Maeve was appointed to NOW Group in 2001 and has been responsible for the development of the organisation over the past 21 years. She has been Chief Executive for the past 13 years and believes passionately in the rights of people with disabilities to have equal access to high-quality training and employment.
NOW Group, a limited company with charitable status, is an award-winning social enterprise that supports 2000 people with barriers to employment and learning into the workforce.
The organisation also operates three successful social enterprise businesses called Loaf Catering, Gauge Impact and JAM Card, the profits from which go back into NOW Group’s work.
Loaf Catering is a social enterprise operating five cafes and an outside catering business. Gauge Impact supports organisations across the third, private, public and philanthropy sectors in the UK and the Republic of Ireland to measure, evaluate and communicate their social impact. JAM Card is a social innovation developed by NOW Group participants. It offers a simple and discreet way of communicating that someone needs ‘Just a Minute’ in social or business settings. There are now 110,000 people using either a physical JAM Card or the app on their smartphone. Over 500 businesses are JAM Card friendly thus displaying their commitment to providing better customer service.
Maeve has an Advanced Diploma in Management Practices and a Masters in Executive Leadership from the University of Ulster. She was named Outstanding Leadership and Management Leader 2018 Women in Business. Maeve was Chair of the Community Foundation Northern Ireland for six years and was Chair of Give Inc, Ireland’s first Giving Circle, for four years.
Maeve was awarded an MBE in March 2022 for services to people with learning difficulties and was included in 2018, 2019 and 2020 WISE100 UK (Women in Social Enterprise Top 100) and highly commended in Nat West’s WISE100 2022 Social Business Leader of the Year.
Maria McCann is the founder and Managing Partner at McCann Public Relations, a chambers practice specialising in reputation and crisis management, litigation PR, health care communications, and public affairs. Maria’s career began in journalism and has spanned the local, national, and international media scene: from weekly newspaper reporter to national broadcaster and foreign correspondent. In 1993, Maria moved back to Northern Ireland and became Managing Partner at Macmillan Media, the newsgathering and independent television production company. She developed Macmillan’s public relations division before taking this forward as an independent firm. Her client list reaches across the private, public, and voluntary sectors providing strategic communications services, governance advice and risk assessment. Maria is a Trustee of Oxfam Ireland and has held previous board positions with Northern Ireland Screen and the Northern Ireland Research Ethics Committee.
John is a leading voice and driver in the delivery of social and affordable housing in Ireland. He is CEO of Circle Voluntary Housing Association (VHA), one of Ireland’s top five largest Approved Housing Bodies, and as chair of The Housing Alliance he strives for the industry to ‘do more’ in its contribution to ‘Housing for All’, to challenge the barriers to delivery and to be innovative in its approach to meet social housing targets alongside providing much needed homes to those in housing need. During his five year tenure at the helm of Circle VHA, John has grown the portfolio of the company’s social and affordable homes alongside its managed services, delivered on its growing direct construction projects, engaged in creative collaborations and partnerships and agreed innovative funding deals with national institutions.
Chris Lillie is the Group HR Director for SHS Group. The SHS Group was founded in 1975 and operates in the fast-moving consumer goods sector throughout the UK and Ireland and is now one of Northern Ireland’s largest and most profitable privately owned groups, employing approx. 1200 across the UK and Ireland. In his role of Group HR Director, Chris has responsibility for leading the strategic people agenda across the diverse SHS Group. The award-winning people agenda is centred on talent management, high performance, organisational capability, becoming the best workplace and offering the best HR partnership.
Prior to SHS, Chris worked for Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland for six years and held the role of HR Director. He has worked in other industries including retail, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing, holding senior roles in both Qualitrol and Boots. Chris has previous board experience in the voluntary sector and is also actively involved with organisations such as Business in the Community and the CIPD, of which he is a member.
