Young Professionals on Arts Boards


Young Professionals on Arts Boards Programme 

Could you share your professional skills to help a cultural organisation be as efficient and effective as possible?

In return you get:

  • The excitement and distinction of sitting on a cultural business board of Directors

  • The knowledge you are giving something back to your community

  • A creative route to personal and professional improvement

The Young Professionals on Arts Boards Programme is for people up to 35 years old. It costs £450+VAT for A&B NI Members or £500+VAT for non-members, and includes:

  • A 1-1 diagnostic session to find out your unique skills, interests and motivations

  • 3 governance training seminars to help you understand your roles and responsibilities as a (Non-Executive) Company Director

  • Facilitated opportunities to join the Board of an arts organisation

  • Your own account manager to support you throughout the duration of your Board term

  • Your photo and pen pic being featured in our Investing in the Arts brochure

  • Invitations to A&B NI’s arts and business training seminars, events and networking opportunities

This year’s programme is now open. To register your interest complete the application form and email to Maeve at

Young Professionals on Arts Boards information

Young Professionals on Arts Boards application form

This programme is subsidised by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Carson McDowell supports Young Professionals on Arts Boards through pro-bono expertise and training. Read more here.                             

Complete online application

Young Professionals on Arts Boards 2018/19

  • Meet our recruits from 2018 2019
  • Mark Eaglesham, George Best Belfast City Airport

    Mark Eaglesham









    Mark is a hardworking, fun-loving, well-rounded Geordie now living in Belfast after 10+ years in London. His experience, whilst mainly in the aviation industry, has allowed him to learn many vital business skills. His current position at George Best Belfast City Airport allows him to ‘wear many hats’ – ranging from Business Development to eCommerce, Strategy, Marketing – and many more. But Mark still has a hunger to learn and develop  both personally and professionally. Mark sees the Young Professionals on Arts Boards programme adding to his constantly evolving learning curve. But is also keen to share his knowledge and experience in his adopted new home. Outside of work, Mark enjoys listening to music, reading, swimming, design and technology, as well as travelling.

  • Christina Faloon, Dale Farm

    Christina Faloon

    Christina Faloon is the Powder Production Manager at Dale Farm, managing milk intake and powder production. Christina graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 2014 with a first class honours degree in Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition with Professional Studies. During her placement year Christina worked in Marks & Spencer’s head office in London and Scotbeef in Glasgow.

    Upon graduating from University, Christina joined Dale Farm as a New Product Development graduate. During her time as a graduate she completed a Chartered Management Institute level 5 certificate in management and leadership through Cardiff University.

    Christina comes from a framing background and enjoys travelling and socialising in her spare time.

  • Aoife Fee, Tourism Northern Ireland

    Aoife Fee

    A former first class honours graduate of the BA (Hons) Hospitality Management programme at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Aoife commenced her career within the sales & marketing department of Mount Juliet Conrad in Co. Kilkenny in 2005.

    Following that, she spent over three years as part of the core project management team of a Fáilte Ireland  funded project for the Tourism Learning Networks based in WIT, a business development programme for small to medium tourism and hospitality businesses situated throughout the south east and south west of Ireland.

    During this time Aoife also had the opportunity to feed into a number of academic publications prepared in the Institute, presenting a number of tourism and hospitality papers at various academic conferences.

    Aoife joined Tourism Northern Ireland in 2010 (based in the Dublin office) working as a member of the ROI PR and Marketing team, arranging and organising PR and publicity opportunities and activity for Tourism NI in the ROI market. In 2013, Aoife completed a post graduate Diploma in Public Relations at the Fitzwilliam Institute in Dublin.

    In 2017, she transferred from PR to the Business Solutions team within Tourism NI, building and establishing relations with a wide range of domestic and international tour operators and travel trade, closely liaising with Tourism Ireland market offices, participating in international trade missions and promoting Northern Ireland as a tourism destination with a large range of international stakeholders. A native of Co. Kilkenny, Aoife is currently based in Co. Meath, however her work frequently takes her to Belfast and various other locations throughout Northern Ireland.

  • Sean Fitzpatrick, Mourne Seafood, Home, and Belfast Cookery School

    Sean Fitzpatrick

    Sean is currently undertaking Masters in human resource management (HRM) at Ulster University Business School. Upon completion Sean will also obtain a professional qualification, Associate Membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). The focus of the Masters programme is to develop my knowledge and skills within human resource management, training and development or employee relations. Previous learning and development has included completing a degree in sociology at Queen’s University Belfast and a level 5 diploma in HRM at Belfast Metropolitan College.

    Sean has been able to put my academic knowledge in to practice throughout a number of business disciplines to include stakeholder engagement. This has primarily been achieved within his role as Company Director / Operations Manager within Mourne Seafood Ltd and its sister company Belfast Cookery School.

    Sean enjoys new challenges, which is something he is currently experiencing within the Belfast Cookery School in relation to social media and online marketing. To enhance his understanding of this communication tool he is currently completing an OCN diploma in digital marketing.

    Sean values himself as someone who strives to support others, his experience at senior management level has allowed him to develop his people skills to include building relationships, problem solving and demonstrate a balance between a person centred and task focused approach. 

    Sean is proud to part of the Young Professionals Arts Board Programme, He hopes to contribute his knowledge, skills and experience to the programme and look forward to the learning and connections it will bring.

