Alumni Spotlight

Gavin Hennessy - Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Irish Life

18 Feb 2019
Gavin Hennessy

Gavin Hennessy’s career has seen him lead international development projects in Africa, India and Eastern Europe before returning to Ireland to work in the corporate sector. His role as Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Irish Life involves creating a culture of belonging while promoting ground-breaking strategies and programmes which allow traditionally under-represented groups to access employment.

Course/subjects studied in UCC and year of graduation

I studied International Development & Food Policy and graduated in 2011.

Best memory of UCC

Sitting out in the President’s garden on a sunny day with friends and food.

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?

UCC gave me a great mix of theory and practice so I was work-ready when graduating. Also, as a UCC Plus+ student the support and pastoral care of the UCC Plus+ team allowed me to flourish at UCC.

What is your advice to current UCC students?

If you get the opportunity to take a module in project management and data/statistics do it – they are the basis of most jobs and key to success in the working world. Boring to study but essential. Also, try to get as much work experience and practical experience as possible at the weekend and over holidays – it helps you stand out of the crowd when looking for work after graduating.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?

Olive Byrne and Maeve O’Reilly of UCC Plus+ were my most positive influences, their continual support and guidance through ups and downs made my time at UCC very special. A family away from home.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?

I was involved in many societies and a class rep who attended the USI conference and won best delegation. I also co-founded the International Development Society and partnered with the EnviSoc to refurbish the poll tunnels behind the societies office which I believe I still going strong.


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