Ashoka Ireland Quarterly - Autumn 2016



Ashoka Ireland was featured in the Autumn 2016 edition of Business Ireland Magazine. Editor Barry McCall interviewed Advisory Board Member Patrick Coveney, and ASN Member Brian Caulfield.


"I think it can make a huge difference to society. Ashoka combines the passion, energy, and enthusiasm of the social entrepreneurs with better business practice and provides resources to help them to succeed.” - Patrick Coveney

See the full issue online, or pick up a hard copy from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 17.30.06.png


We are intrigued by what makes a successful entrepreneur…what qualities and skill sets must you have in order to build a successful organization and positively impact those working with you? As we pose this question to the entrepreneurs in our network, we see an interesting commonality: many of the most successful business leaders have had non-traditional learning experiences.

Ross Hall, Ashoka's Director of Education in Europe, sat down with Rosaleen Blair, Founder and CEO of Alexander Mann Solutions, one of the world’s leading talent acquisition and management firms, to talk about her learning style – and how we can better prepare the next generation of business leaders and changemakers.

"I was what some might consider to be unemployable," said the Irish CEO, who started her first venture, a childcare company, in Dublin, shortly after finishing school. "I realized very early on that I had to be self-sufficient, and that’s why I’ve always started my own businesses. I’ve always known that I had to control my own destiny."


"I’ve always known that I had to control my own destiny."

Read the full interview on the Ashoka channel on Forbes.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 17.31.26.png


From 19th to 22nd of October, we welcomed over 150 changemakers and leaders in education to Killarney, Co. Kerry, for the 2016 Changemaker Education Summit. It was a unique opportunity for European members of the Ashoka Changemaker Schools network to come together with education innovators, to share ideas and best practices to improve education in today's world, for all children.

Attendees toured St. Oliver's National School (a member of the Irish Changemaker Schools network) and observed a Roots of Empathy class, based on the ground-breaking method for empathy education developed by Ashoka Fellow Mary Gordon.

View highlights from the summit in the photos below and on our Facebook page!

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 17.31.55.png

We would like to extend a warm thank you to Rory D'Arcy, principal of St. Oliver's NS in Killarney, and the staff at Muckross House, for welcoming our guests.

Read Carl O'Brien's article on the Changemaker Schools programme in The Irish Times.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 17.32.25.png


Ashoka Fellow organisation CoderDojo have launched Future Makers Awards to celebrate digital solutions that answer society’s most pressing challenges – and there is still time to enter!

From October 18th-December 1st, youths aged 10 – 17 years old are invited to make the future by using their coding superpowers to create projects that bring about a positive social change in their communities.

You can view their fantastic brainstorming guide here.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 17.33.17.png


Ashoka Ireland Fellow Michael Kelly is the Founder of Grow It Yourself, a global network of people who grow their own food as a lever to greater wellbeing. GIY’s big idea is that the simple practice of growing and nurturing food can help people develop ‘food empathy,’ leading to healthier habits and lifestyles. Michael believes that many health, diet and environmental problems in the world can be traced back to a pattern of ‘food apathy,’ which GIY’s community-based activity aims to counteract.

2016 has been a big year for the movement: After over five years of fundraising, planning and building, Mick & the GIY team finally opened GROW HQ, a home-grown food training centre, cookery school, café, shop and training gardens on a high profile site in Waterford City, in October. It is the home of the GIY movement internationally, and the hub from which we will run food awareness, education and outreach programmes.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 17.34.10.png

"After years of planning, fundraising, working and dreaming, GROW HQ has been completed and opened. The Food Education Centre is running courses, feeding hundreds of people a day and welcoming companies for events. There are plenty of new challenges ahead and we’ll expand and grow over the years, but 2016 will always be the year we came home.

It can be easy to forget these days that GIY isn’t all about GROW HQ! Believe it or not, GIY activities have carried on and actually increased in their scale this year. 2016 is the year that two of our largest campaigns, 'Give Peas a Chance' (in partnership with Cully&Sully) and 'Sow and Grow' (in partnership with Innocent) expanded into the UK. One of the most awe-inspiring moments of the year was when we realised that 4,500 schools were growing food in their classrooms, thanks to these campaigns.

2016 is also the year GIY grew from a small team of only four full-time staff and one full time grower, to a large team of 30 staff between GIY and GROW HQ. Seeing so many opportunities created by a nonprofit social enterprise makes us all so proud. Proud not only of this organisation and our work, but also of the changing culture of health, sustainability and food empathy that drives the increasing demand for what we do. We are a movement of our own, but we’re also part of a larger one. The movement towards quality over quantity, putting the health of people, populations and the planet before the width of a profit margin. There is a paradigm shift occurring, driven only by passion to change the world for the better, and 2016 is the year the shift began to achieve critical mass for us."

This post was written by Mick Kelly & Claire Cullen. Find out more on GIY's website.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 17.34.39.png


These rats are big heroes in health innovation --- A spotlight on international Ashoka Fellow Bart Weetjens and other innovators in health (Silicon Republic, Aug)

Major Irish role in €2.2m farm biodiversity drive --- Great news for Ashoka Fellow Brendan Dunford and Burren Beo (Irish Times, Aug)

How peer mediation empowers children to build self-esteem --- A guest blog by Changemaker principal Maeve Corish on the Ashoka Ireland blog (Aug)

On the future of business and why skills like empathy matter --- A spotlight on CEO Rosaleen Blair and her business philosophy in Forbes (Sept)

Meditation practice brings tranquility and confidence to the school day --- A guest blog by Changemaker principal Breda Murray on the Ashoka Ireland blog (Sept)

Meet the changemaker schools --- A special investigative feature on Changemaker Schools, by Education Correspondent Carl O'Brien, in The Irish Times (Oct)

Grow HQ to be hub for a food ‘revolution’ --- The big moment for Ashoka Fellow Mick Kelly and GIY, chronicled on the Transition Monaghan blog (Oct)

Ashoka: Transforming society --- Our special feature in Business Ireland Magazine (Nov)

Munster service to fly doctors to incidents to be launched --- Spotlight on Fellow John Kearney and Irish Community Rapid Response in The Irish Times



This is the autumn 2016 issue of the Ashoka Ireland quarterly newsletter. Feel free to share the link widely! Please contact Fiona ( with articles or submissions for our winter edition, planned for Jan/Feb.

Find out more about our work on our website, and find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.