Des MacMahon - Chair of the Irish Board of Trustees
Des MacMahon is a chartered engineer with a degree in civil engineering from University College Dublin. He has worked as project manager on major infrastructure projects in Europe, Africa and Latin America. He is currently chief executive of an Irish engineering consultancy providing construction management services on engineering projects overseas.
He has a long term interest in civil society development and has served as an election monitor for the European Union, the United Nations and OSCE in Europe, Africa and Asia.
He has served as chairman of the Irish board of trustees of First Step Georgia since 2001 and is actively involved in the management and administration of the charity. He visits Georgia regularly to monitor programmes and audit expenditure.
He is motivated by a strong belief in the right of disabled children to achieve their full potential as individuals and to lead fulfilled lives in an integrated society.
In 1995 Jane Corboy, wife of the first EU Ambassador to Georgia visited Kaspi State Orphanage and was horrified to see disabled children so neglected. Jane comes from a family in Ireland committed to care in the community, and has a background in marketing and public relations. She took an immediate interest in the plight of the children in Kaspi and has since made a lifelong commitment to creating services in Georgia for disadvantaged children and young adults with special needs.
From that time and since leaving Georgia in 1999, Janehas established a solid Board of Trustees in Ireland and the UK and has put in place an international network of support including the charity's patron, Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In December 2008 Janewas honored to receive an award on behalf of the charity as International Philanthropist of the year from The Community Foundation for Ireland. The award acknowledged ten years of hard work and dedication by all involved - staff in Georgia, professional consultants, supporters, volunteers and donors worldwide, and a commitment to going forward. In 2012 the National University of Ireland awarded Janean Honorary Doctorate of Laws.
Denis Corboy was EU Ambassador to Georgia and Armenia 1994-99. He returned to Georgia as EU Special Envoy 2002/2003. He began his career as a practicing Barrister in Ireland. He was one of the founders and General Secretary of the European Movement in Ireland.
Since 1968 he has had a long career as a senior European Commission diplomat and EU Ambassador. From 1982-87 he was EU Spokesman and Director of Public Affairs at the EU Delegation to the United States Washington DC and subsequently in Brussels with responsible for Human Rights and the promotion of democracy in developing countries.
Denis is a graduate of University College, Dublin, King's Inns, Dublin and an Eisenhower fellow. He is currently a Senior Fellow at King's College, London, convenor of the Russia and Eurasia Security Research Group and Director of the Caucasus Policy Institute at King's College 2004-2011.
He is a member and former Chairman of the Board of the Trinity Business School, Dublin University and the British Georgian Society, London.
In 1996, at the age of 26, Norman founded his first technology company Trinity Commerce, one of the first eCommerce services companies in the world. By 1999 Norman had grown the business to 5 countries and employed 150 people. Three years later the business was sold to Eircom Plc.
In 2001 Norman co-founded Inspired Gaming Group; by 2006, Inspired was the largest player in the world in the area of Server Based Gaming (SBG) and was floated on the London Stock Exchange. Along the way Norman also co-founded “The Cloud”, Europes largest Wifi operator, which was eventually sold to Rupert Murdoch.
In 2008 Norman moved back to Ireland and his current venture, Crowley Carbon was formed, to help corporations reduce their energy consumption. He currently also sits on the board of i2e2 Innovation for Ireland's Energy Efficiency.
Throughout his career Norman has sought to take what he learned in business and apply it in other areas of his life. He works with charities that capture his heart and he believes in giving more than just financial donations - he believes in donating time and experience to support charities in a way that would see them grow and prosper and expand, just as he would want a business to.
On moving his business back to Ireland in 2008 Norman focused more of his time on First Step Georgia. He has visited Georgia many times and while he has proven with his businesses that he is quite capable of any hard work that comes his way, Norman holds true to his heartfelt charitable motivation - to donate time, experience, energy and expertise where at all possible and thus make a success of the charity and it's goals.
Anne was born and raised in Ireland. Her primary degree is Politics and Economics. Having raised four children she returned to college to secure a social work qualification and a diploma in counselling. She worked in several disability settings and with womens groups.
Now as a grandparent, and as a board member of her local primary school, Anne is aware of the difficulties facing parents in accessing services for disability and special education. It is this which motivates her to share her experience and contacts with the dedicated staff of First Step Georgia to pioneer new services in Georgia.
Since 2005 Jonathan Mills has been Director of The Next Step, an Irish charity that supports First Step Georgia.
He is a graduate in Law of Trinity College Dublin and the Kings Inns Dublin and of the University of Paris Sorbonne where he was a Council of Europe Scholar. He has worked in Technology for the past thirty years, initially with Digital Equipment Corporation (now HP).
Mills founded Trinity Technology Group when he was in his late twenties and since then has established or helped to establish several other technology businesses in the UK and Ireland. From 2001 to 2003 he was Director of the University College Dublin, Smurfit Business School MBA Enterprise Development Programme. Since 2004, Mills has been a member of the board of the Trinity College Dublin Business School.
Mills is Chairman of Maritime Management Limited, a ship management business and is involved in the management of several early stage technology ventures in the areas of animation, instrumentation and energy.
He is motivated by a desire to care for the children since growing up in a family where his mother was a doctor working for greater social acceptance of disability in Irish society. Mills sees many parallels between Georgia today and Ireland formerly, and believes that social acceptance of disability is key to advancing the care of the disabled.