Education and Skills

William Beausang is assistant secretary for the Department of Education and Skills. Prior to that, he was the head of government reform unit and then assistant secretary general of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Beausang received both a bachelor’s in public administration and master’s in economic science from University College Dublin and completed a master’s programme in economics at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.




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Alan Barrett
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Chief Executive, Economic and Social Research Institute

Professor Alan Barrett is the chief executive of the Economic and Social Research Institute. As CEO, his primary responsibility is to ensure that the mission of the Institute is fulfilled, namely “to produce high quality research, relevant to Ireland’s economic and social development, with the aim of informing policymaking and societal understanding”. More generally, he is responsible for strategic leadership and management, including funding, governance and human resources.

Barrett received his PhD in economics from Michigan State University in 1994 and joined the ESRI that year. He was seconded to the Department of Finance from 2001 to 2003 and to Trinity College Dublin from 2011 to 2013. Most of his research has been in the areas of labour economics, population economics and macroeconomics. His academic work has been published in journals such as Labour Economics, the Journal of Population Economics, the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, the British Journal of Industrial Relations, the International Migration Review, Population Research and Policy Review, the Economic and Social Review, the National Institute Economic Review and Economics Letters.

Early in his career at the ESRI he undertook work on environmental economics. In 1997, he co-authored a book on environmental policy (The Fiscal System and the Polluter Pays Principle: A Case-study of Ireland, Ashgate: UK). Between 2005 and 2010, he was a lead author of the ESRI’s Quarterly Economic Commentary. He was a member of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council from 2011 to 2015. He has chaired each National Economic Dialogue from 2015 to 2017. He is a research fellow with the Institute for Labour Economics (IZA) in Bonn, Germany, an honorary fellow of the Society of Actuaries in Ireland and a member (ex officio) of the Climate Change Advisory Council. He is also an adjunct professor at the Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin.

He is a frequent contributor to radio and television discussions on economic matters and has been quoted in newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist.

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Mary Buckley
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Executive Director, IDA Ireland

Mary Buckley is a member of the Executive Leadership Team at IDA Ireland – the state agency with responsibility for attracting foreign investment into Ireland. Buckley has held senior leadership positions in the organisation over the past 11 years, operating in Ireland and in North America.

In October 2015, Buckley was appointed executive director with responsibility for the implementation of IDA Ireland’s corporate strategy, Winning: Foreign Direct Investment 2015-2019. Prior to that, she was divisional manager covering regional development, property and corporate operations overseeing the implementation of IDA Ireland’s regional development and property strategies. In this role she was also head of human resources and organisation development and oversaw the finance and corporate governance functions of the organisation.

From 2006 to 2010 Buckley was director of IDA Ireland’s North American operations, leading the team in winning investments across all business sectors. Prior to her relocation to New York, Buckley was director of the south region based in Cork.

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Malcolm Byrne
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Head of Communications, Higher Education Authority

Malcolm Byrne has been responsible for the HEA’s communications and public affairs strategy since 2007. He has examined the education systems of Canada (Dobbin ICUF scholarship, 2012) and Australia (Endeavour Fellowship, 2014). A graduate in law and in arbitration from UCD, he previously held a variety of posts including with Chambers Ireland, as the first commercial manager with myhome.ie and as Chief Executive of Community Games. He has served as Chair of Wexford County Council, as Vice-President of the National Youth Council of Ireland and as Education Officer with the Union of Students in Ireland. He was named as one of the EU European Young Leaders for 2014.

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Síona Cahill
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President, Union of Students in Ireland

Síona Cahill is a graduate of BCL law and sociology of Maynooth University and served two terms as Maynooth Students' Union (MSU) Vice President for Welfare and Equality before being elected as the current Deputy President and Vice President for Equality and Citizenship within the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

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Tony Donohoe
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Head, Education, Social and Innovation Policy, Irish Business and Employers Confederation; Chair, Expert Panel on Future Skills Needs

Tony Donohoe is head of education, social and innovation policy in Ibec and chair of the Expert Panel on Future Skills Needs. Following a career in business journalism, Donohoe has worked with the Confederation for over 25 years in a number of roles including publications editor and head of research and information services. He took up his current position in 2006. He is a member of the National Economic and Social Council, Business Europe Social Affairs Committee and the board of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP). He has also served on the boards of the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland and the Equality Authority. Ibec is the national voice of Irish business and employers, and is the umbrella body for Ireland’s leading business sector groups and associations. It also provides a wide range of services to over 7,000 member businesses, representing over 70% of total private sector employment in Ireland.

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Gary Gensler
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Senior Advisor, Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative and the Ethics and Governance of AI Project; Senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management

Gary Gensler is senior advisor to the director of the MIT Media Lab where he is a senior advisor to both the Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative and the Ethics and Governance of AI project, and a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. 