  • Katherine Hughes, Ulster Carpets

    Katherine Hughes

    Katherine graduated from University of Leicester in 2011 with a BSc in Communications and Media and went on to study a Diploma in Management Practice from the University of Ulster. Katherine now works as a Marketing Executive within a busy team at Ulster Carpets. With seven years of experience gained in the textile industry she is furthering her love for interiors by studying for a diploma in Interior Design.

    She specialises in social media, merchandising, blogging about trends and “making things look pretty”.

    In her spare time she loves to “go somewhere and do something. When I’m not travelling my favourite place to be is the North Coast, surfing with friends”.

    Katherine is looking forward to finding her place on a board, learn from the experience and meet new people to share some of her skills with.

  • Tom Hughes, Queen’s University Belfast

    Tom Hughes

    Tom is a designer, film-maker and musician based in Belfast. Currently leading the video content team in Queen’s University Belfast’s marketing department, he has worked in brand and digital agencies, in-house marketing departments and for arts organisations across Northern Ireland and Ireland. He has performed extensively as a cellist and bass player across the UK and Ireland and is a co-founder of the Ormeau Community Choir.

  • Patricia Kingston, Tourism Northern Ireland

    Patricia currently coordinates all corporate and industry events for Tourism Northern Ireland, and has been working in event management within the NI tourism sector for over 10 years.

    Prior to taking up her role at Tourism NI, Patricia studied at Queen’s University Belfast, graduating with a Bachelor of Science honours degree in Pure and Applied Mathematics.  She then completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Management through the Première Graduate Programme and worked as an account overview officer within the anti-fraud and money laundering team at Northern Bank (Now Danske Bank).

    She has a passion for travel and exploring new places and cultures, having visited over 15 countries so far and counting.  This included living in Thailand for a month after university to teach English to local children and hospitality workers, which ignited an enthusiasm for Tourism when she returned to her home town of Belfast.  She is passionate about helping Northern Ireland put its best foot forward via delivering development programmes for the local tourism industry, encouraging them to aspire to become best in class in all they do.

    When not working or travelling, Patricia is also a keen DIY fanatic and furniture up-cycler having refurbished her 1920s townhouse herself, with just a little help from the experts.  She is always on the look-out for a new skill to learn and recently completed her first patchwork quilt after inheriting a sewing machine from her grandmother.

  • Ronan Marlow, Forde Campbell Law

    Ronan Marlow

  • Laura McIlvanna, Dunbia

    Laura McIlvanna

    Laura is the Group Packaging Developer for Dunbia, strategically managing packaging innovations and finding new technologies to support customers on their journeys to becoming more sustainable. Laura graduated from John Moore’s University Liverpool with a Bachelor of Arts in Product Design & Digital Modelling. She continues to create and design through her own freelance projects

    Laura moved back home to Northern Ireland in February 2017 after 10 years studying and working in Liverpool. She has gained experiences from different industries, across a range of products. She is very self-motivated and enjoys a challenge.

    Laura comes from a musical family and enjoys any live event. She has recently picked up the piano again after years of not playing. In her spare time, she is a keen traveller and enjoys socialising.

  • Sean O'Grady, Dale Farm

    Sean works as a Business Development Manager within the ingredients division in Dale Farm having previously worked in the business improvement and supply chain function for 4 years. During this time, he has gained a professional qualification in management from the CMI and a Lean Leadership qualification from the University of Cardiff. Sean also has several years management experience in retail before joining Dale Farm.

    Sean studied Business Management (BSc Hons) at Queen’s University graduating in 2013.

    Outside of work Sean enjoys travelling, socialising with friends and playing golf.

  • Claire Sharpe, Tourism Northern Ireland

    With a keen interest in Advertising and Marketing, Claire obtained a First Class with Honours in her degree in Marketing at Ulster University before taking on a role in a large Belfast-based agency. Working with a range of clients on a global and local scale to deliver strategic and comprehensive marketing campaigns, she soon developed a curiosity for the developing digital world. Since moving from agency to client side of marketing, she has established a passion for tourism, in particular developing the skills of the tourism industry to meet the needs of the ever-growing visitor numbers to Northern Ireland.

    Claire is a strategic thinker with a desire to work with businesses to utilise developing digital platforms and technologies in order to remove inefficiencies and complexities, and reinvent the Digital Experience.

  • Ciara Smyth, Belfast Harbour

    Ciara is the HR Executive at Belfast Harbour, involved in a wide range of HR activities including recruitment and selection, employee engagement and wellbeing, talent management and diversity and inclusion.

    Ciara graduated with a first class honours in Human Resources Management in 2014 and recently completed an MSc in HR through Ulster University, gaining professional accreditation with the CIPD.

Cunningham Coates & The John Hewitt Society

“For anyone with Non-Executive activity in their career plan, I would suggest that this is an essential part of the learning curve. Joining a board for the first time can be daunting, but the knowledge that the people at A&B NI have prepared you well and also that they are there to help with any queries along the way is invaluable.

The process gave me confidence to be able to contribute fully to a board. Since joining The John Hewitt Society board I have met so many fantastic people, all trying to make a difference within our local communities. The whole thing is a very rewarding experience and I recommend it to anyone.”

“Ryan has been a superb addition to our Board. He understands the complexity of our way of working, asks good challenging questions, and brings dynamism and ambition to the table. We value and benefit from his external perspective and business sector knowledge.”

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Our Funders & Partners

Arts & Business is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.