Our leadership

The Irish Cancer Society is a company limited by guarantee (# 20868) and registered as a charity with the Charities Regulatory Authority (CHY5863, CRA20009502). The Society is governed by its Constitution which provides for a member-based organisation with the following goals:

  1. Foster, promote and advance the relief, cure, treatment, prevention, lessening and alleviation of cancer or any disease of an allied or similar nature.
  2. Promote research devoted to the study of the origin and causes, relief, cure, treatment, prevention, lessening and alleviation of cancer, or any disease of an allied or similar nature.

The Society has a voluntary Board of Directors which meets at least six times a year. The Directors are responsible for the governance of the organisation.

Day-to-day operational management is delegated to the Chief Executive Officer, Averil Power, who is supported by the Executive Leadership Team. (“Management”) comprising Director of Fundraising & Engagement, Director of Finance and Organisational Development, Director of Services Delivery & Innovation, Director of Advocacy and External Affairs, and Director of Research.

The Board manages its work through a number of committees, consisting of Directors and external volunteers, each of which is chaired by a Director of the Board.

The Society values the benefits of having committee members of varying backgrounds, expertise and experience. Each director signs a conflict of interest form and register of interests declaration annually.

Board of Directors

Brid Horan (Chair)

Brid is an Independent Chair and Non-Executive Director with over 30 years’ experience in executive roles and on public and private boards. Currently Chancellor of Dublin City University, Chair of Nephin Energy,  and Non-Executive Director of PM Group.

Brid was ESB Deputy Chief Executive until 2014 and has served on the boards of IDA Ireland, FBD Holdings plc and National Pensions Reserve Fund.  She is an Actuary, Chartered Director and Fellow IOD.

Professor Janice Walshe

Consultant Medical Oncologist

St Vincent’s University Hospital, Ireland. 

Prof Janice Walshe is a graduate of University of Galway in Ireland in 1997. She completed her specialist training in the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin and gained a Masters in Molecular Medicine at Trinity College, Dublin. She completed her fellowship in the National Cancer Institute in Bethseda, Maryland where she investigated novel approaches in the treatment of HER2 positive and metastatic breast cancer.

Professor Sinead Brennan

Sinead is a Radiation Oncologist in St Luke’s hospital, Rathgar and in St James hospital, Dublin.

She is Chair of the Head and Neck DSSG at Cancer Trials Ireland.
 

Dr Mary Canavan

Dr Mary Canavan obtained her PhD in Immunology in 2012 and is now an Assistant Professor in Immunology in Trinity College Dublin. Her research group focuses on the immunological mechanisms that drive Rheumatological diseases.  Mary is an Irish Cancer Society advocacy champion, and PPI reviewer and has spoken publicly about being diagnosed with breast cancer when she was nine weeks pregnant with her first baby.

Maria Fleming 

Maria Fleming is CEO of First Fortnight, Ireland’s mental health arts festival. Maria has over 20 years’ experience working as a general manager, producer, programmer and arts consultant with Ireland’s leading companies, including Dublin Theatre Festival, The Ark, Druid Theatre Company and Irish Modern Dance Theatre. Maria is passionate about social justice. In addition, Maria volunteers as an Advocacy Champion for the Irish Cancer Society.

Allan Kearns

Allan is a senior manager in the Central Bank of Ireland with over 20 years’ experience in economics, analytics and risk management.

He was previously Board Chair of the Asthma Society of Ireland.

Irene O'Gorman

Irene is a highly experienced Chief Marketing Officer, currently with EY Ireland. Prior to that, she held marketing director roles with KPMG in the Middle East, Deloitte in Ireland, and has also worked with firms in South Africa and Australia. Irene was appointed to the Society’s Board on March 25, 2020. 

Ger Penny

Ger Penny is a qualified accountant and Chartered Director, with more than 25 years’ experience in strategic and financial management in organisations across Ireland, the UK and Asia. He is CFO of the Sisk Group and a non-executive director of Uniphar plc. He was appointed to the Society’s Board on March 5, 2020.

Alex White

Alex White SC is an experienced advocate and mediator, with a specialism in employment law. He is a former government minister and TD. Prior to commencing legal practice, he was a programme producer with RTÉ. He was appointed to the Society’s Board on March 25, 2020.

Our CEO and executive leadership team (ELT)
The ELT assists the Chief Executive, Averil Power, in managing the Irish Cancer Society's day-to-day business.

Averil Power, 

Chief Executive

Averil Power has been Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society since January 2018. She has over fifteen years’ leadership, policymaking and campaigns experience, having served as CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, an elected member of Seanad Éireann and a policy adviser in several Government departments.

Averil holds a Degree in Business, including non-profit management, from Trinity College Dublin and was President of Trinity Students’ Union from 2001 to 2002. She also has a Diploma in Law from the Kings Inns. 
 

Amy Nolan BNS MSc. FFN MRCSI,

Director of Clinical Affairs

Amy Nolan is ‘Director of Clinical Affairs’ at The Irish Cancer Society - leading their relationships with Clinicians and Healthcare Professionals and Institutional Partnerships with Hospitals & Universities. She also a member of their Executive Leadership Team, guides their clinical services, is clinical spokesperson, and leads their Research & Children, Adolescent & Young Adults (CAYA) teams and programs.