Gensler served as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (2009-2014), leading the Obama Administration’s post-crisis reform efforts of the $400 trillion over-the-counter derivatives, or swaps market. In recognition, he was a recipient of the 2014 Tamar Frankel Fiduciary Prize.

He currently is chairman of the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission.

He previously had been senior advisor to US Senator Paul Sarbanes in writing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (2002); was Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance, (1999-2001), and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (1997-1999). In recognition for his service, Gensler was awarded Treasury’s highest honor, the Alexander Hamilton Award. He was a United States Presidential Elector for Maryland in 2004.

Gensler has worked on various political campaigns, most recently as CFO for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. He was a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, subsequently an economic advisor for the Obama 2008 campaign, and worked on several Maryland statewide races.

He coauthored a book presenting common sense investing advice for middle income Americans, The Great Mutual Fund Trap, (Broadway Books, 2002). Gensler has appeared regularly on national television commenting on the economy and politics. In 2016, Politico Magazine included him in their list of the 50 ‘Thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics.’

Prior to his public service, Gensler worked at Goldman Sachs (1979-1997), having become a partner in the Mergers & Acquisition department, headed the firm’s Media Group, led fixed income and currency trading in Asia and lastly was co-head of Finance, responsible for worldwide Controllers and Treasury efforts.

Gensler earned his undergraduate degree in economics in 1978 and his MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania in 1979.  

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Laura Clifford

Industry Partnership Manager, ADAPT Centre

Amongst the evening’s panellists will be ADAPT’s Industry Partnership Manager Laura Clifford, who drives commercialisation and business development activities within the centre. Currently, Laura is leading the development of a large scale, collaborative FinTech research programme between the four ADAPT universities and a consortium of Financial service and FinTech companies. This will be the first of its kind in Ireland and is open to all types of companies within and outside of Ireland.


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Michael Horgan
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Chair, Higher Education Authority

Michael Horgan was appointed chair of the HEA in July 2016. He is also outgoing chairman of the Health and Safety Authority. He is former chief executive of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Horgan holds a BSc in computer science, and an MA from the University of Dublin (Trinity College) and a master’s in industrial engineering from UCD and is a chartered director. He was awarded a number of honorary degrees, including a DSc from the University of Massachusetts and honorary fellowship of RCSI. He chairs the fintech/global payments company TransferMate and is a non-executive director of Intuition Ltd and a number of other boards. He was previously a board member of the Rotunda Hospital, of Beaumont Hospital and a member of the Senate of the National University of Ireland.

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Charles Kane
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Senior Lecturer, Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management (TIES) Group and Global Economics and Management, MIT Sloan

Charles Kane is a senior lecturer in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management Group and also in the Global Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Kane is currently chairman of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Foundation and was formerly the president of OLPC, a nonprofit organization that provides technology to enhance education in less developed countries. Prior to OLPC, Kane was a founding investor and CFO of Global BPO Services Corp., a Special Purpose Acquisition Corp. that acquired Stream Global Services.

Prior to Global BPO, Kane was the CFO of RSA Security (acquired by EMC); CFO of Aspen Technology; president and CEO of Corechange, Inc. (acquired by Open Text Corp.); and CFO of Informix Software (acquired by IBM). He has also served in financial executive positions at Stratus Computer, Prime Computer, and Deloitte.

Throughout his career, Kane has been involved in developing and executing sophisticated financial strategies in globalizing corporations and mergers and acquisitions. He is a frequent speaker and writer on these topics, as well as other international financial topics and social entrepreneurial ventures. Kane is the audit chairman on the boards of Progress Software (PRGS), Carbonite (CARB), Demandware (DWRE), RealPage (RP), and Photobox LTD.

He also served on the Boards of Applix (acquired by IBM), Borland Software (acquired by Micro Focus LTD, and Netezza Corp (acquired by IBM). Kane is also on the Board and a founding member of the Hult Global Challenge which is now part of the Clinton Global Initiative. He is a certified public accountant and has taught international finance at the business schools of Boston College and Babson College. Kane is the coauthor of the book Learning to Change the World—the Social Impact of One Laptop per Child

Kane holds a BBA in accounting from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA in international  finance from Babson College.

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Aphra Kerr
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Chair, MA Internet and Society, Maynooth University

Aphra Kerr’s research and teaching focus on both understanding, and seeking to improve, the role of the media and technology in society. At Maynooth University Kerr teaches courses on media & society, technology & culture, the business and cultures of the internet, games and play, and research methods, especially digital research methods. She designed and currently chairs the MA Internet and Society (MAIS). 

