Josh van der Flier

Josh van der Flier is an Irish rugby union player for Leinster and Ireland, who also played for UCD Rugby during his time in UCD. He is involved with UCD Rugby Club each year with their fundraising Daffodil Day for Irish Cancer Society.

In 2022, Josh van der Flier became only the third Irishman to be named World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year and was also selected for the World Rugby Men’s 15’s Dream Team of the Year. He was also crowned the EPCR European Player of the Year (receiving over 30,000 votes from across Europe), Leinster Rugby Players’ Player of the Year, Rugby Players Ireland Players’ Player of the Year (voted on by his peers) and Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year in 2022 in a unanimous vote.

He is consistently one of Ireland’s and Leinster’s top performers on the pitch. In July 2022, he was a member of the Ireland rugby team that secured a historic first win over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil. He played in all three test matches and scored a try in the final test. In the 2022 November internationals he was once again a key player as he played 80 minutes in the wins over South Africa and Australia.

Ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup taking place in the autumn of 2023 in France, Josh van der Flier was a key member of the 2023 Six Nations Grand Slam Winning Irish squad, playing the full 80 minutes in each fixture of the tournament. He earned his 50th international cap against England in the 2023 Six Nations final game.

Dr Alison Darcy

Dr Alison Darcy is Founder and President of Woebot Health. She is a clinical research psychologist and health tech visionary dedicated to creating intelligent, engaging and relatable mental healthcare solutions that improve outcomes.

Her work to explore how digital treatments can help solve human problems began more than 20 years ago, when she created one of the first online support groups for people with eating disorders. That work led to PhD level studies in psychology at UCD and post-doctoral training at Stanford School of Medicine and with the American Psychiatric Association. At Stanford, Alison also worked with AI pioneer Andrew Ng to explore the intersection of AI and healthcare, leading his Health Innovation Lab in Computer Science.

Alison has authored more than 40 publications and been awarded research grants and contracts from the NIH, the Davis Foundation and APA. She is also currently an Adjunct Faculty member in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department of Stanford’s School of Medicine. Alison holds a PhD, an MLitt and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from UCD. In September 2023, Alison was named to the prestigious 2023 TIME100 AI list, an honour that recognizes the 100 most influential individuals who are advancing conversations about how AI is reshaping the world.

Dr Margaret Faul

Dr Margaret Faul received her BSc and MSc degrees from UCD, and received her PhD from Harvard University. In 2003 Margaret joined Amgen Inc, in Thousand Oaks, California., where she is currently Vice President of the Manufacturing and Clinical Supply chain organisation, accountable for clinical supply for all Amgen’s clinical studies.

Margaret has supported drug development programs across all phases of clinical and commercial. She has experience working with commercial manufacturing organizations worldwide and has invested significant effort in evolving a green chemistry culture in the workplace. As a result, Amgen was awarded in 2017 the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for developing an improved green process for commercial manufacture of Parsavib. She is chair of the Board of Directors of the International Consortium for Innovation and Quality in the Pharmaceutical Industry and past chair and founder of the Enabling Technologies Consortium. Margaret has authored/co-authored more than 150 peer reviewed publications, presentations, and patents, and has served as a symposium organizer and session chair for several major process chemistry events. She is an associate editor for Organic Letters and is a member of the editorial boards for Science of Synthesis, Organic Syntheses, Synthesis and SynLett, and Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis.

Margaret has received the Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management from Dow Chemical Company, ACS and HBA rising star awards, among other leadership recognitions. She was elected as an ACS Fellow in 2019 and to the National Academy of Engineering in 2020.

In partnership with Thiéme and the Science of Synthesis she sponsors the Dr. Margaret Faul Award for Women in the Chemical Sciences. Margaret is a founding member of the Empowering Women in Organic Chemistry to “empower and support women to enter and lead successful careers in the field of organic chemistry by providing a diverse, inclusive, and innovative environment for them to feel a true sense of belonging, develop powerful networks, and know the opportunities available to them.”

Dr Eileen Furlong

Dr Eileen Furlong is head of the Genome Biology department at EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory), senior scientist and member of the EMBL directorate.

She studied biochemistry at UCD where she obtained her Ph.D. in the regulation of immediate early response genes. She then moved to developmental biology during her postdoctoral studies at Stanford University, US. She became a group leader at EMBL in Heidelberg in October 2002, and is head of the Genome Biology Department at EMBL since 2009.

She is known for her work in uncovering different mechanisms of genome regulation, including understanding how developmental enhancers function and are organised in the compact three-dimensional nucleus to regulate developmental programs. Her research has pioneered the development of genomic methods for use in developing embryos, which has uncovered many new features of how enhancers are used and drive embryonic development. Her group uses interdisciplinary approaches combining genetics, genomics, imaging and computational approaches to understand these processes, including the development of new genomic methods within the context of a multicellular embryo.

