SPEAKERS

bobby kerr

Bobby Kerr

Broadcaster, Entrepreneur and Former Chairman of Insomnia Coffee Company

Bobby is formally co-owner and Chairman of Insomnia Coffee Company (which he exited from in 2018), Ireland largest independent coffee chain, which at that time had over 140 shops, employed over 500 people and sold over 14 million cups of coffee a year. Bobby is a presenter on “Down to Business” the popular Newstalk radio business show on Saturday at 10am and “Bobby’s Late Breakfast” a life style magazine type show which airs at 9am on Sunday mornings. He also co-hosts a slot called the “Agony Uncle” on The Hard Shoulder on Newstalk. He was one of the original Dragons on Dragon’s Den for the first 4 years of the series. Although he has left the series to look at other broadcasting opportunities he continues to be actively involved with the 9 investments he made during the series. Bobby is also a popular business, entrepreneurial and motivational speaker.

Since 2010, Bobby has been presenting a Newstalk radio show ‘Down to Business’ on air Saturday mornings at 10am. The show has been very well received and has a strong listenership of 100,000 people. It covers a wide range of business topics in a positive, down to earth, Saturday morning manner.  In 2017 he added the upbeat lifestyle show ”Bobby’s Late Breakfast” on Sunday mornings to his hectic schedule. His Maritime TV documentary 8-part series “Along Home Shores” was filmed and aired in 2016. Series two of Along Home Shores is scheduled to air in 2018.

Bobby’s of business interests are in a variety of sectors including food and hospitality, technology, hardware, and exhibition. Best known in Ireland as a ‘Dragon’ on the Irish TV version of Dragons’ Den, Bobby is also a popular public speaker and business mentor.

Bobby is passionate about small business. He sat on the board of Microfinance Ireland (MFI) for 3 years. MFI is a not for profit lender that provides loans to small businesses of less than 10 employees with a turnover of less than €2m. This organisation has €90 million in funds to lend to small business over the next 10 years As well as his involvement on the board Bobby also sat on the Credit Control Committee, responsible for reviewing the terms of credit agreements. Bobby is also a member of the Small Business Advice Programme – a targeted programme set up to provide free advice and support to SME’s. He has also chaired the business development group for An Post, a group set up by the Minister of Communications in 2015 to decide the future of the Post Office in both urban and rural Ireland. He is the author of The Kerr Report which maps out a blueprint for the future of the Irish Post Office network. He is also Chairman of The Great Lighthouses of Ireland as part of his maritime interests.

He is a keen sailor and runner. He lives with his wife Mary and their four daughters by the sea in Sandycove, County Dublin.

Mark Christal

Mark Christal

Manager of Enterprise Ireland’s Regions and Entrepreneurship Division

Mark Christal is the manager of the Regions and Entrepreneurship division in Enterprise Ireland responsible for working with Irish owned companies to support them in key business areas including Competitiveness, Innovation, Leadership and Management development.

Prior to this role, Mark held numerous management positions in Enterprise Ireland. He has previously managed the Primary Meats and Food Technology department responsible for working with client companies in the sector. Additionally, he led the Client Management Development & Client Skills department responsible for driving the leadership and management capabilities within Irish-owned companies, to help them compete for, and win, global sales.

Mark previously had responsibility for eight years for Human Resource Management within Enterprise Ireland. In this role, in addition to his HR responsibilities, Mark led the review and development of several major change programmes within Enterprise Ireland. Mark is a member of the Enterprise Ireland Senior Leadership Executive team.

Mark is a Masters graduate of University College Dublin and also holds an MBS in Human Resource Management from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Mark is from Dublin and is married with two young children.

Tom Parlon

Tom Parlon

Director General at Construction Industry Federation

Before joining the CIF, Tom served as a TD for Laois – Offaly and as Minister for State at the Department of Finance from 2002 until 2007. As Minister he was responsible for the Office for Public Works (OPW).
From 1997 to 2001, Tom was President of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), having previously held several other positions with the association.

sinead hussey

Sinéad Hussey

Multimedia journalist with RTÉ

Sinéad Hussey is a multimedia journalist with RTÉ and has been working in the media industry since leaving education, and has accumulated lots of journalistic experience. She has a BA in Arts with Spanish and Economics from Maynooth University, as well as a postgraduate diploma in Communications, Radio and Television from Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. She started her career in the media in 2004 with Shannonside FM, where she worked as a broadcast journalist until 2006. After this, she moved on to work with Newstalk FM as a broadcast journalist also. Sinéad worked with Newstalk for almost five years, leaving in 2011. This was when she joined RTÉ as a multimedia journalist. She is a general reporter, covering topics ranging from politics to protests and court cases to sport.