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Board of Directors

Leadership and Governance

GOAL’s Board is committed to maintaining a high standard of corporate governance and is collectively responsible for ensuring delivery of GOAL's mission, setting its strategic direction and upholding its vision, mission, and core values.

GOAL's Board meets regularly and is advised by a series of advisory committees which are chaired by board members and include external experts to ensure GOAL continues to operate at the highest level of effectiveness.

A message from our Chairperson Anne O’Leary

It is with great pride that I chair this organisation, home to so many people impassioned by the venerable cause of helping the most vulnerable.

Whether through entrenched conflict, climatic disaster or abject poverty, GOAL steps in solidarity with those affected.

I am eternally grateful for the contributions, support and kindness of so many individuals and organisations in pursuit of a fairer and more equal world.

While the communities we serve face myriad challenges, together our shared resilience, determination and energy can and does make a positive impact every day.

As a Board, we continue to monitor and support the leadership team to ensure that strong practices of accountability are rigorously applied and sustained across the GOAL network.

Trust is the currency of our work, and maintaining the confidence of our partners, donors, supporters and the communities we serve, is central to our value as an agency.

Thank You.

Anne O'Leary

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Board Members

The Board, all of whom are non-executive directors, is collectively responsible for leading and directing GOAL’s activities.

Anne O’Leary

Chairperson

Anne O'Leary was appointed CEO of Vodafone Ireland in February 2013 and as Chairperson for GOAL in 2015.

Anne joined Vodafone from BT Ireland, where she was Managing Director for six years. She was previously Regional Director with Esat Telecom. A Cork native Anne became Chairperson of GOAL in November 2015. She is also an active board member of the Vodafone Foundation which has given in excess of €10m to the charitable sector in Ireland since it was set up in 2003.

Alison Cowzer

Board Member

Alison Cowzer is co-founder of East Coast Bakehouse, and Managing Director of The Company of Food.

As an investor and Dragon on RTE’s Dragon’s Den series, she has made investments in a number of start-up enterprises. Alison is also a director of Women for Election and The Ronald McDonald House Charity.

Christy Cooney

Board Member

Christy Cooney is a former President of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). He is currently a board member of Irish health insurer, VHI, and of Páirc An Chróchaigh Teoranta, the GAA subsidiary that runs Croke Park.

Christy is also a Director of Simplee Flavours Ltd., a Cork based artisan flavoured salt and pepper company. A former Assistant Director General of Irish National Training and Employment Authority, FÁS, he has also served on the board of the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC).

Chris Clinch

Board Member

Chris Clinch was founder and CEO of GSLS, a highly successful Irish cash logistics company serving a broad range of industries including retail, hospitality, financial institutions and the public sector. Selling the business in 2018, Chris joined the GOAL Board in 2019, bringing a wealth of business experience and knowledge with him.

Hugh O’Flaherty

Board Member

Hugh Flaherty is a practicing barrister and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. Following his graduation from Trinity College in 1989, Hugh joined Ernst & Young where he qualified as a chartered accountant.

Hugh worked with Barclay's Bank in New York and for Buchannan Ingersoll in London, where he established a consultancy practice involved in the financing of healthcare. Hugh returned to Ireland in 2001 to work in corporate finance. He was called to the Bar in 2006.

Jemma Houlihan

Board Member

Jemma Houlihan is an experienced non-executive director and finance executive with over 20 years’ commercial experience in growing and managing businesses. She is non-executive director of Vilicom, a wireless consultancy business in Ireland and the UK, and also sits on the Chartered Accountants Members in Business Committee.

Jemma was previously Finance Director and founder of Shared Access, a developer of multi-operator telecoms infrastructure.  Jemma is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.

Jimmy Deenihan

Board Member

Jimmy Deenihan is a former Kerry footballer and Government Minister who served as Minister for Arts, Heritage and The Gaeltacht;  Minister for Rural Development and Food and Minister for The Diaspora during his political career.

Before entering politics in 1983 he taught physical education, history and geography at Tarbert Comprehensive School in Co. Kerry. He played Gaelic Football with his native Kerry at all levels from 1970-1983. He continues to coach underage football teams, and serves on the Boards of a number of voluntary organisations.

Kieran Kelly

Director and Company Secretary

Kieran Kelly is a Chartered Accountant who worked for 37 years with Ernst & Young where he served on the Irish leadership team, and was a member of the firm’s European Governance Board.

He has significant experience in leadership, driving transformational change and managing complex projects. As a Partner with EY, he had responsibility for clients across a wide range of sectors, including regulated institutions and charitable organisations. Kieran is currently serving as a council/board member to a number of educational institutions.

Mary J Jennings

Board Member

Mary Jennings is an international consultant with 30 years experience in policy, practice and aid management.

Mary’s areas of particular interest include institutional development, aid effectiveness, decentralization, civil society, gender equality and gender mainstreaming, and food and nutrition security.  She has experience of working with a range of  donors, central government, national implementing institutions, local authorities, and NGOs.

Mary Murphy

Board Member

Mary Murphy is a human resource management consultant with more than 20 years experience in the sector. Before setting up her own consultancy she worked in full-time HR management roles with Dell Computers, J Walter Thompson (part of the WPP Group), and Marks and Spencer plc.

Since 2000 she has worked with a number of companies in the professional services sector in both the UK and Ireland. In 2009, Mary established Mint Consulting, a business specialising in career-change management.

Tim O’Connor

Board Member

Tim O’Connor is a former senior diplomat who spent most of his career in the Department of Foreign Affairs working on the Northern Ireland Peace Process.  He also served as Secretary General to the President of Ireland, Africa Director, and did a number of overseas postings.

Since his retirement from the public service in 2010 he has combined running his own advisory business with several not-for-profit positions. He was Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Gathering Ireland 2013 and Vice Chairman of Limerick National City of Culture 2014.