Meet the Team and Board

Meet the staff of the Marie Keating Foundation. There are twelve staff based in our head office in Lucan as well as a team of eight nurses who are based in communities all over Ireland. These nurses bring to life our mission of ‘making cancer less frightening by enlightening’ and are available to visit schools, workplaces and community centres free of charge. Visit the mobile information unit page to learn about booking this service.

If you would like to learn more about our Board of Directors, click here.

Liz Yeates, Chief Executive Officer

Having completed a BA in international marketing from DCU and a Masters in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors, Liz worked in a variety of senior roles in the financial services sector with ABN Amro Bank in the Netherlands and AIB in Ireland. In 2008, Liz moved to the not-for-profit sector where she worked with Concern Worldwide as Department Head for a period of 6 years.

Liz was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2012 and following a year’s treatment, she joined the Marie Keating Foundation in March, 2014 as Director of Public Affairs. She was promoted to CEO in March 2015 and has led a transformation programme to enhance the impact of the Foundation’s cancer awareness and support services throughout Ireland. In 2018, Liz co-founded the 221+ Cervical Check group and as Steering Group member she continues to be actively involved in advocating for women’s health in Ireland.

As a survivor of both breast cancer and skin cancer, it is a privilege to work with this hardworking and passionate team at the Marie Keating Foundation. It is amazing to see the difference that health promotion can make in people’s lives. I am proud to work for a Foundation that focuses on ‘making cancer less frightening by enlightening.”

Lylah O’Beirne, Director of Development 

Lylah joined the Marie Keating Foundation in early 2024.

Following her education at UCD where she received a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and a Masters in Marketing, Lylah worked in senior marketing and management roles in the private sector including the Sony Corporation for almost two decades with responsibility for leading Marketing and Sales teams targeted with increasing brand share and income. Since 2015, she has gained extensive knowledge of the Not-for-Profit sector successfully leading Philanthropic & Fundraising teams within Oxfam and the ISPCA.

Lylah was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Lylah is aware how easily it could have been different. “I had signs but at first put them down to the aging process. Early diagnosis saves lives and helps keep loved ones together for longer. I was lucky. It could have been very different. Every day, the amazing nursing team at the Marie Keating Foundation give people the information they need to live healthier lives to reduce their risk of cancer; to know how to spot the signs and symptoms of cancer early and take action; and for those with the toughest diagnosis, how to live their best lives. I am both grateful and honoured for my role helping to raise funds for the vital cancer services they provide to thousands of people across Ireland each year.

Helen Forristal, MSc (ANP) BSc (Professional Nursing) ENB 237 (Oncology Nursing), Director of Nursing Services

Helen worked for 22 years in London focussing on the area of urology. She joined the Macmillan Cancer Support team, after seeing the need for a more holistic approach to the care of cancer patients. Helen set up two support groups for men with prostate cancer and their families, called Prospect and PHASE. Before returning to Ireland Helen ended her time at Macmillan as Cancer Nurse Director, a post which involved leadership and accountability at a strategic level.

After returning to Ireland, Helen worked as a Clinical Nurse Manager, where her role evolved to encompass a patient centred care approach based on the principles of empowerment, dignity, compassion, justice, privacy, confidentiality, choice, advocacy and quality.

Since joining the Foundation, initially in 2014, Helen took a year out to go back into clinical practice at the Beacon Hospital in Dublin where she managed a team of oncology nurses in acute oncology end of life care.

Helen says “It’s great to be back working with the Marie Keating Foundation, my recent experience working with patients and families with cancer in the acute setting has given me much to appreciate and I am even more determined to promote health awareness and well being. A key focus for me is to enhance survivorship through the supportive programmes we have to offer. Positive Living is very much on our agenda and it is a privilege to offer programmes to patients and families who find themselves with secondary cancer in need of hope, support and knowledge.”

Cathy Gray, Director of Communications and Public Affairs

Cathy joined Marie Keating Foundation in October 2023.

