Mary has almost 20 years’ experience of fundraising for and consulting to the not-for-profit sector. She is Director of O’Kennedy Consulting, which provides strategic fundraising and philanthropy services to organisations across the not-for-profit sector. She began her career in the charity sector with Trocáire, the Irish Overseas Development Agency, with roles within the Programmes & Fundraising Departments. In 1999, Mary moved on to work with the DCU Educational Trust with responsibility for major gift fundraising. In 2001 she left DCU to work for an international fundraising consultancy firm and in late 2002, set up O’Kennedy Consulting.

Mary was the founding Chair of Fundraising Ireland (now Charities Institute Ireland), and her involvement in many sector organisations both in Ireland and internationally has included roles as Chair of EU Consult, the European Association of Consultants to and about the NFP sector; the Irish Representative for the International Fundraising Congress; a member of the Government’s Forum on Philanthropy & Fundraising and the Irish Advisor to FW de Klerk’s Global Leadership Foundation. In 2013, she was presented with the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Fundraising and was also short-listed for Business Women of the Year Award.

Mary is passionate about transforming the NFP sector in Ireland through implementing improved public engagement strategies and supporting the growth of a philanthropic culture in Ireland by providing business development, marketing and fundraising solutions to organisations and by advising individuals and companies on effective sector engagement.