Eileen has received several awards, including the 2022 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, Germany’s most prestigious award. Eileen is an ERC advanced investigator, elected member of EMBO, the Academia Europaea, and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), UK.

Aedamar Comiskey

Aedamar was elected Linklaters’ Senior Partner and Chair in May 2021 and is the first female Senior Partner in the Firm’s 183 year history. In the five years leading up to this, Aedamar was the Global Head of Corporate, responsible for managing the Firm’s corporate practice around the world. She currently chairs the Partnership Board and, before that, was a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee for five years.

Aedamar is recognised as a leading public and private M&A lawyer. She leads the Firm’s relationship with seven large international clients, including HSBC, Visa, Capita and Tate & Lyle, for whom she is a trusted Board adviser.
Diversity, equity and inclusion is something that Aedamar is passionate about and she is committed to progressing diversity of every type within Linklaters. She is an active sponsor of the Linklaters Women’s Leadership Programme which aims to support the firm’s women in reaching senior leadership positions. She has also been recognised by Financial News as one of the Fifty Most Influential Lawyers 2023 and amongst Europe’s Most Influential Female Lawyers 2023, City A.M.’s Power 100 Women List and as a Leading M&A lawyer in The Lawyer magazine Hot 100 ranking.

Aedamar is the Senior Independent Director of FTSE company James Fisher and Sons plc, a leading provider of specialist services to the marine and oil and gas industries worldwide. She sits on the company’s audit, remuneration and nominations committees and is Chair of the Remuneration Committee. She is also a member of the Shanghai International Financial Advisory Council.

Rachel Kenna

Rachel Kenna is the Government Chief Nursing Officer in Ireland. She is a Registered Childrens and General Nurse (RCN/RGN) and has extensive clinical and managerial experience spanning 30 years both in Ireland and the UK.
Rachel has worked as a Deputy Chief Nursing Officer in the Department of Health since 2018 and her primary area of responsibility was nursing policy in the area of patient systems and clinical governance. Rachel previously held the Director of Nursing post in Ireland’s largest Children’s hospital, Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin.

Rachel has a real interest in Nursing and Midwifery policy but also in wider health policy and is educated in a wide range of areas to support this. She graduated with a BSc in Nursing Management from UCD, and Rachel’s other educational qualifications includes a Higher Diploma in Professional Practice, critical care, Leadership, Quality in Healthcare and a Diploma in Human Rights and Equality and a Professional Diploma in Governance. Rachel was selected as a Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholar in 2021.

Through the Chief Nurse’s role, Rachel has developed and implemented nursing and midwifery policy, including being part of the team that developed the Expert Review on Nursing and Midwifery which informs the development of the professions over the next decade. In addition, Rachel was instrumental in facilitating the role out of the vaccination programme during the Covid-19 pandemic and the development of population health screening policy. In addition, under the Chief Nurse’s leadership, policies related to safe staffing and advanced practice have been implemented nationally. Rachel Kenna’s portfolio also includes patient safety policy and planning and is responsible for guidance, audit and supporting legislation in this area. Under Rachel Kenna’s leadership, she has developed a strategic workforce plan that informs the roll out of Sláintecare. Rachel is also a member of the Five Nations’ Chief Nurses’ Working Group (Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland).

Malachy Browne

Malachy Browne is Enterprise Investigations Director on the Visual Investigations team at The New York Times. The team combines traditional reporting with the analysis of audio-visual evidence to investigate events and find truth. This teamwork has been cited in murder trials, congressional hearings and U.N. Security Council meetings. It has triggered government inquiries and policing reforms.

Malachy’s work has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes for International Reporting (2020, 2023) and three Pulitzer finalist citations, two George Polk Awards (2019, 2022), four News Emmys, Scripps Howard awards, Overseas Press Club of America awards and an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, among others.

In 2023, Malachy reported on the leaking of sensitive Pentagon documents to social media platforms popular with computer gamers. He was part of a team that received a Pulitzer Prize in 2023 for coverage of the Ukraine war, including an investigative film he produced that named the Russian unit and commander responsible for killing dozens of civilians in Bucha. He was also on the team awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for exposing Russian culpability in crimes around the world, including the bombing of hospitals in Syria.
He co-directed “Day of Rage,” a documentary capturing in vivid detail what happened during the U.S. Capitol riot. He has led investigations into the killing of Breonna Taylor and other Black Americans by police, the Las Vegas mass shooting, chemical weapons attacks in Syria, extra-judicial military shootings in Nigeria, the Saudi officials who killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the killing of a young Palestinian medic along the Gaza-Israel border.

Prior to joining The Times in 2016, Mr. Browne worked as a reporter and editor at Storyful and, two social journalism startups; at Village, a current affairs magazine in Ireland; and as a computer programmer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering at UCD and his master’s in international relations at UL.