Having spent a number of years working as a journalist at both a local and national level, Cathy then worked at senior management levels in the NGO and charity sector specialising in PR, media & communications, stakeholder engagement and public affairs.

Her experience ranges from politics and EU affairs, disability issues, youth work and public policy to national advocacy and campaigning.

With a Masters in Journalism and Public Relations from the National University of Ireland, Galway and a PRII member, Cathy is passionate about helping people tell their story and empowering them to have their voices heard.

She said: “Like so many others, my family has been affected by a cancer diagnosis – it can be a very scary and isolating time. Working for the Marie Keating Foundation allows me to make a tangible impact on people’s lives. I am immensely proud to work for an organisation that supports people and their families at every step of their cancer journey in communities across Ireland.”

Fiona Sullivan, Community Nursing Service Co-Ordinator 

Fiona has been the Fundraising Executive at the Marie Keating Foundation almost since it started and has been an integral part of many of the Foundation’s events, appeals and donation drives. A trained chef, Fiona owned and ran two delicatessens in Dublin and also worked in the Fiat Head Office in Dublin before joining the Foundation on an initial six month contract, eighteen years ago.

Fiona says, “Over the past ten years, there hasn’t been a day when I have not looked forward to coming to work. Seeing the changes that we can make to people’s lives whether it is through education, helping them out through their financial struggles or just putting that sparkle back in their eyes is amazing. It is a pleasure to work with so many generous people who are happy to give up their time to organise events or volunteer. I have met some amazing people that I can now call friends.”

 

Deirdre McDonnell - Marie Keating Foundation- Meet the Team

Deirdre McDonnell, MAAT, CPA, Finance Manager 

Deirdre has worked for the Foundation for over 12 years, coming from a background of over 10 years previous experience in various accountancy roles. Deirdre says, “I have worked with a small dedicated team at the Foundation over the years whose aim is to provide transparency and assurance to donors and contributors to the Foundation. Trust has never been more important in the charity sector and we work hard at the Foundation to ensure that every cent is accounted for and spent in a responsible and ethical manner. Working for the Foundation brings the realization home of how important it is to provide cancer information and awareness.”

 

Kevin O’Connell Foundation CIPD, Human Resources and Administration Executive

Kevin previously worked in the banking sector. Realising this area wasn’t for him, Kevin wanted to move into the charity sector to try help and make a difference. He decided to return to university full time and study a master’s degree in international development. This knowledge alongside his other life experience has given Kevin the skills to tackle HR and administrative duties across the Foundation.

Kevin says “I couldn’t believe it when I got the job offer to work for the Marie Keating Foundation. I have seen the terrible effect cancer had on my own family. To be able to work for an organisation that prioritises people first with their struggle with cancer is something I am so proud of. My passion, knowledge and skills will help the Foundation going forward.

Jayne O’Toole, Communications Manager 

Jayne studied broadcasting and journalism before turning her attention to communications. Her background is primarily within the hospitality sector where she was offered her first communications role post achieving her HDip in Public Relations. Since then, Jayne has accumulated over 12 years of experience as a marketing and communications professional at a senior level. She is also a qualified nutritionist and ran her own business for 6 years.

Jayne is excited to put her varied experience to good use as part of the driven and compassionate team at The Marie Keating Foundation.

Jayne says “ I am so excited to be working within such a respected and impactful organisation. The work that the Marie Keating Foundation does, changes lives and having the opportunity to be a part of this team is something I am truly grateful for. Cancer touches all our lives in some way, it can be terrifying and isolating.  I am incredibly proud to be a part of an organisation that does all it can to support those impacted by cancer and their loved ones. I am hopeful that my experience in communications and my passion for helping others will bring a positive impact to the organisation, team and most importantly the patients and their families who are at the core of the foundation.”

Mark Maliniak, Head of Individual Giving

Mark joined the team in April 2021 as the head of our individual giving programme, having previously worked with charities such as NSPCC, British Heart Foundation, Mencap, Canal and River Trust, Wood Green Animal Shelter, UNICEF and many others.

