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LGBTQ+ALLIES Network (Balance) Launch event

February 25, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm GMT



This course will be delivered via Zoom on Friday 25 February 2022 from 1pm to 2pm. The Zoom link will be emailed to participants the day before the course is due to take place.

The launch will be a virtual panel event exploring Effective Allyship and will also speak to future opportunities to become involved with the network. We will be joined by a panel of diverse voices in this area and will be moderated by RTE’s Audrey Carville.

  • Tiernan Brady: Global Head of Inclusion – Clifford Chance
  • Sinead Donovan: Partner – Grant Thornton
  • Aisling Gannon: Partner – Eversheds Sutherland
  • Michael Walls: Head of Finance & Open

The event will appeal to anyone with an interest in supporting this important topic and being part of the network. We are all re-emerging from the pandemic with a greater awareness of the relative importance of the issues that we hold dear, a greater understanding of the importance of work/life balance and more clarity on mental health supports needed. It’s clear how active allyship can shape all aspects of our lives. This event will help put a shape on this and you will hear valuable insights based on personal perspectives and lived experiences.

We will explore:

  • Why there is a need for a network and the role of BALANCE.
  • Aspects of LGBTQ+ lived experiences that remain challenged.
  • What is an ally and what makes an effective ally?
  • Highlight practical examples and the panel will profile the importance of ally visibility.
  • What has the pandemic changed about our awareness of and response to these issues?
  • What practical lessons can we take as we move to hybrid working and learning?

We will also be showing you how to engage with BALANCE and how to be part of developing exciting future plans!


Michael Walls ACA – Head of Finance & Open He trained with KPMG Belfast and has worked in the industry for the past several years. His experience includes working at Google and UrbanVolt, Ireland’s First B Corporation. Michael was the 2nd co-host of the FinBiz webinar ‘Equality, Diversity, Opportunity’ in September 2020 and has since taken on the Co-Chair role of the newly created Ireland Task Force which was launched late 2020. During 2018, Michael was selected as Chartered Accountants Ireland’s “Young Chartered Star” and represented the profession at the One Young World conference.

Sinead Donovan FCA – Chairperson Grant Thornton Sinead joined Grant Thornton in 2002 and was admitted to the partnership in 2005, becoming the first female partner. She is very experienced in co-ordinating international teams, with particular regard to central reporting on multiple jurisdictions in Irish headquarters and/or Shared Service Centres. She works closely with all the major Grant Thornton member firms across the world and manages some of the firm’s largest and complex international projects. Sinéad has extensive knowledge of Irish/UK GAAP, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and a working knowledge of US GAAP. Sinéad’s client portfolio includes listed companies and mid-corporate clients spanning a range of sectors. She has significant knowledge of the telecoms and technology sector. Sinéad was instrumental in founding the Irish/US Group, which is a permanent department, consisting of an Irish directors based in the US. This link ensures a seamless service offering between the Irish and US firms to relevant clients. Sinead is a strong believer in the importance of Inclusion and Diversity to ensure a motivated, effective and equitable workplace. She currently their Vice President of the Institute and has sat on their Council for a number of years. She is past President of Accounting Technicians Ireland. She holds a Diploma in International Financial Report Standards (IFRS).

Tiernan Brady – Global Director of Inclusion Clifford Chance He is an equality campaigner and was the Political Director of the successful Irish referendum campaign for marriage equality which saw Ireland become the first country in the world to introduce marriage equality by a public vote. He subsequently became the Executive Director of The Equality Campaign, the successful Australian public vote campaign for marriage equality. He served as Policy Director of GLEN – The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network in Ireland where he was responsible for designing and implementing the successful political strategy to pass civil unions legislation. He was the Director of Gay HIV Strategies where he designed and launched KnowNow, Ireland’s first free community based rapid HIV testing program. He served as Director of Organisation to the then Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) of Ireland, Mary Coughlan as well as serving two terms as Mayor of his hometown of Bundoran in Ireland.

Aisling Gannon – Partner and head of healthcare Eversheds Sutherland Aisling may be known to some of you as a medico legal advisor. She joins the event, however, to share per personal rather than professional experience. She is a proud mum of 2 teens aged 15 and 13. Her younger is Steve and he is transgender. Steve wisely says that ‘adults listen to adults’, so she is happy to share some of her learnings in the hope that such might give support to even one other family. Eversheds Sutherland launched their LBGTIQ+ staff network ‘Perspective’ in 2016. The focus was to support staff to ‘bring their whole selves to work’. She herself is a living example of the benefits of this – supported by her firm colleagues through Steve’s transition and since. Aisling sits on the Board of BeLonG To Youth Services.


February 25, 2022
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm GMT
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