ActionAid Ireland Board of Directors

We are governed by a Board of Directors whose principal responsibilities are the setting and monitoring of the strategic direction of the organisation, monitoring compliance, ensuring the efficient and effective use of resources and the establishment of policy. No remuneration is paid to Directors for their services on the Board. 

Anna Lee – Chair

Anna Lee joined the board in October 2018 and was appointed Chair in January 2019. She has a distinguished track record over many decades of working at community level in Ireland on anti-poverty and social inclusion strategies and local development. She has served on several non-profit and public sector boards; she was appointed as Chair of the Combat Poverty Agency serving two terms. Combat Poverty was a state agency established to lead the national fight to eliminate poverty, which lead to the creation of a National Anti-Poverty Strategy and a series National Action Plans on Social Inclusion. Anna brings this rich experience to bear in the international development and social justice work carried out by ActionAid.

Anna Lee ActionAid board



Claire Callanan – Company Secretary

Claire was appointed to the board in December 2018 and became Company Secretary in June 2019. She is a partner in Beauchamps’ litigation & dispute resolution team, with extensive experience in the financial services, healthcare, and public sectors. Claire has strong expertise across a range of areas including administrative and constitutional law, banking, contractual disputes, company law, insurance law, construction, employment and equality law.

Claire is known for her work in regulatory law and was involved in several significant cases including the first prosecution under the Charities Act 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Civil Law from University College Dublin and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators since 1999. She is a founder mentor of the joint Law Society and Bar Council ‘Law and Women’ mentoring programme. She obtained a Certificate in Charity Law, Governance and Trusteeship from the Law Society, the course was presented by the Law Society in association with The Wheel. She is chairperson of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board since 2019.

James Foley picture

James Foley – Treasurer

James Foley has a strong interest in development issues and development economics. He frames development and aid as a “rights and justice” rather than a charitable endeavour and believes in the need to address the structural causes of global inequity, rather than trying to build fences and walls ever higher. James was Manager of ElectricAid – the ESB and Eirgrid’s staff social justice and development fund – until 2018 during which time he oversaw the growth of ElectricAid to become Ireland’s premier occupationally based charity, raising and disbursing a fund of €1.2 million a year. James holds a BA (Mod) in Economics & Sociology from Trinity College, Dublin, and an MBA from the Open University.

Makena Mwobobia

Makena is a multi-skilled development practitioner with over thirty years in senior leadership in the civil society sector. She has both local (Kenya) and international field experience from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somaliland, India and South Sudan.

Makena holds a Bachelor’s degree from Oral Roberts University, USA. She has vast experience in program design, implementation, evaluation, and people management. A capacity builder, a mentor, and an enabler especially to young people and especially vulnerable girls and women. She has led and inspired multi-cultural, multi-diversity strong teams with three International NGOs (ActionAid Kenya, VSO Kenya and Plan International). She has also lived in Sweden where she volunteered with a local organisation working with people seeking political asylum.

Makena has served on several boards including the CHS Alliance where she represented the ActionAid Federation and currently the Board of ActionAid Ireland. Makena is a founder member instrumental in building and establishing Sauti ya Wanawake (Women’s Voices), a local movement that has become a powerful voice of women and girls in Kenya. She is a feminist leader who believes in women leadership and gender equality as a sustainable approach to development across all sectors. Makena is a former Executive Director with ActionAid Kenya before she retired in 2020 and is currently the Executive Director at the MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation in Arusha, Tanzania.

Dan Ryan

Dan Ryan is a child sponsor with ActionAid Ireland in Nepal since April 1987.

He became interested in joining the ActionAid Ireland board after reading the 2018 Annual Review and  attending a supporter event.

Dan has a strong commercial background, having spent his working life in senior roles in retail (Selfridges, Brown Thomas, LifeStyle Sports, Shop Direct, Primark/Penneys and more).

Greg Maher

Greg Maher is Marketing Manager for Portakabin Ireland, having previously worked with DairyGlen, Waterways Environmental, and Abbott Consulting. As a marketing professional Greg has worked within a diverse range of industry sectors including FMCG, construction, insurance, finance, hospitality. He has a high level of entrepreneurial acumen gained from working on a range strategic marketing projects that delivered on both communications and commercial objectives.  Greg holds a Master’s Degree in Marketing and is a member of the Marketing Institute of Ireland.

Moira Leydon

Moira Leydon is Assistant General Secretary at the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI). Her role at the ASTI is focused on education and research, including curriculum and assessment, education policy, education for sustainable development, teacher professionalism and global education issues.

She is familiar with ActionAid International’s campaigning and work with civil society organisations through her long-standing engagement with the Irish Forum for Global Education, of which she was a co-founder. The IFGE is affiliated with the Global Campaign for Education which with ActionAid International is actively engaged. Moira represents the ASTI on the Research Network and the Solidarity and Co-operation Committee of Education International. She also represents ASTI on the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD’s Education and Skills Working Group.

Moira is on the Board of Aontas, supporting adult learners since 2017, her second and final term ends in 2022.  She chairs a Gael Scoil in Trim, Co. Meath. Moira joined the Board in February 2021.

Graham Roe

Graham Roe joined the Board in February 2021; he is a professional in the International Development sector and a supporter of ActionAid Ireland.  Graham has extensive experience working within a public engagement context on International Development, with integrated communication, campaigns, advocacy, and fundraising. He is keen to bring this expertise to add value within the context of income diversification and income generation channels.

Graham works with Oxfam International since 2018, previously he worked with Oxfam Ireland, Concern Worldwide and Amnesty International in a range of fundraising leadership roles. In his current role he undertakes income and public fundraising audits across multiple contexts and countries.

Graham is a leader in the Irish fundraising market; he has been involved for many years with Fundraising Ireland – now Charities Institute Ireland – contributing on fundraising regulation and where he delivers modules for CII’s education courses.  He holds a Diploma in Fundraising Management (honours) from Fundraising Ireland/Charities Institute Ireland, a Certificate in Charity Law, Trusteeship and Governance (with distinction) from the Law Society of Ireland, and an MA (honours) in Law.

Ben Burton

Ben Burton relocated to Dublin in 2018 and now works for the Communications Function of the Central Bank of Ireland. He is a highly experienced strategic communications advisor and brings a blend of his journalism and communications agency experience to the Board. Ben was previously Managing Director Corporate, Financial & Public Affairs with Weber Shandwick in London, prior to that he also worked for Edelman in London. Between 2002 and 2008 he was a political correspondent and producer for ITV Meridian. Ben joined the Board in February 2021.

CHY 6888, Company Reg. No. 95403, Tax No. 47327221, Registered Charity No. 20013790

Web Design Agency