15th January, 2015

The Worldwide Ireland Funds Young Leaders Global Summit YLS4 2015

Starting on Thursday, January 15th, 150 Young Leaders from five countries and eleven cities converged on New York City for the fourth annual Global Young Leaders Summit, AKA #YLS4NYC.

Day 1

The series of events started when the Chairs and Vice Chairs of their respective city’s Steering Committees got together in the board room of the Fitzpatrick’s Grand Central Hotel to discuss the upcoming series of events and set some top line goals for the Summit.

The conversation led right into the welcome reception on the patio of The Wheeltapper Tavern, hosted by the Chairman of The American Ireland Fund John Fitzpatrick.

The program began with a welcome by National Director of The Young Leaders Pat Tully who thanked many of the Young Leaders for traveling so far and for their dedication to the mission of the Young Leaders Society and The Ireland Funds. Pat then introduced our host for the event, John Fitzpatrick, who welcomed the Young Leaders to his hotel and asked them to roll up their sleeves and get to work on the important goals of the Summit. John’s inspiring words were followed by Anna McGillicuddy, Ireland’s Deputy Consul General in New York, who recognized The Ireland Funds as a force for good across the entire island of Ireland and encouraged the Young Leaders to think big for Ireland’s bright future.  

Anna was followed by Kieran McLoughlin, the President & CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds, , who spoke about the Young Leaders being the bedrock of The Ireland Funds’ future through the remainder of the Promising Ireland Campaign and beyond.  Kieran then introduced the CEO of UBS Group Americas, American Ireland Fund Board Director and Patron of the New York Young Leaders, Bob McCann. Bob spoke about his personal connections to Ireland as reminded the Young Leaders that when Dan Rooney and Tony O’Reilly established the Ireland Funds in 1976, they themselves would have been considered “Young Leaders.” After Bob’s inspiring remarks, New York Steering Committee Chair, Rob MacGoey closed out the program by thanking everyone for attending and recognized many Young Leaders who had attended all four Summits to date. Rob asked the group to challenge themselves and think big over the course of the Summit. The party continued with cocktails and a BBQ courtesy of John Fitzpatrick.

Young Leaders were outfitted with nametags and a welcome bag, courtesy of Young Leader Tom Kennedy and his company, Kennedy Computer Consulting, complete with a travel coffee mug which would come in handy as they moved around between multiple venues throughout the weekend .

Day 2

The day kicked off early as busloads of Young Leaders gathered at 10 on the Park in historic Columbus Circle overlooking Central Park for the breakfast and lunch sessions that would follow. The morning began with introductions from Pat Tully and Director of The Young Leaders in Ireland, Caitlin Duffy. After laying out the game plan for the day, Pat introduced Kieran McLoughlin, who gave an overview of the Fund and drilled down to where the Young Leaders come in to play. Kieran then introduced our keynote speaker for the morning, Cilian Fennell, who gave an uplifting speech on “The Hero’s Journey”, how we can all achieve greatness. Cilian’s presentation was followed by an interactive Q&A with the Young Leaders that truly set the stage for a day of great goals.

Our Director in Ireland, Caitriona Fottrell then presented on our Flagship Grants round and how we selected seven very worthy organizations to be the inaugural recipients of the Flagship Grants. After Caitriona’s informative presentation, the Young Leaders then went into breakout groups where they each studied one of the Flagship grantees and then came up with a creative way to present them to the panel coming up in the afternoon.  

After a “working lunch” the afternoon session began with Pat Tully introducing our guest, Kevin O’Leary, co-star of the hit ABC competition, Shark Tank. Kevin was interviewed by Rob MacGoey, who asked questions about entrepreneurs, business and most importantly, his personal philanthropy. Kevin explained his philosophy for giving and gave us his “five for five” plan where he selects five organizations that he will support over five years and how he demands the same results from them as he does of the companies he invests in. After a spirited conversation, Rob then invited the remaining panelist, Darren Ryan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and American Ireland Fund Board Director, Tara McCabe to the stage. The panel would become known as the “Philanthropic Shark Tank.”

Each group then presented to the judges, who graded them on categories ranging from enthusiasm and originality to connecting the organizations to the mission of The Ireland Funds. The organizations were: Fighting Words, Foroige, NFTE, Little Museum of Dublin, NCI Early Learning Initiative, Playhouse Derry and Women For Election. At the end of the day, the winning group was Women For Election, who will receive an additional $10,000 grant from The Ireland Funds. The runner up was Playhouse Derry, who were delighted to find out that they would receive an additional $5,000 grant from The Ireland Funds. The afternoon was so inspirational that two Young Leaders anonymously donated an additional $10,000 in grants for Playhouse Derry ($5,000) and Fighting Words ($5,000). The afternoon concluded with a rousing speech about the Flagship Grants by Dublin Steering Committee Chair, Alan Foy, who encouraged the Young Leaders to get to Ireland and see their generosity at work, on the ground.   

After an afternoon break, the group boarded the busses once again for cocktails and dinner at the picturesque Midtown Loft and Terrace, with stunning views of the Empire State Building. Upon arrival, the Young Leaders were greeted by the friendly wait staff of Tavern 29 and the sounds of our friend, John Malone on guitar. As the evening continued on, Pat Tully welcomed the guests and introduced John Fitzpatrick who was our keynote speaker after dinner. John spoke about his personal connection to Ireland and in particular to the inspiration to start his family foundation, The Eithne and Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Fund. John recognized how far the Young Leaders have come in a short amount of time and encouraged them to reach even higher.

