Siobhán Ní Ghadhra, Owner / Producer, Danú Media 

Siobhán Ní Ghadhra is a two-time EMMY Award Winner and has numerous credits for both animation and live-action productions throughout her career.  She began her career at Roger Corman’s Irish film studios in 1998. She was later appointed Chief Operating Officer at Telegael, prior to leaving to establish Danú Media in 2014.  She is currently Executive Producer on Ros na Rún, one of Irelands' longest running TV drama series. In 2022, Danú will produce a Tween Drama Series Entitled Saol Ella for TG4 / BAI, and has a slate of projects currently in development also.

She is a current member of the Board of TG4 and Chair of the Creative Europe Desk in Galway.  Siobhán sits on the board of the Blue Teapot Theatre Company, Galway Film Centre and the External Strategy Board for National University of Ireland Galway.  Siobhán was a Board member of Broadcasting Authority of Ireland from 2010 – 2015 and was presented the NUIG Alumni Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies in 2016. 

Brenda Romero CEO & Game Director, Romero Ltd

Brenda Romero is a BAFTA award-winning game director, entrepreneur, artist and Fulbright award recipient and is presently Studio Director of Romero Games. As a game director, she has worked on 50 games and contributed to many seminal titles, including the Wizardry and Jagged Alliance series and titles in the Ghost Recon, Dungeons & Dragons and Def Jam franchises. Away from the machine, her analog series of six games, The Mechanic is the Message, has drawn national and international acclaim, particularly Train and Siochán Leat, a game about her family’s history, which is presently housed in the National Museum of Play.

In addition to a BAFTA and a Fulbright, Romero is the recipient of multiple lifetime achievement awards, a Grace Hopper Award, a GDC Ambassador Award, and many of the games she has contributed to have won numerous awards. Romero is CEO and co-founder of Romero Games based in Galway, Ireland.


‌Jim Clarken, CEO Oxfam Ireland, Exec Director Oxfam International

Jim Clarken, a leading commentator on global issues relating to human rights, inequality, sustainable development, the rights of refugees and migrants, and business & human rights joined us on Friday 12th November 2021. 

Jim is a Commissioner at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, and has been appointed  to represent Ireland at the EU Fundamental Rights Agency. He was appointed by the Ceann Comhairle to the Forum on Family Friendly and Inclusive Parliament to recommend a transformation in how the Oireachtas operates to ensure it is better gender balanced and diverse.

Jim is a leading commentator on global issues relating to human rights, inequality, sustainable development, the rights of refugees and migrants, and business & human rights and is regarded as a thought leader in the sector. He is a frequent contributor to political and public debate through advocacy and media commentary in a wide range of international fora. He has shared high-level platforms with senior thought leaders, academics and politicians at UN bodies, the OECD and the EU, and at numerous platforms in Ireland including at the Oireachtas and Stormont in Northern Ireland.

Prior to joining the international development sector, Jim worked for over 15 years at senior management and board level in a range of industries including energy, pharma, environmental, construction, brewing and start-ups. He has been involved at board level in several non-profit organisations in the arts sector as well as business representative bodies.

A passionate advocate for the rights of women, Jim has driven a gender-focus at Oxfam working on women’s economic empowerment and participation in political and business leadership and has led the Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence.

On our MBA, we believe in the maxim of 'Business for Society' and it was wonderful to have Jim share his insights and experience on the importance of business leadership in the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


‌Bobby Healy, Founder & CEO, Manna Aero

In late February, we welcomed Bobby Healy, founder & CEO of Manna Aero, to speak to our MBA cohort. Manna, the 2020 Grand Prix Startup of the Year Award winner at the National Startup Awards, is paving the way for commercial drone delivery service, with plans to expand its service in Europe and the US in the next year. With Manna's drones a constant feature in Oranmore skies since trial deliveries began in the area since October last, we were delighted to be joined by Bobby for a discussion on his career to date, his advice on leadership and the growth of Manna. 