Kerr is a funded investigator on the Refiguring Innovation in Digital Games project funded by the Canadian SSHRC (http://www.refig.ca/). This project is exploring diversity and inclusion in the digital games industry and the Irish project has a focus on community engagement, informal education and diversity. She is also developing projects into the social shaping and impact of datafication, platforms, algorithms and artificial intelligence on public and social life. In Spring 2019 she will spend a semester as a visiting research fellow at the University of Edinburgh to work on a project on 'Data Intermediaries, Data Work & Data Inequalities'.

Kerr was elected chair of the Communication Policy and Technology section of the International Association for Media and Communications Research in 2016. IAMCR - is a worldwide professional organisation in the field of media and communication research and has a focus on global inclusiveness and critical scholarship. 

She was an invited visiting lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication in the USA from January-May 2011. We continued our collaboration by jointly hosting an international summer school on 'National & Transnational Cultural Flows & Place' in MU in 2013. 

Prior to coming to Maynooth in 2005, Kerr worked as a research fellow at the Centre for Media Research at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, and at the Society, Technology and Media research centre at Dublin City University in the Republic of Ireland working on a range of projects including public service broadcasting policy, media literacy and digital inclusion. 

From 2001-2003 Kerr was a Government of Ireland post-doctoral fellow working on the project Contemporary Digital Media: The Emergence of Digital Games. That began her research into digital games (the PS1 era!). Her PhD examined Ireland in the Global Information Economy: Innovation and Multimedia Content Industries with a focus on the barriers to global cultural flows. It was awarded in 2000 by Dublin City University. During her PhD she spent six months as a research assistant at UNU/INTECH in Maastricht, the Netherlands, working on a report on science and technology policy in Ireland.

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Thomas Kochan
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George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management;
Professor, Work and Organization Studies;
Co-Director, MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research

Thomas Kochan is the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management, a professor of work and employment research and engineering systems, and the co-director of the MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Kochan focuses on the need to update America’s work and employment policies, institutions, and practices to catch up with a changing workforce and economy. His recent work calls attention to the challenges facing working families in meeting their responsibilities at work, at home, and in their communities. Through empirical research, he demonstrates that fundamental changes in the quality of employee and labor-management relations are needed to address America’s critical problems in industries ranging from healthcare to airlines to manufacturing. His most recent book is Shaping the Future of Work  (Business Experts Press, 2016).

Kochan holds a BBA in personnel management as well as an MS and a PhD in industrial relations from the University of Wisconsin. 

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Stuart Krusell
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Senior Director, MIT Sloan Global Programs; Senior Lecturer, GO-Lab, MIT Sloan

As senior director in Global Programs, Stuart Krusell leads teams responsible for MIT Sloan partnerships in China, Taiwan, Brazil, and Portugal, and oversees international conferences and the Visiting Fellows Program. Krusell is actively engaged in developing new strategies for advancing management education through technology, scale, and innovation while exploring new market opportunities, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. Krusell is also a senior lecturer, co-teaching the Executive MBA Global Operations Lab (GO-Lab) class offered within the Global Economics and Management Group.

Krusell joined MIT Sloan with the Leadership Center after serving in cross-sector senior leadership positions around the globe, focusing on the interaction between government, business, and citizens. He has worked with and trained senior executives, policy makers, and students in economic development, governance, and institution-building in more than a dozen countries, encouraging them to think and lead across internal and external borders. Krusell's previous experience includes being the youngest Massachusetts gubernatorial appointee serving as a commissioner, overseeing a $2 billion+ industry, and as an executive director of a non-profit focused on global cultural issues.

A graduate of Colby College and the Harvard Kennedy School, Krusell has lectured on leadership and foreign policy at MIT, Brown University, Harvard University, and the University of Massachusetts Boston.

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Brian MacCraith
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President, Dublin City University; Incoming Chair, Irish Universities Association

Professor Brian MacCraith received his BSc and PhD in physics at NUI, Galway. He joined the staff of Dublin City University in 1986, establishing the Optical Sensors Laboratory. In October 1999, he became founding director of the National Centre for Sensor Research at DCU and in 2005 was appointed director of the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, an Academic-Industrial-Clinical partnership, after receiving the largest award in the history of the Irish state for scientific research.

MacCraith has served as a visiting scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, was granted a fellowship of the Institute of Physics, is a previous winner of the Mallin Invent Award for innovation, and in 2007, was elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy.

MacCraith was appointed president of Dublin City University on 13 July 2010.

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Danny McCoy
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Chief Executive Officer, Ibec

Danny McCoy is the chief executive officer of Ibec, a post he assumed in July 2009. Prior to joining Ibec he was a senior economist at both the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the Central Bank of Ireland. He has held lecturing posts at Dublin City University, University College London, University of Oxford and Trinity College Dublin. He has been a consultant for the European Commission and the OECD. He is a member of the Irish National Competitiveness Council, the National Economic and Social Council and the Export Trade Council.