Over the last 15 years, Niall has gained experience with both public and private sector organisations in the strategic application of technology to deliver digital transformation programmes. Currently, Niall is a Solutions Consultant with PlotBox, an innovative deathtech organisation. In his role, Niall partners with Bereavement Services professionals across UK and Ireland to transform operations and help them better serve the families who need them most. In previous roles, Niall held an Account Director position with a global digital experience agency, responsible for transforming client relationships and helping organisations optimise their customer experiences, and was a director of a local software company focused on enhancing digital experiences in the Local Government area, for both internal and external stakeholders. With this background and interest, Niall is passionate about using technology for good in community engagement and development.
Paddie is a CIPFA qualified accountant with many years’ experience in health service management and corporate governance. From 1998 to 2010 she was Director of Finance and Corporate Services for the Northern Ireland Regional Medical Physics Agency, a next-steps agency of the NI Health and Personal Social Services (NIHPSS). In 2010 Paddie took up a post in the voluntary sector as Director of Finance for MindWise, a local mental health charity, and was with them she retired in 2013. Following retirement Paddie became a voluntary member of the Board of Trustees for the Northern Ireland branch of L’Arche International, serving as Treasurer for four years, before stepping down in September 2016. Her specialist areas include Costing and Contracting and she has particular interests in Corporate Governance and Risk Management.
Lloyd is a graduate of the University of Ulster and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). He has over 13 years of commercial property experience and spent over a decade working for two Belfast based commercial property consultants. Lloyd currently holds a portfolio manager role with a London based property consultancy that specialises in growing secondary revenue streams for landlords, with a focus on property estates owned by transport operators. He has extensive experience in the sale, leasing and acquisition of properties throughout NI across the commercial and residential sectors, with instructions undertaken on behalf of private and public sector clients. Lloyd also has experience of working on property commercialisation/revenue generation projects throughout the UK. He previously held a voluntary position with a Belfast based homeless organisation and joined the board of Clanmil in February 2021.
Norman has over twenty years senior management experience working in housing associations. An economics graduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science, he is a qualified accountant with over 30 years post qualification experience. Norman was the Finance Director of Saxon Weald housing association for almost 19 years and a member of the housing association’s Board of trustees and the company secretary for 10 years. He has a particular interest in financial management, risk management, business planning and governance. Norman is a trustee and chair of the Audit and Finance Committee of The Sussex Beacon, a Brighton based healthcare charity.
David is a hugely experienced leader in both executive and non-executive roles. He has over 30 years’ experience in Chief Executive roles, most recently at the National Housing Federation. He is Chair of ReSi Housing and of Clarion Housing Association, is a previous President of Housing Europe and previous Chair of Reall, an international development housing charity. He is also chair of The Good Home Inquiry, co-chair of #Housing 2030, a joint project for Housing Europe and UNECE, and a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Housing, Church and Community Commission. David is widely regarded as a compelling and inspiring public speaker focusing on the challenge of optimistic leadership and the critical importance of great governance. He has huge media experience, is a well-regarded commentator and blogger and has extensive expertise navigating the sometimes opaque world of politics and government. In June 2018 David was awarded a CBE.
Kevin joined the Board in 2017. Kevin spent over 10 years working in the mobile telecoms industry before moving into the energy sector where he held senior roles in the Utility Regulator, NIE Networks and most recently SONI. He is currently Head of Commercial and Regulation at SONI Ltd. Kevin’s experience brings a key focus on risk managemant, sustainability and IT strategy. Kevin also brings a good mix of both public and private sector experience to the Board.
Eileen Patterson is an independent professional who has a wide range of experience in all aspects of housing and has held senior positions in Radius, Fold and the Housing Executive.
She is committed to the delivery of high quality social housing and support services and in raising the standards of professionalism throughout the housing sector. Eileen is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Housing, is a previous Chair of the Northern Ireland Advisory Board and has recently been appointed to the newly created CIH Advisory Board for the Republic of Ireland.
She is a representative for Northern Ireland on the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence.
A graduate of Ulster University, she holds an MSc in Housing and is also a graduate of the Queen’s University Business Leaders Programme.