The DCU Alumni Emerging Leaders Programme | Steering Committee 2023/24
Carmel Kenny is the Communications Manager for Provincial Security. She joined in 2019 as a Brand Ambassador and after one year, she was fortunate to progress to the management team. Carmel is a two-time graduate of DCU, having completed the BA in Communications Studies and the MSc in Public Relations and Strategic Communications. Her career started in DCU when she was hired as a student ambassador, working at events on campus, giving presentations and tours to prospective students. From there, she worked as a production runner and assistant audience researcher in RTÉ, tour guide in the Aviva Stadium, Assistant Student Recruitment Officer in DCU and the list goes on. Carmel is a member of the Institute of Internal Communications and in her free time, she enjoys hiking and reading. Carmel is currently involved in the setting up of a Community First Responders Programme in her village; a project that she is incredibly passionate about.
Conor graduated from DCU with a BSc. in Biotechnology in 2016. Upon graduating he spent 2 years in New York on the J-1 graduate program before returning to Ireland and starting his professional career here. Conor currently works in the Tech Industry as a Senior Sales Recruiter for HubSpot who he joined after leaving Google in late 2020. Conor is passionate about career growth and is a subject matter expert when it comes to all things Recruitment. While at DCU Conor was heavily involved with the GAA club both as a player and on the clubs committee. Conor was a member of the squad that won the Sigerson Cup in 2015 while he also held the position of club chairman at the time too. Outside of work and studies, Conor plays Gaelic Football for his newly adopted local club Westport and has also been a member of the Wicklow Senior Football Squad over the last 10 years. He enjoys hiking the mountains and travelling abroad to new locations in his free time.
Eoghan is the Director of Commercial Business Development at DCU Business School, Dublin City University, a leading provider of executive education in Ireland. Eoghan leads the DCU Centre for Executive & International Education team which specializes in bespoke programme design and client relationship management, across all sectors, and in both accredited and non-accredited programmes, where we drive innovation in programme design and delivery in a way that enhances the client learning experience and the competitive position of the School’s offering. Outside of DCU, Eoghan is the Chair of The One Foundation, an innovative Irish philanthropic foundation. Prior to joining DCU, Eoghan spent over 15 years working with ambitious startup and not-for-profit businesses and started his career as a Design Engineer working in R&D for a dotcom multinational. Eoghan holds an MSc in Management (Innovation in Social Enterprise) from Dublin City University and a BE Electrical & Electronic Engineering from University College Cork, among other achievements and qualifications.
Gay White is a Chartered Work and Organisational Psychologist who runs her own HR Consultancy business. An experienced business and executive coach, Gay has over thirty years’ experience, gained through a variety of roles both in business and HR. She is an experienced lecturer and has lectured from diploma level to postgraduate programmes. Gay graduated from DCU through Oscail, (now DCU Connected) with a BA in Psychology and continued her studies with an MSc in Organisational Psychology. More recently she completed an MA in Creative Writing in DCU, fulfilling a long held ambition. A believer in lifelong learning, she has just completed a Diploma in Corporate Governance. Gay is the President of the Irish Institute of Training & Development (IITD), as well as a former director of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland and the Association for Coaching in Ireland. She is a Fellow of the IITD and the Institute of Banking. Married to Billy, Gay likes to write and paint in her spare time. She also enjoys getting back to nature and enjoys walking by the sea or in the local park.
Karena Flynn Thai, with a distinguished tenure spanning 15 years, served as the Sales Director at Pigsback.com, a pioneering e-commerce entity that has been a stalwart in Ireland's business landscape for over two decades. In a recent career transition, Karena has embarked on her entrepreneurial journey within the realm of e-commerce, brand marketing and design.
Through her enterprise, Karena actively contributes to and champions the DCU Access program, underscoring her commitment to fostering inclusivity and opportunity. Additionally, she serves as a Director at Sphere17 Youth Services a service run by the City of Dublin Youth Services, an initiative dedicated to empowering youth hailing from underserved communities. Her dedication to diversity and inclusion, particularly in the context of young individuals and women (as evidenced by her role on the Network Ireland, Dublin committee), fuels her enthusiasm for voluntary endeavors.
Karena's primary objective revolves around providing steadfast support and advocacy for children and young adults facing disadvantaged circumstances, propelling them towards educational success, higher learning, and fulfilling careers.
