Since 2013 I have been a HAI member and I have served three years on the Board. My main responsibilities are to sit on the Ceremonies Development Management Committee (CDMC) and to be the designated Garda Vetting office liaison. In addition I sit on a number of charity and NGO boards in the Mid-West region and have 25 years’ experience of working in the Community Voluntary Sector. Currently, I am managing a programme for long term unemployed people in a Regeneration Area of Limerick city. I have been awarded a Masters in Partnership Studies (inc. Governance) from the University of Limerick and my specialties/ research interests include: Community Sector, Partnership, Governance, Social inclusion, Community Development, Poverty, Irish Social Policy and Citizen Participation. I am married to Pat and have one grown up son. When not working I enjoy volunteering with various not for profit groups and catching up with pals for chats and coffee.
For almost twenty years I worked as a maintenance and contracts electrician in Cork, London and Waterford before becoming the owner and Managing Director of Germar Electrical Ltd up to 2019. The company employs up to 30 employees working for major industrial and construction companies in Ireland. Over the years, I have been active on a number of fronts - as a member of Association of Electrical Contractors of Ireland (AECI), an employer representative at National negotiations on pay etc, I authored a submission to Oireachtas committee on state of Electrical Contractor Industry and was elected President of AECI from 2002 to 2004.
My aims for the HAI involves all of its members through utilisation of the national groups framework in promoting their ideas to national and international Forums. I would like to change the financial base of the Association to make it less dependent on income (greatly appreciated) from the work of celebrants and to focus more toward event and membership management. In the long term I aim to tabulate and advance all the agreed ideals of the members.
I have been a HAI member since 2018 but have been an avid humanist for many years before that. One of my passions around humanism is enjoying life and inspiring people to learn, engage and listen. This is especially so as we seek to unite our members more around the humanist values we cherish and want to see enhanced in this time of great change, socially and ecologically, across all ages and social groups within the humanist community. My aim as a Board member is to help create more local, regional events and to develop this concept with all our members and also promoting one day having a wider global humanist Ireland event. I support wider communication and regulatory compliance for the association and have already been working through these topics with the board. Besides being a committed Humanist, I am also a linguist speaking fluent Irish, Spanish, German and some French and Polish too. I am an avid open water swimmer and have recently qualified as an Open Water Level 2 swimming coach.
Aidan Pender, Chairperson
I joined the HAI in 2016. Previously I have worked with Fáilte Ireland as Director of Strategic Development and Secretary to the Board. Other roles have included working with the PA Consulting Group (London) as a Managing Consultant, an Executive Director in the Institute of Public Administration (Dublin) and a Training Manager for the Management Centre Europe (Brussels). Currently I work as a business consultant mainly in the tourism, culture, and sport sectors and have worked on training and consulting projects in six African countries for Irish Overseas Aid, the UN, EU, and World Bank. In recent years I have completed assignments for the OECD in Egypt, Mexico, and Romania. I was delighted to join the HAI Board last April and looks forward to contributing to the further development, growth, and success of the organization. I would very much welcome your support in enabling me to do this.
Dara Hogan, Finance Director
I’m a retired Chartered Management Accountant with extensive, board-level experience in the logistics and FMCG sectors. The last 7 years of my career were in social enterprise at An Cosán in Tallaght West where I devised the award-winning Fledglings Early Years group of 8 crèches / pre-schools for families in areas of deprivation.
I have had a life-long commitment to the sport and not-for-profit sectors. In the 1970s I was a volunteer soup-runner for the Simon Community and Treasurer of the Irish Underwater Council. More recently I chaired the Irish Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (IHPA) for more than a decade and I have been Director / Treasurer of the National Aero Club of Ireland (NACI) since 2006.
I’m a HAI member since 2005 and in May 2018 I responded to HAI’s appeal for a director with finance skills. Since my appointment, I registered HAI with Revenue and set up payroll and monthly management accounts in the cloud. I have also built an integrated database in QuickBooks for celebrants’ ceremonies.
