Meet the Team

Together we are stronger

At Aspire, we are lucky to have an incredibly hard working team. We currently have twelve employees spread across the three sectors of our organisation. Our graphic design team is made up of is made up of both neurotypical and neurodiverse members.

Our employees are the backbone of our organisation, without whom we would not be able to provide the services and level of care we deliver. We operate a succession system and believe in nurturing and supporting our staff to grow and develop their skill set to their full potential.

Aspire is governed by a Board of Directors, who are responsible for steering Aspire towards a sustainable future. The Board is currently compiled of 6 directors, including a Chair, Treasurer and Company Secretary. 

Meet Our Team

Our Board of Directors

Donal McCarthy

Chairperson

Donal is an experienced executive having held senior positions up to and including CEO in both commercial and not for profit sectors. Donal holds a BSC , MBA and Diploma in Corporate Governance and has worked in Ireland, UK, Netherlands and USA. As well as being chair of Aspire Donal is also a board member of charity Irish Community Rapid Response 

Sarah Murphy

Vice Chair
Sarah has worked in the private and semi-private sectors over the course of her career. She has over 17yrs experience across a number of industries and is an advocate for people with disabilities, having Spina Bifida and being a left below knee amputee herself. Sarah’s current role is at senior level as a HR Manager, working within the medical devices field. Her expertise lie in employment law, IR/ER, talent management and diversity/inclusion. She holds a BA in International Business and Languages and has been a Board member with Aspire since 2021.

Niall Jones

Secretary

Siobhán O'Dwyer

Board Member

Siobhán O’Dwyer graduated from Trinity College Dublin as a social worker in 1988. She has previously worked as a Senior Manager and Social Worker in London, Dublin and Belfast. During her career Siobhán has worked with children and families in both the community and voluntary and statutory sectors. Siobhán is CEO of YAP Ireland since 2008. Siobhán brings a wealth of service provision, management and governance experience to the Board of Aspire.  

Emma Doyle

Board Member

Bio is coming soon…

Niall Horan

Aspire Director/ Board Member

Niall studied an undergraduate in Business Management and an MBA. Niall comes from a teaching background, both in his native Kerry before teaching and managing education institutions in Italy, Spain, Poland, and the UK for 7 years.

Returning in 2016 to work in his hometown, he has managed foundation programmes for Middle Eastern and African students coming to Ireland since then. Niall also managed several projects for medical governing bodies, including the recruitment and education of specialised doctors into the Irish health system. Niall currently manages international recruitment for the University of Galway.

Neil Kenny

Board Member

Neil Kenny is an Assistant Professor at the School of Inclusive and Special Education at DCU where he is programme chair of the Master of Education in Autism (MEdA) . Neil has a B.A. (psych) from U.C.D. and a PhD. from Maynooth University. He has expertise in Autism research, inclusive qualitative research, and participatory research. He is the coordinator of ACoRN Research Network.

Aspire Staff

Linda Blake

Chief Executive Officer

Linda is the Chief Executive Officer of Aspire, with over 8 years management and leadership experience within the Charity, Education, Homeless Residential and Family Support Sectors. Linda has extensive experience working with disability services, family resource and foster care, she has a deep understanding and experience of audit and HIQA inspection processes, compliance requirements, and HSE requirements for Registered Provider. Linda’s qualifications include an MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a BA in Applied Social Studies.

Louise Greene

Business Manager and Mentor

Louise is heading up Aspire Designs, our social enterprise as a Business Manager and Mentor. 

She has a wealth of knowledge on the Autistic Spectrum. She loves people and her expertise lies in bringing people together and motivating individuals. She has a background in law and business. Whilst being a stay at home mum for many years she volunteered tirelessly in the community setting up clubs for children, fundraising and leading events. 

Louise founded the unique group Aspire Teen Meetups which facilitates friendship for teens whilst focusing on independence and freedom. 

She is passionate about supporting people on the autism spectrum, believes in equitable access to meaningful work and play and that autistic individuals should be visible in society and able to live their lives on their own terms. She envisions a better Ireland where everyone on the autism spectrum is actually included and recognised and their positive attributes embraced. 

In her spare time Louise loves reading for inspiration, music and taking photos.

Julie White

Accounts Assistant

Julie is an Accounts Assistant with Aspire. She holds a degree in Psychology and Sociology. Julie began an Accounts Assistant job in 2004 and has worked in this type of position in the 18 years since. Julie loves being part of a team that makes a difference. Julie joined a Couch to 5km course back in Dec 2019 and has ran about a 1000km since with a few 10km runs for Charities in there. Her two young kids keep her on her toes.