She previously held the role of ‘Head of Children, Adolescents & Young Adults’ and interim ‘Night Nursing Manager’ within the Irish Cancer Society – driving the development of bespoke services, campaigns and supports for patients and families affected by a CAYA cancer diagnosis, whilst in-tandem managing the nightly delivery of palliative care to end of life patients in their own homes.  She regularly engages with the HSE, NCCP, third-level higher education institutions, and international cancer bodies in the UK, Australia & Canada.

In 2022 she was admitted as a ‘Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland’ (FFN MRCSI) in-recognition of her career in Oncology Nursing and her commitment towards innovation, standards, education and improving patient outcomes.  She holds a first-class Masters in ‘Clinical leadership in Healthcare’.

Amy was previously Lead Cancer Nurse at St. James’s Hospital Dublin (SJH) and is proud of her track-record in the establishment of innovative supports, campaigns and national education programmes to benefit both patients and staff. 

Anne Byrne, 

Director of People, Strategy and Innovation

Anne leads the Society’s people and strategy functions including HR, volunteering and project management. She previously worked as a HR advisor and as a management consultant, for clients across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Anne holds a degree in Business and Political Science, postgraduate qualifications in employment law and in dispute resolution, and is a Prince2 qualified project manager.

Corrinne Hasson, 

Director of Services

Jennifer Owens, 

Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Jennifer is an experienced finance leader with over 20 years’ experience working in compliance, finance, technology, and risk.   She has worked in both private and public organisations with significant senior leadership experience in the not-for-profit sector specialising in finance and governance. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s in business, an accountancy qualification ACCA and a professional diploma in advanced management performance from UCD.

Rosemary Simmons, 

Interim Director of Fundraising and Marketing 

Rosemary joined the Irish Cancer Society in 2020 and has been responsible for leading our team’s iconic Daffodil Day and all of our fundraising efforts.  

An experienced Business Development Director and Marketing Strategist with a demonstrated history of working extensively in the Marketing Communications industry.  Rosemary has worked with global entities and indigenous Irish brands. 

Skilled in marketing management, public relations, sponsorship, event management, consumer strategy and brand development Rosemary is a consummate marketing professional with both commercial and Not-For-Profit experience. 

Finance Committee

  • Ger Penny (Chair)
  • Maria Fleming
  • Irene O'Gorman

The Finance Committee membership includes skills in the area of financial control, pension, risk and investments.  The Finance Committee exercises, on behalf of the Board, supervisory oversight of all aspects of the Society’s finances. It monitors financial performance, oversees management of the investment portfolio, and monitors pension arrangements, on an ongoing basis. It also reviews the annual budget for recommendation to the Board.

The Committee has a minimum of three members, two of whom must be Directors. The Finance Committee meets at least four times a year.

Audit and Risk Committee

  • Allan Kearns (Chair)
  • Kim McCann
  • Alex White

The Audit and Risk Committee membership includes skills in the area of internal and external audit, risk management, legal expertise, and investment management.

The Audit and Risk Committee assists the Board in fulfilling its responsibilities by independently reviewing the annual financial statements, overseeing the external audit, and reviewing the effectiveness of the Society’s internal controls. It also monitors the Society’s risk management, oversees regulatory and legislative compliance, and provides an assessment of risk processes and policies to the Board.

The Committee has a minimum of three members, two of whom must be Directors. The Committee meets at least two times a year.

Board Effectiveness Committee

  • Brid Horan (Chair)
  • Allan Kearns
  • Dr Mary Canavan
  • Ger Penny
  • Averil Power
  • Emma Browne
  • Jennifer Owens

The Board Effectiveness Committee was established in late 2020, replacing the Governance and Nominating Committee. Its role is to oversee the nomination, recruitment, and on-going training, as necessary, of Directors, and support Board and sub-committee effectiveness.  

The Board Effectiveness Committee’s membership consists of the Chair of the Board, the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee, the Chair of the Finance Committee, the Chair of the Research Advisory Committee, the CEO and the Company Secretary.  The Committee meets at least two times a year.

Research Advisory Committee

  • Dr Mary Canavan (Chair)
  • Dr Susan Gapstur
  • Sir Alex Markham
  • Prof John Reynolds
  • Dr Ann Brady
  • Professor Janice Walshe 

The Research Advisory Committee membership includes national and international scientific leaders with expertise in translational, clinical and survivorship cancer research. It also includes a Public & Patient Involvement (PPI) representative.

The Research Advisory Committee reviews and evaluates the research activities and investments of the Society to ensure that they are achieving the objectives set out in the Society’s strategic plan. It also ensures that the activities of the research department are in line with the national and international cancer research landscape, in addition to emerging clinical and patient needs.

The Committee has a minimum of five members, one of whom must be a Director. The Committee meets at least two times a year.

Charities Institute Ireland Triple Lock Standards