Mark says, “I have worked in the charity sector for about 16 years and I have gotten to work with some amazing charities and work alongside some great fundraisers”.

“I am excited to be working with the team at the Marie Keating Foundation, they are a lovely bunch of people doing some incredibly important work for men and women across Ireland.  I believe in their aim to ensure 100,000 people a year get the right support for their cancer journey, and my job is to ensure that the charity raises enough money to fund the incredible work of the nursing team.  With no government funding we need generous support from the people of Ireland.”

Declan Grant,  Services Coordinator 

Declan Joined the Marie Keating Foundation in 2024.

Declan studied a BSC in Computer Science and previously qualified with a HNC in Social Care through Fife College of Higher Education in Scotland.

Declan has extensive experience as a service coordinator in the healthcare service within the charitable sector and is passionate about delivering customer service.

Declan says “I am delighted with the opportunity to work with the Marie Keating Foundation. It is a charity that is close to my heart having experienced the loss of loved ones to Cancer. The Marie Keating Foundation continues to make a powerful impact on people’s lives by making cancer ‘less frightening by enlightening.” I am proud to be part of an organisation that offers such a valuable service to people’s lives, and I hope that my experience will help the Marie Keating Foundation reach a wider community and continue to create a positive impact on people’s lives.

 

Lisa McElwaine, Fundraising & Events Co-Ordinator.

Lisa joined the Marie Keating Foundation in Aug 2022 as Fundraising and Events Co-Ordinator.

Lisa’s previous experience has been working in Accounts for the last 20 plus years.

Lisa says “As a Breast Cancer Survivor & BRCA2 Gene Alteration carrier since Jan 2020 I am now privileged to be part of the Marie Keating Foundation and would love nothing more than to help others going through a cancer journey.  I got so much support within the foundation from their Strive & Thrive programme which gave me strength & confidence to get back to living a somewhat normal life again.  I also am now involved with the BRCA support group and am a Peer 2 Peer supporter for Ladies in a similar situation as myself.”

 

Aisha O Bakare, Administrative assistant.

Aisha joined The Marie Keating Foundation 3 years ago.

“I joined the foundation 3 years ago as an accountant. 10 years of experience as revenue officer with a history of accurately and efficiently supporting accounting activities for a diverse range of clientele.

I  have expertise in financial analysis and tax preparation. I am highly knowledgeable in accounting and laws, working with the foundation to optimize it financial strategies.

I am a quality driven accountant with a proven record of excellent job performance. Manages projects at each stage with a diligent and attentive approach, carefully checking details and testing assumptions.

Working with the foundation in the last years has strengthened my passion to support people who have been through a traumatic, agony and stressful experience because when human beings experience trauma or severe life stressors, it is not uncommon for their lives to unravel. It can be terrifying, scary and frightening to go through the pain alone but undiluted love can ease the pain and with awareness, encouragement and support it can be conquered.

I will continue to spread the awareness and support any individual children, adults and families, to find healthy perceptions of themselves and  strengthen their understanding so they can get to know themselves and when to act.”

 

Nursing Team

 

Bernie Carter, Assistant Director of Nursing Services

Bernie is an oncology nurse specialist with over 20 years’ experience working in oncology and haematology in tertiary care teaching hospitals in Ireland, UK, Australia and Canada. Bernie took her oncology training in the Royal Marsden in the UK and the Peter MacCallum hospital in Melbourne, Australia. Bernie also has a post graduate diploma and MSc from Trinity College Dublin and her Master thesis was titled – ‘An Assessment of Patient Information in the Field of Breast Cancer in Ireland’. Her thesis culminated with the design of a website for patients with breast cancer. Most recently in her previous role she coordinated a national support programme for patients with advanced Melanoma receiving treatment with immunotherapy.

