Starting on Thursday, January 14th, over 120 Young Leaders from four countries and 12 cities gathered in New York City for the 5th annual Ireland Funds Global Young Leaders Summit #YLS5NYC.
The theme of the Summit was “bravery and leadership” and it kicked off with a high-level meeting of the Steering Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs in the board room of the Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel. They discussed the schedule for the weekend and had an open conversation on the Summit topics that were of top priority to growing the Young Leaders Society.
The meeting led directly into the welcome reception for all delegates, hosted by The Chairman of The American Ireland Fund, John Fitzpatrick.
Guests mingled, old and new friends embraced and caught up over cocktails and generous barbeque provided by our host, while Mary Courtney entertained the guests on the guitar.
National Director of the Young Leaders, Pat Tully along with Director of the Young Leaders for Ireland, Siobhan Gallagher officially welcomed the Young Leaders to the Summit and introduced Kieran McLoughlin who thanked the Young Leaders for traveling from near and far to join the Summit. Kieran then introduced American Ireland Fund Board Director and Vice Chair of Bank of America, Anne Finucane. Anne was the honoree at the 2015 Boston Gala and spoke about the need to give back both on a corporate and personal level. Anne shared her strong connection to Ireland and encouraged the Young Leaders to get more involved in the work of The Ireland Funds.
Anne’s inspirational words were followed by a welcome from Ireland’s Consul General in New York, Barbara Jones, who spoke about the generosity she has seen from the New York Irish through The American Ireland Fund and the effect the Young Leaders have had on so many worthy organizations in Ireland through their philanthropy.
Later in the evening, John Fitzpatrick reminded the Young Leaders how important it was to have them together once again and how honored he was to host them, as many were staying in his hotel.
The reception ended early to ensure the Young Leaders would get much-needed rest for the events ahead.
Guests boarded the busses at Fitzpatrick Grand Central to head for a day of business at the legendary Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. After the quick jaunt up the east side, the guests arrived at the stadium for the breakfast and lunch sessions and a day of discussions on the future direction of the Young Leaders.
Pat Tully once again welcomed the Young Leaders and spoke about the rich history of the Irish in the Bronx and how the connection is still strong today through the New York Irish Center’s Forgotten Irish program supported by The American Ireland Fund.
Pat then introduced Kieran McLoughlin who talked about the Funds in 2016 turning 40 years old and on the heels of the completion of The Promising Ireland Campaign on December 31st at midnight. Kieran unveiled the final figure for the campaign ($223 million) and how the Young Leaders contributed to the success and completion of the campaign.
Kieran was followed by our Director in Ireland, Caitriona Fottrell, who then presented on our Flagship Grants round and the direct effect the Young Leaders had on them from the generosity we saw at the fourth annual Young Leaders Summit.
Following Caitriona’s presentation, Pat and Siobhan then presented “The Chapter Challenge” to the Young Leaders. This is a friendly competition between all global chapters to help achieve our common goals of growth in memberships and revenue. The winner will be announced on New Year’s Eve.
Membership is the first part of the challenge, so the Young Leaders broke out into groups to come up with creative ideas for a membership drive that everyone could do across all chapters.
After a break for lunch which included tours of Yankee Stadium for everyone, the group got together for a roundtable conversation on leadership, philanthropy and goal setting. The guests for the roundtable, hosted by Pat Tully, included former NY Yankees catcher and star of the Yankees game day broadcast, John Flaherty; CEO of Robb Report, Stephen Colvin and American Ireland Fund Board Director, and SVP of the Permal Group, Tara McCabe.
Pat opened the conversation by directing questions to each member of the panel on leadership and quickly moved into questions of why leaders give back and get entrenched in philanthropy. When the conversation moved to goal setting, John spoke about his love of baseball and the “Irish work ethic” instilled by his father, teaching him to set short term, achievable goals, which will lead to longer term goals. Stephen spoke about goal setting in regards to fundraising and how the Young Leaders could approach luxury goods sponsors for events, emulating the strategy that his company Robb Report would do employ. Tara spoke about the goals the Young Leaders set out for themselves when she first got involved in 2003 and where they are today.
After the roundtable and a short break, the Young Leaders were once again in breakout session to discuss setting new and sustainable goals for the next Global 5K Run in 2016, which was created at the 3rd annual Young Leaders Summit.
The afternoon finished off with the Chapter Challenge Debate which included the best three ideas as voted on by The Ireland Funds Directors from Washington, DC, Boston, New York and Dallas.
The three ideas were represented by breakout group leaders Avril McHugh of Dublin, Marcus Walsh of London and Chris Hagan of Boston. The ideas were presented in a Presidential debate format to go with the 2016 theme of the elections. After a spirited debate, Pat announced that the winner would be revealed during the awards program on Saturday evening.
The Young Leaders then boarded the busses back to Fitzpatrick Grand Central for a short break and headed to dinner.
Dinner took place at City Winery, a symbolic choice as a location in announcing the expansion of The Ireland Funds Winegeese Society around a new membership model that included the opportunity for Young Leaders to join.
