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IUA HR Conference 2020 - Speakers

Ms Antoinette Quinn, HR Director, TCD

Welcome and Opening the Conference

Antoinette Quinn joined Trinity College Dublin in September 2017 as Director of Human Resources.

Human Resources play a key role in Trinity College in supporting the University achieve its strategic objectives and ensuring day to day services are delivered effectively and efficiently.  

Before joining Trinity, Antoinette worked for Aer Rianta International (ARI), a subsidiary of the Dublin Airport Authority Group. 
Antoinette was Global Director for HR for ARI for over five years, leading the HR function in Ireland, North America, Middle East and New Zealand. 

Prior to her position in ARI, Antoinette worked directly for the DAA Group leading the Business Partner Team. 
Antoinette started her career in Coras Trachtala, the Irish Export Board, which eventually merged with a number of other organisations to become Enterprise Ireland.  Within Enterprise Ireland some of the key roles she held were Head of Leading & Development and HR Manager for operations in Asia, Americas and Europe. 

Before working in Human Resources, Antoinette was involved in the Trade Union Movement at local and national level and has continued to have a passion for staff engagement and problem solving.

Antoinette holds a BA in Human Resources, and an MSc in Human Resource Strategy.

Professor Darryl Jones, MC

Darryl Jones is Professor in English at Trinity College Dublin, and was from 2014-19 Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.  His most recent book is Sleeping with the Lights On: The Unselltling Story of Horror (Oxford University Press, 2018).  He is currently writing a biography of M.R. James, the ghost-story writer, also for Oxford University Press.  He is general editor of the forthcoming New Oxford Sherlock Holmes, and is one of the editors for the Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost, TCD

Patrick Prendergast was elected by academic staff and student representatives as the 44th Provost of Trinity College Dublin, coming into office on August 1st, 2011.

The Provost is the Chief Officer of the university responsible to the Board and ultimately to the State for the performance of the university. A change to the Statutes in 2012 confirmed the title of the office as "President & Provost" in matters of external affairs.

Previous leadership roles were as Vice-Provost /Chief Academic Officer (2008-2011) and Dean of Graduate Studies (2004-2007). He served on the board of several companies, and on the board of Tallaght Hospital, a large academic hospital in Dublin. He was appointed by the European Commission to the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) in 2012.

He participated in the Glion Colloquium, an independent think tank committed to the future of research universities at which he spoke on Global Research Questions and Institutional Research Strategies in 2015, and on The Public-to-Private Shift in Universities: Consequences for Leadership in 2017.

Since coming into office as Provost, Dr Prendergast has strengthened Trinity's reputation as a university of global consequence, known for realizing student potential and for research and scholarship that benefits Ireland and the world. Under his Provostship so far, Trinity has developed a Global Relations Strategy which has doubled international student enrolments and student mobility, has engaged with industry through a new Innovation & Entrepreneurship Strategy, and has restructured the university's administration into three divisions, including a significant focus on commercial revenue generation through the Commercial Revenue Unit (CRU). Projects under development include the new Trinity School of Business co-located with an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub, as well as the development of E3: the Engineering, Energy, and the Environment Institute. These developments culminated in the launch of a new Strategic Plan for Trinity in November 2014, and were reviewed in Dr Prendergast’s Mid-Term address to Students and Faculty in October 2016.

In September 2016 a "Provost's Council" was created. Consisting of alumni and benefactors of the university, it advises the Provost on how to advance Trinity's position in the world by financing new projects and initiatives.

Ms Geraldine Ruane, Chief Operating Officer, TCD

Geraldine Ruane as Chief Operating Officer takes responsibility for the overall strategic leadership, management and organisation of the university's professional service functions which include central services, student services and academic registry. Geraldine is an innovative senior executive with a track record of leading the transformation of organisations in both the private and public sectors and creating high performing, profitable organisations. She is also a motivational leader who develops high-performance management teams.

Simon Harris
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science

Keynote Speaker

Simon Harris is the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

He previously served as Minister for Health from May 2016 to June 2020, and as Minister of State at the Departments of Finance PER and Taoiseach with Special Responsibility for the OPW, Public Procurement, and International Banking (incl IFSC) from 2014 to 2016.

Simon was first elected as a TD in 2011 and served as a member of the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee.

Simon's involvement in politics began after he established an Autism support and lobby group in County Wicklow which sought to give a voice to people living with Autism and their families and to articulate their concerns and needs.

Simon is married and a father of one.

Dr Miriam Lynn
Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Breaking the Silence

Dr Miriam Lynn leads the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Section at the University of Cambridge and has been an instrumental team player in developing and delivering the University’s Breaking the Silence – preventing sexual misconduct and harassment campaign. Her main focus of work has been to develop and deliver a staff training programme preventing sexual misconduct and providing expert consultation to Human Resources staff involved in complex case work.

