Spark Awards Judges

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Gail McEvoy

Spark Awards Judge

Gail is a practicing Accountant, member of CPAI and a registered Auditor

View Gails's Biography

She started her practice in 1999 and based in Drogheda has grown from a small office with one accountant to now employing six people including three qualified accountants.

Gail served as President of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in 2011.

She represented Ireland on the SMP/SME committee of the International Federation of Accountants.

In November 2013 she was appointed to the Board of the International Federation of Accountants,the global organization for the Accountancy Profession, comprised of 179 members in 130 countries representing over 2,500,000 accountants.

Gail has a monthly slot on Late Lunch LMFM offering Financial Advice to the North East and has written several Business articles for newspapers and magazines.

She is a regular speaker for the LIA, CPA, Louth County Enterprise Board and Drogheda Chamber covering topics such as;

-Taxation for SMEs

-Understanding your finances

-Cash flow Management

-Financial and Taxation considerations for start-ups

-Budget Day


Laura Dennehy

Spark Awards Judge

Laura is Manager of Enactus Ireland.

View Laura's Biography

Laura Dennehy is driven by a passion for youth development and social equality. She began her career in 2004 as a Youth Worker for a Youth Development Project that focused on personal development and education opportunities for at-risk young people in Dublin, Ireland. In 2006, Laura became the Project Coordinator of a Garda Youth Diversion Project. In this role, she dedicated herself to working with young people involved in crime and anti-social behaviour and enabling them to instil positive change in their lives. In August 2012 Laura became the Country Manager of Enactus Ireland and has developed the Enactus programme in eight of Ireland higher education institutions. In 2004 Laura achieved a BA in History and French in University College Cork. Throughout her career, Laura has continued her professional development by undertaking courses in Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Behavioural Management and family therapies.

Spark-Awards-Judges-4Fr Peter McVerry

Spark Awards Judge

Founder of Peter McVerry Trust

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Peter McVerry founded the Peter McVerry Trust in 1983. The Peter McVerry Trust has been instrumental in championing the needs of homeless people in Dublin, helping over 3600 with accommodation issues in 2013. Peter is a tireless advocate of social justice in modern Ireland and campaigns vigorously for the development of socially just and inclusive social policies, particularly around housing.

spark-awards-judges-conorConor Hickey

Spark Awards Judge

Conor Hickey is Director of Crosscare

View Conor's Biography

Conor Hickey received a degree in Social Studies and Social Work from Trinity College Dublin in 1987 and a Masters in Business Administration from University College Dublin in 1998.

He has worked as a social work practitioner in care settings with children and adults in addiction, family support, Traveller and homeless services. He has also held a number of senior management positions in the voluntary sector. In 1995 he became Director of Exchange House Travellers’ Service.

In 2001 he took up the position of National Director of the Simon Communities of Ireland. In 2006 he became the first lay Director of Crosscare, The Catholic Social Service Agency of the Archdiocese of Dublin

spark-awards-judges-LucyLucy Masterson

Spark Awards Judge

Lucy Masterson – Head of Development at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland

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Lucy is a social entrepreneur and Head of Development at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

In 2012 she co-founded Hireland a multi award winning social initiative designed to tackle unemployment 1 job at a time.
She is co-founder of, winner of Enterprise Ireland’s Female Competitive Start Up Fund in 2014.
She is a lecturer and board director at US university Champlain College and has also worked closely with the UCD Innovation Academy as a mentor.
With an infectious sense of optimism and a passion for social entrepreneurship she has a proven track record of engaging communities around a big idea.

• Enterprise Ireland HPSU Competitive Start Up Fund 2014.
• The Ireland Funds Award, 2013 & 2014
• Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, Elevator Award, 2012
• Arthur Guinness Fund, Social Entrepreneur Start Up Award, 2012.
• Recorded in an SEI interview in Forbes magazine “Leading the Charge with Social Entrepreneurship”
• David Manley Awards finalist, 2012
• Image Magazine Businesswoman of the year awards, finalist 2013.

Lucy holds a BA in philosophy from UCD and a Masters in marketing from UCD, Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

spark-awards-ie-Ruairí McKiernan-judgesRuairí McKiernan

Spark Awards Judge

Multi-award winning social innovator, campaigner, writer, speaker, and Presidential appointee to Ireland’s Council of State.

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Ruairí McKiernan is a multi-award winning social innovator, campaigner, writer, speaker, and Presidential appointee to Ireland’s Council of State. He is a Fulbright fellow, the founder of the youth organisation, a co-founder of Uplift, and a board member of the Soar Foundation and Gaisce.