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The CO3 Leadership Awards 2019 Winners Are...

The CO3 Leadership Awards 2019 Winners Are...

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the CO3 Leadership Awards 2019.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our sponsors, in particular Ecclesiastical Insurance, for their continued support.


And the winners are….
Our Trustee of the Year is Sr Nuala Kelly, Depaul

 sponsored by Premier Wealth Management

Sr Nuala Kelly is the voice of Depaul’s Vincentian Values and this is the single biggest impact that she has brought to the organisation since her commencement on the Board of Trustees in 2015. Her positive values-led approach has filtered down through all levels of the organisation.

She is an inspiring and grounded member of the Depaul Board of Trustees.  She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and insight into the work on the ground, such an important asset at board level when key decisions are being made and in adhering to the best levels of governance – and also the best levels of service delivery to those that we work for.
Highly commended:
Alan Ledlie, Start360
John McErlane, Dementia NI


Eric Randall is Social Entrepreneurial Leader of the Year
 sponsored by Department for Communities

Eric is a serial social entrepreneur with over 29 years’ experience in the recycling industry and was awarded an MBE in 2006 for "Services to Waste Management".  His passion and personal commitment to the environment and recycling has resulted in Bryson Recycling celebrating their 25th year our impact stretches beyond the shores of Northern Ireland and is changing the way recycling is carried out in the UK.

During his time with Bryson, Eric has committed his energies into encouraging the growth of recycling and by creating a new and innovative way for household recycling which ensures the quality of the materials collected but also helps the householder recycle more. He has used his passion to communicate and demonstrate how as a society we need to not think of waste as rubbish but as a resource that that be reused again and again.
Highly commended:
Mimi Turtle, Strand Centre
Dave Linton, Madlug


The Social Innovation Award of the year goes to Isobel Loughran, Footprints Women’s Centre

 sponsored by UCIT

Isobel Loughran has provided leadership with Footprints for over 20 years, as a Board member since 2002 and more recently as the organisation's Director. She led the organisation through its most substantial period of growth and change from a small community organisation to a medium sized enterprise.

In Jan 2018 Footprints launched a pilot project 'The social supermarket initiative' was the first in Northern Ireland was informed by the success of Community shop UK, using food that would otherwise go to landfill and help people develop new skills and confidence to improve their lives.

The project will enable access to Footprints Community Food Shop for greater numbers of families living in the Colin Neighbourhood who are experiencing food poverty.

Highly commended:
Dee Nixon, Hope 4 Life




The Leading People Award was won by Audrey Allen, Action Mental Health
 sponsored by Worthingtons Solicitors

Audrey champions the training of staff across AMH and operational staff in particular, she recognises that engaged leaders who are well supported are better able to deliver services more effectively. She has championed a range of interventions such as a recently introduced Leadership and Development Framework and a new appraisals process linked to training and development. She has been pivotal with her involvement in the AMH Quality Improvement Team and the Staff Information and Consultation Committee which considers staff development issues and responds to the biennial Staff Survey. The outworking of these has been a range of supports to develop staff and managers including coaching and/or mentoring, placements and career breaks which has contributed to a culture of lifelong learning in staff and clients alike.
Highly commended:
Charlie Mack, Extern
Richard May, Ardmonagh Family & Community Group


Lynn Carvill, Women’s Tec, wins the award for Leading Organisation Change
 sponsored by Baker Tilly Mooney Moore

Last December (2017), WOMEN’STEC were unsuccessful in their application to the European Social Fund (ESF) for a three-year grant (having been funded by ESF from April 2015) towards their core programme and associated costs, despite delivering and exceeding programme targets. This was a huge blow to WOMEN’STEC, losing 80% of their core funding.

Notwithstanding, Lynn, supported by the board, developed a plan to raise the funds required to maintain operations (and retain all staff) post-March 2018, and, then undertake strategic planning to develop a long-term plan for organisational sustainability.

Lynn’s ability to manage these changes through involving staff in open and honest discussions has resulted in maintaining high staff morale.

Highly commended:
Gareth Kirk, Action Cancer
Mark Graham, Co-Ownership


The Leading a Smaller Organisation Award winner is Kirsten Kearney, ESC Films

 sponsored by Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland
Three years ago, esc films nearly closed. Longer term core funding from a charitable foundation was coming to an end and the outcome of bids for funding elsewhere were awaited.

Rather than continuing to rely on grants from charitable foundations, which had been the mainstay of esc films' income for the previous five years, the focus became winning contracts for services. Moreover, Kirsten took the bold decision to move away from supporting former prisoners and concentrate esc films' focus on people with severe mental health conditions.