Katie Keogh, a native of Indianapolis (Indiana, USA), has lived in Ireland since 1998 pursuing a career devoted to developing communities and the Irish – American relationship, through innovation, education, and advocacy. She began her tenure in Ireland as Associate Director of the University of Notre Dame’s Ireland Programme. She later served as the Director of Strategic Partnerships, Alumni Relations and Events at the US Embassy in Dublin and as Director of Special Projects for the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland where she spearheaded the establishment of their Emerging Leaders and Emerging FDI Programmes. Most recently she has supported the STEM Teacher Internship Programme at DCU and is now Project Manager for the FIRST LEGO League programme in Ireland. Her volunteer commitments include the Irish Girl Guides, the Rathfarnham Concert Band Society, and serving on the board of St. Declan’s School. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA, 1998) and University College Dublin (MA, 2000) and is currently pursuing her PhD at Dublin City University. She is married to Professor Dáire Keogh, President of Dublin City University, and they have four children.
Kean Hortillo collaboratively provides financial and business expertise for its global market and services group as a Performance & Advisory Specialist in Accenture. He graduated with a BA in Accounting and Finance in 2017 and is a qualified ACCA member. He is a detail oriented and highly adaptable professional with extensive finance and business knowledge for successfully executing financial management and business advisory, meeting client and stakeholder needs. He is proactively seeking greater exposure, leading and delivering innovative projects for a global solution.
Megan Maguire graduated with a Bachelor of Business Studies (2015) and Masters in Electronic Commerce (2016) from DCU. Megan is a Senior Solutions Engineer at Slack, a Salesforce company. Megan started in 2020 with Small Medium Business Slack Customers in the UK and Ireland. Now she supports Communications, Media and High Tech Enterprise Customers in the UK and Ireland. Megan also is the Global Lead for Slack Women.
Prior to Slack Megan was as a Technology Consultant in PwC for 5 years working on System Implementation, Project Management and Robotics Process Automation for clients across the Financial Services, Public Sector and Hospitality sectors. Megan also launched PwC Ireland Women in Tech programme which aims to attract, retain, advance and develop Women who work in Technology in PwC.
MK Andersen is the DCU Alumni Engagement and Marketing Officer, responsible for ensuring all logistical elements of the Emerging Leaders Programme are prepared for all participants and thought leaders. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, MK graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2017 and immediately opened her own event production firm with a focus on high emotional impact and individual connections. She closed her company in the summer of 2022 to move to Dublin, Ireland. At Dublin City University she hopes to continue to facilitate meaningful events and experiences for DCU Alumni and Students. Outside of DCU, MK plays for the Irish National Ultimate Frisbee team and hopes to visit all 32 counties in Ireland before her next birthday.
Niall Behan works as an Account Exeuctive for US software firm Toast. Niall was one of the founding reps hired as part of Toast’s International expansion post their IPO in 2022 and was fortunate to be recognised as a President’s Club rep for 2023. Niall was recently elected onto the Toast’s philanthropic committee (Toast.org) Before Toast, Niall worked as an Enterprise sales team lead of Irish Tech Start-up, Intouch.com for 4 years. Niall is passionate about growth, opportunity and nurturing talent.
Niall completed a BA Accounting and Finance from DCU, before being elected as President of DCU Students Union in 2017. As part of his tenure he lead a nationwide campaign to support student renters from unjust rent increases, which ultimately resulted in a piece of student specific legislation “The Residential Tenacies (Amendment) Act 2019”.
During Covid (2021) Niall came back to DCU online and completed the MSc Management of Operations, where he graduated with distinction. Niall is currently studying Sales Management in UCD. Outside of work, Niall is interested in road cycling, cold water swimming, and is the secretary of the Charleville tennis club.
Paula Melvin was elected President of Conradh na Gaeilge in February 2022. Conradh na Gaeilge is the international advocacy group for the Irish language that was founded in 1893 by Douglas Hyde. Her passion for an Ghaeilge was fostered while studying Irish and history in DCU where she was elected Oifigeach na Gaeilge to the Students’ Union. Paula has a keen interest in education and served on DCU’s Governing Authority. She is employed as Senior Manager with the Ireland-United States Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange. Having represented Fulbright Ireland in New York and Washington DC, she strives to promote the Irish-American relationship. As a proud alumna of the U.S. Embassy Dublin's National Youth Council, Paula serves as Events Secretary of the Ireland United States Alumni Association.
Ross Munnelly was appointed the first Director of Alumni Relations at Dublin City University in July 2017. Over a 15 year period, Ross has worked in a number of roles at the university including the Careers Service, Head of Sports Development and Acting Head of Student Recruitment. As Director of Alumni Relations, Ross manages the domestic and international engagement programme for over 90,000 Alumni worldwide. He is a four time graduate of DCU, some of his qualifications include an MSc in Education and Training (e-Learning), Graduate Diploma in Guidance and Counselling and most recently the Executive MBA. Ross is the National Secretary for the Irish Guidance Counsellors Association.