In an interview hosted by Year 2 MBA member, William Davis, Bobby spoke of his early career in computer game development and how his early experience in a range of small and large companies informed his journey into developing start-ups. Bobby also highlighted of the importance of having, expanding and deepening relationships within  your network, as well as the motivation of maintaining a curious mind in business.

When speaking on Manna's current operation in Oranmore, Galway, Bobby demonstrated the success of the Manna's trials in delivering shopping orders and take-out delivery and the services' popularity in the local region. He also expressed the challenges of operating drone delivery on the Wild Atlantic coast, the regulatory hurdles that have been overcome and the company's plans for expansion beyond Irish shores.

Garry Hynes, Artistic Director, Druid Theatre Company

Garry Hynes, MBA guest

A familiar face in the Galway and Irish Arts and Theatre community, Garry Hynes co-founded Druid Theatre Company in Galway in 1975, with Mick Lally and Marie Mullen. In 1998, Garry made history as the first female director to win a Tony Award for Direction for The Beauty Queen of Leenane. She has overseen dozens of productions in her tenure as Artistic Director of Druid, as well as her time in the Abbey Theatre, directing productions that have been performed all over the world, putting Galway on the map for its contribution to the Arts. 

Garry gave an insightful talk to a captivated audience of our Year 1 class group last November, discussing the challenges of building a brand from humble roots to worldwide renown, the importance of collaboration in determining success in a competitive industry, the challenges facing the Arts community in light of the global pandemic and her experience of leadership in an industry in which female directors are hugely underrepresented.

Mary Inman, International Whistleblower Lawyer, Constantine Cannon

Mary Inman MBA Guest Speaker

In our first speaker session of 2021 we welcomed Mary Inman of Constantine Cannon, London, for an Ethics Masterclass on "Fraud, Speak-up and Leadership". After over 20 years of experience in representing U.S-based whistleblowers, Mary founded Constantine Cannon's first international whistleblower practice in London in 2017. 

Current MBA students and MBA alumni joined the masterclass event via Zoom, where Ms. Inman discussed the important role whistleblowers play in speaking out against fraud and wrongdoing and the impact of reporting organizational misconduct. From the OECD and UN Principles for Responsible Investment, to the Association for Certified Fraud Examiners, international organizations and professional bodies agree that undetected wrongdoing can lead to reputational damage, lost revenue and demoralized cultures.

Ms. Inman's knowledge encompassed global trends in whistleblowing practices and continued rise of whistleblower reward programs. This raised questions on the obstacles facing the changing landscape for detecting fraud and the role that leaders currently play in promoting and pardoning fraud. 

The fascinating talk was hosted by Professor Kate Kenny, NUI Galway, with assistance from Ger Ahearne. Our thanks to all involved and all who joined on the day. 

Niamh Brennan Professor of Management at UCD 

Niamh Brennan Masterclass

In February our very own Prof Breda Sweeney hosted an MBA Masterclass in association with the NUI Galway MBA Alumni Association featuring Niamh Brennan, Michael MacCormac Professor of Management at University College Dublin and Founder/Academic Director of the UCD Centre for Corporate Governance, who delivered a session on "“Connecting Earnings Management to the Real World: What happens in the black box of the boardroom?”

Accounting choice, income smoothing, earnings management and earnings manipulation are terms frequently used in the academic literature. Niamh Brennan will present her paper which reviews these terms, highlights the resonances and dissonances between them, and attempts to reconcile varied perspectives in the literature. The paper then connects the prior research to boardroom practices and praxis (best practice in practice) with a view to deepening understanding of the three terms in practice. During this event, we had dialogue, questions and answers.

