The immediate Past President of the DC Bar, Susan Hoffman, has been named as the new Chair of the Washington Ireland Program, with several other high-profile figures also joining the Program’s Board.
A partner at an eminent Washington D.C. law firm, Ms. Hoffman will lead the Program’s Executive team alongside new Vice-Chair, Charles John O’Byrne, Executive Vice President for Policy for one of America’s largest private real-estate developers. A prominent legal figure in Washington D.C., Ms. Hoffman specializes in human rights issues affecting women and children.
Since 1995, the Washington Ireland Program has provided over 750 participants the opportunity to work in the likes of the US Congress and Senate, high profile companies and major advocacy organizations. The 6-month program sees young leaders from across Ireland and Northern Ireland engage in conversations with global leaders across a wide variety of sectors and take part in a renowned leadership development curriculum.
Ms. Hoffman will lead the Board’s delivery of its mission to develop, support and engage leaders who can build constructive relationships between communities across the island of Ireland. Notable Program alums include the Tánaiste and former Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD and prominent Stormont representatives including Chris Lyttle MLA and Claire Sugden MLA.
The WIP Class of 2021 will see over 100 students participate in a hybrid program of virtual and in-person activities including work placements, speaker sessions and meetings with senior US leaders in Dublin and Belfast. Over 400 young people will also take part in the 2021 Forums where they will tackle the major questions facing Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Leading women in American politics and former CEOs of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Amy Dacey and Jess O’Connell, have been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Program. Belfast-based Women’s Sector Lobbyist, Rachel Powell also joins the Program’s Board responsible for overseeing WIP’s work in Northern Ireland, Ireland, and America. Catherine May, General Counsel for Bank of America Europe, and John McCarthy, General Counsel for US investment firm Wicklow Capital, also joins the prestigious leadership team.
CEO of a D.C. Lobbying firm, B.R. McConnon III will step down as WIP Chair, with Carmel Martin leaving the Board to take up her position in the White House Administration. Jen O’Malley Dillon, President Biden’s Campaign Manager will also leave the Board as recently appointed White House Deputy Chief of Staff.
Chair of the Washington Ireland Program, Susan Hoffman, has said: “As a long-time supporter, Board member and ‘Host Mom’, I am thrilled to be appointed Chair of the Washington Ireland Program. In recent years, I have seen first-hand the impact the Program has on young people and their futures. Its outstanding professional, personal and leadership development curriculum continues to produce the next generation of change-makers in Ireland and Northern Ireland who are determined to build a future of peace and prosperity.”
“In my legal career, I have always sought to promote accessibility into the legal profession and support the next generation. The 2021 WIP Class will develop over 100 emerging leaders from across the island in the most unique, diverse program to date and, at this challenging time, I am very proud to support the Program’s important and exciting work.”
“I would like to thank outgoing Board Chair, B.R. McConnon III, and Vice Chair, Carmel Martin, for their hard work and commitment to the Program. The new Board appointments include exciting, forward-looking women at the top of their legal and political fields. I look forward to working with new Vice-Chair, Charles John O’Byrne, the new Board and the wider WIP community as we continue to grow the Program in years to come.”
New Vice-Chair of the Washington Ireland Program, Charles John O’Byrne, has said: “It is a great honour to be appointed Vice-Chair of the Washington Ireland Program. I am very proud to support the remarkable work the Program continues to do in developing Northern Ireland and Ireland’s young leaders. Susan shares my full commitment to the Program and its values, and I look forward to working with her and the new Board as we look to the bright future of WIP.”
Executive Director of the Sine Institute of Policy & Politics at American University, former CEO of the DNC, and Washington Ireland Program Board Member, Amy Dacey, has said:
“I am delighted to be joining the Washington Ireland Program Board. Inclusion and accessibility into politics is crucial, and WIP continues to broaden opportunity to young people from all backgrounds with the 2021 Class its most unique and diverse to date. There are lessons to be learnt from Irish, Northern Irish and American history, and I look forward to the chance to meet Program participants and hear their views on how we progress in the years to come.”
Executive Director of the Washington Ireland Program, Bryan Patten, added: “We are very pleased to announce our new Board Chair, Vice Chair and new Board appointments today. As Board members, Susan, and Charles John’s dedication to the WIP’s success has been invaluable in the continued growth of the Program. They will lead a prestigious team at the top of their respective professions across Northern Ireland, Ireland, and America including leading women such as Amy. I look forward to working with the new Board as we look forward to welcoming the exciting WIP Class of 2021 later this year.”