Miriam also leads on work related to gender identity and sexual orientation and prior to working at the University she managed the youth work and training of a Cambridgeshire LGBT+ youth charity. Her passion is working collaboratively to bring about social change and specialises in developing connections between people and organisations.

Miriam started her career as a research scientist and used her microbiological training to develop health promotion initiatives to destigmatise HIV and AIDS. She then worked in both statutory and voluntary sector organisations empowering under-represented groups to develop policy, find voice and enact change.

Her first language is Welsh, she is passionate about travelling and completed a year of her first degree in Canada. She enjoys a challenge and has completed numerous half marathons in order to get fit and raise vital funds for charity.

Karita Saar Cullen, MISCP, Chartered Physiotherapist, College Health Service, TCD


Karita has been working in Trinity as a physiotherapist since 1999, treating staff and students, teaching Pilates classes and facilitating staff Mindfulness programmes for past 7 years.

She has an holistic approach to health and wellbeing, promoting healthy lifestyle and wellness in all aspects of life.

Dr. Pádraig Mac Neela, National University of Ireland Galway

 Implementing the Consent Toolkit

Dr Pádraig MacNeela is a senior lecturer and Director of PhD studies at the School of Psychology, NUI Galway. He leads the Active* Consent programme of research, intervention development, and cultural change, funded for four years from 2019 by Lifes2good Foundation, RETHINK Ireland, and NUI Galway, with additional support from agencies such as the Higher Education Authority. The programme aim is to play a role in transforming how positive, assertive consent is thought about, talked about, and responded to in the major settings where young people are socialised and supported in Irish society.

Pádraig has worked in the area of sexual consent since 2013, and this year Active* Consent are working with over 20 HEIs to provide input on designing consent education programmes. His other interests include youth mental health, survey research, and qualitative research. Pádraig believes that direct research and action with target groups are made sustainable through collaboration with stakeholders who hold shared interests, including managers, professionals, policy makers, and advocates. 

Nigel Barlow

HR's role in reframing the crisis

Nigel is an Agent Provocateur, Author, Creative Coach, and Keynote Speaker on Innovative Change to many of the world's leading organizations. He was a founding director of the Tom Peters company in Europe, and currently runs his own company. Until recently he was an Associate Fellow at Oxford University's Saïd Business School.

Nigel has helped many of the world's leading organizations on every continent to rethink their lives and businesses. He is adept at working with multi-national groups, and his clients across industries include Apple, Danone, GSK, Hewlett Packard Printing, Microsoft, Nestle, and Royal Ahold.

He is one of the world's most dynamic business speakers. He also facilitates creative retreats with top teams, helping them to rethink whatever they are stuck on. 

Dr Diane Tangney

Smarter working and Creative collaboration

Diane Tangney is an expert in creative collaboration and its boundless potential to discover, invent, create, build, grow, adapt, and inspire. With 20 years working for and with creative companies in a leadership capacity, her consultancy work specialises in the strategic planning and facilitation of collaborative creativity and innovation.

As well as an active innovation and creative facilitation practitioner, Diane is a leading thinker in her creative field, contributing internationally in the academic arena.  She lectures in Creative Thinking exploring with students and practitioners how the psychology and cognitive processes of creativity contribute to collaborative work. 

More recently, Diane has been working with organisations and practitioners around the world re-imagining how creative collaboration together with technologically enabling tools can best be harnessed in the future hybrid world of work.


Michelle Tanner, Head of Sport and Recreation, TCD

Get Moving and Energised

Michelle Tanner is the Head of Sport and Recreation at Trinity College Dublin, with responsibility for all sport and recreation matters. The role involves managing and developing the extensive sport and recreational facilities, all programmes provided for students, staff, graduates and the local community in line with the Strategic goals of the University. Michelle has a long and varied career supporting strategic initiatives as well as taking on leading roles in organisations such as World University Sports Federation and European Network of Academic Sports Services (ENAS).

Dr Andy Cope

Lockdown doesn't have to mean Meltdown

Described by his mother as 'not even the best writer in this family', Andy has somehow managed to become a best-selling author. He also specialises in writing his own biography so these next few words should be taken with a pinch of salt (or, indeed, lime and Tequila)

Andy is a qualified teacher, wellbeing expert and 'recovering academic'. His Loughborough University PhD was 12 years in the making and he revels in the irony that his thesis on human flourishing actually ended up making him miserable.

The reward for grinding out his PhD is that Andy gets to call himself a 'Doctor of Happiness'. Don't worry, he's socially aware enough to understand that it's a terribly cheesy title, but a notch above the socially unacceptable alternative, 'Doctor Feelgood'.

In a nutshell, Andy is exactly the opposite of all the other doctors you've ever encountered. While they've been trained to work out what's wrong with you, Andy is focused on the total opposite; what's right with you, what makes you come alive and how can you be at your best more often.