Three years on, esc films has a substantial and growing reputation among mental health groups and the health and social care trusts for delivering innovative and valuable therapeutic support to a challenging client group.
Highly commended:
Chris Ledger, University of Atypical


Best Newcomer of the Year Award goes to Kerry Boyd, Autism NI

 sponsored by OCN NI
Kerry assumed her post as CEO on 1st April 2017.  Kerry  is unique in her leadership approach; she has transitioned transformative change without overwhelming staff and driving the purpose with clear communication. During this time, she has found ways of delivering new services when demand is rising, whilst retaining the skills that were in the organisation and building areas of development that has increased the staff team. Overall, time is taken to explore why we are doing, what we are doing and how it links to the sustainability of the organisation.

As a newcomer CEO; Kerry’s resilience, passion and dedication at a time of unprecedented need has enabled the charity to expand services, maximise reach and deliver outcomes to meet the needs of the Autism community.
Highly commended:
Colin Jess, Social Enterprise NI
Deborah Burns, NI Hospice



Mairead McGinn, Depaul, takes home the One to Watch Award

 sponsored by Social Enterprise Academy
This is Mairead’s first director role and she has been with Depaul for just over 2 years now. She was somewhat tentative when she came into the role but has become an instrumental member of the leadership team in Depaul. She has taken on the leadership of the fundraising and communications department (Cross border), created a new strategy and tested new methods of fundraising, convincing the committee of the board to invest and take risk but also got the results!

She has gained the trust and respect of her peers and also the team that she manages and leads. Ensuring results she has restructured her department, sets clear targets to guide and stretch the team to be the best that they can. She has made sure that fundraising is core to helping our service department develop and celebrate the work they do each day.
Highly commended:
Ursula Ferguson, Stroke Association
Emma Purdon, Extern


The Leading Forward in Transformation Across Health & Social Care Award goes to Deirdre McCloskey, Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership

 sponsored by Department of Health
Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership was established in 2011 to act as a strategic network which would support the local community to work in partnership with various agencies to improve the lives of older people.

Deirdre’s vision is for an integrated community development approach to health and wellbeing for older people. In working to achieve this vision she has fostered relationships across the community and statutory sectors but always maintaining her links with older people to ensure that she understands their needs. By harnessing the funding from Big Lottery Deirdre was able to develop services locally to address needs and in so doing actively worked with colleagues at all levels in health and social care.

Without Deidre’s particular enthusiasm, dedication and ability to bring people together, many projects which have made such a difference to the lives of older people locally, as demonstrated by the wealth of outcomes, would not have happened.

Highly commended:
Linda Robinson, Age NI


Our Inspiring Leader of the Year Award goes to Gareth Kirk, Action Cancer

 sponsored by Ecclesiastical Insurance

Gareth leads with enthusiasm and unbounded energy.  This permeates through the organisation.  He is totally committed to Action Cancer and what it stands for.  He directly engages with staff to ensure they feel supported, are developed and valued.  Moreso, he challenges staff – what can we do differently and better?  He encourages people to think broadly, to be dynamic.  He has ignited passion, confidence and ambition in our staff team, volunteers and Council. 

Gareth is truly an inspiring leader – he inspires his management and the whole staff team to be ambitious, to be innovative, to have confidence, to be unafraid of doing bigger and better things.  His mantra is “doing the right things for the right reason”.  He has instilled a values system into Action Cancer, which has become part of their DNA. 
Highly commended:
John O’Doherty, The Rainbow Project
Richard May, Ardmonagh Family & Community Group

This year there are TWO winners of the Lifetime Commitment to the Third Sector


John McMullan
and Alison McCullough MBE

John McMullan, winner of the Lifetime Commitment to the Third Sector Award

John was employed by the Bryson Group since 1985 and has gone on to dedicate almost half of his life to delivering social change. For the last 17 years he held the position of Chief Executive of the Bryson Group (retiring in October 2018).

John was awarded an MBE in 1998 and an OBE in 2011. He was elected in 2009 to the RSA Fellowship Council representing Ireland.  John was acknowledged as the Northern Ireland and subsequently the UK Social Enterprise Leader of the Year in 2011, awarded IoD (NI) 3rd sector Director of the Year 2012 and awarded IoD UK Public & 3rd Sector Director of the Year 2013.  John studied for a BA (Hon) Degree in Business Studies at the University of Ulster.  He followed this with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) at the same university. 

In retirement John is continuing to be an advocate for Social Enterprise and working hard to ensure that Northern Ireland commits to a Social Value Act.

Alison McCullough MBE, winner of the Lifetime Commitment to the Third Sector Award

Alison was the first Head of Office for the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) Northern Ireland in 2005, prior to this she had a long career as a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) working in learning disability, community and pediatric special needs. 

Following an MBE award in 2009 for her contribution to the profession, she was also played an instrumental role with the Department of Justice in Implementing the NI Registered Intermediary Scheme.

Through her drive, vision and ground breaking work, she presented evidence to the joint ad hoc committee at the NI assembly which resulted in an amendment to the NI mental capacity bill, ensuring that people with communication difficulties receive the support they need to exercise their rights.