Shannon Chamber Skillnet Delivers New Cohort of High Performing Leaders

Graduates of the Diploma in High Performance Leadership delivered by Shannon Chamber Skillnet pictured at Dromoland Castle Hotel (from left): Theresa Kenny, Marie-Therese Kilmartin, Alan Tully, Damian Hawkins, Suzanne Kelly, and Caroline O’Connor. Photograph by Eamon Ward.


Nine executives from Shannon Chamber member companies have been conferred with a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Level 8 Diploma in High Performance Leadership at a graduation ceremony in Dromoland Castle Hotel.

The conferring, which was officiated by Dr Colin Hughes, Head of School, TU Dublin, was the first in-person conferring of a Shannon Chamber Skillnet accreditation since the onset of the pandemic. It was also the first time all nine graduates had met in person since commencing their studies over twelve months ago and the first time such a programme has resulted in all graduates assuming new roles linked to their course of study.

The conferring party included Dr Colin Hughes, Dr Lorraine Sweeny, Assistant Head of School, TU Dublin, Dr Wassim Derguech, Steering Group Chairperson, Shannon Chamber Skillnet and Noelle Foley Coughlan, senior client services manager, Career Decisions Ireland.

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Hughes said: “I commend Skillnet Ireland for continually thinking of what organisations need and for channelling funding through its network, including Shannon Chamber Skillnet, to deliver programmes of this calibre. The business environment is changing more rapidly than ever with intense competition, a dramatic increase in the pace of technological change and a fundamental shift in how we work and how we do business.

“The past two years have been compounded by the many new challenges now facing organisations, which require leaders to play a key role in shaping their company’s future. The qualification these new graduates have received has equipped them with the skills to drive change and the ability to lead. Continually supporting the professional development of leaders is so paramount in today’s operating environment.”

Chairperson of Shannon Chamber Skillnet Dr Wassim Derguech added: “Business needs, particularly the skills required to drive innovation in organisations, is uppermost in our considerations when designing an annual training programme. The tremendous investment in time involved in undertaking this Level 8 CPD programme will deliver quantifiable payback in the years ahead. Leadership is fundamental in any organisation and when the leaders themselves undertake training at this level, the associated message that permeates throughout the organisation is very strong.”

Speaking after their conferring, the graduates were unanimous in the value of the programme describing the new skills acquired as most beneficial, the journey to completing the programme as very reflective, the mix of academic and assignments very focussed and the opportunity it has presented to them to take on new roles as tremendous; most are with new employers in the region.

The graduates included: Alan Tully (Abbvie Galway); Caroline O’Connor (CSGL Electrical); Damian Hawkins (Beckman Coulter and formerly LTTS); John Slattery (formerly Shannon Airport); Marie-Therese Kilmartin (The Le Chéile Schools Trust); Noreen Nicholas (Serosept and formerly Molex); Ross McInerney (ex Molex); Suzanne Kelly (Dept. of Transport and formerly Shannon Group); Theresa Kenny (Baker Hughes).

Shannon Chamber invites engagement from companies that are seeking to upskill or reskill their employees so that it can devise and deliver training programmes via its Skillnet that are framed to companies’ exact requirements. The level of training activity requested through Shannon Chamber Skillnet has been increasing year on year since the Network was established over six years ago.



Pictured at the Diploma in High Performance Leadership conferring ceremony in Dromoland Castle Hotel (from left): Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber, Dr Wassim Derguech, Shannon Chamber Skillnet steering group chair, Trish Doyle and Noelle Foley Coughlan, Career Decisions Ireland, graduates Alan Tully, Marie-Therese Kilmartin, Damian Hawkins, Suzanne Kelly, Caroline O’Connor, and Theresa Kenny, and Dr Colin Hughes and Dr Lorraine Sweeny, TU Dublin. Photograph by Eamon Ward