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.”
Linda Keating, Founder and Director of Fundraising
Linda started working with the Marie Keating Foundation from its inception. As Marie Keating’s only daughter, Linda was devastated by her mother’s death at just 51 years of age but decided just days after her passing, alongside her brothers and her father, that they would do something to ensure that other families would not have to go through the same pain.
Linda manages a busy schedule of extensive events and activities to raise critical funds for the Foundation and also plays a crucial role as a spokesperson for the Foundation speaking directly to the reason we were established and why our mission is so important.
Linda says, “Our mam died because she was too afraid to go to the doctor and get checked. The form of cancer she died from is one of the most curable forms which makes her death even more senseless. It continues to be an enormous comfort to me to work hard to ensure that other people, both men and women, are aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer and the simple steps that they can take to help prevent it. The more we all know about cancer, the less frightened we have to be and the more lives we can save.”
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.”
Jennifer Cimerman, Director of Communications and Engagement
Jennifer has worked in communications for more than sixteen years, having originally trained and worked as a journalist before moving into the public relations and marketing sphere.
She worked for five years as a broadcast journalist, after qualifying with a degree in History and Politics from UCD and a post graduate qualification from Griffith College Dublin, in Journalism. Jennifer has spent seven years living and working in London, where she finished up as a Director at 4media Group, a full-service PR, market research and video agency, before moving home to Ireland with her husband and daughter to take up the role at the Marie Keating Foundation.
As well as leading the Foundation’s communications strategy, Jennifer also supports Fundraising and leads on the Foundation’s Individual Giving Strategy with a core focus on donor acquisition and donor care.
Jennifer says “It is such an honour to work at the Marie Keating Foundation and play my part in helping them achieve their mission of ‘making cancer less frightening by enlightening’. Cancer is, unfortunately, something that most people have been touched by in some way and it is a cause very close to my heart, having experienced it personally through close family members, including my Dad. I’m very excited to be able to come to work everyday and see the positive impact that the Foundation’s work is having on cancer patients and their families.”
Tiernan Reilly, Corporate Partnerships, Trusts & Foundations Manager
Tiernan joined the Marie Keating Foundation’s fundraising team in June 2021. He has a wealth of fundraising experience with a number of national and international charities. This experience includes the management of multiple high value corporate partnerships, national campaigns, and the establishment of successful corporate donation matching programmes.
Tiernan has extensive political management expertise which he acquired while working on campaigns in Ireland and the United States and while working as a staff member in Seanad Éireann. He holds a degree in History and Politics from University College Dublin.
He is an avid sports fan and while coming to the end of a not so illustrious career, he continues to proudly play Gaelic Football with Ballyboden Wanderers.
Tiernan says ‘The impact of COVID-19 on cancer services has been devastating. I am both proud and highly motivated to work with my colleagues across the Foundation to strengthen our impact in communities, schools & workplaces across Ireland by focusing on reducing cancer risk and promoting early detection. I look forward to achieving that by working with the Irish corporate sector to develop and implement highly ambitious, impactful and mutually beneficial corporate partnerships’
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, 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 HR and Administrative 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.
Jenny Mc Keever , Corporate Wellness and Schools Cancer Awareness Services Co-ordinator
Jenny graduated with a degree in social science from UCD in 2022 and joined the Marie Keating Foundation in early 2023.
Jenny says ‘I have always had an interest in working for a charity. That’s why it is such an honour and a privilege to work for the Marie Keating Foundation, as I get to see first hand the impact they are making in changing peoples lives by offering them support and help in challenging times’
Jayne O’Toole, Senior Communications Officer
Jayne’s 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 communications professional. She is also a qualified nutritionist and fitness enthusiast!
Jayne is excited to put her 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.”
William Davitt, Donor Relations Officer
William has a background in engineering but has been working in the non-profit sector for the past few years. He is now part of the Individual Giving team and is responsible for donor relations for the Foundation.
William Says “I am so grateful to get this chance to work with such a great organisation. The work done by the Foundation is really remarkable. They have managed to touch and help so any people through the most difficult parts of their lives and it’s super exciting to get to be in any way a part of that important work”
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.”
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’.
Marie Dempsey, Community and Online Information Nurse
Marie is a registered nurse with a diploma in Oncology Nursing. She has many years experience in oncology nursing both in Ireland and the UK and has worked extensively in acute hospitals in Clinical and Managerial roles. She joined the Marie Keating Foundation in 2016 as a Community Information Nurse, working in the Western Region/Unit and has a keen interest in health awareness and promotion.
She said, “More and more people are being affected by cancer every day in Ireland so it’s very empowering to be going in to new communities every day to talk to people about practical changes that they can make to reduce their risk. A lot of people think that that Marie Keating Foundation is only about breast cancer so I always enjoy giving presentations to men and mixed groups and telling them about all the different services we provide.”
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.
Melanie Strickland, Community and Online Information Nurse
Melanie is a registered Nurse with a post grad diploma in Oncology Nursing from UCD .Melanie has worked for many years in both Oncology and Haematology both in Ireland and the USA. She has worked in both Clinical, research and Managerial roles in cancer care.
Melanie says, “I am delighted to be working for the Marie Keating foundation which has the prevention and early detection of cancer at the foremost of everything it does. We know so much more now about how to prevent cancers and how to diagnose and treat cancer early and that has made a huge difference to people and their families in the last number of years. Getting the cancer prevention and early detection message out to people in the community is vital.”
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.