Young Leaders Worldwide Summit 2013 – YLS2
Over 150 Young Leaders representing eleven cities and four countries descended on New York City and the Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel for the second annual Ireland Funds Global Young Leaders Worldwide Summit to discuss the mission of the Young Leaders as they continue to build a strong brand which is laying the groundwork for the future work of The Worldwide Ireland Funds.
Day One, Thursday, January 17th
The day started at the Nasdaq Marketsite as New York Young Leaders Steering Committee Chair, Rob MacGoey and former Middleweight champion John Duddy joined their Young Leader colleagues to ring the opening bell officially starting the trading day. Rob MacGoey welcomed the Young Leaders to New York and stated, “There is a great pride and a great sense of loyalty among the Irish diaspora. What we have in New York City this weekend, the birthplace of the Young Leaders, is a testament to that loyalty to Ireland – over 150 Young Leaders from 11 cities in the US, Ireland, Canada and the UK.”
Later that evening, American Ireland Fund Board Director John Fitzpatrick welcomed the Young Leaders with a reception at the Wheel Tapper Tavern at his Grand Central Hotel. While the Young Leaders enjoyed some great bites from the Wheel Tapper’s acclaimed kitchen, John Malone entertained the audience on the guitar. National Director of the Young Leaders Pat Tully announced that the Young Leaders had been joined by a special guest that evening, 2012 New York Young Leaders Irish Spirit award honoree, NYPD Sgt. Kevin Brennan, who had made a miraculous recovery and would be going back to work in February after being shot in the line of duty. The Worldwide Ireland Funds CEO Kieran McLoughlin then gave his opening remarks and introduced Scott Nichols, head of Development at Boston University. Mr. Nichols, one of the world’s most preeminent leaders in fundraising and development set the tone for the weekend by reminding the Young Leaders that they were part of something bigger than themselves and that their efforts were making real change across all of Ireland. Chairman of The American Ireland Fund Loretta Brennan Glucksman closed the remarks by thanking the Young Leaders for traveling so far and giving up their time to engage in networking with their peers and learning more about the mission of The Ireland Funds.
Day Two, Friday, January 18th
The Young Leaders were up with the sunrise and got to work quickly at the gorgeous Alexandria Center overlooking the East River where American Ireland Fund Board Director Bob McCann gave a stirring keynote speech over breakfast reminding the Young Leaders to stay with the mission and stated: “By being a part of Young Leaders, you’ve taken that first and most important step, to learning where you can best serve…and then throwing yourself into it 100 percent. My hope is that you continue on this journey and that the work you’re doing in support of Ireland and its people has as big an impact on you as it has on me, and my life.”
Kieran McLoughlin then provided a full update on the Promising Ireland campaign and reminded the Young Leaders that the money they raise through events and membership is vital to the success of the Grant Round which assists hundreds of worthy organizations. Caitriona Fottrell, Director of The Ireland Funds gave the Young Leaders an in-depth look at the aforementioned Grant Round and the programs supported in Ireland because of their efforts. Kieran and Caitriona then opened the floor to a very active Q &A session which set the stage for Caitlin Duffy, Director of the Young Leaders in Ireland and Pat Tully who gave an update on the progress since the last Summit and led an exercise where they graded themselves, report card style, on all subjects pertaining to the Young Leaders Society from communications to fund raising.
The Young Leaders boarded coaches and headed to Times Square for their afternoon business session at the Nasdaq Marketsite where they had lunch and a keynote speech by Wendy Clark, SVP of Integrated Marketing and Communications for the Coca-Cola Company. Wendy stressed the importance of protecting a brand and getting the right message out through social media. Wendy opened the floor to a Q & A and shared some pearls of wisdom for the growing Young Leaders brand. Pat Tully was then tasked with following Wendy and keeping up the buzz in the room through his “State of The Young Leaders” presentation during which he updated them on the progress of their goal of raising $1.35 million before the end of the Promising Ireland campaign. Pat delivered the good news that the Young Leaders were on track to achieve this goal. Following Pat’s address and a Q & A, session the Young Leaders heard updates from the Steering Committee Chairs of each City, covering their challenges, their successes and their event calendar for the year. The afternoon was completed with a reception and live viewing of the closing bell signaling the close of trading for the week, but the Young Leaders Summit weekend was just getting started.