Kerry McLaverty

Kerry Mc Laverty studied Sports Medicine followed by a Masters in Physiotherapy and worked with children and adults with severe and profound physical and intellectual disabilities as a Chartered Physiotherapist at Stewarts Hospital in Dublin.

She became involved in the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) and held various roles before ultimately taking on the role of Honorary Editor for the Society as a member of its Board of Directors. Kerry also fulfilled her passion for research and teaching as an adjunct lecturer at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, and as a regular guest lecturer in paediatrics and intellectual disability.

She moved to the newly opened LauraLynn Children’s Hospice in 2012 to work with children with palliative and life-limiting conditions, where she pioneered therapeutic family camps and also managed the organisation’s largest change management project in implementing a service-wide electronic medical record system.

Kerry undertook the Executive MBA at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School while continuing to work full time at LauraLynn, conducting her studies at the weekend. During her MBA studies, Kerry progressed as LauraLynn’s Head of Operations and Company Secretary. She was responsible for submitting the organisation’s first formal business case to the HSE seeking Statutory Funding for the Hospice. She also played a key leading role in the development of LauraLynn’s 5-year Strategic Plan (2019-2023).

In May 2020, as Covid-19 took a real hold on the nation and indeed the healthcare sector, Kerry took on the role of Chief Executive Officer for the Hospice. In turbulent times, Kerry oversaw a record year for LauraLynn’s fundraising, and for the first time in the organisation’s history, worked to secure an historic €1.5million in annual statutory funding for the Hospice. In 2021 LauraLynn Children’s Hospice marked a ‘Decade of Care’ and unveiled ambitious hospice expansion plans including a new hub for Cork/Kerry, the first of its kind outside of Dublin.

In December 2022, Kerry won the coveted MBA Leadership Award 2022/23 at an event held at the 5-star Biltmore Hotel in London.

Kerry is not only passionate about LauraLynn, but is equally committed to the wider charity, community, and voluntary sector in Ireland. She was elected to the Board of Directors of The Wheel – a national association representing charities and social enterprises in Ireland.

Olivia O’Leary

Olivia O’Leary is a broadcaster and journalist. Born in Carlow, she studied at UCD before becoming an apprentice journalist in the ‘Nationalist and Leinster Times’. She joined RTÉ as a news reporter in 1972 and was Belfast correspondent, 1975-76. She began writing for the ‘Irish Times’ newspaper in 1978 and reported from Argentina on the Falklands War.

In 1980, Olivia O’Leary became a presenter on RTÉ’s flagship current affairs programme ‘Today Tonight’. She left to work on BBC’s ‘Newsnight’, and was made that programme’s first senior female presenter in 1985. She later returned to ‘Today Tonight’ and also presented ‘Questions and Answers’ and ‘Prime Time’ on RTÉ television. She contributes a column to RTÉ Radio 1′s ‘Drivetime’ and hosts ‘The Poetry Programme’. Her publications include ‘Politicians and Other Animals’, ‘Party Animals’ and she co-authored the book ‘Mary Robinson: The Authorised Biography’, with Dr Helen Burke.

Olivia won three Jacob’s Awards during her broadcasting career with RTÉ; for her work as a radio news reporter, for her hosting of ‘Today Tonight’, and for her chairing of ‘Questions and Answers’. She has also won a Sony Award for her BBC Radio 4 programme Between Ourselves. Olivia was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature from UCD in 2011 and in 2019 she was admitted as a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

Eimear Lambe

Eimear Lambe made history when she won a Bronze Medal in rowing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the Women’s Four (W4) alongside Aifric Keogh, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty. They were the first Irish female rowers to secure Olympic medals and they were only the second ever Irish female crew to compete in an Olympic final.

Eimear started rowing in 2012 at Commercial Rowing Club in Dublin. She first competed internationally at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in 2013 and raced at the Youth Olympics in the same year.

In 2019, alongside her W4- teammates, Eimear won a silver medal in the World U23 Rowing Championships in Sarasota, Florida. Eimear won Bronze at the 2020 European Rowing Championships in the W4- and went on to win Silver at the 2021 European Rowing Championships in Varese. She was part of the crew that qualified the W4- at the Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne. The team took a clear win, knowing only the top two boats would secure the last two available places for Tokyo.

Her older sister, Claire Lambe, competed for Ireland in rowing at international level, and finished sixth in lightweight double sculls final at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Eimear studied International Commerce and German at UCD and is currently working in a graduate program in Business Consultancy with Ernst and Young.

She likes to keep up to speed with current affairs, enjoys hiking and is a supporter of Sanctuary runners (enables Irish residents to run alongside, and in solidarity with, asylum seekers and refugees in Direct Provision). This aligns with her view on the power of sport, to bring people together as well as build character and support positive mental wellness.