Board Dynamics - Tone, Relationships and Diversity Considerations

12 May 2022



It is noteworthy that a much greater significance and increased emphasis has been placed on the roles and responsibilities of boards and governing bodies over recent years, given their importance in effectively stewarding organisations, both from the perspective of organisational strategy and performance as well as internal controls. But boards/governing bodies and groups charged with governance are comprised of individuals with specific knowledge, skills, insights and mannerisms, and the composition of the group changes over time with member turnover. Likewise, the relationship between a board (the governing group) and an executive (the management group) involves regular engagement and human interactions, where different behaviours can be manifested. With this reality in mind and the need to ensure that these interactions are effective and appropriate, emphasis is rightly placed upon tone, behaviours and culture. At the same time, there is also the necessity or desire to bring together the requisite mix of skills and experience necessary for the board/governing body to execute its important mandate. More recently, the importance of diversity around the top table and other related considerations have been highlighted with a view to further enhancing and refreshing boards and governing bodies.

This important Forum session will hear from three experienced speakers who will consider questions such as:

Our guest speakers for this event will be:


Liz O'Donnell

Liz is Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority, a position she has held since 2014. She is also a Director of Chernobyl Children International, and a member of the Board Diversity Initiative. Liz was a member of Dáil Éireann between 1992 and 2007, and served as Minister for Overseas Development and Human Rights between 1997 and 2002, during which time she was a member of the Government Negotiating Team in the multi-party talks which led to the Good Friday Agreement. Upon retiring from politics, Liz has worked on a diverse portfolio of activities including broadcasting, journalism, public affairs consultancy and lecturing, and was a Director of Policy, Government Affairs and Communications for Pharmaceutical firm MSD Irish operations.

Jim Gavin

Jim is Director of People and Operations at the Irish Aviation Authority/Aviation Regulator, leading the team for safety and security regulatory oversight of the civil aviation system in Ireland. He is a qualified commercial pilot, and was previously a military pilot with 20 years of service in the Irish Defence Forces, which included a term as Chief of Military Aviation for the United Nations multi-national peace keeping force in the Central African Republic of Chad. 

Jim had a highly successful sporting career with Dublin inter-county football for 22 years, winning 33 inter-county trophies as either a player, coach or manager. As manager of the Dublin senior team between 2013-2019, the team won 18 of a possible 21 trophies, including a record 5 consecutive All-Ireland football titles.

Jim is Chairperson of the Dublin Citizens' Assembly, as well a patron of Touch Ireland (a voluntary charity providing education, food and clothing support to children to enable them to learn, with over 100 projects in Zambia, Cameroon, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Brazil). He is also an ambassador for the Dublin Neurological Institute at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.

Michelle Noone

Michelle is the Head of Senior & Executive Recruitment at the Public Appointments Service.  She is responsible for the provision of recruitment services for senior executive and non-executive roles across the civil and public service.  This includes the appointments process for Chairpersons and Non-Executive Directors to the boards of state agencies (

Prior to joining the Public Appointments Service in 2014, Michelle worked for 20 years in executive search, as an Executive Search Manager in KPMG providing recruitment services to clients in Plcs, Irish indigenous and SMEs across a variety of industry sectors.  She started her career in Human Resources with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Paris. 

Michelle was appointed President of the Alliance Francaise Dublin on 1 November 2021 following a number of years as a Non-Executive Director and Chairperson, Governance Committee.  She has a BA in Anthropology, a Diploma in Executive & Leadership Coaching and speaks fluent French.