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Ashling Smith-Dooley

Social Care Manager

Ashling is the Person In Charge of Aspire Residential since March 2021, she is currently completing her Masters in Healthcare Management and has a BA in Psychology. She started her professional  journey in health and social care in 2017 and worked closely with a wide range of adults with disabilities in community settings. Prior to working in the health and social care sector, Ashling served in the Irish Defence Forces for 11 years and volunteered at a national active listening service for children and young people for 5 years. 

She has  volunteered, raised funds and awareness  for a number of charities in the past, some of these include  a tandem parachute jump, an abseil from the Skyview tower in Smithfield and running the Dublin City Marathon twice. Ashling is very passionate about person centredness, human rights, promotion of choice, independent living skills, mental health and advocacy.  She endeavours to support and guide the residential team in providing the highest level of care, always striving for quality improvement and HIQA compliance. In her spare time. Ashling loves walking, music, movies, mindfulness and sightseeing. 

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Kerrie Dillon

Assistant Manager

Neil Busby

Aspire residential / Social care worker

Neill completed his Diploma in Autism Studies at University College Cork in May 2023, shortly afterwards he joined the Aspire Team as a Social Care Worker. Before becoming a Social Care Worker, Neill worked in Scotland for 20 years as a Rock-Climbing Instructor and Mountain Leader. 

Gulimire

Social Care Worker

Gulimire is a dedicated psychology student who works as a social care worker at Aspire. She completed her master’s in psychoanalytic studies at Trinity College Dublin in November 2023. With a strong passion for supporting individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Gulimire brings valuable experience from her work in the disability sector.

Steven Murray

Engagement Officer

Steven, the Engagement Officer at Aspire, has dedicated his career to amplifying the focus on alleviating isolation within the autism community,  armed with a deep understanding of the unique needs and challenges individuals with autism face

Steven works tirelessly to develop inclusive programs that foster social growth and connectivity, such as our monthly adult social group that meets in Token in Dublin

He envisions a world where every individual on the spectrum can embrace meaningful interactions and experience a sense of belonging

In his spare time, Steven enjoys all forms of gaming from board games to card games and also video games

Eoin Harbison

Creative Director

Eoin currently works as Creative Director with Aspire Designs. He has been working with Aspire since 2016, Eoin has studied in areas such as animation and graphic design. Eoin has worked on a number of projects with Aspire Designs.

Adam O'Shea

Website Administration

Adam is responsible for website administration, He has worked with Aspire since 2011.

He holds a qualification in IT studies, obtained from Roslyn Park College of the National Learning Network. Adam is currently endeavouring in a new course in Computing at TU Dublin, and as of June 2024 has seen the completion of his 3rd year of study (GPA 3.4, 3.44 and 3.58 respectively; these somewhat hindered by both global, local and personal factors which could have been better), and planning for the 4th.  The course though not perfect is achieving its personal aim of improving focus and working through various difficulties, and understanding his relation with others. This may signal broader potential in managing and working with others to achieve enterprising goals; and contributing with his own vision in founding and form it; and spur others to do the same and improve their standards. 

 Adam states:  “I have met challenges in my road to higher education, good starts I could not finish. Sometimes my obsessions can impair my function but it is just a part of me and something I must and have developed strength in navigating and combining with real life. My latent ability is strong and I work to bring it forward. It was in my time at Trinity College Dublin (2005-2009, attempted) that I was diagnosed at the conclusion of my time there and from which I studied at Roslyn Park College of the National Learning Network and obtained a certificate in IT. Along with other short adventures in higher education over years I have found that I was not ready even if able in the past to complete my studies. The mental maturity required to manage my unique characteristics and the demands of personal and professional development is still in the making and is certainly being made”. 

Nisha Kurian

Mentor

Nisha is a Mentor with Aspire. She holds a degree in Psychology. She has experience working in the disability sector. She is passionate about supporting people with ASD. In her spare time, she volunteers with other organisations and loves travelling, listening to music and watching movies.

Volunteers

Graziele

Volunteer

Bio soon…

Casey

Volunteer

Casey is happy to be part of the Aspire Designs Team and commends the great work that they do. He is committed to helping individuals improve their mental well-being by fostering a supportive and collaborative work and leisure environment.

Julia

Volunteer

Julia is a psychology student with the dream to help people. She is passionate about gaining new knowledge and finding new ways to support others. She loves being a part of Aspire Designs.