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Social Entrepreneurs Summer Alumni Day

Doug Munro, Head of Product at Ulster Bank and Seán Coughlan, Chief Executive of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

Doug Munro, Head of Product at Ulster Bank and Seán Coughlan, Chief Executive of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

On Wednesday June 12th, the Social Entrepreneurs Summer Alumni Day took place in the beautiful Pillar Room in the grounds of Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital. Doug Munro, Head of Product at Ulster Bank and Seán Coughlan, Chief Executive of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland announced an exciting new partnership between Ulster Bank and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. Here are some thoughts on the day from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland 2012 Impact Awardee, Aviva Cohen.

Just beside the Gate theatre is a hidden treasure: The Pillar Room. Clad in marble, steeped in history and decorated with portraits of those who fought to change Ireland for the better, it was the perfect place to appreciate how privileged we are to belong to the SEI Alumni network.

The event was full of highlights from the expertly delivered presentations to the impromptu insights from the floor. We were supported, educated, inspired and energised. The mix of familiar and new is always exciting at SEI events. For me a familiar element was meeting SEI’s new sponsor Ulster Bank; they were the first to believe in me and my work. Their support gave me the resources I needed to make my first application to SEI and begin a brand new life.

The day began as Roisin Joyce shared knowledge that has clearly come from years of experience and research. It ended with Pat Gilroy who eloquently and simply explained complex theories of motivation and management. At the heart of the day Karl Swan and Tony Griffin, of the aptly named Soar, led us through a journey of self-awareness.  I had heard about their admirable work with young people but on Thursday we had the privilege of experiencing it for ourselves. We often hear the words ‘empowerment’, ‘emotional awareness’ and ‘self-belief’ but Karl and Tony transform these well-worn clichés into meaningful gifts with the power to enrich lives.

I would like to extend my congratulations to each of the new SEI finalists.  I have no doubt that they will come to treasure the unique family that is Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

By Aviva Cohen

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