Bernie says, ‘I just recently joined the Marie Keating Foundation and I am delighted to be a part of this wonderful meaningful organisation which helps create awareness of the different types of cancer with a view of prevention and early detection and hence better outcomes over all. I really feel that education is the key to a decrease in the incidences of all types of cancer and I am looking forward to helping the foundation spread the word in the various different settings that I will be working in. I feel that it is important to demystify cancer, to inform the community that treatments are now very advanced and new treatments are coming on the market all the time and thus outcomes are much more positive especially if detected early’.

 

Col Conway, Community and Online Information Nurse

Col is registered as a General Nurse (RGN) and Children’s Nurse (RCN) with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland and she has practiced in Ireland for more than 20 years. Col has worked in a variety of hospital and community clinical settings and she has a particular interest in promoting and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices. Col is working in the Southern Region for the Marie Keating Foundation.

She said, “It is essential to give people information in a user-friendly way that can put to rest any fears they may have or misinformation. The wide variety of support that we provide on a daily basis can empower people to have better health outcomes. There is a lot of reward in helping someone to help themselves and for them to make a positive impact on their own health.

 

Kathryn Murphy, Community and Online Information Nurse

Kathryn is registered as a General Nurse and a Nurse Prescriber with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland. Kathryn has extensive clinical experience in hospital and community settings from working in the UK, Australia and Ireland. Kathryn has a great interest in education, having previously completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Midwifery, and Certificate in Nurse Prescribing. Kathryn is currently undertaking a Master of Health Science (Nurse Education) at the University of Galway. Kathryn worked as a GP practice nurse for nearly 10 years where her role included providing cancer awareness, health promotion and cancer risk reduction for patients. She is also a registered Cervical Smear taker with the Cervical Check Programme in Ireland. Kathryn is working in the Western Region for the Marie Keating Foundation.

Kathryn says “I am delighted to be working with the Marie Keating Foundation as a cancer information nurse as we know the importance that education has on prevention and early detection of cancer. We have an opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals and communities. Our efforts can help save lives by encouraging individuals to make lifestyle changes, undergo routine screening, and seek medical care early if cancer is suspected. I am looking forward to helping the foundation in its fight against cancer and to help ensure individuals have access to support and resources necessary to navigate the challenges that comes with a cancer diagnosis”.

 

Áine Finn , Community and Online Information Nurse

Áine is a registered nurse with a diploma in oncology nursing. She graduated from Dublin City University with a degree in nursing in 2018 and from there went on to further her  knowledge and expertise with a diploma in cancer care from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2019. Áine has worked in the acute hospital setting for the last 5 years as both a registered nurse and a Clinical Nurse Manager and she has gained experience in both oncology and haematology settings.
Áine says “I am excited to have recently joined the Marie Keating Foundation and I feel privileged to be part of an organisation and nursing team that is providing vital support, information and education to people every day. I truly believe that through ensuring education is accessible and available to people we can make a vital difference in cancer prevention and detection. I know first-hand from my experience caring for people living with cancer how invaluable that support and time can be”.

Barbara Corr, Community and Online Information Nurse

Barbara joined the Marie Keating Foundation in January 2024.

Barbara qualified with a BSc. Degree in General Nursing in Dublin City University in 2009. Since Barbara qualified, she has worked in a range of surgical wards in Beaumont Hospital.

Barbara is extremely passionate about all aspects of health promotion and health education. In 2022, Barbara became a Health Promotion Officer / Smoking Cessation Officer in Beaumont Hospital. This role strengthened her passion for educating individuals on the importance of healthier lifestyle choices.

Barbara says “I am so happy to be working for the Marie Keating Foundation. Providing education and encouraging people to embrace healthier habits is a real passion of mine. In the foundation we make cancer less frightening by enlightening. Education is the key in empowering individuals to take control over their own health. We help create awareness of the different types of cancers, and we also support individuals throughout their cancer journey. I am so honoured and excited to be a part of the Marie Keating team”.

 

Our part-time drivers also play an important role in the delivery of our community outreach, helping to bring our mobile information units around the country.

The Foundation is lucky enough to have a team of medical professionals and cancer survivors who make up our Medical Advisory Committee. You can find our more here.