Senior Management

Andrea Brown, Chief Executive Officer (Interim) 

Andrea has recently been appointed by The Board to the role of interim Chief Executive Officer for six months (from March 2020) further to Kevin Doherty leaving the charity. Andrea will continue to have oversight of the Corporate Services function. 

Andrea has worked for Disability Action since 2003 in various Finance & Corporate Services  roles, having previously worked for 15 years with Marks & Spencer in management roles. She is passionate leader committed to the 3rd sector in Northern Ireland, leading with integrity, honesty and a positive outlook. A lifelong business background ensures a strong financial knowledge, great organisational and planning skills with a logical and analytical approach to problem solving. Driven to develop teams to perform at their best.

A committed volunteer Co-Founder/Director/Treasurer with Disability Aid Abroad, delivering livelihood and awareness programmes in East Africa supporting people with disabilities since 2007. Currently Treasurer of CADA (Coalition of Aid and Development Agencies in NI). Committed to delivering the 2030 Agenda and SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals).

Management

Patrick Malone, Head of Policy, Comms, Information & Advocacy

Patrick Malone has been appointed to the role of Head of Policy, Comms, Information & Advocacy (August 2020). Patrick joined the Disability Action team in 2016 as Public Affairs and Engagement Officer responsible for external affairs, political engagement and policy work.

In his new role Patrick will provide strong policy direction for the CEO and the Board of Directors. This is a forward-facing role and Patrick will represent the organisation at the highest levels publicly, in the sector and within government.

Patrick has over 10 years’ experience in policy and public affairs and has been involved in a lot of international work around advancing the rights of disabled people. 

Patrick sits on the boards of the Human Rights Consortium, Digital Express Northern Ireland and The Advancing Rights Initiative. 

Sean Fitzsimons, Employment Advocacy Coordinator and Face 2 Face Project Manager

As a disabled professional working in the field of disability rights, Sean is intimately aware of the barriers, challenges and social injustices that disabled people face. His work in employment and broader strategy / policy cuts across public, private, third sector and political spheres positively challenging barriers at local, national and international levels.

Sean is an engaging and articulate speaker. He delivers talks and training for a wide range of organisations and is regularly interviewed by local, national and international television and print/online media.

Sean has strong working links with Academia; which includes supporting research into matters affecting disabled people (he recently represented Disability Action in helping establish the Global University Disability and Inclusion Network). He has also been called upon to deliver lectures, most recently at both Queen’s University Belfast (School of Management) and Ulster University (School of Applied Social and Policy Science).

Internationally Sean has responded to invitations to speak at the Harkin Summit on Global Disability Inclusion in Washington D.C. and he regularly undertakes ‘on the ground’ efforts across numerous other countries at the request of respective Governments /NGOs to shape policy/strategy in respect of disabled people’s rights.

Sean sits as an expert on the British Council’s Disability Advisory Panel. He provides ongoing, discrete professional advice on matters affecting their operations in over 110 countries around the world.

Sean is passionate about supporting other disabled people into positions of leadership and challenging the status quo societal narrative in respect of disability.

He is widely respected for his ability to contribute, positively challenge, negotiate and influence at the highest levels.

Sinead Campbell, Advocacy Team Leader

Bio on Sinead to follow.

Karen Smith, Head of Contracted Services

A member of the Disability Action team since 2011, Karen Smith has recently (August 2020) been appointed to the role of Head of Contracted Services. Reporting to the CEO, Karen will work closely within a small senior management team to shape the strategy, inform best practice on current issues and promote the organisation at all levels. She will be responsible for providing innovative solutions to the current funding environment and advice for the CEO and the Board of Directors.

Since 2015 Karen has led and managed our European Social Fund project Job Match delivering bespoke recruitment and job-related support and guidance to individuals and employers NI-Wide - Karen will continue to undertake this role.

Karen has over 30 years’ experience of working in the public, private and voluntary sectors across the UK in disability and employment policy, practice, management and organisational transformation. She is a member of the Institute of Employability Professionals, a member of NICVA’s Joint Forum for Disability Action, also NICVA's ESF User Group and NIUSE’s Policy Group and have just joined the NI Education Authority External Stakeholder Advisory Group.

Anne Reid, Job Match Team Leader

Anne Reid has been appointed as Job Match Team Leader (September 2020). Anne will lead and manage the European Social Fund project Job Match, with a team of Supported Employment Officers and Employment Engagement Officers delivering bespoke recruitment and job-related support and guidance to individuals and employers NI-Wide. 

Anne joined Disability Action in 2015 as a Supported Employment Officer on the Job Match programme, with a 12 month secondment as an Employment and Training Officer on our Workable NI programme. Anne has over 25 years’ experience managing domestic and EU government funded programmes and has also held management roles in the private sector.  Anne is an Associate Member of CIPD.

Anne succeeds Karen Smith who is our new Head of Contracted Services.

Angela Hutchison, Mobility Centre Manager

Angela manages the Northern Ireland Mobility Centre which is a small unit within Disability Action.  This unit provides information and advice to people with a disability to assist with getting back to or remaining driving. Angela has worked in the community and voluntary sector for 22 years, 17 of these have been with Disability Action.  

Orla McCann, Onside Project Manager

Orla has worked with Disability Action for over 20 years with her professional experience primarily in the field of Design for All.  Orla has working knowledge of Building Regulations, British Standards, Planning Policy, Transport Policy, Equality and Disability Discrimination Legislation. 

Orla is leading the ONSIDE project which will enable disabled people to take advantage of digital technology and the internet to become more engaged in their community and to promote good practice in accessibility and service provision.  The ONSIDE project is a cross-border programme supported by the European Union's INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).  

Gillian Rainey and Miriam Bacon, Workable NI/Employment Support Scheme Managers

   

Gillian (pictured left) and Miriam (pictured right) have joint responsibility for leading and managing the Workable NI Programme within Disability Action. Workable NI is a programme that supports disabled people in employment by addressing barriers, negotiating reasonable adjustments and agreeing a comprehensible programme of support to both the employer and employee. Gillian is also team leader for the Employment Support programme. Gillian and Miriam have each over 25 years’ experience of supporting people with disabilities to resolve employment issues and both have over 5 years’ experience of policy and strategic development in the field of employment and equality.

Tony Carmichael, Training Support Service / Apprenticeship NI Team Leader

Tony leads and manages a team of Employment and Training officers across Northern Ireland who support people with disabilities on the Training for Success and Apprenticeship NI Training - delivering in Colleges and Training Providers -personal support and mentoring, employer awareness, visits and parental advice and support.

Tony has a professional background in Social Work, Youth Training and Careers Guidance. He has over 20 years’ experience with Disability Action working for and with disabled people. He represents Disability Action on a number of government policy and strategy groups on issues related to Training, Education and Employment.

Tony is passionate on disability and employment rights and on developing opportunities for people with disabilities in every aspect of our society.

Michael McNulty, Transport Manager

Michael has worked in both the private and public sectors for over 25 years. His experience has been in Transport and Service Delivery for both the Community and Voluntary Sectors. In his current role, Michael has responsibility for managing the Disability Action Transport Service (DATS) throughout N Ireland.