About the speaker

Niamh Brennan is Michael MacCormac Professor of Management at University College Dublin and Founder/Academic Director of the UCD Centre for Corporate Governance. A first-class-honours, first-in-class UCD Science (Microbiology and Biochemistry) graduate, Prof Niamh Brennan qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG, holds a PhD from the University of Warwick and is a Chartered Director of the Institute of Directors (London). Niamh received the 2018 British Accounting & Finance Association Distinguished Academic Award and was inducted into the Interdisciplinary Accounting Research Hall of Fame in 2019. Former chair of the National College of Art & Design and of the Dublin Docklands. Development Authority, she holds/has held non-executive directorships with the Children's Hospital Ireland, the Health Service Executive, Ulster Bank, Co-operation Ireland, Coillte (State forestry company), Lifetime Assurance (Bank of Ireland’s life assurance subsidiary) and several private companies and is/was a member of numerous audit committees. She chaired the Irish Government's Commission on Financial Management and Control Systems in the Health Services and was Vice-Chair of the Irish Government’s Review Group on Auditing. Niamh is an inaugural honorary fellow of the Institute of Directors in Ireland and an honorary fellow of the Society of Actuaries in Ireland.

Richard Bowen,  Citigroup Whistleblower and Professor at University of Dallas, Texas

Richard Bowen Masterclass

On Friday 22nd November 2019 our MBA Masterclass series in association with the NUI Galway MBA Alumni Association featured Richard Bowen, who presented the topic: Ethics and Leadership: Lessons from the Field.

Since the financial debacle of 2008 and the fallout it caused to our economic infrastructure, we have seen increased concern for corporate moral and social responsibility worldwide. Meanwhile companies previously held in high esteem are subject to ever-greater scrutiny of organizational behaviour and ethical leadership practices.

Unethical behaviour has a high cost: lack of trust on the part of customers, the public as well as employees. Diminishing loyalties yield decreased profits and disengaged employees. Based on Professor Richard Bowen’s true life experience and client case studies, this session focuses on the costs of unethical leadership and the steps an organization needs to take to instil guiding principles that become part of the corporate culture. It points out the dangers inherent to an absence of ethical culture, and how to prevent this from happening within your own organization.

During this event, a discussion was had on into ethics and leadership and how they apply specifically to attendees.

About the speaker

Richard Bowen was a business chief underwriter at Citigroup who discovered that billions of dollars annually of defective mortgages were being sold to investors in securitizations as quality mortgages. He warned management repeatedly for 18 months about possible unrecognized financial losses. Richard then warned Citi’s board of directors and requested an outside investigation, resulting in his being placed on administrative leave and instructed not to return to the bank.

He provided evidence to the SEC three months before the post-crisis bank bailouts and gave nationally televised testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, where he witnessed coordinated efforts to hide key parts of his testimony from the American public. His story was featured in the 60 Minutes story “Prosecuting Wall Street,” which aired December 4, 2011 with an audience of 12 million viewers and has since been re-aired on CBS and CNBC eight times.

Richard is presently a professor of accounting at the University of Texas at Dallas and is a well-known speaker on ethical leadership and the financial crisis.



Heidi K. Gardner,  PhD - Harvard  Law School 

In March 2019 we hosted an MBA Masterclass in association with the NUI Galway MBA Alumni Association featuring Heidi  K.  Gardner,  PhD, Harvard  Law School, who delivered a session on "Smart Collaboration:  How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos”.

Collaboration isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a business necessity. As the commercial, technological, competitive, and regulatory environments become increasingly complex, knowledge workers must collaborate across disciplinary and organizational boundaries to tackle those sophisticated issues.  By teaming up to integrate their expertise, they can address problems more effectively and efficiently — if done well.  Otherwise, collaboration can be costly, risky, time-consuming, and painful.  After more than a decade of empirical research across dozens of organizations, it’s fairly clear what separates excellent, smart collaboration from less successful attempts.

Heidi delivered an interesting and engaging masterclass.

Norman Crowley CEO & Founder of Crowley Carbon 

Norman Crowley MasterclassIn February 2019 we hosted an MBA Masterclass in association with the NUI Galway MBA Alumni Association “In conversation with Norman Crowley,  CEO & Founder of Crowley Carbon” - Chair   Emer   Mullins,   Executive   MBA   Class  Member.

