Management & Programme Contacts
Age & Opportunity is managed by a Board of Directors, the members of which are voluntary and mostly retired. The Board’s role is defined by Irish law and its Articles of Association. Working with CEO, Karen Smyth, they regulate the affairs of Age & Opportunity and agree policy direction for the organisation.
The Board also contribute to an ethos of empowerment within Age & Opportunity which means that, as an organisation, we seek equality, not charity, promoting the participation of older people as decision-makers and active participants.
Age & Opportunity's board members are:
- Ita Mangan (Chair)
- Sarah Bowman
- Mairead Egan
- Fionnuala Hanrahan
- Mary Kelly
- Catherine Marshall
- Tony McCarthy
- Shane McQuillan
- Paul Murray
- Helen O'Donoghue
- John O'Brien
Karen Smyth, CEO
Karen became CEO of Age & Opportunity in July 2014. She leads the Age & Opportunity senior team, driving the mission of the organisation, implementing the overall strategy and representing Age & Opportunity at national and international events. Karen has a particular interest in ensuring that appropriate services and programmes are available for the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society. Karen previously worked in the area of social housing and homelessness for 14 years, as Director of Drogheda Homeless Aid, a voluntary housing association providing accommodation and support for homeless people. Karen has also worked as Acting Co-ordinator and Lecturer on the MA in Criminal Justice in the Institute of Public Administration.
Karen has served on the Boards of the Irish Council for Social Housing, Tuath Housing Association, Don Bosco Services, Drogheda Job Initiative, Drogheda Community Training Centre and Calipo Theatre Company. Karen has been a member of Drogheda Rotary Club since 2002, and was the Club's Community and Vocational Officer for 10 years. She holds a Degree in Business and Legal Studies from UCD, a Masters in Public Management and Criminal Justice, and a Professional Certificate in Governance from the Institute of Public Administration.
Senior Management Team
Tara Byrne, Manager of Arts & Culture
Michael Foley, Manager of Policy, Research & Development
Michael’s role in Age & Opportunity is to develop principal strategy and reporting documents as well as to help the programme managers to develop new ways of achieving the organisations overall goals. He is also working on evidence-based outcome measures so that donors and sponsors of Age & Opportunity can see the tangible results of what we are achieving.
Mary Harkin, Manager of Go For Life
Ciaran McKinney, Manager of Active Citizenship and Lifelong Learning
Ciarán McKinney has been at Age & Opportunity since 2009 and is Manager of Active Citizenship and Lifelong Learning. Ciaran leads the organisation's Get Engaged programme, encouraging people to engage with local authorities around ageing issues and Older People's Councils. Ciaran delivers training and facilitation to the public, private and the community and voluntary sectors in age awareness, group work skills and Ageing with Confidence. He is currently a member of two Task Forces at AGE Europe (Social Inclusion and Minimum Income) and represented Age & Opportunity on two European projects, Minimum Income for a Dignified Life in Older Age and Active Senior Citizens for Europe.
Margaret Roe, Office Manager, HR Manager, Membership Officer
Coordination and Administration Team
Kim Chew, Administrator
Ciara Dawson, Go for Life Administrator
Ciara is a member of the Go for Life team providing administrative support for all aspects of the Go for Life Programme and liaising with Local Sports Partnerships, FitLine mentors and Go for Life Trainers to deliver a national service. Ciara deals with queries from the large numbers of people who are interested in getting more physically active as we age.
Sue Guildea, Go For Life Assistant Manager
Sue began working for Age & Opportunity in September 2007. She works closely with Mary Harkin on the development and delivery of Go for Life, maintaining the partnerships needed to ensure that Go for Life continues to reach significant numbers. She has always had an interest in health and fitness and has a BA in Leisure Management.
Fiona Holohan, Active Citizenship and Lifelong Learning Coordinator
Fiona is the Active Citizenship and Lifelong Learning Coordinator, who works with the Manager of Active Citizenship & Lifelong Learning. She manages planning, scheduling and budgeting of a wide range of our programmes including Get Engaged, Creative Exchanges, AgeWise and The Community Effect. She also provides event management services for Age & Opportunity.