Mary Field, CENI Chairperson 

Mary has a long history of working in the third sector and has particular experience in developing, coordinating and supporting collaborative initiatives.  She has represented the voice of the voluntary youth sector at a strategic level with Government and other stakeholders and has been involved in advocacy and policy development.  As a qualified CIPD member, she has skills in all aspects of HR practice including recruitment and selection.

Ross McCrea, CENI Vice-chair 

Ross has had a long career in undertaking research, evaluations, independent assessments/ audits and public policy and public affairs work.  He has been particularly engaged in addressing the needs and rights of vulnerable children and young people.  He has also designed and evaluated a number of initiatives aimed at delivering on improved outcomes for care-experienced young people.

Brenda Kelly, National Manager (NI) – Sported

Brenda has 25 years’ experience within the third sector and local government in England and Northern Ireland; she is currently a manager with Sported.  Her work has included initiating and developing new projects, training and facilitation.  She has supported groups to strengthen their capacity across a range of themes including good impact practice, governance, strategic planning, involving volunteers and engaging women and girls.

Damien McNally, Evaluation Officer – Community Relations Council

Damien has a background in research methods and evaluation. He has been employed by the Community Relations Council as Evaluation Officer since 2007.  Damien has been involved in work which seeks to address the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and has previously been Chairperson of the Wave Trauma Centre; he acts as a lecturer for Wave on undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes on the topic of trauma.

Deborah Sloan, Academic Programme Leader – Ulster University

Deborah is an academic at Ulster University with expertise in work-based learning, employability and professional development. She is Course Director of the University’s graduate leadership programme and Programme Director of the University’s postgraduate short courses. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and alumni of the Advance HE Aurora programme for female leaders.

Duane Farrell,  CEO – Relate NI

Duane has been involved in the third sector in Northern Ireland for over 20 years, working particularly with the LGBT+ community, young people and older people.  Within his various roles, he has been responsible for monitoring and evaluating the impact of projects and programmes.  He is currently CEO of Relate NI which provides a range of professional counselling and therapeutic services.

Dr Jennifer Betts,  Independent Research Consultant

Jennifer is an independent research consultant who has over 30 years’ experience in social research methodology. She has previously been employed as a researcher and evaluator in the third sector, the Northern Ireland Assembly Statutory Committees and in academia. She is an advocate of the vital contribution of the third sector at a time when public services are dealing with increasing demands.

Joanne Morgan, Director – Community Development and Health Network

Joanne has been Director of the Community Development and Health Network for over 10 years.   A qualified Town Planner, she has worked within both the third sector and the statutory sector, including previous employment as Manager of Early Years Services.  She has a particular interest in knowledge translation, co-production and health literacy and their impact on communities.

Maggie Andrews, Education Programme Manager – EastSide Partnership

Maggie has more than 30 years’ experience of community development.  She has been employed in a range of settings including local council, funding bodies and the third sector and has particular skills in partnership development, strategic planning and community engagement. In her current role as Education Programme Manager, she is responsible for managing the EastSide Learning and Belfast East Community Education projects.

Dr Peter Doran, Academic at the School of Law – Queens University Belfast

Peter is an academic in the School of Law at Queens University Belfast; he is also a senior editor-writer for the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s UN reporting services on the environment and development. Peter has pursued a life-long interest in community development, ethical investment and ecological justice.