Norman is a successful international entrepreneur and philanthropist. At the age of 26, Norman founded his first technology company Trinity Commerce. Trinity was one of the first e-commerce services companies in the world. By 1996 Norman had grown the business to 5 countries and 150 people. Three years later the business was sold to Eircom Plc. just before the peak of the internet bubble. By 2001 Norman co-founded Inspired Gaming Group. By 2006, Inspired was the largest player in the world in the area of Server Based Gaming (SBG) and was floated on the London Stock Exchange. It had grown to 2500 people and had annual revenues of $500m. In 2008 Inspired was sold to a private equity group for a valuation of €500 million. Along the way Norman also co-founded The Cloud - Europe's largest WIFI operator. This business was sold to Rupert Murdoch’s BSKYB for circa €80m. In 2010, Crowley Carbon was founded with the vision of becoming a major player in the 1 trillion dollar global energy services market. Crowley Carbon is now a global leader in energy services and solar services with offices in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia. Clients of Crowley Carbon include Google, Bunge, Johnson& Johnson, Associated British Foods, PepsiCo and Intel. In 2017 Crowley Carbon established the Cool Planet Foundation. The foundation is opening 10 education centers across the globe to help educate children and adults on the threats and opportunities of Climate Change. The first centre was opened in early 2018 by Sir Richard Branson. Cool Plant has now also established Cool Planet Ventures to encourage teams to develop businesses to help mitigate the effects of Climate Change. In his spare time Norman converts classic cars into Electric Hypercars. His engineering team is currently building a 1961 Corvette Stingray to run 0 to 60mph in 2.2 seconds.

Gerald Lawless, Chairman of World Travel and Trade Council 

Gerald Lawless MBA Masterclass NUIG 1 February 2018

“In conversation with Gerald Lawless, Chairman of World Travel and Trade Council and former Head of Tourism & Hospitality, Dubai Holding and CEO of Jumeirah Group.”Chair Áine Ní Chualáin, MBA class rep.

Gerald Lawless started his career with Forte Hotels, which culminated in him leading and growing Forte’s operations in the Middle East. After a 23-year career with Forte Hotels, he joined Jumeirah in 1997 and led its establishment as one of the premier luxury hotel brands in the world. Taking on the challenge of launching Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel, Mr. Lawless went on to become President and Group Chief Executive Officer of the Jumeirah Group. Currently, Jumeirah Group has a portfolio of 23 hotels across 12 worldwide destinations, along with an impressive array of 100 restaurants in the United Arab

In 2016 Mr. Lawless assumed a leadership position responsible for tourism and hospitality in Dubai Holding, the Group’s parent company. In 2017 he took up the chairmanship of the World Travel and Trade Council. Mr. Lawless is a Graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management and holds an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management from the Johnson & Wales University, State of Rhode Island, USA; an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from the National University of Ireland, Galway; and an Honorary Doctorate from the Middlesex University Dubai.

On 1st February 2018, here at the Cairnes School of Business & Economics, Gerald shared his reflections on leadership in today's challenging and uncertain times.

Jennifer Garvey-Berger & David Rooke Vertical Leadership Development

This Masterclass gave open access to Jennifer Garvey-Berger and David Rooke, two leading edge thinkers in the area of Vertical Leadership Development, Change and Complexity. It was a unique opportunity to pick the brains of two renowned authors in the area of leadership development and complexity.

Jennifer believes that leadership is one of the most vital renewable resources and that harnessing the opportunities in times of complexity, requires a new form of leadership with new approaches to leading and crafting solutions – leaders who are learning.

