Our Board

Dr Joanne Stuart OBE

Dr Joanne Stuart OBE Chairman

Joanne has over 25 years’ experience working in the IT industry including nine years with the Oracle Corporation, and is the Director of Development at the Northern Ireland Science Park. In this role she is responsible for the development of strategic relationships to support the growth of the NI Science Park and the Knowledge Economy in Northern Ireland. Joanne has been involved with Arts & Business NI for the past seven years and has been Chair for the last four, since A&B NI became an independently registered charity in NI. During her tenure as Chair of IoD NI, one of Joanne’s key areas of focus was the development of the Creative Industries in NI and the linking of creative businesses with science, technology and engineering companies to encourage more creative design and innovation. Appointed as the NI Champion for STEM in 2011, Joanne continues to be an advocate for promoting the importance of Arts and creativity to the STEM agenda and wider business community. Joanne holds a number of other voluntary roles including Chair of the US NI Mentorship program set up by Declan Kelly, former US Economic Envoy for NI, Treasurer for Angel Eyes NI and is a member of the Digital Catapult UK Advisory Network.

Martin Bradley MBE

Martin Bradley MBE

Martin is a former Mayor of Derry City Council, and was Chair of Culture Company 2013, the body responsible for the delivery of the first UK City of Culture in Derry/Londonderry. He has extensive connections with the arts community in the city and wider region.  He is currently Chairman of the Millennium Forum Theatre and Craft Northern Ireland as well as former Chair of the Ormeau Baths Gallery Belfast and former vice-chair of the Arts Council for NI.  He was awarded an MBE in January 2008 for services to the arts in Northern Ireland

Dan Gordon

Dan Gordon

Dan has been an A&B NI Champion and member of A&B NI advisory group. As well as one of NI’s leading actors and directors, Dan has presented and co-authored many documentary and factual programmes for BBC Television and Radio and he has written extensively for BBC NI Education with two series for children and many other stand alone programmes.

Neil Holland

Neil Holland

Neil is Head of Sales at ARC Applied Sciences and has been Sales and Marketing Director at Brites, and Head of Sales & Marketing at Firmus Energy and at Whale Pumps. He has studied in England, Northern Ireland, Spain and USA. Neil has a strong track record in designing and implementing marketing strategy and is currently part of the management team at Ballymena Chamber of Commerce.

Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston

Michael is a Managing Partner at Carson McDowell Solicitors.  Michael leads the Firm's Corporate Finance Team in which there are three other Partners, five Assistants and a Trainee. After five years' initial experience in Litigation, Michael has practised in the Corporate Finance Department for the past eighteen years in which he has gained wide experience in advising clients throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom and often in the United States with regard to commercial activity within the Province.

Tony Kennedy OBE

Tony Kennedy OBE

Tony retired as Chief Executive of Co-Operation Ireland in 2008. For 8 years he was a Board Member at Arts Council of NI and now holds voluntary positions with a number of housing and community associations. Tony is also Director of The John Hewitt Society.

Maureen McLaughlin

Maureen McLaughlin

Maureen until recently was Operations Director of Diamond Corrugated and an industrial professional with over 20 years’ experience in manufacturing. Maureen graduated from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow with an honours degree in business and a post graduate diploma in marketing.  She travelled to the United States and lived and worked in Florida until returning to Ireland spending time in both Dublin and Limerick. From her first taste of the packaging Industry as a fresh graduate, Maureen continued to work in the industry and found herself in packaging roles wherever she travelled. On returning to the North West, Maureen joined Diamond Corrugated in 1998 as Business Development Manager.  In 2001 she became General Manager and in 2004 assumed the role of Operations Director. Maureen sees the Arts very much as an industry as well as a personal pleasure and it is her industry experience that will support the “business” of Arts and Business NI in her role as Director.

Cecil Russell

Cecil Russell

Cecil is currently Head of Business Development at ASM Financial Services Ltd having retired as Regional Director for HSBC Bank Plc in NI. He originally joined Northern Bank in June 1972 and then Forward Trust Group in 1977, where he specialised in the sales and business development sectors. He was appointed Head of NI division of Forward Trust Group in 1977, which at that time was wholly owned by HSBC Bank. Following the re-branding of Midland Bank (HSBC Bank) Cecil began the process of bringing HSBC Bank to Northern Ireland, resulting in the first branch opening in Belfast in June 2001. Cecil is a former Chairman of the NI Finance Houses Association and a member of the NI Chamber of Commerce and the IoD

Jaime Steele

Jaime Steele

Jaime is Managing Director of award-winning marketing and advertising agency, Pale Blue Dot Creative. He’s a digital and brand strategist, creative thinker and marketer. Jaime brings over fifteen years’ international experience to the board, having worked with clients throughout the world, including start-ups, charitable organisations, political parties, professional athletes and global blue-chip companies.

Gráinne Walsh

Gráinne Walsh

As Head of Consultancy, Gráinne advises some of Stratagem public affairs’ longest-term clients and has provided project management to organisations working in complex legislative and regulatory environments. She plays a key role in all aspects of the business, including pioneering Stratagem’s award winning corporate social responsibility activities. In her time with Stratagem, Gráinne, a native of Dublin, has developed an expert knowledge and understanding of politics, policy and governance both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, providing high level public affairs support and advice for clients in the energy and public health sectors in particular.

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Our Funders & Partners

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