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Regina Moran
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Enterprise Director, Vodafone Ireland

As Vodafone’s new enterprise director, Regina Moran is responsible for the company’s expanding enterprise division, overseeing sales, commercial, operations, product and marketing. Her main focus in her new role is helping customers digitally transform their business with the goal of helping them expand and grow, all supported by Vodafone’s next-generation fixed and mobile solutions, cloud-based platforms, narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) and One Net Business unified communications solution.

Moran has spent many years leading organisational transformation programmes across right sizing, smart shoring, automation and cultural change.

A chartered fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland, Moran served on the council and executive and as president from 2014 to 2015, during which time she promoted STEM and the role of women in engineering. She also recently received a fellowship of Irish Academy of Engineering and is the chair of THEA, the Technological Higher Education Authority.

Moran is also a member of the Government-industry led Smart Futures Advisory Board and a former non-executive director of EirGrid, the company responsible for the national grid across the island of Ireland.

Prior to Vodafone, she served as CEO of Fujitsu Ireland. She gained an MBA at Dublin City University and has more than 20 years' experience in the IT and electronics industry. She is currently Chair of ICT Ireland.

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Myles Murray
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Chief Executive, PMD Solutions

Myles Murray is the founder and chief executive officer of PMD Solutions. Being a highly motivated and focused individual Murray is developing PMD Solutions as a high momentum medical device company. Since 2011 he has developed novel technology that will revolutionise the way healthcare providers measure patient breathing. With an international focus, Murray is engaging PMD with the medical community across Europe to prepare ‘RespiraSense’ – Breathing Frequency Monitor – for its market launch. Through developing collaborative relationships with foreign and domestic companies, Murray has excelled PMD’s time to market.

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Mary Mitchell O'Connor
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Minister of State for Higher Education

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD is Minister of State at the Department of Education with special responsibility for higher education having been appointed on 14 June 2017.

O’Connor previously served as Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation from 6 May 2016. Mary was totally committed to her department’s mission to lead on the creation and maintenance of high quality and sustainable full employment across all regions of the country, and worked very closely with IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and Local Enterprise Offices as her department promoted the jobs agenda, seeing, for the first time in almost a decade, over 2 million people employed in Ireland.

O’Connor was elected to the Dail at her first attempt in the 2011 General Election when she topped the poll in the Dun Laoghaire Constituency. She was re-elected and topped the poll again in the 2016 General Election.

O’Connor was school principal in Scoil Cholmcille in Skryne, Co. Meath before taking the reins of The Harold School in Glasthule, Co. Dublin.

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Sinead O'Flanagan
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Associate Professor; Academic Director, RCSI Institute of Leadership

Sinead O'Flanagan was formerly a senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management. Her research and teaching interests included leadership development, systems thinking, and team dynamics. She studied how uncertainty and anxiety can influence a leader’s learning experiences and outcome. Using longitudinal datasets, she examined individual and collective responses to disruptive learning environments. Her focus was on developing a leader’s capacity for creative decision-making when operating across traditional and non-traditional organizational boundaries. O’Flanagan used high-impact, experience-based teaching pedagogies to enhance learning outcomes in both her graduate and executive leadership courses. She collaborated with mid-size and multi-national organizations across 5 continents, designing field projects for students to explore the complex, cross-boundary issues of leading global sustainable businesses. Her most recently collaboration in experiential / action learning course development was with the Asia School of Business in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Previously based in Silicon Valley CA, and London UK, O’Flanagan held executive management positions and worked as a consultant in guiding companies through major organizational change and restructuring initiatives. She is a current serving board member for Ireland’s Higher Education Authority (HEA), which is accountable to the Minister for Education for national developments in the higher education sector. She holds a PhD in strategy & management in leadership studies, from the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH). During her doctoral studies, she was a research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership where she conducted leadership research. She holds an MS in management of technology from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BSc (hons.) in applied physics from the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway.

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Paul O'Toole
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Chief Executive Officer, Higher Education Authority

Paul O’Toole is interim chief executive officer of the HEA. O’Toole is responsible for the implementation of the new HEA strategy 2018 – 2022, which includes the rollout of the new performance compacts under its strategic dialogue process with higher education institutions. O’Toole will also assist in the recruitment process for a permanent chief executive for the Authority. Working with the Authority and the HEA team, he will lead the HEA contribution to the introduction of the new technological universities and implementing reforms of the higher education landscape. O’Toole is the former chief executive officer of SOLAS, a state-run agency with responsibility for planning and coordinating further education and training. SOLAS was established in 2013 following the dissolution of the Training and Employment Authority, FÁS.

Jacqueline Paris