After dinner and dessert, the Young Leaders made the short walk to Tavern 29 for the after-party, sponsored by Sixpoint Brewery.

Day 3

On Saturday morning, the Young Leaders gathered at PWC’s gorgeous New York headquarters on 42nd and Madison to map out their road for the remainder of the Promising Ireland Campaign in 2015 and the next ten years.

Pat Tully introduced, Rob MacGoey, also a Partner at PWC, who sponsored the session. Rob welcomed everyone to PWC and spoke about the importance of growing the Young Leaders and how we can continue to do so in the future for the future of his home country, Ireland. Rob pointed to one of the partnerships spawned in New York to connect the Young Leaders with students in NYU’s Irish Studies program. The students travel to Ireland once a year and visit the projects that are supported by Young Leaders generosity.  Rob then introduced one of those students, Erin Janosik, who spoke of her experience in Ireland and visiting programs like Fighting Words and how inspired she was to learn more and stay connected to Ireland.

Then, in a surprise move, Young Leaders, Nik Quaife, Pauline Turley and Louise O’Reilly announced that following Friday’s inspirational session, they had collected over $14,000 in pledges for the Flagship Grantees from Friday’s session. A stunned and grateful Pat Tully followed that news by presenting on the success of the Young Leaders in 2014 and how they will continue to improve in 2015 by providing the Board of Directors with updates throughout the year on their progress as well as communicating with each other every other month to share best practices and fundraising successes.

Caitlin Duffy followed Pat and delivered the results of the engagement they participated in leading up to the Summit from our friends at The Vision Lab – a strategic think tank founded by New York Young Leader, Trevor Madigan. Caitlin went through the results and the Young Leaders went into their first breakout session of the day to discuss the top three ideas from The Vision Lab engagement.

Each group then presented on their ideas and then broke for another “working lunch” where they continued their conversations on the short and long-term future of the Young Leaders.

Caitlin then continued to go through The Vision Lab findings and announced the second breakout topic of the day, which discussed what the Young Leaders do when they are no longer considered “Young Leaders” and how they would fit into the fabric of the Fund.  The responses and presentations after the second breakout were passionate and provided real solutions for the future of the Young Leaders.

The afternoon was wrapped up with a small presentation to our host Rob MacGoey and some final words of inspiration for the Young Leaders from Rob.

After a short break, the Young Leaders got back on the busses and headed to Saturday evening’s gala dinner at Pier A in Battery Park.

The guests were greeted in the Harrison room with a welcome cocktail by the staff of Pier A and during the cocktail hour, enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and live music by Peadar O’Hici. The guests then headed upstairs to the loft for dinner. Pat Tully welcomed the Young Leaders and thanked them for a very productive day at PWC.
Pat then introduced the visionary behind the Pier A renovation, Danny McDonald who gave a brief history of the historic building (built in 1884) and its connection to Irish America.

While guests enjoyed their entrees, Pat Tully and Caitlin Duffy presented the inaugural “Youngie Awards.” Each city in attendance was recognized for a unique success they had in 2014. After dinner, Pat introduced Caitriona Fottrell who brought up the evening’s keynote speaker and Ireland Funds grantee, Orla Tinsley. Orla, a journalist and author, began campaigning in 2005 for better healthcare services for people with cystic fibrosis (CF) in Ireland (A disease she suffers from) after an independent audit found people with CF were being treated in dangerous conditions. In 2011, her memoir Salty Baby, was published in Ireland where it immediately entered the bestseller lists. During her remarks, Orla explained that in 2012, because of years of campaigning, the CF Unit at St. Vincent’s Hospital had finally opened, providing gold standard healthcare services.

Following Orla’s speech another $15,000 was pledged (anonymously) to support St. Vincent’s CF Unit.  

Kieran McLoughlin closed the program by thanking Orla for her extraordinary work and her bravery in her personal battle against CF. Kieran then announced that throughout the Summit, $100,000 was pledged by Young Leaders for the Promising Ireland Campaign and our Flagship Grantees.

On that note of generosity, he thanked the Young Leaders for their support and dedication and invited everyone back to Fitzpatrick’s Wheeltapper Tavern for an after party celebration, once again, sponsored by Chairman John Fitzpatrick.

When the Young Leaders arrived at The Wheeltapper, they were greeted with a red carpet and a champagne toast to celebrate the success of another great Summit.

Day 4

The Young Leaders once again boarded a bus and gathered at Bowlmor Times Square for the second annual “Ryder Cup of Bowling” in which the Irish-born battle those of Irish descent from around the world. The top four individual Young Leader bowlers on the day were Richie Huggard, Ann Murtagh, Melissa Fisher and Steve Lenox. They then participated in a “Bowl-off” to see who was the overall individual winner. Ann Murtagh bowled a perfect strike to take home the prize, but those of Irish descent from around the world defeated the Irish born for the second straight year to retain the trophy.

Special thanks to:
Jameson Irish Whiskey, Croine O’Halloran, Tavern 29, Sixpoint Brewery, Bronwen Smith and B-Floral, PWC, Rob MacGoey, Kevin O’Leary AKA “Mr. Wonderful” from Shark Tank, Patrick Farrell, Farrell Limousine, Cilian Fennell, Jason O’Connor, Bob McCann, Shane Naughton, Tom Kennedy and Kelly Evans of CNBC’s Closing Bell. Most of all, thank you to our Chairman John Fitzpatrick for his hospitality and grace throughout the 4th annual Summit and to all the Young Leaders who gave up their time and traveled to NYC to make the Young Leaders a stronger, better global fundraising machine.