The Better Leadership Forum

The Better Leadership Forum is a series of four events, hosted by LIFT Ireland throughout 2021 with the aim of instigating a high-profile public debate on leadership. Each event will focus on leadership in four key sectors of Irish life: the media, politics, business, the public sector.
At each event, national and international representatives from each sector will join a high-profile MC to discuss what good leadership looks like, how to cultivate it, and the benefits of building leadership skills across Irish life.

Upcoming Events

Event 3: ‘Leadership in Business
Thursday, 7th October, 1-2pm
The third event in The Better Leadership Forum will explore leadership in Business.

The Line-Up

The panel discussion will be moderated by businesswoman Sonya Lennon, while the speakers will be announced shortly:


Previous Events

Event 2: ‘Leadership in Politics: How do we Cultivate Good Political Leaders? 
Thursday, 10th June, 1-2pm
The second event in The Better Leadership Forum explored leadership in politics. Topics addressed included:
  • What leadership skills do politicians really need?

  • Can you be a ‘good’ leader while also being a ‘strong’ leader?

  • Does party politics stymie individuals’ leadership capabilities?

  • What can political parties and the wider political system do to promote ethical leadership?

Watch back on the second event in The Better Leadership Forum which took place online with great lineup of representatives and experts, who shared their thoughts on leadership in politics

The Line-Up

The panel discussion was moderated by journalist, broadcaster and author Alison O’Connor, while the speakers were:

  • US Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, who represents New Jersey’s 11th Formerly a Navy pilot and a federal prosecutor, she is a member of the Democratic Party, and was elected to the House of Representatives in 2018, defeating Republican Jay Webber. She was re-elected in 2020 by a slightly narrower margin.
  • Jim O’Callaghan TD, who has served as a Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Bay South since 2016 and was formerly a member of Dublin City Council. He is currently Fianna Fáil’s Director of Elections for the by-election in Dublin Bay South.
  • Activist and academic Ailbhe Smyth, who served as strategic advisor for the Marriage Equality referendum campaign and co-director of the Together for Yes campaign for the referendum on the Eighth Amendment. In 2019, she was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.
  • Olwyn Enright,

    Olwyn Enright, former TD, was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 2002 becoming FG Spokesperson on Education and Science and was re-elected in 2007 serving as Spokesperson on Social Protection.Before that she served as a councillor for the Birr electoral area from 1999. She was the first female TD to represent the Laois–Offaly constituency. On leaving politics Olwyn worked as Director of Public Affairs in Edelman until 2017. She is currently working as an advocacy consultant with Dóchas. Olwyn has a degree in Civil Law degree and attended the Law Society of Ireland in Blackhall Place, Dublin, qualifying as a solicitor in 1999 and a Diploma in Community Development Practice from NUIG.

  • Professor Niamh Brennan, the Michael MacCormac Professor of Management at University College Dublin and Founder/Academic Director of the UCD Centre for Corporate Governance. Niamh is the Better Leadership Series  Rapporteur and will compile a report at the end of this series.

Event 1: ‘Leadership in the Media: A Two-Way Street?’ 
Thursday, 15th April, 1-2pm
Watch back on the first event in The Better Leadership Forum which took place online with great lineup of media representatives and experts, who shared their thoughts on leadership in the media

Topics explored included: 

  • The role of the media in calling out good and bad leadership. 
  • Leadership within media organisations themselves – can / do the media speak truth to power? 
  • The role of the media in promoting positivity during difficult times.  
  • Accountability, honesty, respect and integrity within the media.   
  • The importance of press freedom and an independent and well-functioning media sector.  
  • How the media influence public sentiment on leadership.   


  • Professor Kevin Rafter, Head of the School of Communications at DCU. A former journalist, Professor Rafter is also currently Chair of the Arts Council and Chair of the Compliance Committee of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.


  • Emily O’Reilly, European Ombudsman, author and former journalist and broadcaster.
  • Emma Dabiri, Author, broadcaster and social historian. Emma currently co-presents Britain’s Lost Masterpieces on BBC4 and Virtually Historyon YouTube Originals.
  • Ian Kehoe, Editor of The Currency, former Editor of the Sunday Business Post, Deputy Chair of the RTÉ Board.
  • Sinéad O’Carroll is the Editor of The Journal, where she has worked for the past decade. She is also a regular presenter and contributor on national television and radio current affairs and news programmes.


    • Professor Niamh Brennan, the Michael MacCormac Professor of Management at University College Dublin and Founder/Academic Director of the UCD Centre for Corporate Governance.
Upcoming Better Leadership Forums
Event Four – December 2021: Public Sector Leadership 
Leadership in the Public Sector’ 


These events will be followed by events on leadership in non-profits, youth, sport and other areas of Irish society.


Learn more about LIFT By joining one of our free online leadership sessions here

LIFT Ireland
16 Fitzwilliam Street
Dublin 2 | Ireland



LIFT Ireland Is A Not-For-Profit Initiative Aimed At Increasing The Level Of Positive Leadership Capabilities In Ireland.

CRM Direct

  • Dublin | Ireland

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