DCU Voices-Voices podcast

Visionary Voices

Fergal O’Keeffe reflects on the debut season of the DCU Voices Podcast when he interviewed remarkable alumni who have made their mark globally in business, IT, law and media.

The DCU Voices Podcast series was launched in 2022 to highlight some of DCU’s exceptional graduates by interviewing six alumni who are all leaders and visionaries in their chosen careers. The podcast featured fascinating and inspiring interviews where we learned about the guests’ career milestones, mentors, and memories of their time in DCU and how the university shaped their lives and careers. The one theme that united all six interviewees is their deep affection for DCU and how it helped shape their careers. The interviewees all provided great nuggets of wisdom from their careers as well as fond and funny stories from their college days.

Anthony Bolton
My first DCU Voices Podcast guest was Anthony Bolton, CIO and CTO of global telecommunications with General Motors. Anthony leads a team of over 700 engineers and developers in the design, engineering and delivery of GM’s global network. Based in Dublin, Anthony has over 30 years’ international experience in leading large IT teams with some of the world’s largest enterprises.  Anthony’s path to education was non-traditional, involving studying nights and weekends through DCU’s mature learning program. Whilst at work, Anthony graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, and later with an MSc in Internet Systems from DCU, and he followed this with a PHD from the University of South Africa. These experiences have given Anthony a “love and passion for education and learning” and some of his children have followed Anthony to study in DCU. Anthony has been described by his peers as a “visionary leader with a great ability to inspire and lead teams and develop talent.” He shares some great pearls of wisdom on the podcast sharing inspirational stories from his career.

Sinead McCluskey
My second guest was Sinead McCluskey who graduated from DCU with a BSc in Analytical Science in the 1990s and followed this up with a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry. She started her career as a nutritional biochemist with Wyeth Nutrition, before moving into the commercial side of the business with Johnson and Johnson Medical in Australia. She has worked in senior sales and marketing roles internationally across the multinational, SME, and the start-up sectors. Sinead started her own medtech distribution business called Slainte Solutions in 2010 – the company was acquired by PEI Surgical in 2015. Sinead established Balmain Medical in 2021 to bring best-in-class medical innovations from across the world to Irish patients. They specialize in plastic reconstructive and varicose vein surgery. She has a passion for innovation in the science and medicine sectors and is a strong advocate for women in STEM.
“The one theme that binds all six interviewees is their deep affection for DCU and how it helped shape their careers”.

Brendan Thomas
My next guest Brendan Thomas has had a remarkable career in the heart of Silicon Valley, beginning in the era when it emerged as the incubator of the world’s most innovative technological companies. Brendan worked for Twitter when it had less than 10 employees and he shared some amazing stories from that wild time at the birth of the digital age in America. Brendan graduated from DCU with a BA in Accounting and Finance in 1987. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant and emigrated to San Francisco in 1995 when the internet was in its infancy. Since then, he has been the CFO for several hi-tech, venture-backed start-ups in Silicon Valley including Twitter, Appdynamics, and Square.

Ann Power-Forde
Ann Power-Forde is an academic, a Senior Counsel, a former International Judge and, currently, a Judge on the Court of Appeal in Ireland. Ann studied English and Philosophy at the Mater Dei Institute of Education which is now a part of DCU. From 2017 until 2019, Ann served as the Presiding Judge of the Constitutional Court Chamber within the Kosovo Specialist Chambers- a War Crimes Tribunal based in the Hague. Before that, she had served for over seven years as a Judge on the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
As a member of the Strasbourg Court - the world’s largest international court - Ann sat in cases that dealt with some of the most pressing concerns of our time, including the legacy of the invasion of Iraq, the annexation of Crimea, the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, the treatment of immigrants and other vulnerable minorities, and the consequences of global terrorism.

Donal Scannell
Donal Scannell is a true communications renaissance man who started working with the Late Late Show straight out of DCU. Donal had already started a ground-breaking music magazine with fellow communications graduate Donal Dineen while still a student.
Donal is a legend in the Irish music scene having worked with bands like U2, Westlife and the KLF – he is also famous for launching David Gray’s career in Ireland. He worked on the first reality TV show in the UK, andthis gave him a love of live TV which has influenced his career ever since. He has set up a number of tech companies including his current company Arama, which is revolutionising live television by reimagining a process that hasn’t changed for decades.

Eleanor Hayes Merritt
Wexford native Eleanor Hayes Merritt, graduated from DCU in 1990 with a BSc in Computer Applications. She emigrated to California in 1995 to work for Oracle which employs over 140,000 people worldwide. Eleanor has since risen through the ranks to become a Senior Vice President overseeing 1,800 engineers and analysts. With her broad technology background, Eleanor oversees globally distributed engineering teams, delivering critical products that generate billions of dollars in revenue. Her achievements at Oracle saw her listed as one of the ‘50 Most Powerful Women in Technology’ in California.
The DCU Voices Podcast series is produced and hosted by Fergal O’Keeffe who graduated with a Bachelor of Business Studies degree in 1994. The podcast is available on all podcast platforms.

Fergal O’Keeffe ,
Podcaster and Content Marketer, Lume