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-conorConor Hickey

Spark Awards Judge

Conor Hickey is Director of Crosscare

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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.

spark-awards-ie-Ruairí McKiernan-judgesChris MM Gordon

Spark Awards Judge

Chris MM Gordon is a business and a social entrepreneur. He is driven by those organisations that are Well Good. Chris is the CEO of the Irish Social Enterprise Network ( and BCorp Ireland and Managing Partner of Collaboration Ireland.

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Chris’ work focuses on leading and managing European and Nationwide projects on Social Enterprise, Social Entrepreneurship, Corporate Responsibility, Social Impact, Startups, Cooperatives, Exporting, SMEs in Ireland and leading a life of passion and purpose. He is a director of Treehouse, Far & Wild and Founder of and the Irish Export Cooperative ( Chris is the former Director of Social Enterprise NI.


Through, Chris built Ireland’s largest network of social enterprises, social entrepreneurs and social innovators in Ireland. Through the, Chris brought together Irish SME exporters reducing business costs through cooperative means opening up new avenues for business growth.


Chris engages on national discourse and policy development providing sectoral reporting, supports and proposals to government. Chris has featured in the Sunday Times, BBC, Irish Independent, RTÉ, Today FM, Sunday Business Post and other media. He has contributed to National and European policy papers for political parties.


Chris is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management in the UK, Social Innovation Fellow from StartingBloc in the US, a Constellations Society Fellow from France, Tällberg Pathfinder Fellow from Sweden and a US Department of State awardee on Social Enterprise and Tackling Long Term Unemployment programme. Chris’ passion is in outdoor facilitation, youth work, social inclusion and his community development experience.

Chris has a degree in Theoretical Physics from Queen’s University Belfast, a Masters in Business from the University of Ulster and has spent time at Babson College, Dorset College and Boston College.

spark-awards-ie-Ruairí McKiernan-judgesJoan Mulvihill

Spark Awards Judge

Currently the Centre Director for the Irish Centre for Cloud Computing and Commerce (IC4) at DCU

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Joan Mulvihill has been at the heart of the tech community in Ireland for the past decade, having previously held the position of CEO of the Irish Internet Association.   Working with the very best technology entrepreneurs and researchers across the spectrum of start-up and scaling indigenous business to established global operators, Joan is a long-time champion of innovation and a recognised industry spokesperson. As a driving force for the delivery of the IIA NSAI Swift10 “Adopting the Cloud”, Joan has been consistently at the forefront of cloud adoption and through her work at IC4 she continues to support business optimisation through research and development in cloud computing and commerce.

A regular conference chair, keynote speaker and media contributor on all things business and technology related. Chief collaborator for conference organizers, champion of innovation and mentor to many.

spark-awards-ie-Ruairí McKiernan-judgesFr. Peter McVerry SJ

Spark Awards Judge

Fr. Peter McVerry SJ was ordained as a Jesuit Priest in 1975.

View Fr. Peter's Biography

While working as a priest in the Inner City in Dublin, he encountered some homeless children and opened a hostel for them in 1979. He subsequently opened twenty further hostels, two drug treatment centres and about two hundred and thirty apartments for long-term accommodation needs, which now accommodate over 1,200 homeless people.   The organisation he started was called the Arrupe Society but was renamed several years ago as the Peter McVerry Trust. He has written on many issues relating to young homeless people, such as accommodation, drugs, juvenile justice, the gardai, the prisons and education.   In 2003, he produced a book of his writings, called “The Meaning is in the Shadows”.   He has also published “Jesus – Social Revolutionary?” and “The God of Mercy, the God of the Gospels.”

spark-awards-ie-Ruairí McKiernan-judgesPascal Derrien

Spark Awards Judge

Originally from France , Pascal landed on Irish shores 20 years ago

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He is currently CEO of an innovative start up called Talent Cloud Media (TCM) who is shaking up the recruitment marketing industry in Europe. Prior to this Pascal held various senior operations and sales leader roles in various multinationals including Sony, Gateway and Microsoft.


Pascal has a keen interest in societal and social issues, he is a Director of the Global Goodwill Movement Irish chapter and he has recently received an International Diversity Award (July 2018) for his work on migration and integration advocacy. Sitting on the Irish Social Enterprise Network board, he has also co-founded Irish Executives Network in 2011.


Pascal  contributes to music publications and is a Brand Ambassador for an Affinity Social Media outlet with 12 M users.

Tel: @ 083 879 4096