After a short break, the Young Leaders headed to the American Irish Historical Society (AIHS) overlooking the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a reception hosted by 2012 NY Gala Dinner Co-Chair, Brian Ruane. Brian spoke about the history of the building and the strong ties between Ireland and New York City. Brian handed the podium to Loretta Brennan Glucksman who welcomed Ireland’s Consul General in New York, Noel Kilkenny. Noel thanked the Young Leaders for their commitment to Ireland and thanked Loretta for being a strong ambassador for Ireland and all things Irish. From the AIHS, the Young Leaders headed down Fifth Avenue to The Metropolitan Club where they enjoyed dinner overlooking Central Park and were hosted by American Ireland Fund Board Director, John Duffy. Mr. Duffy spoke about growing up in New York City in the Bronx and how years after high school, he reconnected with old friend Eugene McQuade on the Board of Directors of The American Ireland Fund. Mr. Duffy’s family commitment to Ireland can be seen in his continued work on the Board and in his daughter Caitlin’s work as Director of the Young Leaders in Ireland. Mr. Duffy’s inspirational words were followed by the evening’s entertainment, Comedian Seth Herzog from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Seth was hilarious from start to finish and left the audience begging for more. From there, the Young Leaders headed to Ken McCoy’s Pig N’ Whistle on Second Avenue for a nightcap and cigars on the deck to close out an action-packed day and night.
Day Three, Saturday, January 19th
On Saturday morning, the Young Leaders arrived at the state of the art worldwide headquarters of Bloomberg for their “Business Brunch and Breakouts.” Caitlin Duffy presented on the work of the Dublin Young Leaders and went deeper into discussion on the projects developed by The Ireland Funds including “No Mind Left Behind,” “The Business Plan Competition” and “Music Generation” amongst others. The Young Leaders then broke out into random color-coded groups to discuss multiple subjects and to come up with an “elevator pitch” to share with others around the compelling reasons to join the Young Leaders Society. Each group elected a representative to present their individual and very colorful ideas.
Following a late afternoon break, the Young Leaders headed to Columbus Circle for dinner at Randy Gerber’s Stone Rose Lounge. Following dinner, the Young Leaders got to see the world premiere of the new Ireland Funds’ corporate video, with voiceover by Liam Neeson. The video was followed by a special “Roundtable discussion” hosted by CBS News’ Lonnie Quinn with guests John “The Derry Destroyer” Duddy, entrepreneur Trevor Madigan of Vision Labs and Pauline Turley of the Irish Arts Center (IAC). The conversation started with the idea of “What it means to be Irish today” then focused on each of their individual ventures. Pauline spoke about her current work raising money for a permanent home for the IAC, Trevor had just launched his new company after being with Facebook and John spoke on transitioning from a career as a professional champion boxer to acting (John had just landed the starring role in Bon Jovi’s new music video for their hit single Because We Can). Lonnie’s energy took over the lounge and brought and set the tone for a great conversation followed by Q & A by the audience. Lonnie then turned the microphone over to Kieran McLoughlin who thanked celebrity Chef Marc Murphy for preparing an incredible meal. The microphone was then and handed it over to a good friend of the Young Leaders, DJ Teal, to continue the celebration.
The Young Leaders jumped on the coached one more time for the after- party back at the Wheel Tapper hosted by John Fitzpatrick.
Day Four, Sunday, January 20th
On Sunday, The Young Leaders joined together for brunch at Young Leader Croine O’Halloren’s Tavern 29.The Summit came to a close with a final toast and heartfelt goodbyes.
Attendees left the Summit with a deeper understand and appreciation of the mission and the network. A show of hands made everyone realize that many of them would be together again at the K Club in Ireland in June for The Annual Worldwide Ireland Funds Conference 2013.