Meet the Staff & Board

Cara McCann

Director

Cara is from West Belfast and has a degree in Sociology and a Masters degree in Gender Studies.  Her main area of research is lesbian motherhood. Cara has many years experience in the community development field and has also taught Sociology, Social Policy and Gender studies at Queens University. Cara is mum of a son, lives in Belfast with her wife, dog and cat. In her spare time she loves to play guitar, harp, sing and read.

Email: cara.mccann@hereni.org 

Danielle Roberts

Policy and Development Officer

Danielle has a background in law and Human Resources, qualifying as a solicitor in 2009 before completing a PgDip in Human Resource Management in 2013. For the past few years, Danielle has been working on a PhD project at UU researching barriers to PUL women’s political participation, and teaching politics and social policy. Danielle is also involved in feminist activism with Belfast Feminist Network and Alliance for Choice, and co-organiser of the annual Reclaim the Night Belfast march against street harassment and gender based violence.

 

Tracey McDowell

Administrator

Tracey has many years experience in finance/admin, with a background in banking and in the voluntary sector.  In her spare time she enjoys running, travel, reading and watching old movies.  She lives in West Belfast with her partner, their two daughters & her dog.

 

Grainne Gibson

Family Support Officer

Grainne has a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies combined with almost 20 years of experience of working with children aged 0 to 11. For the past 7 years she has worked with young children & families in a family support role. Grainne has designed & delivered programmes for groups as well as one to one sessions, working in partnership with parents to help children to reach their full potential. She has delivered programmes such as “The Nurturing Programme” & “Cook it!”. Grainne has 3 fabulous children who, as she puts it, are her greatest achievement & she loves to spend time with them. Grainne also enjoys reading & baking & has recently taken up sewing.

Dr Richard O’Leary

Coordinator LGBT Heritage Project

Richard has a PhD in sociology from Oxford University and was previously employed as Lecturer in Sociology at Queen’s University. He is currently also a Visiting Research Fellow in the School of History at Queen’s specialising in LGBT history. Richard has been in involved in LGBT activism for three decades and has taken a number of successful legal challenges against discrimination. He was co-founder in 2007 of the faith pro-LGBT group Changing Attitude Ireland. Richard moved to Belfast from Cork in 1988 and hasn’t lost his Cork accent. He enjoys foreign language movies and BBC Radio 4.

Amanda McGurk

LBTI women’s support officer

Amanda works between HERe NI and Cara-Friend. Amanda works on the gendered violence project supporting women who have experienced or at risk of sexual and domestic violence.  Amanda has a degree in Sociology.  She is originally from Bellaghy but now lives in Belfast with her wife.


Board Members

Dr Danielle Mackle

Danielle is a HERe NI Chairperson and qualified social worker working for a large children’s charity and is also a lecturer at Queens University. She has experience working in the field of mental health as well as working with the BAME community in NI and working with young people in the care system. Danielle’s PhD explored the human development and well-being of the LGBT community in NI. 

Sally Bridge

Sally and her partner, Catherine, started Dykes With Babes, the first lesbian parenting group in Northern Ireland, in December 2000 and their 2 young sons were founder members. She has since worked on the Love Equality campaign and her Master’s research looked at school libraries in NI and how they support the information needs of their LGBT pupils. Sally works as a Librarian in Queen’s University Belfast and is the co-chair of the staff LGBT network, PRISM.

Alison McDowell

Alison is a barrister specialising in family law with a particular emphasis on same sex families, surrogacy and equality issues. Alison is also a member of Lawyers with Pride. Outside of work Alison is a member of a local choral society and loves spending time with her family.

Jill Rafferty

Jill is an experienced consultant working on projects across the public and private sectors. She has a BSc Hons in Computer Science and currently works for a professional services company. She is involved in a number of diversity networks supporting the respect and inclusion of LGBT matters and initiatives in the workplace. Jill is a new mum of one and enjoys outdoor fitness activities in her spare time.

Jacqueline Johnston

Jacqueline has a breadth of knowledge within the charitable sector.  Throughout her career she has been a passionate advocate for those in our community that are marginalised and vulnerable.  She currently works in supported employment, specialising in adapting organisations to make them more inclusive for them and their disabled employees. In her spare time she enjoys baking and walking her dogs.

Keira McCormack

Keira ran the charity Gender Essence Support Services, stepping down recently to concentrate on other parts of the charity. She currently works for a Domestic Abuse charity as an IDVA, helping to set up their LGBT specific services. Keira has significant experience working in the women’s sector in particular the Rape Crisis centre and Women’s Aid on developing groups. Keira co-founded Essence Arts, delivers training and is a qualified Counsellor.

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