The evening began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and guests discussing the busy morning and afternoon at Yankee Stadium, while being entertained by the music of Sean McNally.
A buffet dinner was followed by Pat Tully announcing the buzz around the Chapter Challenge was gaining momentum with the San Francisco chapter making a pledge to get the ball rolling.
Pat then introduced the dinner speaker, David Donoghue, Ireland’s Ambassador to the UN who spoke about the sustainable goals project presented to the UN and led by Ireland and Kenya. Ambassador Donoghue continued his conversation by acknowledging the generosity of The Ireland Funds and how important philanthropy is to sustainability across the globe.
The party continued with Sean McNally and then the Young Leaders walked around the corner to the after party at the private club, Parlor.
The Young Leaders gathered at PwC’s Headquarters for a dual business session on Saturday, kicking off with a late breakfast while guests arrived, followed by a welcome message by Pat Tully and Rob MacGoey who generously sponsored the morning and afternoon sessions.
Pat Tully then went through the financials for the Young Leaders globally. Pat discussed the goals from the day before and what the Young Leaders need to do in order to sustain those goals over the next two years and into the future. Pat also took the time to reflect on what the group achieved over the past five years and what they can look forward to into the future.
Siobhan then gave an update on what the Young Leaders have done since YLS4 to address the areas where they felt they could greatly benefit the Promising Ireland Campaign in its final year.
After a brief open forum on the discussion of membership levels, Rob MacGoey, along with his IT team, presented the beta version of The Ireland Funds App, which was launched with functionality that the Young Leaders deemed most useful and handy to help them tell the story of The Ireland Funds and communicate better together as a global network.
After a break for lunch, the Young Leaders were treated to another roundtable discussion, hosted by Rob MacGoey and featured guest speakers, Susan Davis, Founder of Susan Davis International and Shane Naughton, Co-Founder, Artech Holdings. Both Susan and Shane are Board Directors of The American Ireland Fund. The conversation focused around the theme of the weekend, “leadership and bravery.” Rob opened the conversation by asking the guests about their business ventures as both are seasoned entrepreneurs. Rob soon changed the subject to talk about their views on their philanthropy in Ireland and what they felt are the needs for Ireland right now. Rob then turned the conversation to the Young Leaders to ask the panel questions.
After a fun exchange between the Young Leaders and the panel members, Pat Tully took to the podium to unveil our new level of membership for Young Leader alumni, “The Global Leadership Network” or as it is already being called “The GLN.’” This is an invitation-only group of members who satisfy particular philanthropic criteria, have been active within the Young Leaders and want to stay involved in the future. This group will act as senior advisors to the Young Leaders and will continue to be involved in the Young Leaders Summit going forward.
The inaugural class of The GLN was unveiled and following a brief Q&A session on the GLN, the session came to a close.
Following a late afternoon break, the Young Leaders gathered once again at the world famous Tavern On The Green in Central Park for the evening’s festivities.
The event started with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, while the guests mingled and enjoyed live music from Vonnie Quinn and Dan Paccione.
Soon dinner was served and the Young Leaders were greeted by Pat Tully, who gave a brief recap of the day and introduced John Fitzpatrick, who addressed the Young Leaders on the importance of their work within The Worldwide Ireland Funds. John was followed by Kieran McLoughlin who introduced the keynote speaker of the evening, Shaun Kelly, Global COO, KPMG International and Board Director of The American Ireland Fund.
Shaun spoke on his personal experience, growing up in Belfast and why he gives back to Ireland and Irish causes including the building of The Irish Arts Center in New York City. Shaun followed that by going through his “leadership touchstones” and inspired the Young Leaders to keep up their good work and focus on philanthropy in Ireland. Before closing his remarks, Shuan said that KPMG would once again support the Global 5K as the presenting sponsor. That announcement was followed by a resounding cheer and a standing ovation.
Shaun was followed by Mairead Healy, Founder and CEO of Future Voices, an innovative, award-winning Irish youth human rights organization, empowering at-risk young people to transform their own lives. Mairead shared her personal story of loss and how she put her life back together after personal tragedy to help others.
Mairead’s comments were greeted with a standing ovation and immediately received pledges from the Young Leaders to help her continue to do her good work.
Up next were the annual Young Leader Summit awards, AKA “The Youngies” and the party moved onto The Fitzpatrick’s Wheeltapper.
The final session of #YLS5NYC was the 3rd annual “Ryder Cup of Bowling” in which the Irish-born battled those of Irish descent from around the world. The Irish-born came up short for the 3rd consecutive year, one of the Irish bowlers, Piers White finished in the individual top 3, but Caitlin Duffy took home the top prize in the friendly competition.
Special thanks to:
Union Beer Distributors and Andrew McLeod, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Rob MacGoey, Patrick Farrell for providing VIPs with ground transportation, speakers including: Anne Finucane, Consul General Barbara Jones, John Flaherty, Tara McCabe, Shane Naughton, Susan Davis, Ambassador David Donoghue, Shaun Kelly, John Fitzpatrick, Mairead Healy and all the Young Leaders who travelled from far and near to join us in NYC.