To that end, Jennifer designs and teaches leadership programs, coaches senior teams, and supports new ways of thinking about strategy and people with clients facing these dramatic shifts in complexity and volatility. She blends deep theoretical knowledge with a driving quest for practical ways to make leaders’ lives better. Reviewers have said that her most recent book, Simple habits for complex times: Powerful practices for leaders (co-authored with Keith Johnston) “…is a superb exploration of the ways that complexity calls on leaders to think, act, and engage differently.” Jennifer has worked with senior leaders in the private, non-profit, and government sectors around the world, in (like Google, KPMG, Lion, Microsoft and Wikimedia).

Jennifer also supports leaders as a coach and has developed The Growth Edge Coaching approach, described in her book, Changing on the job: Developing leaders for a complex world. She supports clients to find their current growing edge and then make choices about how they want to grow, and teaches coaches around the world, the transformational coaching approaches in her Growth Edge Coaching certification series. Jennifer speaks extensively at leadership and coaching conferences across the globe and offers courses for coaches at worldwide universities like Harvard University, the University of Sydney, and Oxford Brookes University.

David is highly regarded for his contribution in developing Harthill’s Leadership Development Framework (LDF) – an insightful lens for understanding the effectiveness and development of leaders and organisations. David has co-authored several books including Personal and Organisational Transformations and has co-written the award winning Seven Transformations of Leadership article for Harvard Business Review, which is included in HBR’s 10 Must Reads On Leadership.

David presented the annual Lilly Lecture on leadership in London 2017 at the Royal College of Physicians watch it here and at the Education and Training Foundation in 2014 watch it here.

John Power, CEO Aerogen

“From Entrepreneur to Global Market Leader” Crossing the chasm - the Aerogen story, Thursday, 10th March 2016

John Power

With over 30 years’ experience in technology industries John has held executive positions in Operations, R&D, Sales and General Management in the aerospace, automation and for the last 15 years the Medical and Pharmaceutics sectors.

He has been a founder/ co-founder of several technology start-ups in Ireland UK and USA and has a track record of bringing innovative and disruptive businesses and products to market. He is personally accredited with over twenty commercialised US and International patents ranging from Robotics through to Life Support Ventilators.

In 2000 John merged his medical device company Cerus with a US Bio-pharma company Aerogen Inc which he helped to bring public on NASDAQ later that year. The company was subsequently acquired by San Carlos based Nektar Therapeutics and in 2007 John lead a Leveraged MBO of his Strategic Business Unit from Nektar and is currently CEO of this company Aerogen Ltd,  a world leader in Aerosol Drug Delivery Systems. 

A Chartered Engineer he holds qualifications in Computer Technology (Robotics), Mechanical and Production Engineering and an MBA from Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, England.

John is an Adjunct (guest) Lecturer at NUIG where he specialises in teaching entrepreneurism and innovation strategies. He is a member of the board of the Irish Medical Device Association (IMDA) and a former board member of the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology (IRCSET).  

Mike Feerick, CEO & Founder, ALISON

Masterclass: Disruptive Innovation Business Models (Education)

Mike Feerick, CEO & Founder, ALISON

Mike Feerick is the founder of ALISON, one of the world’s largest free online learning websites with 3 million learners and 350,000 graduates worldwide. Founded in 2007, ALISON is regarded as the first MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses).  MOOCs are revolutionising access to education and skills training around the world. Galway-based ALISON has been awarded a number of international prizes (UNESCO/WISE) for its social entrepreneurship in education and impact in making basic education and workplace skills more accessible among marginalised communities worldwide. Mike is an Ashoka Fellow and Arthur Guinness Fund Awardee. He is also the Founder & Chairman of Ireland Reaching Out, (Ireland XO), an award-winning non-profit organization with the goal of unifying the seventy million strong Irish Diaspora with 3,500 volunteers and 1,000 parishes active across Ireland North & South. He was the Founder of YAC (, a leading unified messaging company (acquired by J2COM, NASD, July 2007), and Advance Learning, a provider of interactive multimedia IT Literacy courseware. Mike served as MD of Interactive Investor and on the Board of BMG Music UK.  Mike holds an MBA (Harvard) and BBS (UL).