I’m a husband, father and grandfather who loves having time with Mary (also retired) and my family. I’m also an active paraglider pilot and a musician.
I grew up in Dublin, but am now living in Kildare with my husband, daughter, and dog. Currently, I serve as a director on the board of the HAI which helps to fulfil my strong belief in humanist values. I have been working as an editorial assistant on the communications team of a trade union for the past 13 years. Working for a member-based organisation has given me skills that I can bring to my role on the HAI board. I have travelled extensively throughout Europe, South East Asia, South America and New Zealand. I have a keen interest in conservation and sustainable living and believe that Humanism ties in with a responsibility to look after our planet. When I joined the HAI in 2016, I immediately signed up to volunteer on the Campaigns Team. I have enjoyed organising the HAI group at Dublin Pride Parade in 2017 and 2018, and worked on the HAI Blasphemy Awareness campaign in the lead up to the 2018 referendum to remove the offence of Blasphemy from the Constitution. I look forward to working with my fellow board members in progressing the cause of Humanism in Ireland.
I’ve been a member of the HAI since 2016. At humanist events and local groups I enjoy meeting people with a similar outlook to me, who agree that our actions have consequences, and know that if we want change we must do it ourselves.
Currently I share the honour of keeping the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media accounts active and relevant, and creating public awareness around equality for the non-religious in education, employment and healthcare. I also produce and present the Humanism Ireland Podcast, documenting the activities of Humanists in Ireland so members not present and anyone can be part of the conversation.
As a board member (since 2019) I want to help the HAI reach all the people in Ireland who are Humanists but don’t know it yet. I want to bring more members on board through traditional and social media, open days, events and school visits. I am personally committed to highlighting issues faced by non-religious children in religious schools. I believe the current board is building upon the great progress made by the previous board in protecting and enhancing the HAI’s image, and in corporate governance.
I am a father of two and an arts graduate who enjoys music, conversation, hiking, sea swimming and the company of dogs.
Jillian joined the Humanist Association of Ireland as Operations Manager in July 2020. Prior to joining the HAI, she worked as Operations Manager and Project Manager across financial services and the public sector. Jillian has a BA in Communication Studies, an MSc in Management of Library and Information Services and is currently studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Information Design and Development with Cork Institute of Technology. Jillian is committed to the goal of promoting and developing the HAI and to delivering meaningful services to Humanists in Ireland.
Administrator and Company Secretary
Kilda joined the HAI in 2012 and shortly after secured the position of Administrator, which has kept her busy ever since! Apart from overall administration and support for the Chair and the Board, she has more recently been helping to develop and implement a new training programme for celebrants. Her background is a wide variety of jobs in the Civil Service – as a training specialist, and in policy roles in a number of government departments where my work was very varied and interesting – including advising Ministers, writing speeches, drafting regulations, representing Ireland’s interests on EU working groups, and overseeing state bodies. Kilda is a TCD graduate - B.A. Mod., H. Dip. Ed and M.Phil - and also holds an M. Ed in Training and Development from Sheffield University.
A keen nature enthusiast, Kilda enjoys nature, and participates in a monthly bumblebee survey for the National Biodiversity Centre. She also enjoys classical music, literature, and lively discussions about things like equality and the evils of the patriarchy.
Website, CRM and Membership Queries
Valerie have been working on a part-time basis with the HAI since November 2019 in a non-executive position. Her role involves dealing with membership queries and she has been heavily involved with the roll-out of the current website and CRM system. Previously, Valerie held a number of different roles with Apple Operations Europe from Customer Service, Call Centre Operations and finally Workforce Management. Valerie is technically very capable, but would not describe herself as an expert in any one particular field. She holds a BSC from the University of Limerick and Master of Business Systems from University College Cork both which were gained as a mature student while parenting two small boys. That time gave her a good insight into how busy people’s lives can be for a variety of reasons and why Valerie expresses the utmost respect for people who serve on our Board in a voluntary capacity in addition to other demands on their time. Together with her co-workers, members of the Board and our Celebrants, she hopes we can make the HAI thrive and promote humanist philosophy in Ireland.